Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Turnover Pass

The action of turning a deck over to hide the execution of a Pass was first described in the anonymous 1802 work on card cheating, Les Mystères du Pharaon Devoilée (see p. 155 of the original or Lori Pieper's English translation in Gibecière, Vol. 11 No. 2, Summer 2016, p. 196). While the description offers almost no technical detail, it makes clear that the deck is turned face up as the Pass is made.

This description was published ninety-five years before the Turnover Pass was described in conjuring literature: A. Roterberg gave that description in New Era Card Tricks, 1897, p. 10. The Turnover Pass became known as the Herrmann Pass, as it was a sleight Alexander Herrmann made familiar to other magicians. However, Roterberg's language seems guarded, as he wrote only that this Pass “was a favorite of the late Alexander Herrmann”. A “favorite” does not mean Herrmann invented it. Jean Hugard was perhaps the first to point out that Alexander Herrmann was not known for sleight-of-hand with cards, and that he likely learned this Pass from his brother, Compars. Compars, in turn, was a friend of J. N. Hofzinser, and it is felt by many historians that Compars Herrmann learned the Turnover Pass from this Viennese master. This is founded in part on a comment made by Hofzinser in a letter, in which he did not rate Herrmann's ability with cards very highly; and in part on evidence from private manuscripts by Hofzinser and his students that indicate that Hofzinser used the Turnover Pass. See Magic Christian's J. N. Hofzinser: Non Plus Ultra, Vol. 2, 2013, p. 33.