Easy Magic Card Trick: Learn How to Dowse for a Playing Card

  • 01 of 07

    Easy Magic Card Trick: How to Dowse for a Playing Card

    Dowsing for a Playing Card

    Dowsing is normally used to locate water, oil, rare minerals and more. In this easy magic card trick, we’ll employ “dowsing” as a theme to dress up a “find a card” trick that relies on a classic and effective magic method. You’ll find this one easy to learn and perform as it requires no sleight of hand or complicated moves. It's a great self-working trick. Yes, you'll learn how to dowse for a selected playing card.

    In this effect you have a spectator select a card which is then...MORE placed back into the deck. You lay the cards face up on the table and then bring out a device that you will use to "dowse" for the playing card. You slowly pass the device over the cards and after a time, when the device is over the selected playing card, it comes down on it, effectively finding the spectator’s selected card.

    A deck of cards
    A prop for dowsing. For explanation purposes, we’ll use a pen which is fine for a performance, but feel free to be creative with this one. A turkey or chicken wishbone, a tree branch or you could even unbend and use paper clips in the classic dowsing fashion. It’s all up to you, which adds to the fun.

    Skills Required:

    The Secret to Dowsing:
    As mentioned earlier, this card trick relies on a classic magic method that is easier to explain as we teach the trick.

    Continue to 2 of 7 below.
  • 02 of 07

    Selecting the Card

    Dowsing for a playing card - selecting a card.

     Offer the deck of cards and ask a spectator to freely select one. In this case, and for instructional purposes, we’ll say that the spectator’s card is the “two of spades.” At this time, however, you will not know the identity of the card. The “two of spades” is only shown for explanation purposes.

    Continue to 3 of 7 below.
  • 03 of 07

    Have the Spectator Show the Card

    Have the Spectator Show the Card
    Ask the spectator to show the card to others and as he is doing this, glance down at the bottom card of the deck and remember it. For explanation purposes, we’ll say that the bottom card is the “six of diamonds.” This is something that magicians call a “key card.” It will help you find the spectator’s selected card.


    Continue to 4 of 7 below.
  • 04 of 07

    Return the Card to the Deck

    Return the Card to the Deck

    The easiest way to return the card to the deck is to have the spectator place his card on top of the deck. You then cut the deck, which places the key card (“six of diamonds”) on top of the selected card, (the two of spades).

    The second way, if you know how to do a pivot cut (click here to learn how), is to cut the deck and ask the spectator to return the card. With this method, the card is returned to the original top of the deck and when you place the rest of the deck on top, the bottom card...MORE (“six of diamonds”) ends up on top of the selected card (“two of spades”).

    Either way, the “six of diamonds” is residing on top of the “two of spades.”


    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Finding the Selected Card - Part 1

    Finding the Selected Card - Part 1

    (Completely optional at this point, if you know how to do a false cut, you can perform one on the deck to make it look as if you are mixing it up some more. Click here to learn a great false cut.)

    Lay or spread the playing cards face up on the table. Look for your key card (“six of diamonds”). The card that is to the right will be the spectator’s selected playing card (“two of spades).

    You now know the playing card. The rest is acting and presentation.


    Continue to 6 of 7 below.
  • 06 of 07

    Finding the Selected Card - Part 2

    Finding the Selected Card - Part 2
    Pass your dowsing object back and forth over the card as if you are trying to sense some “energy.” Don’t be afraid to ham it up and play this one up. Go into a fake trance if you like. Just have fun with it.


    Continue to 7 of 7 below.
  • 07 of 07

    Finding the Selected Card - Part 3

    Finding the Selected Card - Part 3.

    After passing the dowsing prop over the cards for a bit, bring down the object on the spectator’s playing card. Through the “magic” of dowsing, you have located the spectator’s playing card.

    At the end, you’re clean. Spectators can examine everything and there's nothing to find.