Plunger Lie Detector in the Aronson Stack

Joshua Jay

Basically, I have applied the plunger principle lie detector to the Aronson stack. The selected card has to be forced, but such is the case with a lot of similar ideas. With that drawback stated, the great part is that my two "favorite" sequences involve absolutely no changing of arrangements, and the deck remains in full stack order at the end.  

Follow along right now and this will work for you, first time. My favorite sequence incorporates Jack Carpenter's Impulse Change.  It's a great change of an outjogged card (really a double) and it's not so tough to do well.  With this combination, you get the lie detector plunger effect, but at the end you apparently miss.  A simple "shake" causes the outjogged card to change to the right card. Follow along and all will become clear.  (Simon Says: If you want to eliminate this change, see note 3).

 Start by forcing the Two of Spades from stack origin (9D on bottom).  Square up.  Explain that you'll turn the deck into a lie detector and rapidly run through the cards with the faces toward yourself. As quickly and messy as possible, upjog the Queen of Spades for more than half its length and then continue to upjog every other card (through the Jack of Diamonds).  Lower the deck and as you do, square the outjogged cards so they extend a little less than halfway, resulting in a perfectly square "set" of outjogged cards that will allow the plunger principle to work in a neat, tidy fashion.

 Explain the basic concept: you will ask questions, and the spectator can lie or tell truth, and the lie detector will corroborate.  As an example (and I like this part, though you can skip it), you say:  “It works for any question.  For instance, let's demonstrate with an outright lie, just to show you how well it works.”  Point to the face card, the Nine of Diamonds, saying, “I want you to lie about this card. Call it a 7 or any other number, go on and try it.”  When she answers, do the basic plunger move, i.e., with your left index finger push the set of outjogged cards into and flush with the deck.  A new set of cards will emerge outjogged from the opposite end of the deck, exposing the 9C at the face of these outjogged cards.  “See, you lied, the deck tells us it’s a 9!” 

Turn the deck end for end.  Remind her to think of her secret chosen card (the forced 2S). "Now let's get serious. We'll start with an easy question. You can lie or tell the truth. Did you pick a number card or a picture card?" 

 Push through again, a la the plunger, to reveal 8H, a number card.

 Ask for color, push through again (always rotating so you always push in, toward yourself).  The 4C on the face proves the selection is black.

 Ask for the suit. Push through again, and the 6S proves a Spade. (All correct so far). 

Ask for the value, push through again and get a King (with the 2S hidden behind).  Apparently the lie detector has failed. Turn the deck end for end and adjust double in position for Carpenter’s Impulse Change.  "Sometimes the lie detector doesn't work quite right. It's an older model. I just give it a shake and..."  Perform Carpenter’s Impulse Change (or any other change that gets rid of the face card of the out jogged portion) to visually change the KS into the 2S, the selected card. 


 1. A technical tip:  The plunger principle looks terrific when it's done well, and looks awful if the wrong pressure is applied.  If you are getting other cards "riding" along with the outjogged ones than the trick won't look right.  I find holding deck horizontal, and always pushing toward me, allows me to be consistent.  Practice different pressures – hard, but not too hard works best I think. If you are getting cards riding along, square them up as you see it happen, or it will perpetuate more "clinging" cards.

 2. Here’s a more basic, simple version and one that would be a good setup to use just before the above, because it gets the card dead on.  Force the 4H, and then upjog the JC through 7H (every other card). Then proceed with your lie detector questions.  Here's the order:

 Number vs. picture.  Plunge, to prove number (10D)

Color.  Proves red (4D)

Suit.  Proves Heart (KH)

Value.  Proves correct, producing the force card, 4H 

I have other sequences but they are more complicated or involve different questions. 

3. Simon Says: If you prefer Josh’s first sequence, but want to eliminate the Impulse Change and proceed straight to the selection, just make one slight modification in the process of setting up the outjogged cards.  When you come to the 6S, outjog it plus the next two cards (the KS and the 9H) behind it (so you’re upjogging a group of three cards together, as a unit) and then continue as in the text.  This will cause the selected 2S to follow the 6S in the plunger sequence



Copyright Simon Aronson 2014