Menetekel Deck

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The Mene-Tekel (or Menetekel Deck or The Self-Shifting Pack) is a mechanical deck credited to Burling Hull (1910)

Effects: A card is selected and placed back in the center of the deck. Instantly it jumps to the top of the deck.

Like the Svengali Deck it contains 26 ordinary cards and 26 short cards, but all the short cards are the same suit and value. A card is selected and returned to the pack. Instantly, you are able to name that card.


An early deck that accomplished this effect was Mundus Vult Decipi by Friedrich Wilhem Conradi in 1896[1].

In 1908 the first ad appeared in The Sphinx for Hull's The Devil's Pass, which he claims he invented at the age of eleven.[2] and which was improved three years later. It was then later being sold as the Lanigiro Pack (original spelled backwards).

Eventually the name "Mene, Tekel" was applied by the Boston magic dealer W.D. LeRoy. His inspiration for the name came from the biblical phrase "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin" used in the fifth chapter of the Book of Daniel. The message has been interpreted to mean "Counted, counted, weighted and divided." From these words Leroy created the title which was actually more than attractive gobbledygook. The words describe the basic secret of the deck.[3]

In the Magic Circular (1958), Sam Sharpe credits Donald Holmes for introducing it.[4]


  • Ellis Stanyon called this deck the 'Fin-De-Siècle Forcing Pack (end of the century).[5]
  • Nu Mene Tekel Deck which used one-way back designs to locate the removed card, eliminating the need for short cards or roughing.[6]


  1. Conradi, Friedrich Wilhelm: Der Moderne Kartenkünstler (1896) ppg 77-78
  2. Ad in The Sphinx, February, 1908
  3. Two MENE CARD TRICKS by Jim Steinmeyer, Magic, April 1997
  4. S. H. Sharpe: Conjuring Definitions (The Magic Circular, Volume 53, 1958) pg 58
  5. Karl Fulves: Ellis Stanyon's Best Card Tricks (Dover, Mineola, NY, 1999) ppg 195-196, reprint from Stanyon's Magic, Vol. 14, no. 6, March 1914, page 58.
  6. Glenn Gravatt: Final Selection (Magic Limited, Oakland, CA, 1957) ppg 34-35
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