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Norman Houghton

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Norman Houghton
BornNorman DeBlois Houghton
February 3, 1909
Montreal, Canada
DiedMarch 4, 1998 (age 89)
CategoriesBooks by Norman Houghton

Norman Houghton (February 3, 1909 - March 4, 1998) is best known as the created of the card sleight now known as the Flushtration Count.


His father was a pharmacist and part-time photographer. They eventually settled in Toronto. Norm joined the Canadian Army during World War II, where he spent most of his time in Italy.

Houghton became interested in magic after seeing a magician perform in a side show at a local fair when he was just twelve.

He was friends with fellow Canadians Sid Lorraine, Bruce Posgate and Howard Lyons. He became a regular at the early Fechter's Finger Flicking Frolic and Niagara-on-the-Lake events.

His first published effort, "Twenty-First Century Silks" (as Lorne DeBlois), was featured on the cover of the October 1936 issue no. 25 of The Jinx. Over the next 6 decades, he contributed many close-up effects to The Jinx, Ibidem, Pentagram, New Pentagram, Sphinx, Genii and The Linking Ring.

In the 1960s you could also find his effects published under his real name (i.e., as "Norman Houghton") in Abracadabra.

Among his notable creations is a sleight now known as the Flushtration Count (or the Back Count), a method for showing that all the cards in a small packet are identical when in fact they can all be different. It was popularized by Brother John Hamman in his trick, Flushtration, marketed by Abbott's Magic in 1969, and as such is commonly attributed to him, but Houghton published the count nearly 15 years before in Ibidem No. 1, June 1955

Eventually, he became a regular at the Saturday Round Table in Toronto, which met in the basement cafeteria of the old King Edward Hotel. A group of close-up enthusiasts that included Derek Dingle, Elizabeth Warlock, Tom Ransom, Reg Holden, Mike O’Dowd and David Drake.