This will play for lay audiences, and it will fool them, but it is probably better to show to your fellow magicians. They, of course, are familiar with the Professor's Nightmare rope trick, and so they will sit up and take notice when you begin to present this 2-dimensional version.
Three cards are shown and lined up (like three pieces of a puzzle) to show a picture of three ropes -- one long, one medium, and one short. The cards are picked up and when they are dealt tot he table again, the picture shows three ropes all the same size. As the spectator's puzzle over this transformation, you pick up the cards and deal them down again. Now they show a picture of one EXTRA long rope -- the three ropes have somehow become one.
I actually do this for laymen a lot, but always after I have presented the actual rope-version of the Prof's Nightmare. After doing the rope trick, I mention that I sometimes cannot carry ropes, and so I have a special wallet sized version of the trick. The fact that the spectators know the three printed ropes (on the cards) are going to become the same size does not lessen the mystery of the card-version. In fact, it heightens it, and when the climax occurs, when the cards now show a single extra long rope, it is a big surprise.
If the setting is right for a rope switch, I switch the three Prof's ropes for one long one as I bring out the cards. Now the bundle of "ropes" that has been on the table during the card version can also become one long rope at the end!
You get the three cards and instructions for doing the card version of the trick. IF you want to combine with the actual rope version, you will have to know the rope trick and work out the routining for yourself.
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