|by Yeats Wong|
Dec 12, 2010
Richard Turner – The Ultimate Card Cheat
Spending an afternoon with Richard Turner was an inspirational life lesson to me.
Though he’s not widely known outside of the world of magic, Richard Turner is utterly amazing at what he does.
Dai Vernon, one of the 20th centuries’ foremost experts on sleight of hand, said of Turner, “Having seen countless numbers of card experts execute for over eighty years, I consider Richard Turner to be by far the most skillful.”
What makes Richard so amazing is not just that he has become a master in his field, and not just that he has surpassed his nearest competition by a mile, but that he did it by using his weakness as his strength.
Richard Turner has been legally blind since the age of 8.
Having lunch with Mr. Turner, I had mentioned having difficulty with a particular card move. He asked me to “show” him the move. Placing his hands over top of mine, he “saw” my move, and my mistake, and immediately was able to correct it.
As a magician, I can’t even imagine trying to accomplish sleight of hand without my eyesight to check my ever move and angle. But Richard Turner used his disability as an advantage, honing his sense of touch and feel to a degree that no magician has been able to match. Richard Turner’s abilities are on par with the comic book superhero DareDevil – he’s a 5th degree black belt in karate, and has fought against and side by side with Chuck Norris. He’s a consultant to the U.S. Playing Card Company, and can detect a difference of 1/1000th of an inch in playing card stocks.
It is humbling to meet someone with such incredible drive, determination, and talent. And incredibly inspirational: after an afternoon with Richard Turner, I realized that there is no hardship in my life that I can’t surpass, and what many see as impossible is just a matter of hard work and determination.
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