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Author: Rick Carruth

Ghost on the Loose…

Ghost on the Loose…

Spook shows.. Great article with many interesting pictures and videos of old horror, ghost and goblin shows from EatDrinkFilms.com  and Gary Meyer… To quote…..

”  Magic and “live” ghosts, goblins and other creatures of the night go back a long way. What we refer to as “augmented reality” today is hundreds of years old.  In 1584 Reginald Scot wrote in his study to debunk beliefs in witchcraft, magic and other superstitions, The Discoverie of Witchcraft, that people dressed in sheets had fooled believers certain they had seen ghosts.”

https://eatdrinkfilms.com/2019/09/30/ghosts-on-the-loose-a-brief-history-of-spooky-stage-shows-and-an-personal-encounter/

 

Sven Pro Deck – Invictus Magic – A Review

Sven Pro Deck – Invictus Magic – A Review

SVEN PRO Deck –  Invictus Magic – A Review

Suit&Tie Magic kicks off their world-wide product debut by perfecting a classic in card magic! Presenting the Sven Pro! The gimmicked deck like you’ve never seen it before!

It’s difficult to reinvent a classic–especially one as solid as the Svengali deck–but teaming up with Invictus Magic, Suit&Tie has done it! Delivering the world’s smallest cut (to date) in this type of deck!

Expertly crafted with the working magician in mind, these cards are precision-cut to bring magicians the Svengali deck the way it was meant to be made.

Suitable for beginners and professionals alike, these decks boast the best handling on the market! … And did we mention that they handle sideways, too?!

Includes:

– Professional-grade Svengali deck
– Full step-by-step instructions, from the very basic handlings to advanced routines
– Mind Reading Effect
– Prediction Effect
– Card to Impossible Location
– Ambitious Card with Variations
– Acaan
– Svenwich
– Finger Tip Change (Our Favorite)

My Thoughts:

I’ve been a fan of Svengali decks since… a long time ago. I’m sure many of you bought one near the beginning of your careers, played with it for a while, and then let it slide to the bottom of your junk drawer. I think now one of the main reasons for that happening is we realized you had to perform magic with Bicycle decks, probably rider backs, and these Svengali decks, bridge sized and cheaply made, didn’t fit the bill. I know that was my case.

That said.. I have bought a Bicycle brand Svengali deck or two through the years and, although they felt much better than my earlier decks, I still relegated them to someplace outside my happy place.. ne’er to be used in actual performances.

That’s sad… because the concept is a good one, and you would think someone, somewhere, would create a solid Svengali deck.. one knowledgeable magicians would actually want to use.

SVEN PRO, by Invictus Magic, is THAT deck. Seriously..

Magicians are a picky bunch. There are always a few though who lead the way, and dictate what the majority wants.. or thinks they want. I wish one of the influencers would push the Svengali deck as the next great advent in magic, but it’s not going to happen. What IS going to happen though.. is.. a smart, talented group of performers will buy this deck, master an array of effects not possible with conventional decks, and fool the dickens out of magicians and lay folks alike who do not understand the possibilities of this classic deck.

One of the reasons for this is the care and skill that goes into creating each deck of Sven Pro. Unlike the older decks we’re accustomed to, Suit& Tie Magic, the developers, carefully cut each short card thinner than traditional cards.. and then rounded the edges to make them match the ungaffed cards. When aligned in a deck, you cannot notice the different lengths… at least not during normal use and typical handling.

The other reason, aside from the micro-cut of the short side of the card, is the micro-cut of the LONG side of the gaff cards. Imagine being able to cut the deck from the top OR the side. Imagine being able to dribble the cards. Imagine being able to riffle shuffle the cards or let the spectator freely cut the cards, from any angle. Now your repertoire is greatly enhanced, and one of the major drawbacks of ‘conventional’ svengali decks, the awkward handling, has been eliminated.

Before writing this review I spent about a week informally handling the Sven Pro deck. I sat in my favorite chair and cut, and cut, and cut.. top cuts and side cuts, to see if the shorter cuts affected the outcome. It didn’t. I fanned them, spread them, riffled them and dribbled them.. looking to find that weak point that made a liar out of the ad copy. Again… I didn’t. What can I say?

The one drawback of the svengali deck has always been that it could not be freely examined. I think that one fact alone prevents more magicians from using it than any other. Suit & Tie Magic includes a twenty-five minute instructional video with each deck that includes careful instructions for fanning, shuffling, and spreading the deck to prevent the spectator from feeling a need to manhandle the deck. The video is posted on the Invictus site and you do not have to download it. The url is provided inside the deck packaging wrapper. You won’t learn everything you need to know.. but you WILL learn enough to whet your appetite and send you on a little search for more in-depth info. Now would be a good time to go to Google and search for ‘svengali deck tutorial’ and you should find a couple of good instructional videos. (Magic Makers and Daryl have both made in-depth videos solely teaching effects with svengali decks..)

The instructions are good, considering the overall cost of Sven Pro is less than twenty dollars. Remember, this is a deck that has to be created by hand in a very time-consuming way. I have NO problems with the price, the deck itself, or the quality of the instructions. All effects are taught by Brandon Williams, a very likable and talented guy, and I appreciated the extra efforts put into the video instructions. They didn’t have to.. but they did.. so there…

I want to make one suggestion of my own… Find ways to incorporate the svengali deck into routines with standard decks. You don’t have to pull a hidden deck switch; keep it all out in the open. I usually have three decks on the table when I perform, if space allows, and I’ll tell anyone asking ‘why’ that each deck handles differently and I want to be as professional as possible. Each deck DOES handle differently, so I can say that with confidence.

I will use this deck. I will find ways to incorporate it into routines with conventional decks. I will surprise a few nimble minds who should know better, and I’ll leave them confounded.. and I ain’t telling them nothing… This Svengali Pro thing.. it’s going to be my little secret.

$19.95 From Murphy’s Magic and Dealers who carry their line of products.
https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=63255

Review by Rick Carruth

In Medieval England Magic was a Service Industry Used by Rich and Poor Alike

In Medieval England Magic was a Service Industry Used by Rich and Poor Alike

Informative article by Tabitha Stanmore for The Conversation..

Chances are that when you hear the words “medieval magic”, the image of a witch will spring to mind: wizened old crones huddled over a cauldron containing unspeakable ingredients such as eye of newt. Or you might think of people brutally prosecuted by overzealous priests. But this picture is inaccurate.

To begin with, fear of witchcraft – selling one’s soul to demons to inflict harm on others – was more of an early modern phenomenon than a medieval one, only beginning to take hold in Europe at the tail end of the 15th century. This vision also clouds from view the other magical practices in pre-modern England.

Magic is a universal phenomenon. Every society in every age has carried some system of belief and in every society there have been those who claim the ability to harness or manipulate the supernatural powers behind it. Even today, magic subtly pervades our lives – some of us have charms we wear to exams or interviews and others nod at lone magpies to ward off bad luck. Iceland has a government-recognised elf-whisperer, who claims the ability to see, speak to, and negotiate with the supernatural creatures still believed to live in Iceland’s landscape.

While today we might write this off as an overactive imagination or the stuff of fantasy, in the medieval period magic was widely accepted to be very real. A spell or charm could change a person’s life: sometimes for the worse, as with curses – but equally, if not more often, for the better.  READ MORE

How Derren Brown Remade Mind Reading for Skeptics – Article

How Derren Brown Remade Mind Reading for Skeptics – Article

The mentalist’s manipulation techniques give people too sophisticated to believe in the paranormal something quasi-scientific to hang on to.

By Adam Green.. for The New Yorker  –  Very intelligent and informative article will appear in the New Yorker on Monday, Oct.7th.

In 2005, when I was visiting London, a magician friend told me that I had to see the English mentalist Derren Brown, who was appearing in the West End, in his one-man show “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” Brown had become famous for an astonishing ability to seemingly read the thoughts of his fellow-humans and to control their actions. In a series of TV specials, he’d reinvented a waning branch of magic—mentalism—for a new generation, framing his feats as evidence not of psychic powers but of a cutting-edge knowledge of the mind and how to manipulate it.

A few days later, I was sitting in a capacity audience at a theatre in Covent Garden. A slim, pale, vulpine man in his mid-thirties, with well-tended light-brown hair and a goatee, came onstage, dressed in a trim black suit and a black shirt. He looked more like the creative director of an advertising agency than like a mind reader, and seemed to take neither his spectators nor himself too seriously: when someone’s cell phone went off, he gave a look of mock alarm and said, “Don’t answer it. It’s very bad news.” Beneath his genially impudent manner lurked a suggestion of preternatural self-assurance and even menace.

Brown spent the next two and a half hours performing a series of increasingly inconceivable set pieces, organized around the theme of how susceptible we are to hidden influence. He gave demonstrations of subliminal persuasion, lie detection, instant trance induction, and mass hypnosis, as well as manipulation of his own mental state to control his response to pain. To show that participants were selected at random, he hurled a stuffed monkey into the auditorium, and whoever caught it would come up onstage…  Read More