CARSON CITY – A bill to ban involuntary microchipping of people, unanimously passed earlier this month by the Assembly, ran into a skeptical Senate committee Friday where members raised concerns that its prohibitions were too broad.
But stealing the show was opposition testimony from a Las Vegas magician with 21 such implants who uses them to open locked doors, speak text from her phone, even call her husband on command.
“It’s not as sinister as you’re making it out to seem,” Anastasia Synn told the Senate Judiciary committee.
Assembly Bill 226 passed the Assembly with changes to clarify that the proposed ban would apply only to devices that can transmit a signal, not to implants for decorating or expressive purposes. Medical devices that transmit health information or status, such as advanced pacemakers, also would be exempt, as would items such as hip implants.
The chips are typically the size of a grain of rice. They can be implanted under the skin and used, for example, to open locked doors or make purchases with a handwave. They can also store health or emergency contact data, such as those implanted in pets. Five states – Wisconsin, California, Missouri, North Dakota and Oklahoma – currently ban mandatory implantation in people.
Sponsoring Assemblyman Skip Daly, D-Sparks, told the committee the bill was intended to set a baseline prohibition for such devices that future Legislatures could modify, vetting exemptions as they are proposed to lawmakers. He said it aimed at seemingly voluntary practices where someone might be offered a health insurance discount for consenting to have an implant, or where a casino might require one for an employee who handles cash.
“Yeah, it’s voluntary, but you’re going to get something for it,” he said.
Privacy watchdogs supported the bill’s intent.
“We don’t know how far these types of technologies can go,” said the ACLU’s Holly Wellborn. “We have enough intrusion in our private lives from the data that’s collected.”
But committee members had doubts about the bill’s ban on transmitting devices that a person could opt to implant without any coercion or incentive. They also questioned whether Daly had consulted with manufacturers of medical devices such as cochlear implants for the hearing impaired. Daly said he hadn’t, but would.
Synn, the Las Vegas magician, said the capabilities of microchips, which she uses in her performance as well as day-to-day life, were misunderstood. They transmit only a very short distance. If tracking one were possible, she said, “you would know where your lost cats and dogs are.”
She demonstrated how one of her implants could be programmed to speak text from her phone and described how an artist had used implants to recite poetry when touched. Her testimony captivated committee members; Sen. Melanie Scheible, D-Las Vegas, asked in half-jest where Synn performed and whether she could bring her show to Carson City.
Elisa Cafferata, representing the Nevada Technology Association, told the committee implants are commonplace in Europe where people get them to open doors or pay for items without having to carry keys or a wallet.
“While many of us probably can’t imagine doing this, it’s actually quite common around the globe,” she said.
But Daly, wrapping up testimony, was not swayed. “We don’t know where this is going,” he said. “If it’s tech, it can be hacked.”
The Vault – The Magic Man Project – Rubber Bands – Andrew Eland
This unusual offering from Murphy’s Magic is quite unlike anything I’ve reviewed. It’s not a full fledged DVD.. and it’s not a single effect. The Ad Copy reads as follows:
In this electrifying new HD download series, Magic Man shares two of his favorite rubber band routines. These are two real-world routines that he has been performing for over 20 years – refined and tweaked through thousands of performances in every environment possible!
You will learn:
The Boomerang Band routine
A mini rubber band routine including Magic Man’s unique presentation for the Crazy Man’s Handcuffs
These are real world, in-the-trenches routines that have been audience tested and perfected!
Full HD | Full live and in-studio performances included | Real world magic | 1 hour
Who is Magic Man?
Magic Man is one of South Africa’s best kept secrets. Magic Man has been touring North America, Canada and Asia for the past 20 years building an impressive list of achievements. From the Rolling Stones at the Sticky Fingers restaurant in London to the wrap-up party in Vancouver for U2’s Zooropa Tour, Magic Man has entertained the finest!
He has worked at the Edinburgh Festival and headlined at top nightspots across Europe, Canada and South Korea. Combining unbelievable sleight-of-hand with his unique sense of humor, Magic Man can keep any room enthralled with wonder for hours!
First, I’m going to address the elephant in the room. Since this 1 hour video highlights the elusive Boomerang Band.. I’m going to start there. Although the Boomerang Band effect has been both written about and videoed, there are still those who believe it’s only a myth. A magi takes a rubber band, contorts it around his fingers, shoots it about fifteen feet across the floor.. and, just as the rubber band reaches its fartherest point… it reverses direction and literally rolls back to the magi with impressive speed. Rumor has it a certain magician can even make it roll up his arm and settle in his shirt pocket. I’m not sure about that.. but I am sure the Boomerang Band is NOT a fairy tale, as I have watched the bands dance their way back to the waiting magi numerous times.
Although the origin is unknown.. Charlie Miller, Dan Garrett, Chris Kenner, Dan Harlan, Paul Daniels, Don Cox, Al Angello, Michael Weber, and Paul Sponaugle have all made contributions to Boomerang Band, not to mention Magic Man.. Andrew Eland, who is making his contribution with this download.
Andrew.. aka, Magic Man, demonstrates and patiently teaches viewers how to perform Boomerang Band. (BB). He routinely performs his version in outdoor locations around the world, as he spends a portion of each year performing in locations from North America to Europe to South Africa.
This is one of those quirky little effects that will catch most audiences, and magicians, off-guard, as they’ve never heard of BB.. much less actually seen it. It’s the type effect that will draw crowds out of curiosity, and give you the opportunity to perform your complete set to a full house.
After teaching Boomerang Band, Andrew teaches his entire routine. Although not very long, it’s efficient.. and consist almost entirely of rubber band effects, utilizing a few small props like a battery, a wand, a spoon and a coin.
One effect is based on The Moving Ring.. but without the ring. Andrew creates a small diversion and uses this little prop to perform both this effect and to make his Crazy Man’s Handcuffs unique and very visual. You need to see it to understand what I’m saying. If you currently perform either of these two effect in a conventional way, you’ll have no problem adapting to the Magic Man method.
(Crazy Man’s Handcuffs, devised by Arthur Setterington, Peter Warlock, Herb Zarrow and popularized by David Copperfield.)
He also teaches Two Way Stretch, which is a method of showing one band as two.. and
Snap by Harry Lorayne. Combined, everything creates a very nice routine for busking or traditional walk-around. You can’t beat it for the money, and it has my recommendation.
Quality wise, it is a typical Murphy’s Magic product. Filmed outdoors at VIctoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town and indoors at The Capetown College of Magic in Cape Town, everything from the outdoor setting to the indoor teaching session is good, quality work. Sound is good, lighting is good, and I have no complaints.. and I don’t think you will either.
Don’t think you will learn Boomerang Bands overnight. Andrew tells you such, and you need to be prepared to put in the time to learn something unique and captivating. There’s no doubt you’ll be glad you did. Be different, and proceed to the front of the line..
$12.95 Instant Download. From Murphy’s Magic and their associates.
Welcome to the last ‘regular’ issue of the Magic Roadshow! I decided some time back that issue# 200 was my ultimate goal. You have no idea how close I came to stopping after issue# 100 because I saw that as my last issue. But, for whatever reason, it didn’t feel right. I felt like I still had a few issues left in me and I decided to just publish until I wanted to stop.
It’s not that I want to stop now.. but I want to be able to publish on MY schedu 200le and not on some perceived schedule I have in my head. I’m a stickler on ‘doing the right thing’, and don’t know when to take a break. I feel as if I’ll be letting someone down.. so I publish on a timetable.
Oh, I’ve had reader after reader tell me not to worry about a schedule, but I have just as many readers wanting to know if the next issue is around the corner. I try to keep everyone happy and I try to publish the best free newsletter money can buy. I cannot tell you the ‘thank you sir’ emails I’ve received from both here and abroad.. particularly from less fortunate countries where magic resources are hard to come by… and from young adults who cannot afford other publications. THAT is the source of my feelings of obligation.
(The photos?… The Carruth family. Carolyn and Zoey have patiently let me spend endless hours publishing the Roadshow..)
I am so thankful that friends like Paul Romhany now publish online magazines that exceed my imagination. If you don’t subscribe to VANISH, which is totally free, you aren’t serious about magic. ( http://www.vanishmagic.com/ )
I am still going to send out an issue when the mood strikes. I am still going to publish regular features and reviews to https://magicroadshow.com .. I’ll probably start to publish even more to the Magic Roadshow homepage since it’s so simple and quick. I’m just NOT going to publish issues on a regular schedule. Fourteen years nonstop, and never charged a single cent, is long enough.
So much has changed in the last 14 years. There was a time when I would receive 40 to 50 replies every time I published a new issue. It was such a pleasure to respond to the replies and get to actually know something about readers. Now.. I do good if I receive 4 or 5 replies. Times have changed.. the internet has changed.. people and their responses have changed.
I sorely miss the early years. I could get my newsletter to almost all subscribers.. spam filters weren’t a problem, and the Can Spam Act was only a notion in some Congressman’s mind. Now, I don’t know where the heck the Roadshow goes. Folks tell me they got it.. folks tell me they didn’t. Google changes it algorithm about as ofter as I change my socks. A little guy doesn’t stand a chance!
True story…. There was a time I bought an ebook off Ebay.. “David Blaine Secret’s Revealed”. I bought it for $3.99 and it came with ‘free resale rights’. What did I do? I created a little one page website.. wrote some sales copy.. created a Paypal ‘buy now’ button.. carefully worded the sales copy to include some good key words (which I knew how to do).. and put it on the web. I waited for the search engine ‘bots to index my site, and after about three
weeks it started showing up in their search results. I was making about $15 dollars a day for an ebook that the purchaser downloaded after making their payment. Three months after it was indexed, I was selling an ebook every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You do the math…
I would be embarrassed to tell you how much I generated in sales off affiliate ads in the first 100 issues. Think six figures. Then, a well-known figure in the magic community emailed me at 5.30 one morning to tell me all my affiliate ad links would be shut down at 7am. He resented that my ads were being indexed above his ads on Google. (Again, I knew how to maximize search engine results). If this guy had been smart, he would have paid me to drop my ads.. and work as a consultant for his company. He didn’t.. I didn’t.. and his company is now so far down the ladder it’s a non-factor. Oh well..
Now you know why I ‘almost’ quit after 100 issues.
That was also when I decided there was more to magic than making money. I cut almost all ads from the Roadshow, except a few Google Ads to help pay for hosting and mailing out the Roadshow. In recent years, I sometimes excluded them as well.
Eventually.. all that was important was telling the story….
Remember, this is not the last you’ll hear from the Roadshow. I will stay in touch and I’ll continue to find good stuff across the internet and pass it on. So, don’t be afraid to tell friends about us and don’t discourage anyone from signing up! Till next time…..
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Pr 16:9 NIV).
-Open Travelers – Larry Jennings and Paul Lelekis
-Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Lying Liar – Christopher M. Reynolds
-Royal Magic’s “Zig Zag Card” – Al Albers’ presentation and handling:
-The Patron Saint Of Magicians – Christopher M. Reynolds
-When Harry Met Howard: The Unknown Collaboration.. Christopher M. Reynolds
-The Sudden Flash of Genius That Made Magician Rocco Silano Rich – Article
-The Power of a Name – Two spelling effects by Werner Miller
-Our FREE PDF – Full of Effects from Past Issues – Effects
-The Previous Nine PDF’s – Effects
-4 EASY effects to perform with the Faro Shuffle – Video Tutorial – Shin Lim
-How To Perform Isolations – Cardistry Tutorial Feat. Anna DeGuzman
-Presentation and Showmanship Advice – Vinh Giang Ted Talk
-The Art of Cognitive Blindspots – Kyle Eschen – TEDxVienna
-Reading Minds Through Body Language – Lynne Franklin – TEDxNaperville
-The Magic of Chemistry – with Andrew Szydlo – Video Lecture
-Science or Magic? – Free PDF
-Cutting The Aces – Video Tutorial
-Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic – Free PDF
-Z Matrix.. (Impossible One Handed Matrix) – A Review – Rick Carruth
-Amazing Magic I – Paul Lelekis – A Review – Rick Carruth
-The Vault – Revolt by Geraint Clarke – A Review – Rick Carruth
-The Mysterious Puzzle of the Missing Dollar Bill – A Review – Rick Carruth
-All Tied Up – Chris Philpott – A Review – Rick Carruth
-How Young Magicians Are Learning to Cast a Spell on a Modern Audience – Article
-9 Yr. Old Guitar Prodigy Taj Farrant – Video
-Other Important Stuff….
( One of my favorite parts of each issue has been the Quotes section… little morsels of truth..)
“There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.” Norman Vincent Peale
“Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.” Tom Robbins
“Scientists have calculated that the chances of something so patently absurd actually existing are millions to one. But magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.” – Terry Pratchett
“When you’re touched by magic, nothing’s ever quite the same again. What really makes me sad is all those people who never have the chance to know that touch. They’re too busy, or they just don’t hold with make-believe, so they shut the door without really knowing it was there to be opened in the first place.” – Charles De Lint
“Magic is not done, it’s not performed. Like any performance art, it withers away to nothing if it’s not presented in the grand style. Moving your feet around is not dancing, reading the lyrics is not singing, and pulling a rabbit out of a hat is not magic.” – John Cassidy & Michael Stroud
“Magic and all that is ascribed to it is a deep presentiment of the powers of science.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I don’t want realism… I want magic!” – Tennessee Williams
OPEN TRAVELERS – Larry Jennings and Paul Lelekis
This is my version of Jennings’ classic effect. Many magicians shy away from this trick because they feel it is too easy to “get caught”!
If you follow the simple directions below, you will have a very convincing piece of theater that appears to be real magic – it is THAT good!
I have added a little-known “deceit” that will (when casually done) have a very powerful impact on your spectators. It has been around for a long time.
EFFECT: The four Aces travel from the performer’s hands to join the Ace of Spades on the table…the 4th Ace traveling from the deck, to the packet!
SET-UP: Arrange the 4 Aces, in the order, from the face…Ace of Spades, red Ace, red Ace, and Ace of Clubs – the Ace of Clubs will be on top of the face-down packet.
The Aces will be referred to as…AS, AH, AD, and AC from here on out.
METHOD: Hold the deck face up, in your left hand. Get a left pinkie break under the card at the face of the deck – whatever it might be.
Have the four Aces, face down on the table in the above order, use your left hand with deck, to scoop up the four Aces, adding the extra card (I’ll call it the “x” card) to the back of the face-up Aces – the Ace of Spades will be seen at the face.
Your left hand spreads the three Aces at the face, displaying all four Aces. The extra card is kept hidden behind the AC, held as a double. (See Bob Stencil Display)
Display: Bob Stencil Squiggle Move –
Hold the 5-card packet face up in your left hand. Push over the three Aces at the face, holding the AC and the extra card (the “x” card) as one.
Take the AS and red Ace into your right hand – the AC double and the other red Ace, spread in the left hand. Your thumbs move the cards around in a “squiggly fashion”, keeping the AC double, intact.
1st Ace Travels:
Place the right hand cards back onto the left hand cards, holding a left pinkie break beneath the AS and the red Ace beneath it.
Grasp the AS/indifferent card double, as one card in right hand Biddle grip, flipping the double, face down and re-taking it into Biddle grip.
You next mention that, “…the Aces will travel, one at a time, from the packet of Aces, to join the leader Ace of Spades.”
As you say the above line, ‘…packet of Aces…’, take the three cards remaining (the red Ace, AC, and an “x” card) in your left hand and spread them, face down, as you reach out and lay them down away from you, closer to your spectator(s).
At the same time that you place the supposed three Aces down, quietly lay the AS double, face down on the surface, close to you as one card.
NOTE: To keep the AS/”x” card double from “splitting”, keep the nail of your right index finger, pressed against the back of the double as you release your other fingers. Then lift your right hand, straight up, and away. This action will keep the double, perfect.
Don’t worry about the double card, AS/red Ace, at this point…the other “three Aces” will draw all attention away from the AS double – there’s NO reason for anyone to think that there is anything ‘funny’ with the AS…so relax!
Plus, remember the “rules of misdirection”…since your left hand with the three spread “Aces” moves first and fastest AND is placed out near the spectators, all attention will be brought there and NO ONE will even suspect the AS double.
Mention that one of the Aces will travel, invisibly, to join the Ace of Spades.
Pick up the ‘three Aces’ and perform a Rub-a-Dub vanish of the top card of the Ace packet. Rub it on the table top until it ‘vanishes’ – but pretend it is in your right-hand palm…but it’s invisible.
I’m not going to waste time explaining this sleight, but rest assured there is someone on YouTube, somewhere, explaining how it works.
Hold your right hand, with palm upward, and place this ‘invisible card’ onto the supposed AS by placing the edge of your right palm onto the right edge of the double.
Then as you turn your right hand, palm down, the fleshy edge of your right palm will make the double split by pulling the top card of the double to your right…but not until your right hand turns down, far enough to hide the ‘splitting’ movement.
This side-jogged “split” of the double (pretending to place an invisible card down with said card “reappearing” almost visibly!) needs to be practiced for best results.
However, when done properly, the spectators will audibly gasp! It is an amazing sleight and looks like real magic!
Now you will ‘show’ that one of the Aces has vanished from packet in your left hand! Turn the triple (supposedly only two cards), face up into your left hand.
Your left thumb then pushes over the red Ace, exposing the AC double card beneath – being sure to keep the double squared up.
Here is where the “choreography” continues…take note that this is a fairly original approach that I have been using for years and years:
First of all, use both hands to square up the two (actually three) cards in your left hand and turn those cards, face down, into your left hand.
Then your right hand takes the two Aces on the table (AS and red Ace) and turns them face up, tossing them gently, toward the middle of the table – away from you.
Now transfer the three cards in your left hand, to your right hand in Biddle grip, in readiness for the Kelly Bottom Placement Move/Ovette Master Move as follows:
As you toss the AS and red Ace outward, the right ring finger, pulls the red Ace (at the face of the face-down packet) over, angle-jogging it to your right, as your left hand reaches outward to the two face-up Aces, turns them face down, and brings them close to you and in front of you. The three cards are still in right hand Biddle grip.
Your left hand returns and grasps the two upper cards in your right hand by the left long side, left thumb on top. The left hand then takes only two cards, the AC and “x” card, instead of all three cards, and places them at the outer part of the table, away from you.
As the above happens, the red Ace is retained in the right hand due to its angle-jog, in a sort of Gambler’s Cop.
All eyes will follow the left hand and cards going to the table. This is similar to a Vernon Transfer Move…only the red Ace is more hidden beneath your right hand.
Then in one motion, the right hand and red Ace, drops down to the AS and the other red Ace below, adding the red Ace to them, as you drag the cards to the edge of the table, and into your left hand, squaring them up into both hands.
This choreography is undetectable if performed fluidly.
Situation Check: At the outer part of your working surface are two face down cards, supposedly the AC and the other red Ace. Actually they are the AC at the face and the “x” card on top of the AC.
The other cards (in your hands) are the AS, AH, and the AD. The spectators only believe there to be two cards in your hands, the AS and only one red Ace.
2nd Ace Travels:
Turn the three (supposedly only TWO cards) in your hands, face down. Hold them firmly in right hand Biddle grip.
Buckle the bottom card, the Ace of Spades, and pull it over to your left, holding the double above it firmly. Turn your right hand, palm up, to show, apparently, only two cards, the AS and a red Ace (actually a double card with a hidden red Ace).
Turn the double, (actually three cards!) face up with your right hand to show the AS and the red Ace double, side-jogged, for just a moment.
Turn the side-jogged cards, face down, and lay them on the table near your inner right. The double card (two red Aces) will be side-jogged to your right, and above the Ace of Spades – all face down – it will appear to be just two cards.
Make the supposed red Ace vanish!
Square the two cards up and hold them in your left hand, face down. With your right hand fingers on top and right thumb below, pick up the top “x” card a little to your right, and turn it clockwise until the “x” card is facing you…only you can see the face!
Then rotate the card so that the right long edge of the card is now pointing toward the ceiling and the other long side closest to the spectators is upon the outer edge of the AC below it. This is the Finely Tent Vanish position.
The “x” card will have its long side nearest your body and held up by the left thumb like a “Pup” Tent over the AC. The “open long side” of the card tent will be facing only you and is held up by the left thumb… only you can see the 3 of Diamonds.
Put your right hand in front of the leaning card and pretend to palm it off – but instead – allow the long side of the card to drop off of your left thumb and fall flush with the AC. Then pull away with your right hand as though you have the card palmed in that hand.
Turn your right hand palm up to show that the supposed AD appears to have become invisible!
Place your open hand over the AS pile, turn your hand down and pretend to place the invisible card down onto the AS pile, secretly moving the AD over to your right…again it will appear that the card has suddenly become visible!
Pick up the AS pile and toss them, face up to the middle of the table. There will now be three Aces at the main pile…the AS, AH, and AD!
3rd Ace Travels:
You will still be holding the AC/”x” card as one card…the Ace of Clubs. Again turn the Ace pile, face down, bring it, in a sloppy 3-card pile near to you and just a little to your right.
Now hold the AC double up, with the face of the Ace of Clubs toward the audience. You will now appear to be placing the AC, face down on the table.
A COOL SWITCH! (See video!)
You will now perform a switch that has been a favorite of mine for many years and I use it with several effects. I believe it to be reminiscent of a Marlo sleight.
What you will appear to do, is to display the Ace of Clubs (a double) and merely place it, face down, out in front of you on the table. You will then pick up the AS pile.
This switch and load is very deceptive! When you finally DO perform it, you will get that “warm feeling” of satisfaction!
Here’s what actually happens…
Hold the AC double with the face of the double, toward the audience. Your right hand index and middle fingers, contact the upper left non-indexed corner of the double and your right thumb, holding at that corner from behind.
Keep your right hand fingers from blocking the upper, right indexed corner by keeping them closer to the non-indexed left corner, at the upper short end of the double.
Be very casual at this point because you are “only displaying”, a supposedly single card…the Ace of Clubs!
Now you will casually grasp the double at the LOWER left corner with your left fingers, and in one smooth motion, pull the double card’s lower short end, backwards toward your body, in a circular motion.
When the double’s face is toward the floor (out of view) your right ring finger pulls the AC over to your right (the same as the Kelly Bottom Placement Move/Ovette Master Move described above) so that it will be in position to be “copped”.
Continue the circular motion (as you pull the hidden AC over) until the “x” card is now facing ONLY YOU! Your left hand will have invisibly switched in the “x” card – don’t let this card be seen! Place this “x” card, face down, at the outer part of your working surface.
AS YOUR LEFT HAND reaches forward with the “x” card (supposedly the AC!) and places it face down (still unseen) on the outer part of your working surface.
THEN the right hand comes down (with copped card) on top of the AS packet, secretly adding it to the top. Drag these cards towards yourself and square them up.
The choreography and misdirection of this move is compelling. I’ve performed it for very knowledgeable card guys and have never even raised an eyebrow!
3rd Ace Travels:
When you have secretly added the AC to the top of the AS pile, pick them up and square them.
Turn this 4-card packet (all four Aces!) face up into your left hand. The spectators will think that you only have 3 Aces at this point.
Push over the two face Aces (the AS and a red Ace), showing three Aces…the Ace of Clubs will be hidden behind the third red Ace from the face of the packet. Turn this side-jogged packet, spread packet, face down, and lay them onto the table.
Now pick up the supposed AC (“x” card) at the outer part of the table and place it on top of the deck.
Now take your right hand and pretend to palm this card off of the deck. Turn your right hand face up to show that the AC has turned invisible, and then pretend to lay it on the AS packet, spreading the AC to your right – just like the other two times!
Turn the AS packet face up to show all four Aces have arrived! Then turn the top few cards of the deck, face up, to show NO Ace of Clubs! This is a SUPERB effect and it is easier to do than you think!
** I would also like to thank Paul for all the great contributions he’s made to the Magic Roadshow through the years. Without his help I would not have made it to Issue 200. It was a relief knowing I could depend on Paul to provide me with a commercial effect and not have to write one of my own at a time when my time was stretched thin. Thanks again Paul !!
Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Lying Liar
By Christopher M. Reynolds
Sherlock Holmes. The name has now become synonymous worldwide with the concept of the super-sleuth; detective heroes with ungodly intellectual powers, a keen sense of rational observation, an uncanny ability for deductive reasoning, and highly educated in the applications of forensic science.
The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has sold more copies(other than the works of William Shakespeare and the Holy Bible) than any other book in the English language. The fictional crime-solver also has the distinction of being the most portrayed movie character in cinema history, according to Guinness World Records. More than 70 actors have played the part of Holmes in over 200 hundred films, and many more in other media such as television, radio, and the stage; the latest adaptations being in role-playing and video games.
With this deceptive puzzle, you step into the role of the greatest detective ever written and follow in the footsteps of such acting greats as Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing, Robert Downey Jr., and Benedict Cumberbatch. Using your methodical detective skills, you single-handedly solve the case of the lying liar.
If a magician is an actor playing the part of a magician, then in this trick you’ll be a magician playing the part of an actor, playing the part of Sherlock Holmes. Get into character-really ham it up. Get a pipe, magnifying glass, one of those silly looking deerstalker hats, and speak in a British accent. Just don’t take your method acting too far. Holmes was written as a depressed, anti-social opium addict. You don’t have to suffer for your art that much*.
You put a red ace and a black ace in front of you, and tell the two volunteers needed for the trick that you’ll be leaving the room. While your gone you want each of them to pick one of the cards on the table and put it in their pocket. They’re also to decide who is to tell the truth and who is to lie. Tell them that when you return you’ll ask one question. Which one of the two should you ask?
Once they decide who will answer the question, you leave the room. Each person picks up one of the cards and they decide who will lie and who will tell the truth. When you return, you ask one question and immediately tell who has the red card and who has the black card.
The question you ask when you return is, “Did the liar take the red ace?” The answer will tell you who does have the red ace and, consequently, who has the black ace. You look for the negative answer about the red ace. If, when you ask for it, the person answers no, then he has the red ace; if the answer is yes, then the other person has the red ace.
Place a red ace and a black ace on the table in front of you.
Magician: In a moment I’m going to leave the room. While I’m gone I want each of you to pick up one of these two cards and put it in you pocket. Also decide, while I’m gone, who is to lie and who is to tell the truth. When I come back I’ll ask one question of one of you. Whom should I ask?
You! Good, now I’ll leave, and you can each select a card and decide who will tell the truth and who will be the liar.
Leave. When you return, approach the person who is to answer your question.
Magician: Does the liar have the red ace?
If they answers yes:
Magician: That means you have the black ace and he has the red one.
If they answers no:
Magician: That means you have the red ace and he has the black one.
RULE #1 OF MAGIC: NEVER REPEAT A TRICK! With that said-if you want to repeat the trick, then ask for the black ace instead of the red ace. Also, you don’t have to use playing cards in order to accomplish this effect. Any two small objects will do. Regardless of what object you have asked for, always go to the negative answer. Try it and watch your audience believe that you just used sophisticated mental gymnastics to solve a complex problem of logic and deduction.
*A funny show biz story about the importance some thespians place on method acting; for Dustin Hoffman, method acting was a religion. In his collaboration on the film Marathon Man, with the classically trained Sir Laurence Olivier, the script called for a scene in which Hoffman’s character had been awake for 72 hours. Hoffman admitted that he too had stayed up 72 hours in order to reach artistic authenticity. “My dear boy,” Olivier retorted , “why don’t you just try acting”.
Royal Magic’s “Zig Zag Card” – Al Albers’ presentation and handling:
In my routine, “A Ghost in The Light” (The Magic Roadshow #198), I recommended the performer sign the ghost card before giving it to the spectator assistant, as a souvenir. Here’s another example of a “playing card souvenir handout” for your consideration.
Spoiler Alert. The secret behind Royal Magic’s Zig Zag Card is revealed on You Tube. (It’s unfortunate that some believe, or feel obligated, that it’s their right to divulge magic secrets.)
The above said, please read on.
As magicians, we know that surprise is the result of an unexpected event. For example: a coin visibly vanishes (think 3-Fly) from the magician’s fingertips. That action resulted in a violation of the rules of expectation. In simpler terms, it’s impossible that that could have occurred. The result: astonishment – a gap between our assumptions and expectations.
What You Need….
-Three-quarter-inch diameter, self-stick labels. (I use white labels, but if you opt to use color ones, use a light color such as yellow, light-green, orange or light-blue. The reason is that you’re going to have a spectator initial the label and you want their initials to stand out.
-Preferably, a fine-tip black ink sharpie.
-A one-way forcing deck that matches the gimmicked card embedded in the frame. (For these instructions, we’ll assume the card is the Jack of Spades.)
-A regular deck of Bicycle playing cards that match the one-way deck.
-Self-stick mailing labels; use a size that’ll neatly fit on the back of a playing card.
-Prepare the mailing labels with your personal information. Once you’ve printed out a full sheet, cut the sheet in half from top to bottom. Then accordion-fold the half sheet.
-If this effect will be the finale in your card routine, use your favorite method to get the Jack of Spades to the top of the deck before you display the card frame. If this is the only card trick in your set, have the Jack of Spades already on top of the deck.
-Place the card frame in your right jacket pocket.
-Place a mailing label half-sheet, and the deck, in your inside jacket pocket.
-In the left jacket pocket, place the sharpie pen and a sheet of the round labels.
With the Jack of Spades in forcing position, give the deck a few false cuts or shuffles. Then casually place the deck face-down on the table to your right.
Say, “Have you seen the illusion where a lady is placed into a box, cut into three pieces and her mid-section is moved two feet to the left?” Wait for a reply.
Continuing, say, “I’m going to try to replicate that illusion … but on a much smaller scale.” As you say this, reach into your pocket, remove the card frame and place it on the table to your left. And instead of a lady, I’m going to use a playing card.” Pick up the deck of cards and using your favorite method, force the Jack of Spades.
Say, “Please place the card you selected face-up on the table.”
Return the deck to your pocket. Next, bring out the sharpie pen, and the round label sheet. Hand these two items to the spectator and request he initial one of the labels.
Place the sharpie in your pocket. Have the spectator peel off the initialed label and firmly place it in the center of the face-up Jack of Spades. Retrieve the label sheet and place it in your pocket.
Pick up the card frame with your right hand, holding it so the single cutout window is to your left. Pick up the initialed card (keep the face toward the spectator) with your left hand and insert it into the frame’s slot. Then slide the card to the right so it’s visible through the top, middle and bottom cutout windows.
Pause and then pull the center of the card to the left, stopping when the initials fill the cutout window. Pause again, and then slide the center to the right. Remove the card from the frame and immediately hand it to the spectator.
Without hesitation, return the frame in your pocket. Bring out the accordion-folded mailing labels and carefully place one on the card’s back. Hand the card to the spectator as you thank him.
The first time I presented this effect, the spectator wrote his initials in broad strokes that were slightly off-center. He was astonished at the effect, which pleased me, but I instinctively knew that if it happened once, it could happen again. Hence the reason I immediately decided to use round labels. This ensured the spectator kept within the label’s border and it was placed where I wanted it: the center of the card. That said, the use of labels is your choice.
Remove a Jack of Spades from the one-way forcing deck and place it on top of the regular deck. You’re ready to perform the routine again.
The Patron Saint Of Magicians
By Christopher M. Reynolds
In the Catholic religion, a patron saint is a type of guardian angel. They watch over a variety of people, places, and things. Don’t worry. You name it; the Catholic Church has a patron saint that has it covered. Some examples are Doctors, nurses, beekeepers, beggars, teachers, sailors, and firefighters. Others are downright bizarre. Dysentery, hangovers, torture victims, clowns, jugglers, beer drinkers, arms dealers, and disappointing children. Up to and including butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers. Even ugly people get a saint to call their own. It’s only fair that something as implausible as magicians could get added to the list.
On first glance, the Catholic Church has as much in common with magic and illusion, that convicted dogfighter, Michael Vick, has in common with the S.P.C.A. Whether one is a devoted Catholic, Christian, agnostic, or atheist, a patron saint of magicians seems too far fetched to be true.
Don Bosco was a priest, and amateur conjurer, who was ordained a saint in 1934 by Pope Pious 11th. Every January 31, Don Bosco’s feast day on the Catholic liturgical calendar, magicians celebrate by performing free benefit shows for children. Performing for kids is immensely gratifying. It’s not hard to see why Don Bosco chose to spread his passion for God to them with his use of magic and illusion.
In January 2002, a raucous, carnival-like atmosphere swept Vatican City. On this day, hundreds of glitzy, costumed magicians, ventriloquist‘s, fire eaters, and jugglers, from around the globe, gathered to present a petition to his Holiness, Pope John Paul 2nd. Leading the crusade was Salesian Father Silvano Mantelli. He and his army of entertainers called upon the Pope to declare, St. John Bosco, as the patron saint of magicians.
For twenty-five years, Fr. Mantelli, has been the principal organizer of the Mass Of The Conjurers, a celebration held every January 15, in St. Boscos hometown of Becchi. Magicians from around the world are invited to attend the special Magicians Mass and perform for the congregation. He also stays active in the Italian magic community as president and founder of his non-profit organization, The Mago Sales Foundation. This charitable institution travels to third world countries to perform magic for planets poorest children.
Fr. Mantelli handed the eighty-one-year-old Pope a very special gift. A crystal box containing a polished teak wood wand from India. It was a symbolic gesture to encourage Pope John Paul 2nd to continue performing the great magic that the world needs. Vatican officials said it was the first time any Pope had received a magic wand. It was a present from a young boy whose father had been an itinerant street magician. The child had been raised in one of, Mother Teresa’s, Missionaries Of Charity orphanages. He stoically offered this cherished memento to, Fr. Mantelli, to give to His Holiness on this special occasion. The Pope responded to the gift by announcing to the gathered crowd, “We’ll need a lot of magic wands to change our world; let’s start with this one.” Was this the Catholic Churches unspoken, yet long-delayed, public apology to the many conjurers who were condemned to death centuries ago?
Sigmund Freud characterized hostile humor as disguised aggressiveness. He argued that antagonistic wisecracking releases psychological tension and stifles homicidal impulses. The vocabulary of stand-up comedy is notorious for using violent sounding words to describe success at making an audience roar with laughter: “I murdered them!” or ”I killed!”
In Elizabethan times, being accused of being a magician was no laughing matter. The victimized found it about as funny as dying of the Black Plague. Words like murder and kill, directed towards them, took on more sinister meanings. The Catholic Church of yesteryear was known for many things. Having a sense of humor about heresy isn’t one of them.
Morton Smiths 1978 book, Jesus The Magician; Son Of God Or Charlatan, laid down the theory that Jesus was a wandering sleight of hand magician. Smith claims the miracles he performed were nothing but basic conjuring tricks. Early Christian artists of 3rd and 4th centuries A.D., regularly depicted Jesus Christ performing miracles while holding a and in his hand.
During the first ten centuries of its existence, the fledgling religion was weak and few in numbers. By the eleventh century, the Church had become more powerful. Not seeing the irony of the situation, they launched a brutal campaign of terror against the practice of magic. The Ten Commandments were loose guidelines the clergy were expected to follow. What the Bible had to say about magicians and their ilk, wasn’t up for interpretation. Take, for example, this passage from the King James Bible:
Revelation 21;8-But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whore mongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death
The Papacy had a list of reasons to justify this persecution. Magicians denied the existence of God. They blasphemed. They committed incest, murder, and bestiality. They worshipped Satan and called him by name. They used their own children as human sacrifices to the devil. In their eyes, magicians were mindless, hedonistic slaves to Beelzebub’s sexy and sinful ways.
Rumors were good enough to prove a charge of heresy. The tiniest bit of gossip whispered into a blabbermouths ear, could set off a tragic chain of events. Even if the accusation was proved to be false, witch hunters dished out a suitable punishment regardless. Guilty or not guilty were differences without a distinction. This was done as a friendly reminder to stay on the path of God.
Among the innocents caught up in the deluge were a number of persons practicing the ancient art of sleight of hand. It was presumed that their entertaining deceptions were aided by evil spirits. Those who dared ply their trade were hunted down and persecuted with extreme prejudice.
The making of a saint dates back to the time of Charlemagne, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The first public churches were built over the graves of Christian martyrs. Supply couldn’t keep up with demand. Soon, Christians began dedicating churches to other holy men and women. Having been crucified or beheaded, in the name of Jesus, wasn’t necessary anymore.
At first, becoming named a saint was a simple process (the equivalent of a high school popularity contest.) Things got out of hand fast. Overzealous parishioners started making up fictional exploits, even fictional martyrs, to get their guy or gal elected to sainthood. Church officials decided to intervene. Soon it became like The Academy Awards. The nomination process was taken out of the hands of the commoners. This left the voting procedure to members of an official governing body.
In 1983, Pope John Paul 2nd made radical changes to the canonization process. Local bishops would begin an investigation into the life of the nominated saint. In order to gain a historical perspective, this sometimes took years after their death. If they lived up to their holy virtues, these findings were brought before a panel of Vatican sponsored theologians. This group then gave the yes or no as to whether the beatification process could move forward. To the secular, beatification sounds like the title of a Jack Kerouac novel. To Vatican officials, it’s a term that means, Blessed. To be beatified, the planned saint needs to perform one miracle after their death. If they pass this crucial test, then they can officially be put on a pedestal by their devotees.
Performing one miracle is a rarity. Performing two is a miracle in itself. In order to be canonized a saint, the venerated must have two miracles under their belt. Once this is accomplished, the Pope can give the official thumbs up. The proposed saint is then awarded membership into the club. Being bestowed this honor tells us that person is in Heaven for leading a holy life. This highest honor is to be recognized by the Universal Church.
John Bosco ( Italian: Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco; 16, August 1815-31 January 1888) was born in the hillside village of Becchi. It’s a quaint and picturesque hamlet in northwest Italy, bordered by France and Switzerland. His father, Francesco Bosco, was a poor tenant farmer. He died two years after his youngest sons birth. His mother, Margerhita, was left to raise him and his two brothers-illiterate, unskilled, and alone.
Ninety days before giving birth to the future saint, French General Napoleon Bonaparte’s army was defeated at Waterloo. For three years prior, the Italian peasantry of the Piedmont region, which Becchi was a part of, had fought boldly against the French. Their resistance finally crumbled after Bonaparte had taken command of the invading forces. He ordered his regiment to lay siege to the rustic countryside village. They left little standing. The aftermath was dreadful. Hunger, drought and organized crime became unwelcomed parts of daily life.
In order to survive, young John Bosco found work as a shepherd, tending farm animals, picking fruit, and any other employment that a young boy could find. His mother may have been illiterate, but she made sure that the same handicap wouldn’t befall her youngest son. He was sent to the local parish for basic instruction in the four R’s: reading, writing, arithmetic, and religion.
Despite the hardships, life growing up wasn’t complete misery for John Bosco. In-between work and study, on market days, he would go to town with his mother. Live entertainment was a frequent attraction in the bustling marketplaces. Young John became enamored of the magicians, fire-eaters, acrobats, and jugglers who performed for the jostling crowds. He especially leaned towards the magicians. With a keen eye, he studiously observed their performances. Gradually he figured out how these seemingly impossible feats were carried out. What tricks he couldn’t figure out on his own, he begged and pleaded for the traveling showmen to teach him. Through sheer dedication, he was able to cobble together enough sleight of hand moves, plus juggling and acrobatic stunts, to put together a small act.
Lying, cheating, and stealing are three necessary skills in the performance of magic. Stage magicians consider themselves to be practitioners in the art of honest deception. Magician, escape artist, and psychic debunker James Randi has referred to the practice as, “Telling lies for fun and profit.” Even at such a young age, John Bosco knew that performing magic in a conventional way wouldn’t suit him. Instead, the adolescent showman replaced the fibs, hoaxes and tall tales normally associated with conjuring, with something more spiritually nourishing. In his young hands, gaudy tricks became stories and presentations that illustrated something more divine.
Free time for John Bosco was a luxury. What little was available he spent performing his routine. Prayer was the price of admission to his shows. The pious young entertainer began and ended his programs by leading the crowd in worship. His act consisted of magic tricks, juggling balls and plates, walking a tight rope, and other impressive feats of acrobatics. In-between tricks he taught scripture. Any village bullies who heckled him were promptly challenged to a contest of strength. He instantly earned their respect. Week after week, Bosco gave sermons to flocks of curious bystanders who had stopped to watch his feats of conjuring. These audiences were made up of some of the poorest children in his neighborhood. The experience stayed etched into his memory.
Mentalist Max Maven says, “Young boys somewhere between that ages of nine and twelve go through a phase of wanting to learn magic. The phase is usually abandoned just as quickly as it’s taken up, and they’re off to the next phase of their adolescent arch.” Young Bosco was one of those boys, only the typical phase was no typical phase at all. Magic, along with a love of reading, study, plus his intense religious devotion, stayed with him for the rest of his life. These passions set the tone for his future life as a priest.
The word, Don, in Italian, is a title of respect, meaning Sir or Mister. Italians used this term centuries before actor Marlon Brando portrayed Mafia boss, Don Corleone, in Francis Ford Coppola’s epic film, The Godfather. After his ordination in 1841, the newly christened, Don Bosco, was just another ordained priest serving parishioners in the capital city of Turin. He had made a commitment to work exclusively with poor children, the kind he had entertained with his magic tricks years prior.
After the devastation of the Napoleonic wars, suffering continued in the form of the industrial revolution. It caused more earthly misfortune than the human progress it claimed to represent. In Bosco’s eyes, it brought with it a lack of faith in God. To the poverty-stricken farmers, the mysteries of the Almighty lacked the basic appeal of the almighty dollar that factory jobs produced. Unable to properly support their loved ones, young men left the countryside in droves looking for work in cities. The grass seemed greener on the other side. Sadly, it was all an illusion. There wasn’t enough work to go around. Many of those same boys ended up homeless on the streets and took to lives of crime.
As any religiously minded parent knows, getting children interested in the church can be an uphill battle. Offering bribes and bait only seems to cheapen the benefits of attendance. It’s like a timeshare salesperson offering an all expenses paid trip; with the full knowledge that you’ll have to sit through a hard sell presentation by some conniving hustler. The charity was looked upon with the same suspicion as a member of the Mafia handing out offers you couldn’t refuse.
Don Bosco got past the skepticism and began working with these wayward children. He took them off the mean and squalid streets, taught them trades, and in the process, taught them to love God. The Salesian order grew out of these boys. They became dedicated, hardworking, and holy. They reached out to others like themselves. As they grew in numbers, other priests came to join them in their work.
Founded in 1859, The Salesians of Don Bosco, are part of an internationally consecrated religious community comprised of both brothers and priests. Their mission is to educate and spread the word of God to young people who are poor or headed for a life in prison. At the time of his death, the original group of seventeen men had grown to over 1,000, with fifty-seven foundations throughout Europe and South America. It’s now the third largest amongst Catholic men’s orders. The Salesian sisters, like their male counterparts, follow Don Bosco’s norms for education and character formation.
Their works have expanded to include trade, academic, and agricultural schools; seminaries; recreational centers and youth clubs; summer camps, and parishes in large cities. To this day, both orders help street kids involved in gangs throughout the world. This includes some of the most dangerous cities in the United States, South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa.
“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original. Whereas if you simply try and tell the truth (without caring two-pence how often it’s been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without having even noticed it.” This quote by C.S. Lewis aptly describes how the juvenile, John Bosco, single-handedly created the underground sub-genre of conjuring known as “Gospel Magic“.
At trade shows and conventions in the United States, sales pitches lurk around every corner. Modern corporations employ magicians to perform at company booths. They pay top dollar to capture the hearts and minds of potential clients. The job of these hired magicians is to adapt their tricks to help promote and sell products, ideas, and services. It’s not easy work. What Don Bosco was doing with his magic wasn’t that much different. Instead of being a shill for some Fortune 500 company, Don Bosco was mesmerizing the crowds by selling the benefits of God.
It isn’t what you do, but how you do it. Therein lies the secret of performing magic. The effects used by gospel magicians are exactly the same as effects used by secular magicians. The difference lies in the presentation. Gospel magicians alter and tailor their routines to instruct children and adults on some aspects of Christianity. They demonstrate theological principles by weaving together themes such as Gods love and forgiveness, Christ’s parables, the immaculate conception, or the Holy Trinity.
The early followers of Christianity had to hide in the shadows, forever fearful of violent oppression. Modern-day gospel magicians have things a bit easier. Hurt feelings at the hands of snickering, humorless atheist’s is as bad as it gets. But, they are not alone. There are several groups that offer a community of like-minded Christian and Catholic magicians. The Fellowship Of Christian Magicians and the Catholic Magicians Guild are both popular in North America. According to The Christian Conjurer Magazine, both organizations combined operate in over thirty countries and six continents.
Fr. Mantelli sees Gospel Magic as an antidote to superstition. Others see it as a confusing contradiction. “In Italian, the word for magician-mago-is ambiguous,” explains Fr. Mantelli, “You can have good magicians and bad ones, just as you have white magic and black magic. We are on the side of white magic, you understand?” Unfortunately, everything old is new again. A small minority of fundamentalist Christians are going on the offensive against author J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series of books. They see the harmless tale of good vs. evil as a type of gateway drug that encourages innocent youth into practicing the occult.
Fortunately, the Catholic Church has mellowed with age and softened its views against magic as entertainment. Now their anger is directed towards frauds like psychic surgeons. These con-artists, who prey on the naive, operate in spiritually devout countries like the Philippines. They make bogus claims of using Gods powers to heal terminal diseases like cancer.
Magician, juggler, acrobat, tailor, writer, publisher, patron saint of apprentices, editors, publishers, and juvenile delinquents. St. John Bosco became all these things in order to bring children closer to God. He firmly believed, like Father Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town, that there are no bad children. There are only bad environments, bad training, bad example, and bad thinking.
He set out for the rest of his life to prove these convictions. The shepherd boy of Becchi, who performed magic to win souls for God, who became a priest, the founder of missions, the teacher of children, a beloved apostle of youth, and the architect of Gospel Magic, is, now and forever, is St. John Bosco: patron saint of magicians.
When Harry Met Howard: The Unknown Collaboration Of Harry Houdini And H.P. Lovecraft
By Christopher M. Reynolds
In April of 2016, a long lost thirty-one page manuscript by horror writer H.P. Lovecraft went on the auction block and sold for $33,600. The documents were just a sampling of a larger and more ambitious expose entitled, The Cancer Of Superstition, that was to be part of a book debunking the so-called religion of spiritualism. The treatise was to also explore everything from the dangers of such primitive beliefs as voodoo, witchcraft, psychic powers, and communicating with the dead. It’s heavy-handed and patronizing tone let readers know that belief in crass superstitions was an exercise in idiocy and a rejection of modern science. Lovecraft had been commissioned to write the piece by none other than the world famous anti-spiritualist crusader, Harry Houdini, who had declared war against slimy psychic grifters who preyed on the recently bereaved.
For almost seventy years a stack of papers belonging to Bess Houdini, Harry Houdini’s deceased wife, lay hidden in a medley of memorabilia in a now-defunct magic shop. The collection had bounced from owner to owner, like a journeyman baseball player bounces, trade after trade, from team to team. The papers were never cataloged, researched, or inventoried. In all those decades a historical gold mine was collecting dust; just waiting, like Houdini, to escape from the shackles of history.
Publisher, J.C. Henneberger, was at wit’s end. He was the proud father of the barely one-year-old fiction magazine Weird Tales. After only thirteen issues the infant fantasy publication was already on life support and forty-three thousand dollars in debt. He needed money desperately. Should he pull the plug on his sickly brainchild, or fight to keep it alive?
The name of the magazine says it all. It was a cheaply published periodical that devoted its pages to stories about ghouls, ghosts, werewolves, murderers, vampires, mad scientists, bloodthirsty barbarians and alien invaders from the far reaches of outer space. It boasted some of the crassest and highly imaginative artwork of any of the pulps. Tits, ass, and monsters were the typical subject matter splashed on the front covers. Pastel paintings, in loud and garish primary colors, depicted alluring, semi-nude women being ravaged and menaced by creatures from galaxies far, far away. That might have turned off some more discriminating readers. But, for others, it was the sole reason they bought the chintzy rag, to begin with.
Despite the lurid subject matter, the magazine managed to attract a roster of talent that included some famous, or soon to be famous, contributors: H.G. Welles (War Of The Worlds), Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451), Richard Matheson ( I Am Legend), Robert E. Howard (Conan The Barbarian), and Tennessee Williams (A Streetcar Named Desire).
It wasn’t the money that attracted such a steady flow of output from these and other unknown writers. At a penny a word or less, it was the lowest of the low-paying pulp magazines. That’s when they even paid at all. The magazine always had one foot in the grave, teetering back and forth between financial solvency and outright collapse. Poor sales, mismanagement, plus bankruptcy were only a few of the problems. Every day was a walk on the razor’s edge. Selling blood made more financial sense than churning out a constant supply of low-quality fiction for Weird Tales. For writers just getting their start, or writers whose output was more sensational, it was a Godsend. It was the only magazine on the newsstand for stories outside the bland and humdrum. It’s hard to envision the Saturday Evening Post publishing bottom-rung fiction filled with savage barbarians hacking and slashing off the torso, head, and limbs, of evil sorcerers or monstrous fiends conjured up from the depths of Hell.
Harry Houdini had a chip on his shoulder the size of a wooden railroad tie. He was a poor rabbi’s son, in the days before immigrant Jews had a firm foothold in American society. Houdini wanted nothing more than respect as a man and as a performance artist. More than a century before daredevils Evil Knievel and Jack Ass’ Johnny Knoxville, Harry Houdini laid the groundwork for a new genre of death-defying physical entertainment: escape artist. Despite show biz success, Houdini saw himself as an artistic failure.
An irreverent single panel cartoon from the 1980s, the kind made popular by Gary Larson’s The Far Side comic strip, showed a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. The rabbit says to the magician, that most cliché of Hollywood clichés, “What I really want to do is direct.” Harry Houdini’s risky escape stunts had brought him fame and fortune, but what he wanted most was respectability. He considered himself just another dog & pony show on the vaudeville circuit. He wanted to be taken seriously as an artist. Not unlike the artistically frustrated cartoon rabbit, what Harry Houdini really wanted to do was write.
He was a competent wordsmith on subjects of magic and illusion, authoring several books independently and with ghostwriters. But, the work fell short of the literary ambitions that Houdini secretly coveted. Cranking out tawdry, sub-literate pornography would have gotten him more distinguished accolades. He and Tennessee Williams were both published in Weird Tales, but that didn’t make them artistic equals. Self-doubt gnawed at him. Writing about magic, or for an audience of magicians, wouldn’t be putting him on the road to a Pulitzer Prize.
The man was well-read and self-educated beyond his meager grammar school tutelage. He was an ardent book collector and his library was massive. His Bethel, New York home was engulfed in so many books that it could’ve been considered a fire hazard. From the bottom of the basement to the rafters of the attic, and every nook and cranny in-between, the house was packed air-tight with books on numerous subjects. Yet underneath the brilliance lied embarrassing, deep-rooted insecurities about his lack of formal schooling. He doubted his ability to be taken seriously by the highbrow authors making up up the New York literary establishment. One just can‘t imagine Houdini yucking it up with Dorothy Parker and her fellow wits at The Algonquin Round Table. He’d even considered leaving show business to pursue an English degree at Columbia University.
In 1923 his insecurities about his place (or lack of) in an elite high-society became justified. The editors of Who’s Who, a yearly reference almanac, on prominent people in modern day society, had rewritten the brief profile he had submitted for his entry. Houdini’s version listed himself as an actor, inventor, and author. Who’s Who knocked him down a peg. Their version listed a one-word, three syllable profile: magician.
Houdini had met, J.C. Henneberger, in 1921 through their lawyer, Bernard Ernst. The two had become close friends. Houdini championed his friend’s magazine from day one. He lent his name and support by submitting an expose of fraud mediums entitled, The Hoax Of The Spirit Lover. He also penned a column named, Ask Houdini. It was a type of Dear Abbey for the strange set. One night, Henneberger was invited to dine with the Houdini’s. In a rare moment of self- conscious uncertainty, Houdini pulled from his desk drawer a half completed novella. He’d been secretly working on it for months. The story revolved around an arch-villain skilled in the arts of magic and illusion. It was a pastiche of Harry’s favorite writer, Edgar Allen Poe. Unfortunately, his attempt at fiction writing was like his acting in silent films. Stiff and wooden to the point of rigor mortis.
Houdini confessed his secret at the right time, and to the right person. Henneberger was seized by a brilliant flash of inspiration. This lucky fluke was how he’d get his struggling magazine out of the red. He told Houdini that his latest literary discovery was going to be the next Edgar Allen Poe, maybe even bigger. How would Houdini like to collaborate with the fledgling author on his own supernatural short stories for Weird Tales? These stories, he assured Houdini, would be published monthly and get front cover billing. The name of that fledgling author was H.P. Lovecraft.
Houdini excepted the offer to have Lovecraft ghostwrite without ever having read any of his fiction. He made his decision after skimming through a poorly written letter Lovecraft had sent to Henneberger, politely turning down the job of editor for Weird Tales. The remainder of the letter went into boring detail his views on the creation of weird fiction. It went on to explain why the general public was too slow-witted and uneducated to appreciate it. Maybe Houdini thought the same of his largely illiterate fan base. Lovecraft held similarly unflattering views on spiritualism and the swindlers who performed it. Houdini seemed to have found a kindred spirit in the fight against the primitive belief in superstition.
More than any other contributing author, Lovecraft’s eccentric personality and writings helped put the WEIRD in Weird Tales. His writing style was awkward and clunky. But, his stories, steeped in doom, gloom, and paranoia, were tailor-made for the magazine. With the exception of one story published in a rival science-fiction pulp, Weird Tales was the only place to put his work into print.
The two men could not have been more different: Houdini was a 5’6’ Hungarian immigrant Jew; Lovecraft was a 5’10’ anti-semitic W.A.S.P. from Rhode Island. Houdini had worldwide fame and millions of adoring fans. Lovecraft was a recluse who had a fan base that barely reached a baker’s dozen. Abject poverty was his financial reward for his literary efforts. He died destitute and forgotten until his posthumous discovery in the mid-1960s.
Lovecraft claimed to have seen Houdini twice while he toured the vaudeville circuit through Rhode Island. He got a kick out of reading newspaper accounts of the magicians’ efforts to hunt down psychic charlatans and expose them as frauds. While the thought of writing for a Jew was distasteful to Lovecraft, poverty left an even more foul tang in his mouth. He was constantly without a dime in his pocket, barely ever having enough money to afford the cover price of the magazine in which he was published.
It is often said that there is ‘someone for everyone’. Even someone as eccentric as H.P. Lovecraft. The gangly hermit was engaged to be married. Broke and unknown was no way to start a new life as a devoted husband. This explains why he accepted the job. In 1924, the $100 he received for ghostwriting Houdini’s story was more money than he had ever seen in his life. In 1924, when you could buy a gallon of milk plus a loaf of bread for a nickel, $100 was Rockefeller money. And, it was paid in advance. Much to Lovecraft’s annoyance, he lost the manuscript at a train station while on his way to New York to get married. To his new wife’s dismay, he spent most of his honeymoon retyping the story by memory.
Houdini and Lovecraft’s first collaboration was the short story Imprisoned With The Pharaohs. Houdini told Lovecraft an outlandish tale about a voyage he had made to Egypt in 1910. He claimed to have been captured by sinister thugs and held prisoner. Not letting the facts get in the way of a good story, Lovecraft took poetic license with the raw material Houdini had supplied him. He rewrote the completely fabricated “true story” into something more Lovecraftian.
In this version of the story, Houdini is captured and becomes a human sacrifice to an ancient monster, held in captivity, in a tomb beneath the pyramids. Houdini frees himself (no surprise) from the clutches of the shady villains. When he reaches the surface he suddenly awakens from a sound slumber…only to find out it was all a dream, despite the mysterious bruises and cuts on his body. Henneberger lived up to his promise and, Imprisoned With The Pharaohs, was the cover story for the May-June-July extra- large triple issue. It was one of the magazines best-sellers.
Houdini loved the story. He contracted Lovecraft to collaborate on, The Cancer Of Superstition. It was, in his eyes, to be his crowning achievement. Lovecraft was thirty pages into the project when Houdini died of a ruptured appendix in 1926. A disheartened Bess Houdini immediately put a stop to the project and the papers were filed away…thought by magic scholars to be lost forever.
According to Gabe Faruji, owner of Potter & Potter Auction House (specializing in historic magic memorabilia), the hodge-podge of hocus-pocus bric-a-brac was bought from a private source. As the new owner began sifting through the glut of loose papers he stumbled upon the manuscript; a page here, a page there, until piece by piece the puzzle came into focus, revealing an important artifact of magic history that had been given near-mythical status by scholars and collectors for three-quarters of a century. To conjuring historians, it was as important a discovery as the 1946 finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran caves was to archaeologists.
In the 2008 music documentary, The Wrecking Crew, the film exposed the real talents behind the scenes on some of the 1960s most well-known AM radio hits. Unknown, but infinitely more talented, session musicians actually played the instruments for band members in such famous groups as Sonny & Cher, The Mamas And The Papas, and The Monkees. For some people, it’s like finding out that there’s no Santa Claus. It’s as common an arrangement in the publishing world as it is in music.
The practice has a long and illustrious history. Some of the most famous artists, writers, and politicians have used the clandestine services of ghostwriters. They’ve been able to achieve literary fame and fortune without knowing the difference between a subject and a predicate. It’s a quid pro quo situation that continues to thrive in the shadows to this day.
The stories published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales lived up to their hype. But, the truth is stranger than fiction. The short-lived partnership between the man who invented Cthulhu and the man who escaped everything will be looked upon as one of the weirdest tales in the history of magic.
The Sudden Flash of Genius That Made Magician Rocco Silano Rich – Article
by Larry Getlen
When pediatric dentist Dr. Eyal Simchi posted a video of himself performing a magic trick for a patient last May, he was stunned to see it go viral, surpassing 10 million views in just three days and hitting 42 million by the time he pulled it from his Facebook page last November.
Dr. Simchi had experienced the Prisma Lites effect, an upshot of using the best-selling magic trick of all time.
The trick was invented in 1994 by magician Rocco Silano, who had a revelation as he played with a fake thumb.
“The fake thumb was already a [common] magic prop, and a battery and light was too. I combined the two,” said Silano. “It was like a chocolate and peanut butter, Reese’s kind of accident.”
The effect makes magicians appear as if they’re tossing a ball of light from one hand to the other. Called D’Lite at the time — Silano has since renamed it Prisma Lites and currently sells versions with and without sound — it became a true phenomenon with over 6 million units sold worldwide.
To mark the 200th issue of this journal: The Power of a Name
Two spelling effects by Werner Miller
From a poker deck, sort out the twelve court cards. Arrange Jack, Queens and Kings in three separate spreads, face up, in the same suit order. (Fig. 1)
Square each spread, assemble the three packets by placing them on top of each other, in any order (the spectator may decide), then turn the combined packet face down and have it completely cut by the spectator.
Deal the cards into three piles, singly and rotationally (Fig. 2). Automatically, in the positions marked * will be cards of the same suit, say Hearts. With crossed arms, openly switch the third packet and the second one, then similarly the second one (the former third packet) and the first one – see arrows. (Note the new positions of the Heart cards!)
Take the first packet, and spell “T-H-E”, with each letter shifting a card from top to bottom, then place the packet back. Take the second packet, and spell similarly “M-A-G-I-C” transferring five times a card down to the bottom. Finally, take the last packet and repeat this procedure, now using the word “R-O-A-D-S-H-O-W”. (Fig. 3)
Turn the top card of each packet face up: The suits match, i.e. the spelling located a royal family! (Fig. 4)
Remove these three cards, and place them together, still face up. Snap your fingers, then turn over the new top cards: another family (e.g., Spades), that goes next to the first one. Continue this way until all the cards are sorted into suits. (Fig. 5)
Note. The three cards of each suit don’t appear necessarily in J-Q-K order. If you care, you can adjust their order when placing them together for the final layout.
A standard ESP deck with 25 cards (5 symbol sets), cyclically stacked as usual.
The spectator cuts the deck completely, removes the final top card as his selection, and tables it, face down and unviewed. Let’s assume this card is showing a Circle (1).
Take the deck and shuffle the top four or nine cards down to the bottom so that the order of the top ten cards matches exactly the situation after the spectator’s cut (1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5).
Deal these ten cards into two piles, singly and alternately. One replica of the selection ends up on the bottom of the first pile, the other one in the exact middle of the second pile. (Fig. 1)
Take the first packet, spell “M-A-G-I-C” and transfer with each of the first four letters one card to the bottom (4, 2, 5, 3). The card falling on the last letter (1) turn over and place it back on top of the packet, face up. Set the packet down, take the other one, and spell similarly “R-O-A-D-S-H-O-W” shifting seven times a card from the top down (5, 3, 1, 4, 2, 5, 3) before you turn over the one falling on the last letter (1) and leave this card face up on top. Both cards matches!
Ask the spectator to turn his selection also face up: the very same symbol! (Fig. 2)
Remove the two replicas of the selection from your packets, and place them below the spectator’s card. Snap your fingers, and turn over the two new top cards: they match each other, too (4, 4). Remove them and table them below the last tabled pair, one card on the left, the other one on the right. Continue this way until the packets are exhausted. (Fig. 3)
** I owe a big debt of gratitude to Werner Miller and all his contributions to the Roadshow. It has been such a pleasure to publish so many of his effects. I am also in his debt for compiling all the PDF’s featuring effects from past issues of the Roadshow. Check out his publications on lybrary.com https://www.lybrary.com/werner-miller-m-7881.html
Do you know how an oyster makes a pearl? When a grain of sand gets into its shell and irritates it, the oyster wraps the sand in layers of beauty until a pearl is formed. An unknown poet wrote, “This tale has a moral, for isn’t it grand, what an oyster can do with a morsel of sand? What couldn’t I do if I’d only begin, with all of the things that get under my skin?”
Our FREE PDF – Full of Effects from Past Issues – Effects
Here’s 40 more pages of effects from past issues. This is the last of ten PDF’s compiled by Werner Miller of effects previously published in the Magic Roadshow. There’s something here for everyone.
-Chameleon – A Magic Effect for the Underdog
-The Amazing Number 9 – The Expunged Numeral
-Floating Lemon Slice – ( David Blaine meets Bill Nye..)
-It’s All About Words
-A Day-Time Nightmare
-The Gambler in Person
-Five Coins – An Effect
-Ed’s Impromptu Rainbow Deck Variation
-Aces By The Number
-The Floating Key Principle – and Faro Shuffling
-Flick Your (Telekinetic) Pen
-Sampler: Werner Miller – A Free Ebook Download
-An Easy Assembly
-Blood is Thicker than Water
-Five Digit Numbers
-Flying Colors (Again) – An Effect of Redemption
-Card To Wallet… Without The Wallet
-Do You Have ESP?
-The Puzzler Card Trick
How To Perform Isolations – Cardistry Tutorial Feat. Anna DeGuzman
What are Isolations? Well.. if you’re young enough, you know. If you’re NOT young enough, watch the video. They are a visual method of controlling cards, usually only one card actually, and can be mastered without months of practice, like some sheights.
Presentation and Showmanship Advice – Vinh Giang Ted Talk
“This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. With magic as his metaphor Vinh Giang will share with you an extremely powerful way to improve your presentation ability dramatically. A technique used by many magicians all over the world, it’s deceivingly simple yet very effective.”
The art of cognitive blindspots | Kyle Eschen | TEDxVienna
“Using two classics of magic, Kyle Eschen explores the psychological techniques that underlie theatrical deception. As people wander the world, they use assumptions and heuristics to filter out everything that they deem unimportant – Kyle gives a conjuror’s perspective on the brain’s predictable blind spots.”
“If the world smells like poop… it might be you” Unk.
Reading minds through body language | Lynne Franklin | TEDxNaperville
“Can you read someone’s mind by looking at them? Almost. Lynne Franklin teaches you how to connect with 3 types of people by understanding how their bodies communicate. After a boy threatened to kill her with a machete, Lynne Franklin decided to learn everything she could about persuasion. She became a neuroscience nerd, studying how the brain works and how to build rapport with people. She has since worked with organizations to use persuasive communication to increase their performance, productivity, and profit, and published a book about her personal research called Getting Others to Do What You Want. In addition to her marketing and consulting work, Lynne is a member of the National Speakers Association and President-elect of its Illinois chapter. After a boy threatened to kill her with a machete, Lynne Franklin decided to learn everything she could about persuasion. She became a neuroscience nerd, studying how the brain works and how to build rapport with people. She has since worked with organizations to use persuasive communication to increase their performance, productivity, and profit, and published a book about her personal research called Getting Others to Do What You Want.”
The Magic of Chemistry – with Andrew Szydlo – Video Lecture
If you were able to make a substance change colour, or turn from a solid to a liquid, would that be magic? In this Ri event from Wednesday 23 April 2014, Andrew Szydlo leads us through a world of magical molecules and enchanting elements. From a liquid that boils at room temperature to gases that are heavier than air, this family event is full of practical demonstrations of the magic of chemistry.
Jim has provided the Roadshow with so many great links through the years.. I salute you Pal !!
Science or Magic? – Free PDF
Thames & Kosmos produces a very nice magic and science kit for children. This is the PDF you would receive with the kit. It’s well drawn and full of chemical related magic that’s not only ideal for kids.. but ideal for adults who choose to entertain kids with educational magic..
“Thames & Kosmos was founded in 2001 by a science museum director and her son, who saw the great need and demand for better science education materials — resources for parents and their children that are more engaging, more effective, more relevant, and more fun.”
Two Scientists walked into a bar..
The first scientist said ” I’ll have a glass of H2O”
The second scientist said ” I’ll have a glass of H2O too..”
The second scientist died…
” Lets eat, Grandma..”
” Lets eat Grandma…”
Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic – Free PDF
Although I’ve provided links to this ebook a number of times in past issues, I felt it only right to provide a link in issue#200.
“The most complete treatise on sleight-of-hand coin conjuring, including best traditional methods and modern innovations. Guides you systematically from basic techniques, through integrated tricks to complete routined acts, 18 in all. 510 clear illustrations by Nelson C. Hahne. The best manual for amateurs, an encyclopedic source for professionals.”
Z Matrix.. (Impossible One Handed Matrix) – A Review
Effect by Ziv.. Review by Rick Carruth
If you are a fan of Matrix coin effects, this is for you. The ad copy says:
“A fast, easy to do, impossible matrix routine from Ziv. You’re not hiding the coins under any cards – in fact, there are no cards at all! Amazingly, this all occurs using only ONE hand and it happens FAST! Spectators won’t believe their eyes as the coins assemble and return to their positions.”
Includes bonus routine Z – SPELLBOUND, whereby coins impossibly vanish, reappear, and turn into other coins. Incredible!
I was not familiar with Ziv before watching this video. Actually, I was familiar with a couple of effects created and/or sold by Ziv that I did not realize were his effects ( CORNER, for one ). If you purchase this instant download from Murphy’s Magic, you’ll STILL not know a lot about Ziv, other than he is very, very good at what he does. In this case, a one-handed matrix and a second effect titled Z-Spellbound that uses a silver dollar size coin and a Chinese coin.
Now, as for the ad copy.. If you read the second line of the description, it says you are not hiding coins under cards. That’s partially correct. The first part of Z Matrix does use playing cards, three cards, to conceal coins. This in itself is a series of very magical moves, then.. the cards are discarded and the one handed matrix is displayed. It does not use cards. It IS fast.. and it is fairly easy to do. It is also one of those things you will be asked to ‘do again’, since the audience will not be sure they saw what they thought they saw.
I like Z Matrix. This is definitely something I would purchase as I could not stand not knowing the secret. I will tell you that the real secret, aside from some nice handling, is a gimmick. You are left to create your own gimmick, taught on the video, and you can create it in about a minute. This is one of the few DIY gimmicks I didn’t mind making.
Z Spellbound is a coin-in-hand routine that produces and vanishes both a Chinese coin and a dollar size coin. The handling is ideal for anyone who enjoys working with coins. You will have to practice a little.. it’s not self-working.. but I honestly think you’ll appreciate the time invested.
The quality of the video is very good. It was obviously created over a period of time and with care. The total video is silent, accompanied by background music, and a careful series of frames to show you exactly how to perform each aspect of both effects. Words really weren’t necessary, and I’m sure they realized that.. Magic knows no boundaries..
A quick note.. the video is a crisp 6 minutes long. This was long enough to teach everything needed to successfully perform the effects. I know this doesn’t sound long, but once you watch it, you’ll know all is well..
If you want to add a couple of strong, quick effects to your repertoire, I recommend Z Matrix. I am not a strong coin guy, but I would, (and did) fell confident tackling Ziv’s effects.
You can download Z Matrix instantly from Murphy’s Magic and their customers. $9.95
AMAZING MAGIC I – Paul Lelekis – A Review
This collection from Paul Lelekis continues the string of successful ebooks he has published on a very regular basis. Working from the repertoire of a very seasoned professional, Paul continually finds a mix of card and coin effects that are both worthy of publication and of interest to both beginning and intermediate magicians.
AMAZING MAGIC I includes seven effects, each requiring a different level of skill and each different in style and performance. Paul includes videos whenever he teaches something you may not be familiar with.. to clear up the learning curve and make each effect something you can perform in fairly short order.
A couple of effects are more mental magic than card magic, although they can be readily performed by either type performer. One effect uses a paper bag, one uses a coin, and one is a flat out showy production of four Aces. I can see one performer performing all seven, and I can see performers picking and choosing. It’s all a matter of style.
My point is… everything in this ebook is appropriate for someone who, as Paul does, works the tables.
The first line of each effect is the ad copy. The rest is my thoughts.
DIRECT COLLECTORS – Three selections travel in between the four Jacks and appear in a very unusual way!
This is a great effect for the intermediate performer. Paul teaches the Vernon Transfer Move by video.. This is a slick trick, and one you’ll use regularly.
TRIPLE MIRACLE – A blend of ESP with some remarkable card magic…this is killer!
Your three predictions match the spectators three predictions every time. Smart adaptation of a Mark Ellison effect that cuts out the gaffed cards. I also appreciate that Paul includes his patter, making a good trick even better.
APPARITION COIN – Someone asks you to do a trick…this is it!
Paul’s version of a Clyde Cairy effect. This is a legit quickie, giving you a chance to perform a coin trick before your spectator has a chance to catch their breath. I like surprising effects that give me the opportunity to catch my spectator off-balance.
SLCTETC – Want to do a “show-off” type of 4-card revelation, four times? This effect reveals a 4-of-a-kind in a very flashy manner…and yet it is very easy to do! No stupid knuckle-busters!
Produce all four Aces in four totally different ways. Paul includes a video of one of the methods, and explains the other three in great detail. This is NOT a knuckle-buster, but an effect that requires a little patience and practice. You can do this…
PAPER BAG BLINDFOLD – A brilliant ESP demonstration by one of the greatest showmen of all time…Kuda Bux!
Neat way to prepare a paper bag for a reveal. You can easily develop a ten minute routine around this effect. Particularly useful for mentalists, but easily modified to allow you to reveal cards.
YOU MUST BE PSYCHIC – An incredible method of performing ESP that will shake them up!
Paul modifies a classic technique to enable you to fool everyone… including fellow magicians. There are no sleights invloved other than a false shuffle. (check the videos )
A spectator removes five cards from the deck.. and you name ’em all. This is one of those effects you can build up and customize for use in either a card routine or a mentalism routine. Maybe my favorite…
SYMPATHETIC CARD MIRACLE – A brilliant card coincidence that fooled the hell out of Ed Marlo!
When played up properly, this may be the strongest effect in this ebook. I would consider this an intermediate effect as it uses a sleight taught with one of the enclosed videos. For some of you, it will require virtually no practice and for others.. a chance to learn one of the most popular sleights in all of magic.
Like almost all of Paul’s ebooks, this one sells for $10 from Lybrary.com and is one of the true bargains available in a world of overpriced, overhyped magic. This is straight up magic effects for guys who are serious about expanding their repertoire, but who are not willing to spend months working on one effect. Paul’s magic is for the masses.. of magicians.
The Vault – Revolt by Geraint Clarke – A Review
Geraint Clarke has produced a video of three cards effects. Each is similar in style, but very different by nature. Here is the ad copy:
“Welsh underground superstar, Geraint Clarke, offers three brilliant playing card divinations from a shuffled deck in use. But these are far from your standard ‘pick-a-card’ trick. Each effect is more impossible than the one before, with the magician revealing the chosen card though there was no way to for him to have any idea what the card was. Each effect is diabolical, practical and most of all, potent for a lay audience. This is Revolt. Here’s what you get:
Essential: A FREELY CHOSEN card is selected at random and the spectator is then able to shuffle the card into the deck, losing it completely. The magician is able to locate the card despite these test conditions. This effect relies on a very clever principle that, once mastered, will help you create miracles in this and countless other effects. Geraint offers several ways to get into and out of the effect, and offers advice on how to handle less than optimal conditions to create the strongest effect possible.
Alter Ego: A card is chosen at random and lost in the pack. The spectator can then shuffle the cards, losing the card legitimately. The magician is able to divine the name of the card without ever having to touch the deck. The method is genius, can be set up while interacting with the audience between tricks, and has the potential to create a real moment of astonishment.
Momentum: You’ll be using this one within moments of seeing this clever method. Again, a freely chosen card is selected and replaced in the pack and can be lost in the deck. Before the cards have been handed to the spectator to be shuffled, and without turning ANY cards face up, you will instantly know the name of the selection. Momentum allows you to take a very commonplace item, one that you carry with you daily, and turn it into an impromptu gaff. Get miles ahead in your card work, creating true miracles with pasteboards. ”
I know.. three card tricks on a video aren’t going to impress anyone – quantity wise. But, REVOLT has a couple of things going for it.. One, three good effects for $6.00 IS something to get excited about.. And Two, three good effects that are thoughtful, magician foolers, are more than I’ve gotten from some double dvd sets.
Although not self working, all three effects are easy enough that a beginner can learn them, and perform them, successfully in short order.
ESSENTIAL uses a borrowed, shuffled deck. There is no setup. You ask a spectator to select any card at random, and after the card is returned to the deck and the spectator allowed to shuffle the deck, you can tell the spectator the card he picked. I appreciated the various ideas and tips Geraint offered up. Sometimes there may be a slight bit of fishing, very slight, but the wording nullifies it. The audience is non-the-wiser.
ALTER EGO uses the same premise.. a card is selected, lost in the deck, the deck thoroughly shuffled by the spectator, and the magician can name the card afterwards without touching the deck. (Except during the selection). This is as close to self working as it gets without being actually self working. You do need to conduct a little subterfuge, but it’s a natural movement and will slide by the audience.
MOMENTUM is a thoroughly modern version of an early 1900’s card technique. The method is old as the hills, but the dirty work is accomplished with a very modern tool everyone carries. Practice your handling and this will be ‘maybe’ the killer of the three. Actually, Alter Ego may be my personal favorite, because of the lack of handling, but I’m not totally sure… duh…
For six dollars.. you can’t go wrong. The video is well recorded. Sound and lighting are good. And the total length is about 23 minutes. This probably ranks as one of the best deals for the money of all the videos I’ve reviewed for Murphy’s…. and that’s a LOT of videos.
The Mysterious Puzzle of the Missing Dollar Bill by Nick Einhorn – A Review
This is a classic puzzle first brought to life in magic circles by Daryl, who performed the first version in London. Known as A Puzzling Bill Vanish, It inspired Nick to create this version. Nick also discovered Gregory Wilson also performed a couple of similar effects. That said… here’s the Ad Copy from Murphy’s Magic….
“Three guys go out for lunch. They pay. Yet each time they count their change, there is a missing dollar bill. So, they try it again. Another dollar is found missing. Each time they count the total dollars, one always goes missing.
Nick Einhorn (winner of Penn & Teller: Fool Us) breathes life into a classic riddle that you have to see to believe. Count the dollars, one is missing. Count again, there goes another.
It’s a smashingly fun puzzle that you will show at dinner parties and gatherings, where they will scratch their heads in disbelief. Open and honest deception has never been so much fun.”
Works in all currencies
Easy to learn and perform
Carry it and perform it anywhere
Inspired by Daryl’s original routine ‘A Puzzling Bill Vanish’ and released with his blessing.
First, there is nothing in this description deceiving in any way. The puzzle is a fooler, the effect is a fooler, and it IS quite easy to learn and perform.
Let’s get this out the way… Like many magic effects.. it requires a gimmick. Most folks know i dislike DIY magic effects. I think magicians should give me what I need to perform the effect I’m purchasing. In this case, I can understand NOT supplying the necessary gimmick. There are way too many types of currency to provide everyone what they need. Fortunately, the gimmick for this effect can be created in a couple of minutes with the two notes you intend to use and a little glue and scissors. It’s so easy to create I’ll give it a pass, particularly considering the many countries and the many different type notes.
The riddle itself is confounding. If you give it a little thought you can figure it out, but probably not in the midst of battle. Even -if- you can solve the puzzle, you still have the gimmicked effect to contend with…
You will have to ‘learn’ a simple count that requires a bit of sleight.. but the visual that accompanies the sleight hides it nicely. Trust me.. it’s simple.
Aside from these necessities, I like The Mysterious Puzzle of the Missing Dollar Bill. It’s simple to perform and entertains the audience… the key word being ‘entertain’. Unlike many card effects that leave the audience perplexed and uncaring, this one leaves the audience with a true smile. They don’t ‘get’ it.. but they don’t care. They’ll think about it on the drive home. They’ll figure out the puzzle.. but not the effect. (Well, at least some will figure out the puzzle.)
For the cost.. you can’t beat it. It’s something you’ll actually add to your repertoire and carry with you for that moment when someone asks you to ‘..do something..’. It’s available as an instant download and total running time is about 21 minutes.
$7.98 – Instant download from Murphy’s Magic and dealers who carry their line of magic products.
All Tied Up – Chris Philpott – A Review
All Tied Up is a single trick download, optimized to create a mood and tell a story. The ad copy reads:
“One of the most powerful tricks you’ll ever do with a pack of cards.”
– Steve Valentine (four-time Magic Castle Award Winner)
All Tied Up begins as a psychological game, veers into an emotional exploration of your spectator, reveals itself as a card trick and then, in a powerful finale, becomes an act of empowerment that your spectator will remember for a long, long time.
The strength of the effect is all in its script, but Chris Philpott (with Steve Valentine) also go into details about the handling for both an impromptu version and one using a gimmicked deck (which you may already own). All the handlings are easy-to-do, so you can concentrate on performance.
Originally printed in Chris’s book, Intimate Mysteries (“A must buy!” – Mark Elsdon; “One of the best books I’ve EVER owned!” – Stephen Young; “A major contribution to our art!” – Neil Somerville), the effect in this video contains much more details on both handling and presentation.
“Of all the effects I’ve come up with, this is the one I do more than any other. I have fried a room full of knowledgeable magicians with it and done it for friends who became very emotional when it was performed for them. If I have time for just one effect, it’s All Tied Up.”
– Chris Philpott
The video features Chris Philpott and Steve Valentine, both teaching the intimate handling of All Tied Up.
This is NOT a complicated effect. In fact, you probably already perform it. ( I bet that got your attention..) I’ll say up front you’ll need a specific type deck to perform All Tied Up. Fortunately, almost all of us have one or two. It’s a magic standard. This is also NOT intended as a magician fooler.. they will recognize the deck… But I promise you your audience won’t. This isn’t just a ‘trick’.. it’s a personal experience.
The power of All Tied Up is in the presentation. It tells a powerful story that, according to Steve Valentine, even prompts some of his spectators to cry real tears. It’s a story your spectator will associate with personal feelings and psychological thresholds. Even so, it’s not worded to hurt someone’s feelings, but to free their feelings… so tears are a good thing.
It’s difficult to review All Tied Up without telling too much. Basically, it’s a series of questions that guide the spectator to a prediction. There are NO forces or manipulations on your part. Everything is geared to getting the spectator to select a card. They do not realize they’ve selected a card until you reveal their answers point to a specific card. That’s part of the complexity, as they realize their selection was totally free… and it was.
That’s when you use your special deck to show how you were somehow attune to their innermost feelings. Then, in an act of cathartic release, you give your spectator the opportunity to rid themselves of supressed feelings. I know.. it sounds a little far-fetched, but I can see this applying to certain folks – probably not a room full of crusty magicians, but definitely that cute, sensitive brunette behind the makup counter.
This is one of those effects that will leave a lasting impression on a segment of your spectators. It’s well worth the price because of its potential to really impress. Although created by Chris, Steve presents his own handling with a regular deck. Everything is explained in detail and the total length of the download is one hour and fifteen minutes. There is even a link to a special Facebook group devoted to All Tied Up, and you’ll have the opportunity to join a learn even more detailed handling and tips.
How Young Magicians Are Learning to Cast a Spell on a Modern Audience – Article
By Alex Wong: While the subculture is more popular than ever, those practicing the craft are having to figure out how everything works on the fly
Xavier Caffrey is here to show me a magic trick. With a slim frame, knowing grin and an organized mess of tangled curls atop his head, the 22-year-old pulls out a deck of cards.
Caffrey radiates positive energy. He is soft-spoken and even a bit shy, but when it’s time to perform, even to an audience of one outside a coffee shop in downtown Toronto, Caffrey assumes an entirely new persona. He suddenly wields a commanding presence, one that’s massively engaging and yet, genuinely personable. There remains a warmth to him as he carefully places a deck of 52 cards on the palm of my right hand and asks me to cover the cards with my left.
A professional magician, Caffrey immigrated from Lebanon to Canada at the age of 15. While other high-school students loitered in back alleys and caused headaches for nearby convenience-store owners, Caffrey hung out at the library, reading English books and learning the language. If he couldn’t pronounce a word on the page, he would scamper over to the nearest librarian for a quick lesson. “Once I get into something,” Caffrey says. “I have to do it all the time.”
It seems as though this type of obsessiveness lends itself well to the study of magic. From Harry Houdini escaping from a hanging straitjacket to David Copperfield walking through the Great Wall of China, the art of illusion is not something that comes naturally. It takes devotion and hard work — perhaps now more than ever. Read More…
Brilliant young guitarist from Australia. Some say he is reincarnate of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Others say it’s impossible for someone so young to feel the Blues.. as he obviously does.. Taj sometimes cries as he plays, being so moved by the music….
** Well.. after two hundred issues, these are my last two little features. Just a Taj may be the future of great guitarists, I HOPE that somewhere out there a young man, reading this issue perhaps, will be the future of magic and illusion. Hello Young Man!
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