MAGICA V – Larry Barnowsky – A Review
by Rick Carruth
Larry Barnowsky, author of Magica V, has also published Kingdom of the Red, The Book of Destiny, Counting On Deception, Magica Analytica I and II, and Magica III and IV. He leads into Magica V with the following:
“Magica V is my ninth book on magic and the fifth in the Magica series. It explains a variety of magic effects that can be performed using small objects that you can hold or conceal in your hand. There are magical effects with crochet balls, sponge balls, crystal balls, checkers, dice, cards, coins, matches, and original as well as classic apparatus.
Many of the effects require little skill, and some are based on obscure mathematical principles such as Proizvolov’s Identity and the Chinese Remainder Theorem, and more familiar ones to magicians such as the Gilbreath Principle, Hummer’s CATO Principle, Faro Shuffle, and Finnell’s Free Cut Principle.
Twelve of the thirty effects are easy to do and marked by a single diamond.. Only three of the effects in this book have three diamonds and considered challenging.
You will astound your audiences with any of the effects taught in this book. Of course I have my favorites. Those include Deuces Wild, Kingston Gang, Out of Place, Angry Birds of a Feather, Suitable Deal, Quantum Computing Deck, Three Coin Recital, Match or Mismatch, Sherlock’s Paradox, Jack and the Magic Seeds, and Overwhelming Force.”
What you read from Larry’s intro cannot be considered ad copy, as is usually the case with my reviews. I then go on to agree or disagree with their description. I cannot disagree with Larry, except in one round-about way.. but more on that in a couple of minutes.
Magica V is quite a work. It totals about 150 pages in its bound state, and represents years of work and thought at a high level. Magica V is not for beginners. Neither it is limited to advanced magicians. It IS for intermediate guys who are looking to add some challenging effects to their routines. Larry has rated each effect with one, two, or three diamonds to reflect their difficulty level. Most are correct. Actually, ALL are correct by Larry’s standard.. but a couple I found a little harder to do than Larry.. which is obviously more a reflection on me.
If you aren’t familiar with Larry.. he is both a Doctor -and- a legit mathematician, with a Master’s degree in Mathematics. Like my hero, Martin Gardner, he has a knack for explaining a mathematical effect in a way we can all understand. In the intro he refers to a number of effects having a basis in math, but this is not stressed in the teaching. In almost every effect, the handling is more important than the math. The math enables the effect to eventually work, but is not an essential part of the performance. So.. you will NOT be left counting fingers during your performance. Don’t get hung up with the thought you’re buying a book full of math effects. It’s not. This is book full of effects for magicians who take their art seriously.
I can also tell Larry is an extremely thorough guy. He goes to great length to explain his writing and how his thought process works.. and what you need to know to make understanding his work quite palpable. He leaves nothing to chance.. which I found a blessing. Clarity is vital in the written word, but he has included so many photo’s that if there is something I didn’t grasp at first, I learned while viewing the images. I’ve mentioned before I’m a very visual guy.. so this was very important to me. Larry has included much patter throughout the book to demonstrate how he presents his well-crafted effects.
I have copied Magica V’s basic description of each effect, all of which I found to be extremely accurate, and then added a couple of my thoughts to give someone not actually holding the book in-hand a little idea of what to expect. I think this will give you a deep understanding of what to expect -when- you purchase Magica V.
(Your only regret will be if you don’t purchase it..)
1. Deuces Wild – From a shuffled deck, the spectator is asked to name any four of a kind. The magician then names the deuces as his favorite. The four deuces are removed from the deck and four piles are dealt to the table. The spectator places the deuces in each of the piles, they are thoroughly cut and shuffled, and a four-hand poker game is dealt with the spectator’s chosen four of a kind going to the spectator, and with the magician receiving the four deuces. One of my personal favorites. 22 color photos included to help you along..
2. Three Coin Recital – Three coins appear from invisible hooks. Then all three coins disappear. One by one they reappear, disappear, and finally reappear. Since I’m not a very skilled coin guy, I’ll have to practice this one. I do know that those of you who enjoy coin work will definitely appreciate both the effect and the routine. 17 more color pictures detail the handling.
3. Stunner – The deck is shuffled by the magician, the spectator names any card in the deck. The deck is cut into 4 piles. Each pile is displayed faceup and shown to not contain the spectator’s card. The deck is reassembled. The spectator’s card is pulled out of the magician’s pocket. The deck is spread, and the three matching mates are found to be faceup in the face-down deck. Uses a stacked deck, your stack or Larry’s. This is a real fooler, and will play well for both a lay audience and fellow magicians. You are also taught how to perform Stunner with a deck in new deck order. Another nice selection of color photos too.
4. The Kingston Gang – Four kings and the Ace of Hearts are displayed and counted in front of the spectator. These five cards are dropped into a hat or card case. The Ace of Hearts is removed from the hat or card case and placed in the pocket. Four face-down cards are taken from the deck. Each time they are counted, a king appears faceup until all four kings have appeared. The
spectator reaches into the hat and finds the kings are gone, and in their place the
4 aces including the AH. You will need four gaffed cards, but Larry shows you how to easily create the gaffs yourself. Intelligent step by step instructions and photos make this another of my favorites.
5. Baffling Prediction – A prediction card having a different colored back is placed on the table under the spectator’s hand. The spectator can freely choose any card in the deck except the magician’s favorite card (which will be revealed later). The magician places his favorite card face down on the top of the face-up deck. He turns the deck facedown, and has a card freely selected and returned. The favorite card is revealed to be the AH. The card under the spectator’s hand is found to match the selected card. Can you perform a Kelly Bottom Replacement? You can after Larry teaches and demonstrates this extremely useful move. All you need is a duplicate card from another deck and you’re good to go.
6. Sedona Aces – The four aces are lost in the deck which is shuffled. The deck is tabled, but one by one the aces appear within the bare hands in a most startling manner. This is one of the more challenging effects.. but I know some of you love a challenge. Based on the Phoenix Aces plot, Larry includes 27 photos to guide you to fruition. Learn Ken Brooks Single Card Production and Fulve’s Multiple Shift.. and if you already know them.. you’re once again good to go, in the best sense.
7. Out of Place – The magician openly removes half the cards from a shuffled deck, making face-down piles according to the spectator’s choices. These piles are thoroughly mixed. The half-deck is thoroughly mixed using several different types of shuffles. Two cards are selected freely and returned to the deck. Next, small packets of cards are repeatedly turned over faceup or facedown according to the spectator’s directions with the spectator cutting the cards anytime. The cards are dealt into four equal piles, and each pile is folded over the next. When the cards are spread, all the face-up cards are red except for the chosen black card. When the spread is flipped over, all the face-up cards are black except for one selected red card. This is a very rewarding effect that doesn’t require complex sleights. There is a 26 card Faro Shuffle, but Larry offers you a good alternative if you aren’t comfortable with Faros. Remember the handling and you’ll be performing this in short order. More good pics to guide you.
8. Suitable Deal – From a shuffled deck, the magician removes about two dozen cards one at a time making a large packet. That packet is given a true riffle shuffle by the spectator. The remaining cards are shuffled by the magician. The spectator’s shuffled packet is added on top of the magician’s. A total of seven packets of four cards each are dealt from the top of the deck by either the spectator or the magician. When the packets are turned over, each of the six packets contains exactly one of each suit. When the magician’s packet is turned over, he has one of each suit, but they are the four aces. One of the easier effects,
but confounding all the same. Believe it or not.. All you need is a false shuffle.
9. Match or Mismatch – A deck is shuffled by the magician followed by a fair Riffle Shuffle by the spectator. Pairs of cards with one faceup and one facedown are presented to the spectator to sort using his intuition. This is done for the entire deck with the spectator making 26 free choices. The face-down cards nearest the spectator are turned over and found to be 100% mismatched. The cards nearest the magician are cut and shuffled together one more time. These are spread, and all the face-up cards on one side are red, and all the face-up cards on the other side are black. Out of This World concept, except with a distinct twist. The spectator never see’s the ending coming.. until it’s too late. Another of my personal favorites.. and lots of pics for those of us who are visual.
10. No Faro Aces – The four aces are removed from the deck. The deck is cut into four piles and the spectator inserts an ace into each packet. The piles are reassembled and the deck Riffle Shuffled. The magician locates the aces producing them one at a time in a novel manner. Very nice card sharp demonstration for those of us who are fans of the Four Ace production.. like I am. I promise you this one WILL fool magicians.. and a lay audience doesn’t stand a chance. It’s a little more complicated than some of the other effects, but well worth your effort.
11. Peripatetic Kings – The King of Clubs is randomly inserted faceup into the face-up deck and the card next to it becomes the spectator’s chosen card. When the deck is turned over, the king is faceup in the face-down deck. The face-up king is removed and is inserted outjogged near the top of the face-down deck. The deck is covered for a second, and the face-up king is still outjogged, but now located near the bottom of the deck. This is repeated again. The face-up king is pushed flush into the face-down deck. The deck is covered, and the king is now
the bottom card of the deck. It’s covered again and now faceup on top. The deck
is cut with the face-up king on top, and then spread facedown. Next to the faceup
king is a single face-up card, which turns out to be the original chosen card. Yes, this uses a single gaffed card, but it is well worth it. I am one of the first to admit gaffed cards offer a range of flexibility not achievable for most of us without the gaff. The King moving up and down through the deck is a startling illusion. Larry teaches a very handy Single Card Bottom Pass, which can be used in other applications for the real cardists among you.
12. Angry Birds of a Feather – From a shuffled deck, cards are removed seemingly randomly making two piles of about a dozen cards each. The packets are shown faceup to be well mixed. The spectator Riffle Shuffles the packets together. Pairs of cards are dealt with one faceup and one facedown. These pairs are grouped into a pile that has red cards faceup and a second pile that has black cards faceup. The piles are Riffle Shuffled together with face-up red cards mixing with face-up black cards. When the cards are spread, all the face-up cards on one side are red, and all the face-up cards on the other side are black. Another Out Of This World concept.. except, in my opinion, slightly easier than Match or Mismatch. All you really need to learn, if you don’t already, is a Half Pass.. which is optional. Again, one of my favorite of all the card effects.
13. Jack and the Magic Seeds – A bottle and glass switch places under two tubes. Multiple sponges magically appear in the glasses. The sponges are placed into a can and transform into a colorful bouquet of a dozen flowers.
Enticing effect with a Passe-Passe Bottle, a Botaniette, and sponge balls. If you don’t have the props, Larry offers alternatives. This is classic magic with a script of a young boy named Jack and multiple loads.. It’s not complicated, but looks that way to the audience..
14. Tell Me What to Do – A deck is shuffled and two cards are selected. Packets are shuffled, and groups of cards turned faceup and facedown per spectator’s choice. After all that mixing, all face-up cards are found to be made up of only two suits except for the two selected cards. This is a very nice effect utilizing Hummer’s CATO principle. It’s mathematical, and explained very well in the effect. If you can perform a Hindu Shuffle and a Faro Shuffle, or the alternative handling, you can perform this slick effect.
15. As Easy as Ace Two Three – The AC, 2C, and 3C are removed from the deck. The AC is lost in the deck. The 2C visibly changes to the AC. Then the 3C visibly changes to the 2C. The deck is spread showing all cards facedown. It is re-spread, and now the 3C appears and has turned faceup. This is perhaps the most ‘sleight intensive’ of all the effects.. but definitely one of the more impressive. Personally, I’m still working on it.. and I’m not quitting until I master it. Again, as with all the effects.. there are plenty of photos to guide you along.
16. Frame of the Future – Uses a Penetration Frame and a pencil and a memorized deck of cards to achieve a seemingly impossible switch and penetration. You only need a double turnover and a Hindu Shuffle to complete this effect. This is great for those of us who perform walk around.
17. Overwhelming Force – Multiple cards are selected. The magician reveals the identity of each chosen card in a unique and startling way. This is your chance to be truly creative. A number of possible reveals are suggested and you are limited only by your imagination. Technically, nothing more than a five card Riffle Force is needed. One of my personal favorites…
18. The Telekinetic Gazing Crystal – This is a multiple phase vanish/puzzle coin effect that uses several different coins and small acrylic balls to keep the audience amazed. You’re going to stretch your performing skills to keep up with all the rapid fire vanishes and appearances. Perfect for those of you with a rapid performance style.
19. Pseudo Middle Deal Demo – The magician places four aces in the center of the deck, and then deals 5 poker hands claiming he can deal from the middle of the deck. After the cards are turned over he has all four aces. This is NOT self-working! Larry considers this the most challenging effect in Magica V.. according to his difficulty guide. It plays like it reads, and will give those of you who love a challenge a chance to learn something that will impress even the most crusty amongst us..
20. Sherlock’s Paradox – A wooden and brass rectangular tube is shown to be empty. Two large dice and a red or gold ball are displayed, and may be examined. Each die is dropped into the top of the tube followed lastly by the ball. When the tube is lifted, the ball is seen to be under the two dice. This is repeated with the same result. A third time the ball is found to lie between the two dice. A fourth time the ball is placed under the dice, the tube is inverted yet the ball remains at the bottom. Two dice are placed in the tube and the red ball is placed in the pocket. The tube is lifted and again the red ball is between the two dice. From the empty tube a 48-inch long silk streamer is produced. I like the way this reads, despite not having everything I needed to try it out. Larry provides a list of everything you need and excellent instructions to accomplish this fooler. I look forward to Christmas.. as Santa ‘might’ bring me the tube I need. I saw Paul Gertner perform something similar on FOOL US, and was quite impressed.
21. Flashy Aces – The four aces are placed in different parts of the deck facedown. The deck is turned around and the aces magically come to the top. This is repeated with the aces faceup. This time they all appear faceup on the top in a flash. Another Four Ace production type effect that requires a degree of skill, but a little less than Pseudo Middle Deal. You’ll like the way this routines out, and will quickly show it to friends and magicians alike. In fact, magicians might appreciate it more so than a lay audience because they understand the skill involved.
22. Diematchtrick – A 1-inch die and a small open-ended box are displayed and examined. The die is placed in it, and a wooden match is inserted through pre-existing holes in the box thus penetrating the die. The match is lit and quickly withdrawn. When the die is removed, it is found to be intact with no hole. Another effect that looks and reads quite well. As earlier, I didn’t have all the props to perform it myself.. and didn’t want to delay this review until I could get what I needed. I will definitely perform this.. as again, I think it would make a great little effect for walk around.
23. Mental Pickpocketing – With his back turned, the magician is able to surmise how many random coins were placed in the spectator’s pocket, and how many dollar bills in his shirt pocket. This effect is slightly more complicated than it reads. The details you can tell the spectators are more concise and I honestly don’t think it’s quite simple enough to be rated as a beginner type effect. Remember, Larry holds a Master’s degree in mathematics.. and it shows. That said, the work involved is in direct correlation to the confoundment you’ll inflict on your audience. I’ll be using this…
24. Differential Persuasion – Spectator chooses one of 10 cards from ace through ten. The ten cards are shuffled, and by summing differences in value between adjacent ones, cards are dealt off the deck. This is repeated with 8 cards and then 6 cards. The cards that correspond to the numbers turn out to be the 3 mates of the chosen card. I immediately recognized the mathematics behind this effect as Proizvolov’s Identity by the wildly popular Vyacheslav Proizvolov.. OK.. maybe I didn’t.. but I DID enjoy the mathematics, whether I completely understood it or not. That’s the great thing about mathematically working effects… you don’t have to understand it to appreciate it.
25. Pocket Rearrange -A pile of pennies or identical coins is placed in the spectator’s pocket. He then randomly arranges tiles numbered 1-8 in two rows, and then based on differences in adjacent rows removes pennies from his pocket. A purse is opened which contains the correct prediction of the number of pennies left in his pocket. Actually, this effect uses the same principle used in the previous effect, but, in my opinion, in a manner I better understand. I’m sorry if I’m a little slow, but I know what I like.! No skill is required, as this is entirely performed by the spectator.. and no complex math either, so your spectator is not intimidated.
26. Checkers and Balances – A cylinder is placed on the table along with 21 stackable checkers or poker chips. The magician makes stacks of checkers so the smallest has one and the largest six. These are arranged into two rows randomly by the spectator. The spectator than removes all checkers that are higher than the neighboring stack in the opposite row until all neighboring stacks are the same height. He then makes a new stack out of the removed ones. The cylinder is lifted revealing an identical stack, and the checkers or chips in each stack match in height and number. This is yet another effect based on Proizvolov’s Identity. I told you he was a popular guy.. Again, the spectator performs much of the handling, so there is little for the performer to do.. aside from taking all the credit for a minor mathematical miracle. All three of the previous effects would make a good routine if you wanted to impress someone with your mental prowess..
27. Blindfolded Card Location – After the magician puts on a blindfold, he has the spectator freely pick a card with no forcing. The card is placed back into the deck which is squared. The magician turns his back and asks the spectator to shuffle the cards, and then hand them back to him. The magician then successfully reveals the chosen card. This may be the simplest effect Magica V.. at least to me. I am a big fan of the material needed to make this effect work, and I always have some on-hand.. so I suspect many of you will too. Can’t reveal it.. as it’s too critical to the working.. and it might make someone actually skip this effect, which would be a big no-no.
28. The Trick Deck – The magician displays a secret trick deck where all the cards are the Five of Spades. He takes five of these cards and begins to explain a trick. However, one of the fives turns into the Joker. He discards the Joker leaving four cards. When he counts them again another joker appears. This is repeated until all
five cards turn into jokers. This effect uses a number of gaffed cards and several more advanced sleights.. but not to extremes. Think about it.. if you can perform an effect just as this one is written, it would, or should, be worth a little extra effort. Larry also explains how this effect can be performed as a packet effect, which actually suits someone without nimble fingers (like me) better…
29. The Parlor Dice Routine – A 3-inch black die is displayed and dropped onto a tray where it instantly and visibly changes to four 1-inch white dice and a single blue die. The dice are laid out on the table in a row with the blue die on one end. As the hands sweep over the dice, the blue die migrates from one end to the other, moving one position at a time. Then it migrates back to where it came from in a similar fashion. Then the blue die vanishes changing into a white die. The five white dice are dropped into a small cabinet. When the cabinet is opened, the white dice have disappeared and have been replaced by five blue dice. This effect plays just as it’s written. Larry doesn’t represent effects to be something they aren’t. I know this sounds far-fetched, but it’s all achieved with classic palms and The Owen/Thayer One-Hand Production Cabinet. Yes, I’m giving away the secret, but not the handling, which is key to the effect. This is my favorite of all the non-card effects.
30. The Quantum Computing Deck – The spectator names any suit such as clubs. A card is selected but not looked at, and placed face down on the table. The deck is riffle shuffled several times. The deck is then riffled at its edge and the spectator freely calls stop anytime. A pair of cards is removed from the center, and one placed faceup and one facedown like a blackjack pair. This is repeated four more times creating a total of five pairs. The face-down cards are turned over and each pair is opposite in color, and opposite with respect to odd or evenness. The total of each pair’s numerical values is 13. 13 indicates a king. The chosen card is turned over and found to be the King of Clubs matching the number and the chosen suit.
This demonstration effect uses a special deck.. but not one you’ll need to buy, to make the magic happen. Aside from a couple of familiar sleights, your deck enables you to do most of the work single-handed, and employing the spectator makes the entire effect seem very improbable. If your spectator is familiar with quantum entanglement and the quantum mechanics spin value that governs particles.. they might see right through this effect.. But otherwise… No Worries!
Larry Barnowsky, still a spry young guy in his 60’s, has been doing magic since age 11 when he discovered his grandfather’s old trunk filled with escape apparatus hidden in the attic. That led to an involvement in all facets of magic.. from developing and performing sleight of hand routines to designing and constructing magic effects and illusions.
He is the author of 21st Century Coin Mechanics, Kingdom of the Red, The Book of Destiny, Counting On Deception, Magica Analytica I and II, and Magica III and IV. In addition, he collects vintage magic apparatus.
He currently spends his work day as a physician specializing in MRI and interventional radiology. In addition to his MD, he holds a Master of Science in mathematics. His other interests include travel, history, photography, woodworking, and composing music for the piano.
Larry divides his time between his homes in Cooperstown, NY and New York City with his wife Esther and Bichon Frise Keppie.
Magica V is published on 80 weight gloss enamel paper, contains 148 pages, and
30 chapters with 340 color photos… Price… $35.00