Welcome to ZZZAUBER !

Hello, fellow magi, and willkommen to our personal change bag of 1,000 things magical!


By establishing this English and German ZZZAUBER blog we have set ourselves on a multi-purpose magic mission to entertain and enlighten you:

  • to advance the art of magic by sharing valuable insights, fresh ideas, great magic and pieces of art related to conjuring and deception (hint: this is signified by our minimalistic, homemade logo, <<>>>)
  • to poke some good-natured fun at magic’s top brass and everything that may be wrong with amateur majishuns and the majic community today (at least according to our own questionable standards)
  • to share some pieces of interest from our own magic collection, like magic postage stamps, magic programs, magic in advertising, etc. (more to follow)
  • to showcase, and sometimes show-off, some of our own meager attempts in the arts, be they in written form or even rhymed, drawn or painted, photographed or photoshopped. (Note: Please respect the copyright on all our original material, even the cheap, risqué and shallow ones. Thank you!)


Since this site is all about the friendly art of deception, you will encounter the occasional trick or misdirection being played on you. We hope you have some fun exploring these little hints and secrets.

As for your comments and opinions, frankly, we don’t care much. This is a blog, after all, and not another forum. And since most of our musings are purely based on personal opinions, tastes and observations, what would be the point in telling us your dissenting views here?

We deeply appreciate your occasional visit, read, link, nod or smile, though.


P.S. This blog is not apt for beginners in magic. You may find the link section helpful, but then move on, please. The same goes for secret-seeking dumbwits. Thank you!


Tricks & Ideas (10): Ambitious Sven

Following a recent thread on the Genii Forum on the versatility of the Svengali Deck and possible combinations with an Ambitious Card routine, I came up with this little piece:

1. Start performing your ACR with the generous help of “the Sven” (forcing the card, having the spectator cut or count to his own card etc.).
2. Finally, turn all cards of the deck into copies of the ambitious card.
3. Transform half of the deck back into regular cards.
4. Put the “all alikes” half aside, but have one signed by a spectator. (Regular size may help. Of that card, not of the spectator.)
5. Continue and close your Ambitious Card routine with the regular half deck. Obviously, your finale should be even better than step 2.!

Just a thought.

Addendum: For lots of advice on the moves, ruses and subtleties of “the Sven,” check these sources:

  • Lybrary has a whole bunch of titles available, starting at a mere $2.00
  • Daryl’s “Svengali Deck” DVD from the Essentials in Magic series
  • Master pitchman Mark Lewis’s booklet, The Long and Short of It


Thoughts on Erdnase, 101

Erdnase, Fig. 101

Mulling over the famous figure 101 that comes with the trick “The Three Aces” within TEATCT, here is a thought I have enjoyed nurturing for quite some time: What if there was a secret connection between the opening of the book (the original title on the frontispiece, to be precise) and this more or less closing feature of the book, the final drawing?

Unlike the other figures, this one does not only explain the ruse; in fact, it does deceive you, the reader. The display of the aces looks totally regular. Only when you know that there is a subterfuge involved, you will understand that the Ace of Diamonds is not what it claims to be, but something-or someone-else (the Ace of Hearts).

Now the same may be said about the triple of ARTIFICE, RUSE and SUBTERFUGE (= ARS (lat.) = art). I have always wondered why Erdnase used three nouns with roughly the same connotation here: You are being deceived expertly and artfully at the card table. Precision? (Erdnase obviously loved describing things in detail by doubling or tripling words.) PR blurb to make his book sound utterly important? Or simply a clever means of hiding something in the middle, in plain sight? That something might be “RUSE and.”

What is more, in American handwriting, figure I0I can be read forward as well as backwards. A hint at an anagram or at shifting words around?

Remember, “RUSE and” = “and RUSE” = “Andrus” = “Andrews” (!)

Finally, the book’s frontpage promises “over one hundred drawings.” The total of 101 figures delivers this promise, but only by the smallest margin. You may not call this cheating, but probably another artful subterfuge…

Pure conjecture, I admit. This could be more convincing if, say, figure 101 were really displayed on the very last page of the book, maybe on page 202, and if the book’s title went more like ART, ARTIFICE and ACES at the Card Table to resemble the three Aces in figure 101 even more closely.

Just a thought.


Words of Wisdom (8): Lloyd E. Jones

I have just discovered this little nugget by Lloyd E. Jones, written in the introduction to his re-publication of The Four Full Hands by Charles T. Jordan in 1947:

The pleasure to be found in discovering principles or subtleties in print often surpasses the joy in performing, for to most magicians there is a greater opportunity to read good magic than there is to perform.

So true!


The Lorayne Force


The late great Jay Marshall once quipped that all of Harry Lorayne’s works were in fact forcing books for the words I, me, and my.

As a test, I counted these words within the Foreword of Harry’s booklet, My Favorite Card Tricks. Now guess how many I have detected within that single page?

A:      9

B:     18

C:     27

D:     36


Answer: That’s right, there were actually thirty-six self-references (including a “we”) to be found.

Harry certainly is his very own force!


R.I.P. Daryl Easton

Oh boy, it’s been a month already, but I am still shocked about the demise of Daryl, who, apparently suffering from severe depressions, had sadly decided to take the worst possible way “Out of this World” and end his life backstage in Hollywood’s Magic Castle at age 61.

While his hair cut has arguably improved over the years, his magic with cards, coins, cups and ropes has always been impeccable, fresh, and engaging. I am a proud owner of his rare Ambitious Card Omnibus, of some great tricks and many of his excellent teaching videos.

Just like his famous red knot jumping onto a white rope, his creations and his style have woven themselves inseparably into magic’s path over the last three or four decades, and we must be grateful that he has shared his immense talent and his professional secrets with us.

Rest in peace, Daryl!

1 Daryl_FS

The Horst Vegas Magic Chalk Talk (6): Tricks

Horst Vegas, self-proclaimed Senior Boy Wonder of Magic and an unfailing Lota Bowl of Wizzdom, shares another of his tinny-tiny Golden Showbiz Rules & Recommendations:

In these times of stimulus satiation, headline news and constant eye candy, we are well advised to re-evaluate our traditional tricks-per-minute ratio and to consider quickies rather than „slowies,“ visual magic rather than verbal, and multiple effects rather than one trick ponies as the new norm, exceptions granted.

Is this an Optical Illusion?

I could use some help here, my dear fellow majishuns:

To me, the two pictures below are pure 3D. When I look at them, they give me a three-dimensional effect, without putting on any fancy glasses or else. In the top picture the lines just seem to jump from the floor towards me. In the bottom picture both the iron wheel and the cabins look clearly layered to me and are separated from the blue background. The 3D illusion disappears when I close one eye.

I have already sent these pictures to a few people, but they didn’t seem to see them the way I do.

So is it just me?

And if so, any diagnosis what’s wrong (or different) with my visual perception?



Paging Mr. Ballinger!

Anyone knows what has become of Chris Ballinger, longtime Magic Geek, trick creator and self-deprecating demonstrator extraordinaire (oh, and of sister Rachel, the world’s best professional spectator)?

His kids and his other sister, Colleen (a.k.a. Miranda Sings), seem to have overtaken him in social media visibility and fame. That’s o.k., but they are not doing magic!

I dimly recall older statements which hinted at a possible collaboration with Joshua Jay‘s and Andi Gladwin‘s Vanishing Inc. Magic, but apparently that hasn’t come to fruition yet. Or has it? Any news?

Fun and geeky magic is losing fast to mindless, talentless and useless mess on YouBurp. Magic needs you back, Chris!


Creativity in Magic (1)

I have always found it amazing how new tricks, ideas, or routines come into this world. Sheer luck and mere chance seem to play a far greater role in their conception and delivery than any logical thinker could ever imagine.

Take the following example about Joe Karson’s creation of the famous “Zombie”, a wonderful story (if true) which I have just come across in Frank Garcia‘s “New York News” in an old issue of Magic Manuscript (Vol. 4, Issue 4, p. 45):

Incredible as it may seem, the trick called “Zombie” was invented by the late Joe Karson quite by accident. He bought a house and everything was fine but the toilet commode didn’t function, so Joe started taking the commode apart. He removed the balance ball attached to the rod and dried it with a towel. He then came upon the idea of making it a floating ball. The rest is magical history!

I will be happy to share more examples in the future. Stay fresh and stay tuned!


R.I.P. Jeremy Le Poidevin

Very saddened to hear and read about the sudden passing of Jeremy Le Poidevin, owner of Practical Magic in Ellesmere, UK!

Not that I have known him well; but I have bought some fabulous children’s magic tricks from him, have corresponded with him on a few trick ideas and tips, and have always immensely enjoyed both his fireside chats (with the inimitable, wacky John Kimmons, a.k.a. Kimmo) and his video demos.

The dog arm puppet I got from Jeremy is simply the cutest and best one I have ever seen, and his DVD with handlings tips (see below) is a great and fun product I took a lot of value from.

I think it’s kind and caring people like Jeremy who contribute so much to our everlasting joy of watching, talking, and shopping magic. With them leaving, it feels like magic’s age of innocence—the brick and mortar shops, the glitter boxes and feather flowers, the smalltown conventions, etc.—is inexorably fading away.

My condolescences to his wife and family. Rest in peace in Eternal Wonderland, Jeremy!