A Nice Card Clip


Recently (B.C. that is = before corona), after shopping some shirts and others clothes, my wife left a few of these plastic clips on the table. As I was just toying around with a packet trick, I was immediately hooked “clipped” and found them perfect to hold together a small packet of cards. I feel this looks better than an ordinary paper-clip, and it’s also less likely to scratch or damage the top and bottom cards.

I hope you will find this useful, too!


Free Things to Do in Corona Quarantine


Please note: This list is currently being updated regularly, with further links and suggestions coming in from loyal blog followers and Genii Forum readers. Thank you all!


Bored to the bone at home? Or even quarantined? Here are some tips on what you could get and do now. In total, it easily adds up to more than 2,000 free pages of magic to digest:

Chief Genii Richard Kaufman has just kindly provided a link to a free read of his classic work, CardWorks. Enjoy!


Or take the time to read Paco Nagata‘s fine book, The Passion of an Amateur Card Magician, which is an enlightening labor of love on 554 pages. It’s huge, and you can download it for free here.

Jamy Ian Swiss wrote 71 (!) masterful essays for Magicana featuring and analyzing many of the leading practitioners of magic, accompanied by carefully selected performance videos. You can find them here.

The Science of Magic Association has provided their newsletter readers with a lovely list of “SOMA’s Social Isolation Suggestions,” which includes several links both to videos and interesting websites. Check it out here.

Magic historian and publisher Marco Pusterla kindly offers you free access to any back issue of his “Ye Olde Magic Mag.” Learn here how to get access.

NEW: The Conjuring Arts Research Center has just started their “FREE Quarantine Book Club” which offers six classic books of magic while you are stuck ast home.

Or check out Paul Romhany‘s VANISH magazine. It’s a change bag full of diverse topics, and I feel there’s always at least one interesting piece in each issue. The eight latest issues can be downloaded for free here. No. 69 also contains some corona quarantine tips from various magicians.

Go see my recent post on some of my personal heroes and wizards of the world wide web. There’s a lot more free stuff to get and to digest via the links I have compiled there.


Head over to lybrary.com or to any other magic dealer. Check out their free downloads, but also try to spend a few bucks, if you can, to help support the magic community in this new age of anxiety. And get some new books, manuscripts, or tricks in order to learn and improve in the arts. Just two examples that will keep you busy for a while:

Lybrary.com offers, among many other things, three volumes of Lives of the Conjurers by Professor Solomon for free here. Hundreds of pages for a nice and easy read. In fact, they currently have a total of 135 (!) publications that you can get for free – see them all here.

Vanishing Inc. has, among other things, Magic in Mind for free. A few years ago, Joshua Jay “set out to assemble some of the most important, influential, and helpful essays on magic ever written, and make them available to all serious students of magic for free.” That’s 500 pages of great thinking and inspiration!


Whoops, we have just missed a weekend of free access to Kozmo‘s site, Reel Magic, which he offered in order to “enjoy the weekend, learn some magic and forget about all of this crap that’s happening around us.” Nice! However, one issue of of his DVD series (No. 41) remains accessible for free. Check it out here.


Chris Michael and Danny Orleans (the latter a co-founder of AmazeKids) are working on a preschool theme show. In their words, it’s “about how to prevent the spread of the virus. You can bet it’ll be a perfect program for them when schools re-open.” Both are currently writing a complete script for it, but they allow you to create your own themed show based around their ideas, which I find quite amazing, kids, and very generous. The Title is “Scrub-a-Dub-Dub” and you can download a free outline here.

Nick Lewin shares “Five ways to be positive” in these times in his blog post here.

Silly Billy (David Kaye) was quick in putting together a free ebook called “11 Things Every Performer Should Do During The Coronavirus Qurantine.” It’s useful and a quick, fun read.



Videos: As the Portland Magic Jam also had to be cancelled, each of the four headliners (Max Maven, Shawn Farquhar, Stephen Bargatze, and John Shryock) kindly agreed to do a small online video lecture – for free. It’s scheduled for Saturday, March 28, 1:00 p.m. in Portland, Oregon (which should be Pacific Standard Time).

Update: If you missed the live event, you can catch up here.

Tim Ellis currently interviews other magicians nightly from his Laneway Theatre in Melbourne, Australia. Recent guests have included Michael Close, David Regal, and Gaston.

Haven’t heard much from the UK’s Magiflix project recently, but they do have a small free video section available here where you can learn the “Pre-Prefiguration” card trick (by Jennings/Elsdon), which is astonishing, simple, and totally impromptu.


The inimitable David Stone has uploaded a quick and funny short Corona Card Virus Trick here which you really shouldn’t miss!


And then there’s coin master and all-around wizard Helge Thun, who keeps us spellbound with his Chinese-American Corona Virus Coin War:


If you are more into High Brow entertainment, why don’t you check out Teller‘s production of Macbeth, which he directed a few years ago?


There are two magic streaming events coming up – and they are free of charge. But please consider donating to the artists or to charities which help coping with corona!

Vanishing Inc. will be hosting “ShareMagic:Live” on April 5th at 12 pm NYC time. You need to register in advance for the event. Artists include Morgan and West, Harapan Ong, Caroline Ravn, Jim Krenz, Daniel Garcia, Andi Gladwin, Joshua Jay, and more. Find out more here.


German magicians Marcus Weissenberg and Till Frömmel have also gathered together a great line-up of artists for their “Magic at Home Livestreamfestival” on YouTube and Instagram. It will run on three consecutive nights from April 3rd to 5th, always starting at 6 pm German time. Featured artists include Topas, Wolfgang Moser, Gaston Florin, Simon Pierro, Moritz Müller, and many others more. Follow the event here.

Here’s a fun preview by Wolfgang Moser:


Plus: Already looking forward to this treas(h)ure from Milk Can Magic Motion Pictures!



This is probably how the late great Ricky Jay would have attacked and killed the coronavirus:




Work on new ideas, thoughts, moves, tricks, and presentations! Time is on your hands. Bingeviewing may make you happy, bingeforumsurfing may make you miserable, but both options won’t make you much smarter or better in anything…


Read or learn other stuff outside of magic. The other day, my younger boy created this fine rendition for me of America’s Premier Illusionist, Master Deceptionist, Bizarrist and Contortionist, THE GREAT DONALDILI. And it just took him a few minutes. Pure magic! I’d like to learn that, too! (So far, I can only cut out and move around stuff in Powerpoint…)

Donald Sternenkrieger


Make plans for the future, or at least give it a thought: How will we emerge from this global crisis? What changes are likely to happen in your personal environment, your business or maybe in your career? Do you already have a plan B? What do you want to change?

There may be lots of problems ahead; but what about the opportunities? If you’re a magician, conjure up some good spirit for yourself and for others and get to work!


Finally: Use your head! Be cautious, be sensible, take care of your loved ones and yourself, and please stay safe!


Zaubern mit Corona?!

Corona Spongeballs3

Die Frage mag manchen absurd, anderen geschmacklos vorkommen; aber jeder neue Trend oder Hype aus Medien und Gesellschaft, ob positiv oder negativ (wie eindeutig hier!), bietet dem zeitgemäßen Zauberer auch relevantes Vortragsfutter, ob ernsthaft vorgetragen oder eher augenzwinkernd.

Wie könnte man also die aktuelle Not und Ausnahmesituation zur Zauber-Tugend machen und dadurch vielleicht ein kleines bisschen erträglicher gestalten? (Humor darf schließlich ansteckend sein!) Hier sind fünf Ideen – natürlich nicht unbedingt zur zeitnahen Umsetzung (Wer will jetzt Zauberer sehen? Und wer wollte oder sollte jetzt unbedingt fremde Schwammbälle oder Karten anfassen?), sondern für die hoffentlich bald kommende Zeit “danach”:

  1. Das Bild oben deutet es schon an: Schwammbälle als Corona-Viren, die plötzlich erscheinen, wild von Hand zu Hand wandern, sich verdoppeln und am Ende explosionsartig (Tom Stone!) vermehren, wenn wir nicht sehr gut aufpassen…
  2. Die eher klassische Variante: Der Chicagoer Billardball-Trick wird zum Mailänder Corona-Fiasko… Tragisch! Als positive Note einfach nach und die Viren-Bälle wieder verschwinden lassen und die Gefahr bannen. Darauf dann einen guten Espresso!
  3. Endlich mal ein sinnvoller Einsatz für den vor sich hin staubenden Kellentrick: Ein einfaches Holzstäbchen wird so wahlweise zum Rachentester oder Fieberthermometer. Am Ende verschwindet die Bedrohung natürlich so schnell wieder, wie sie gekommen ist!
  4. Großes Revival für das Svengali-Spiel: Ein “frei gewählter” Kartenvirus verbreitet sich rasant von Stapel zu Stapel, bis er das ganze Volk infiziert hat… Zum Glück verschwindet auch hier der Spuk schnell wieder, und die Gesellschaft lebt so bunt und divers weiter wie zuvor…
  5. Ähnlich gelagert, aber noch überzeugender und dramatischer zu präsentieren: Der Wild Card-Effekt hat endlich einen sinnvollen Plot (okay, den zweiten nach Tommy Wonder) gefunden! Der Virus ist nämlich so gefährlich, dass er blitzartig eine Karte nach der anderen “erwischt”… Zarte Gemüter drehen die Story natürlich um und bringen wahlweise einen Joker wie Jens Spahn, Meister Proper oder Jedi-Meister Yoda ins Spiel, um eine Gruppe Viren nach und nach zu deaktivieren! – Wer gerade kein Wild Card-Set parat hat, nimmt einfach vier oder fünf Karten und verwandelt diese nacheinander (per DL und Elmsley) in die “Virenträger-Karte” und zurück.
  6. Bonus-Idee: Jetzt günstig ein paar Corona-Biere kaufen und mit den Kronkorken eine Matrix-Routine als Viren-Wanderung inszenieren oder den Virus ohne Umschweife per Spellbound Change oder à la Karate Coin unschädlich machen. Eine flotte Umsetzung (“How to Kill Corona in 3 Seconds!”) könnte in den sozialen Medien schnell viral gehen – und das wäre ja mal eine erwünschte Massenverbreitung. Prost!

Corona Caps


Nick Lewin, Profizauberer und Kolumnist beim “Vanish Magic Magazine”, hat auch gerade einige Tipps zum Zaubern in der Corona-Krise veröffentlicht. Lesenswert!


Neues zur Kulturgeschichte der Zauberkunst

Wittus Witt hat soeben die zweite Ausgabe vom A-B-C der Taschenspielerkunst vorgelegt. Der 192-seitige Band enthält Beiträge von Peter Mika, Peter Rawert, Waldemar Hans Horster und Witt selbst. Highlights sind eine umfassende Biografie von Alexander Heimbürger sowie eine bisher unveröffentlichte Becherspiel-Routine von Reinhard Rohnstein. Dank Stefan Alexander Rautenberg gibt es aus dem Nachlass von Alexander Adrion eine CD-Beilage mit einem Heimbürger-Feature des Deutschlandfunks von 1982.

ABC Witt Bd2_sn

Schriftliche Bestellungen am besten direkt an abc@wittuswitt.de.


Ende März erscheint die recht spannend klingende Dissertation von Katharina Rein als Buch: Techniken der Täuschung: Eine Kultur- und Mediengeschichte der Bühnenzauberkunst im späten 19. Jahrhundert.

Rein Täuschung

In der Kurzbeschreibung des Titels heißt es:

Katharina Reins preisgekrönte kulturwissenschaftliche Dissertation widmet sich der Bühnenzauberkunst in ihrem “Goldenen Zeitalter” (ca. 1860–1900), das von wissenschaftlicher und technischer Innovation ebenso geprägt war wie von einer florierenden Medienkultur, den Umbrüchen der Industrialisierung oder den Erfahrungen von Globalisierung und Kolonialismus. Moderne Bühnenzauberei beansprucht keine übernatürliche Wirkung, vielmehr präsentiert sie technisch erzeugte Illusionen, deren Funktionsweisen sie allerdings verbirgt. Sie stellt damit eine spezifische Form des Mediengebrauchs dar, die mediale Effekte exzessiv ausstellt, während sie das dahinterstehende technische Geschehen zum Verschwinden bringt. Die Analyse von vier paradigmatischen Großillusionen (“Pepper’s Ghost”, “Vanishing Lady”-, Levitations- und Telepathie-Illusion) eröffnet nicht nur schlaglichtartige Einblicke in die bislang weitgehend ungeschriebene Zaubergeschichte des späten 19. Jahrhunderts. Sie geben zugleich die Sicht frei auf einschneidende kulturelle Veränderungen und Innovationen, die in diese moderne, hoch technisierte Form von Magie Eingang fanden.

Das Buch wird gebunden 34 Euro kosten und kann z.B. hier bei Amazon vorbestellt werden.

Die Autorin wird darüber auch bei Magica 2020 referieren.

Hier ist sie im Interview mit den Machern des Trickverrat Podcasts zu hören.


On the Svengali Deck


By and large, magic forums are a constant source of annoyance and depression to me, paired with an uneasy feeling of waste, both of precious time and positive energy.

On the other hand, there is something new to learn or discover almost every other day, which makes browsing through various forums rather rewarding. For example, like many other majishuns, I had never heard of the fact, until recently, that the French call the Svengali deck “un jeu radio” because of the long and short waves on which radio transmission operates. And what became the “Stripper Deck” much later, started out as the biseauté deck, even in English (see Prof. Hoffmann‘s Modern Magic, for example). Not earth-shattering, but quite fascinating to learn, isn’t it?

Which reminded me of an alternative, unsuspecting Svengali Force I came up with many years ago. I guess it’s likely that others have had the same idea before me, but I haven’t seen it in print yet. Here it is:

1. Divide the Svengali deck into two packets by separating the force cards from the regular cards. Put the regular cards on top of the force bank, all face up.

2. In performance, casually spread through the different cards face up. Then turn the deck face down, cut it at the break and riffle shuffle (or, even better, faro) the two halves together, but without squaring them.

3. Instead, spread them into a huge, even double fan and have a spectator take any card. Naturally, he’ll pick one from the outer bank. It will be one of the force cards.

4. Square the deck and have the selected card replaced anywhere. With the two halves now neatly mixed into each other, you are all set to move into your Svengali routine.*

*If you don’t have one yet, make sure to check out the work of master Svengali pitchman Mark Lewis and his oldie-but-golden booklet, The Long and the Short of it.

Have fun exploring this idea!

For more Tricks & Ideas just click here!


Mark Wilson’s Illusions for Sale

Mark Wilson Auction

If you have always wanted to own an illusion by Mark Wilson, the legendary TV and trade show magician, your chance is coming up this very weekend! A lot of the boxes have been created by Alan Wakeling and built by John Gaughan, two further legends in the field.

You can download the auction catalog right here. Enjoy browsing!


Empowering Your Spectator


Recently, there was a discussion over at the Genii Forum which impromptu trick you would do if you were handed a deck of cards and were to perform only one thing. This reminded me of three older favorites of mine:

(1) “Gemini Twins” by Karl Fulves – always a stunner! And as a “psychic experiment” great for couples, when both “intuitively” find the mate of their partner’s card. You will find it in his book More Self-Working Card Tricks.

(2) “The Waikiki Shuffle,” a fun card location invented by Bill Murata, to be found in Roberto Giobbi‘s Card College Light.

(3) Francis Carlyle‘s “Upside-Down Deck” from Scarne on Card Tricks. It’s easy, quick, and visual, and you can make the spectator the star, which is almost always a good idea and usually better than the “Look what I can do!” braggadocio approach. Just hand him a magic wand (a worn pencil stub gets a laugh), let him tap the mixed-up deck three times and then reveal 1) his chosen card, 2) your own chosen card in the 3) “triumphed” deck!

Bonus idea: If you hand out as a wand the rod with the gems on opposite ends (from Ken Allen‘s “Jumping Gems”), you can go with the flow right into this routine…

To be more precise, here’s what you could do: Show the rod as a regular mini wand, with gems on both ends on both sides. Proudly point out that over the years you have ascended through the ranks to the status of a full-fledged four-star magic wand holder. A beginner, however, would start with a blank rod (demonstrate it). But as your spectator friend has just accomplished a freakin’ miracle, you promote him to honorary two-star status immediately (demonstrate). So he only needs two more stars on the back of the wand to catch up with you (show four again). End with the warning to always handle such a wand with great care, otherwise some stars may loosen and drop to the other end of the wand (demonstrate and “repair”). Tap your fist and make a palmed coin or sponge ball appear. Put the wand away and continue with your flow.

Performed like this, I feel there is no need to bring out the second or even third rod from “Jumping Gems.”


Die Rückkehr des Zauberzwerges

Auch „Er“ ist wieder da: Der Zauberzwerg. Volkmar Karsten hat sein Magazin rund die Zauberkunst für Kinder, das von 2008 bis 2013 in gedruckter Form erschien, dieser Tage als Blog neu belebt.

Das erklärte Ziel:

Mit dem Blog „Der Zauberzwerg“ sollen Themen rund um die Zauberkunst für Kinder aufgegriffen und diskutiert werden: Theorie und Praxis, Trickrezensionen, Vorstellung von Programmen oder Tricks, Wie mache ich aus einem Trick ein Zauberkunststück für Kinder?, pädagogische Grundlagen, tricktechnische Grundlagen, Porträts von Zauberkünstlern, Berichte von Kongressen, Auftritten oder Meisterschaften – kurzum alles, was für die Zauberkunst für Kinder von Interesse und Bedeutung ist.

Mitmachen und Mitdiskutieren ist natürlich gewünscht und auch nötig! Volkmar freut sich auf viele Mitstreiter, die nicht nur Mit-Leser sind.

Einen Bonus gibt es jetzt schon: ein Seminarheft zum Thema „Was Kinder sehen wollen“ als kostenlosen Download.

Zauberzwerg Blog


Jolting Erdnase


Whew, this year is off to a promising start! Gambling and cheating expert Steve Forte has just announced his two-volume tome, Gambling Sleight of Hand – Forte Years of Research. It will include a 130-pages chapter called “The Erdnase Factor”, and it may bring about a major shift (pun intended) in the perception of our Dark Lord!

As Forte teases,

Was Erdnase a cheater who plied his trade with moves and systems that he invented? Unfortunately, my findings suggest that Erdnase was neither a cheater nor an expert at the card table! I expect this chapter to jolt many cardmen.

Looking forward to learning more soon!


On a side shift note: Rumor has it that Forte’s great-grandfather (on his paternal side) might have been Erdnase, as his name is artfully hidden in the frontispiece of TEATCT…



A Magic Square in Barcelona

For those of you who are interested in magic squares, here’s a fun fact: There is a magic square on the front of the world-famous and awe-inspiring Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, Spain, which was envisioned by Antoni Gaudi. I happened to spot it on a recent trip to this magnificent city.


The numbers add up to 33 in the usual ways, which is supposedly the age at which Jesus Christ was crucified.

Second fun fact: If you look closely, you will realize that the creator had to cheat a little bit to make the magic square work. The numbers 12 and 16 are missing, and instead, the 10 and the 14 make a double appearance!