The Magic Circle History Day 2022

Now here’s an upcoming event I’m really looking forward to! It will be both an honor and a great pleasure to share the stage with magic artist and fellow researcher Jonathan Allen. Our presentation will shine a light on a creative, yet mostly overlooked kicker ending of a Kalanag routine and share more than a few background information.

Stay tuned for more!

Advert for what will certainly be a great and inspiring day!

A Lovely Cardboard Illusion

Here is a lovely DIY illusion which I came across recently over at Magic Center Harri.* It cost me a mere 5 Euros, and I had some fun assembling the pieces (it only takes some cutting and glueing). When you turn the cardboard wheel on the right with your fingers, the right arm holding the top hat comes down on the rabbit, moves up again, and–poof!–the rabbit is gone.

Obviously, this trick is not precision-made from wood or metal, but with a slight bend here and there the cardboard mechanics work pretty accurately. This little illusion will make a nice display on my magic bookshelf. Oh, and I love the way the rabbit is looking up towards calamity!

*This post might be considered as advertising, but if so, it was unpaid and unsolicited. I bought the prop and enjoyed it, so for me this is news from the magic & art department and sort of a mini review.

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Tricks & Ideas: The Wrong Card … Right!

As some of you may have noticed here, I’m a sucker for exploring the more subtle or hidden features of playing cards, especially of the Court cards. I have opened secret back doors on cards, have pierced pips of selected cards with the sword of a King, etc. This weekend I have finally gotten around to cut and glue together a new (?) form of prediction card. Have you ever noticed that both the Queen of Spades and the King of Hearts have their hands in perfect position to either hold a miniature playing card, an envelope or any other kind of prediction?

There are basically two ways of creating such extra cards: with our without an extra layer. Without is easier and slightly quicker to accomplish. That’s what I’ve done here. Simply take a small but sharp pair of scissors and cut the card around the two hands and arms (but not along the blue line that frames the image). Then cut out a matching mini prediction card (in my case the center pip of an Ace of Diamonds) and insert it between the hands, which you have to bend slightly upwards. The disadvantage of this method: You cannot put the card face down on the table because the cuts will be visible through the back. To avoid this, cut out the hands and arms you need from another spare card and glue them onto the Queen or King. But use glue only on the arms, so the hands are free to receive the prediction card.

To use this card in play, all you need is a sw***h and a f***e. You may even want to present the Queen of Spades as a wrong prediction first. Then toss it aside (and sw***h it), try again, fail again, and then come back to your original prediction and discover that this card is now holding another prediction, which of course then turns out to be correct. It’s a matter of taste whether you want to shove this prediction right into your spectator’s face or show it face down first. If it’s face down, you will have a double effect: first, the surprising appearance of this tiny prediction, and second, the correct prediction on the other side. In addition, you can use the corny joke first that you have correctly predicted the back design of the chosen card… Hey presto!

Just another thought. Have fun trying this or exploring it further!

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A Free Ebook on Science Magic

I have mentioned fellow magician, science educator and “Curator of Wonder” Dr. Matt Pritchard here before. Featuring more than 130 interviews (as of this writing) with fascinating professionals from different fields, his Words on Wonder website remains a constant source of inspiration. But now he is also generously sharing a free ebook, Sparking Wonder, which is full of clever DIY science tricks for teachers and magicians alike, plus some notes on presenting them. It has 94 pages, and I enjoyed it a lot! Incidentally, the book contains a selfmade version of the optical arrow illusion I recently described here. The wonders of wonder…

The ebook and other free resources are available here.

Thank you for sharing these, Matt!

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Mirror Magic

I’m a sucker for optical illusions and visual fodder. Recently, I came across the intriguing objects created by Prof. Kokichi Sugihara of Japan. He seems to be a leading expert, specializing on impossible 3-D objects. Miraculously, their reflections in a mirror create quite a different image.

1 Pfeil Sugihara (2)

As you can see, the mirror image of the arrow points in the opposite direction. In addition, once you turn the arrow 180 degrees on its pole, the tip of the arrow seems to jump back right into its original direction of pointing. Absolutely stunning!

1 Kartensymbole Sugahira (2)

This second illusion even lends itself to a little card trick. Show the object with the four card symbols as a “secret prediction.” Then force the Four of Hearts on your spectator and offer “a backstage view” on the illusion. In the mirror, your helper will discover the correct prediction of his chosen card!

Unpaid and unsolicited advertising: I bought these objects at Magic Center Harri, one of Germany’s big, respected, and trustworthy magic dealers. These are simple plastic props, others are made of cardboard. Prices are low, starting around 10 Dollars, and one of them may be a perfect addition to your online magic show!


When Magic Meets Pinocchio

Lie-Tie: Recent magic dealer ad

There are manifold relations between magic and politics, yet they are not always blatantly obvious. There’s an interesting book (in German) by our dear magic friend, Dr. Harry Keaton (of “Fool Us!” fame), who has thoroughly researched the principles of deception employed by politicians. Yet there are rather few tricks that lend themselves to “political” presentations. But a few days ago, I came across the one above in a dealer’s mailing: a tongue-in-cheek product of Magic Castle veteran Milt Larsen. To reflect reality, I’d say the tie should stretch to four to five yards, at least!


The Tenyo Tricks for 2021 are Out

Tenyo has recently announced their set of new tricks for 2021. Here we go:

  • T-294 Magical Honeycomb (by So Sato), a double transposition of two cardboard hexagons
  • T-295 The Blur (by Mathieu Bich), a card effect with a gimmicked deck where all cards turn blurred, except for the chosen one
  • T-296 Magic Tweezers (by Kenichi Komiya, original idea by Mario Lopez), a fine visual appearance of coins out of a mystery card with a small hole in it, and
  • T-297 Cheek to Cheek, a gimmicked version of “Triumph”.

Judging from the videos, the “Magic Tweezers” trick is my favorite from the 2021 line-up (but I will probably use an old credit card with a punched hole it its center)!

The tricks should ship from magic dealers within the next two or three weeks.


Zaubern, bis der Moderator kommt

PUR+, das beliebte TV-Wissensmagazin für Kinder von ca. 8 bis 12 Jahren, das beim KIKA und im ZDF läuft, hat sich in den letzten Jahren auch in der Zauberszene einen guten Ruf erarbeitet, dank flotter, respektvoller und kindgerechter Sendungen, etwa mit den Ehrlich Brothers, Topas und Thomas Fraps oder zum Thema Optische Täuschungen. Moderator Eric Mayer hat dabei stets die Aufgabe, als “Stuntman des Wissens” selbst etwas zu erlernen, und er stellt auch Nachwuchszauberer vor.

Von PUR+, das gerade seinen 20. Geburtstag feiert, sind derzeit einige der letzten Sendungen und Beiträge rund um Zaubern und Täuschung in der ZDFtivi Mediathek abrufbar.

Screenshot ZDFtivi/PUR+

Craig Petty is Back with Rants, Reviews, and Tricks

CraigPetty

YouTube Screenshot

Craig Petty, magic performer, inventor and co-host of the original “Wizard Product Review” is back on the magic scene. After a few years doing one thing or the other, he has started a YouTube channel called “Slightly Unusual” and is back with a daily dose of tricks, reviews, rants, Q&As, and more, slightly matured, but still with explicit lyrics guaranteed.

Here’s his latest rant on the ridiculous flooding of the magic market with daily truckloads of download trash:

He has also produced a very funny, self-deprecating video about the trick RED (not his trick at all, as it turned out) “that literally killed his career.” Kudos for that!

Magic certaily needs much more honest trailers like this one!

What I rather dislike is how Craig shoves his little boy into the poisonous world of YouBurp. I don’t feel that little kids belong there and that they should be protected from all the jeer and filth and hatred until they are old enough to decide for themselves.

But then, I’m old-fashioned and also believe that political leaders should have a bright, honest mind, respect for the Law and some love and understanding for the people and their needs and concerns… What do I know?


Is This the Perfect Paddle Pen?

PaddlePen

My artist wife got these nice drawing pens called “Design Twin Marker” a while ago in Copenhagen, Denmark. (As we found out later, it’s easy to order them on this internet thing as well, so don’t worry!)

When I played around with these I noticed that their shape and thickness are about as perfect as it gets for a magical paddle pen! Furthermore, the four rounded sides of the pen can be used for more than one transformation, like blank to brand name / to name of chosen card / to “Vanished!” message, at least when playing to a camera.

Just another idea. Give it a try if you are also a pompous, petty paddle peddler!