Looks Familiar?

Hmmm… is this only me, or is there a strangely fascinating cousinship between that crazy puppet from Steve Axtell on the left and our most beloved, crazy birdlike maestro JT on the right???

1 Axtell und JT



Elmsley doesn’t, Goldin does it

Today I am convinced: You can’t fool kids with an Elmsley Count (at least I can’t). And I had to learn it the hard way. If they watch closely, they will inevitably catch you (or me) false-counting or at least “doing something while counting.“ To present any face-up card twice within the count also does not fly by them. Is it just me? Anyway, I have come to accept this and refrain from having good old Count Elmsley haunt my packet tricks or even myself!

On the other hand, I have never been caught or questioned on the Goldin Force, not even by those little rugrats. This one does fly by! I take it as another proof that this force is not only quick, elegant and surefire, but also brutally underrated and underused among majishuns. Go look it up in Roberto Giobbi’s Card College Vol. 1 in case you are interested!

Do you agree? What are your experiences?


10 Good Reasons Why This Man Was Erdnase

(…and one or two why probably not.)

Foollowing the lines of, uhmm, “special thinking” and wild inductive reasoning often displayed in the Erdnase thread over at the Genii Forum,  minutes and hours of my own dedicated research and uninformed opinining have unearthed that the author of “Expert” had, in fact, always been around, hiding in plain sight before us and even among us, as he was no outsider to our community. On the contrary, he was and is one of our most respected practitioners and innovators!

This man…

  • like few others had the expertise to perform all the sleights described in the book with unflinching audacity
  • was interested and well-versed both in gambling and magic
  • was a true artist but also a logical, almost scientific thinker
  • could write well and did so elsewhere
  • preached to be natural and to handle the deck lightly
  • loved a good secret and fooling the boys (and he did keep many secrets over decades)
  • was almost always in need of money
  • became, in fact, the biggest promoter of his own book
  • had a special reason for using the anagram “Erdnase”: At one point in time, in New York, a Dr. S. Weenas (sic!) was his optometrician
    • hid and displayed his name very prominently on the famous title page of TEATCT, centered within the inverted pyramid text:  DetAIl eVERy kNOwN

Finally, Erdnase has been found. There can be no doubt that DAI VERNON is the man.

Yes, yes, I know what you’re saying… Officially, Dai Vernon was only born in 1894 and the book appeared in 1902. What a boy wonder! Or maybe he just cheated about his real age. Was he probably about 15 years older than he claimed? Considering his early proficiency with cards, this must be true! Or maybe it was a father and son ploy, elaborately planned and executed over decades. (Just like some U.S. White House takeovers.) And yes, he didn’t choose to be called Dai Vernon until much later on, but, hey, maybe the guy was just planning ahead! All part of the ploy.

Vernon’s the man. Case closed. Thread closed. Now let’s move on to other secrets, please:

  1. Who was the mysterious Frenchman (?) “Mr Charlier”?
  2. Who invented the legendary Horse Drop?
  3. And who is “R.G.”, the German (?) author of the early card book Ein Spiel Karten (A Deck of Cards) from 1853?

Go, Geniis!

A Magic Mount Rushmore

Imagine a millionaire would donate a mountain and pay a sculptor to chisel some famous faces of past masters out of the stone for a magicians’ version of Mount Rushmore.

I guess my top list would carry the names of  Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser, Harry Houdini, Dai Vernon, and Fred Kaps.

Which four or five heads of the stellar exponents of our art would you like to see up there preserved in stone?


1,800+ Pages of Killer Magic? Where???


I know a man who most likely knows more about magic than all regular readers of this blog together. Who has arguably created, adapted or refined and published more magic tricks than Jay Sankey and David Regal together, in equal quality (which is no mean feat). A man who obviously lives, thinks, and breathes magic in every minute of his life, no matter whether he is performing, teaching, creating, tinkering at his kitchen table, or writing.

Alexander de Cova‘s magnificent German BURNERS project is nearing completion with the publication of its sixth volume within just a few years. Yep, that’s already a total of 1,800+ pages of great, innovative, easy, practical, well thought-out magic, spanning 30+ years and almost all genres of magic plus loads of tips and practical advice. And there may still be a lot more to come.

The first volumes have garnered a lot of appraisal among German-speaking magicians. They have also brought Alexander for the second time the prestigious “Writer of the Year Award” which is granted by the Magic Circle of Germany (MZvD).

Besides, he has conceived and handled two lecture tours, has produced and put out a number of new tricks and has published “work books” on misdirection, the thumb-tip and his famous clothes-peg switch (all in German). Plus, there is a great blog which Alexander occasionally writes in English, German and Spanish (!).

If you are not familiar with any of Alexander’s work yet, you will find some of his English publications over at Lybrary. But the Big Book of de Cova’s Masterful Magic in English has yet to be published. Fortunately, he has recently announced a first volume of his magic in English under the title Notas (Spanish for “notes”).

Plus, Alexander has just started his own bi-monthly series of tricks in “Genii Magazine” (April 2018 issue, featuring his excellent “Forte-X” multiple prediction card routine), this time under the title “Notizen” (German for “notes”).

Check out Alexander’s work! There’s is a lot to learn from one of the most knowledgeable, most creative and most skilled magicians of his generation.



Alles was man sammeln kann: Zauberbriefmarken

Houdini USA 2002

“Sammler sind glückliche Menschen”, soll Johann Wolfgang von Goethe einmal gesagt haben. Aber so richtig gilt das ja erst, wenn eine Sammlung komplettiert ist oder wenn man einen besonderen Fang gemacht hat, womöglich noch ganz unverhofft und zum Schnäppchenpreis!

Mein “glücklichstes” Sammelgebiet sind seit einigen Jahren Briefmarken mit magischen Motiven, und das aus mindestens drei Gründen:

  1. Die absolute Anzahl der Sammelobjekte ist überschaubar.
  2. Die Sammlung passt platzsparend in wenige Alben und Mappen.
  3. Die allermeisten Marken, Blöcke oder Ersttagsbriefe lassen sich mit etwas Geduld und Kreativität in den Weiten des Internet aufspüren und für Preise zwischen 1 und 20 Euro erwerben.

So sind bei mir bislang bereits über 300 Marken (inklusive doppelten und ungestempelten/gestempelten Varianten sowie Blöcken und Ersttagsbriefen) zusammengekommen.

Einige Beispiele und weitere Informationen habe ich hier zusammengestellt.


Zauberei aus dem 3D-Drucker

3DMagicWie ich kürzlich entdeckt habe, stellt die Firma 3D Magic Works wundervolle Kunststücke im 3D-Druck-Verfahren her. Da kommt durchaus Tenyo-Feeling auf!

Es steht zu vermuten, dass auch diese Tricks schnell eine wachsende Fangemeinde finden und zu Sammlerstücken avancieren werden.

Hier ist eine frühe Idee von mir zu einem Trick mit einem 3D-Drucker.

Addendum: Im Magic Café gibt es einen Thread zu den Angeboten von 3D Magic Works.

A Word on Scherer

Christian Scherer is a well-known performer, card expert and prolific author from Switzerland. Among his many credits are also translations of the works of Henning Nelms and S.W. Erdnase into German. His most recent contribution is Magicians in Action 1980-2015, a huge three-volume documentary containing photos plus autobiographical and anecdotal texts (in English) of 250 magicians from 28 countries whom he has photographed on stage over the last decades.

A while ago, Scherer published a big book of his original magic in German, titled Schlaglichter (“Bright Lights”). What I particularly like about it: It is accompanied by a website that features performance videos of all routines for close-up, parlor, and stage featured in the book (almost 30 in total). What a great way to experience the look and feel of the tricks and to judge your personal mileage from of the book! I only wished more authors would go this extra mile!

Here’s one example I particularly liked, an innovative ball routine well suited for the Golf & Country Club performer. I am sure you will be able to enjoy it, too, even if you don’t happen to speak German. (Be premonished, though, that it will take more than two minutes before the magic actually starts, reflecting the unhurried, low-key style of the performer and probably celebrating the proverbial slowness of the amiable folks of Switzerland.)

Scherer Minigolf
Screenshot from the website mentioned above