The Magic Art of Orimoto

As I’ve learned from Roberto Giobbi‘s recent newsletter (always an excellent and inspiring read, by the way), his wife Barbara is involved in Orimoto or Book Origami, a handcraft for creating artful objects by folding book pages. As Roberto explains, it is quite a laborious work, as each page is cut and folded in a particular way so that a message or design will be visible relief-style. Look at these wonderful samples (reproduced by permission here):

I think these are not only beautiful, magical objects to grace your bookshelf or collection; I could also see them play well in a parlor show within a story trick or as a very special revelation of a chosen word or playing card.

Actually, these pieces of art are for sale. Depending on complexity, they cost between $ 80 and 160 plus shipping. You can even ask for your personal design. For details, contact Roberto directly at




Tricks & Ideas: No-Card Card Magic


Let’s face it:

1. A lot of people don’t like card tricks. (Probably more people than those who don’t like magic in general, I guess.)

2. A lot of card tricks lend themselves to other—and better—presentations without rather than with cards. But we keep doing them with our beloved 52 assistants because we are either lazy or simply because we once learned them this way and like to stick to our habits.

Here’s a good example from a recent discussion over at the Genii Forum: Richard Vollmer‘s “Tapestry Trick” from Roberto Giobbi‘s Card College Lighter. It’s easy, very visual, self-working, and delivers a surprising climax, so there’s not much wrong with it.

Yet I feel that wrapping this interesting principle into playing cards only is a bit of a stretch and „cardmen‘s thinking.“ In addition, telling a story of an expensive tapestry with a hidden mark, embodied by four playing cards… really? In 2020? Not sure about the power of that hook!

No, this principle is really versatile and would be wasted on „playing cards only“ IMHO. Instead of playing cards, I could also see this play well with other flat objects, like Memory tiles or other game cards (like cars or Pokémons) which appeal more to children.

More options:

  • How about using 16 numbers and combining this effect with a Magic Square, either as an intro or as an extra kicker?
  • Why not use 16 beer mats (4 each of 4 brands) for a bar bet or bar trick? Just drop 4 bottle caps of the „winning“ brand as a hidden prediction into the fist of a spectator, and you are ready to play…
  • You could use any stack of thematic photos or postcards.
  • Or you could use a stack of loose pages from a paperback novel, turning half of them by 180 degrees. This would make a powerful quadruple force for mindreading.
  • Maybe this could even work as an impromptu beach trick with eight pairs of flip-flops!?
  • The most organic application for folding and turning over would probably be a city or country map. (However, I think you‘d need to cut out the pieces in advance and reconnect them with small clear tape hinges, which could be cut easily once the stack is reassembled.)

Just a couple of alternative ideas. I hope you like one better than the card trick and give it a try!


Zauberei sehen und hören

Jörg Alexander – Vimeo-Screenshot (s.u.)

Wer gestern die “Lange Nacht der Zauberei” von Margot Litten im Deutschlandfunk verpasst hat, kann den dreistündigen Kessel Buntes mit vielen O-Tönen (u.a. mit Siegfried, Wittus Witt, Thomas Fraps, Helge Thun, Jörg Alexander, Christoph Borer) derzeit hier nachhören und auch das 57-seitige (!) Manuskript der Sendung herunterladen. Im Vorfeld gab es auch noch ein Interview mit Hans Klok.


Harry Keaton wurde vor ein paar Tagen in einem Beitrag der “Hessenschau” des hr-Fernsehens als “Ein Magier mit Doktortitel” vorgestellt, der hier abrufbar ist.


Roberto Giobbi bietet am 7. und 8. März 2020 auf Schloss Guteneck eine neue Masterclass über “Stand-up Card Magic” an.


 Hier gibt es ein neues kurzes Video von Jörg Alexander über die Zauberkunst.


Wenn Anfang Juli FISM Europe in Manresa (Spanien) über die Bühne geht, werden die folgenden deutschen Acts und Seminarleiter dabei sein: Topas, Eberhard Riese, Gaston Florin (mit Jaqueline!) und Nikolai Striebel.


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.”


A Test in Inattentional Blindness: Are You Ready?

Jack Queen

!!! WARNING !!!

The following test may cause extreme temporary self-contempt! Participate at your own risk, and don’t blame me for your likely failure, please!


O.K., first question to all you cardicians out there: About how many hours of your life have you logged in so far toying or practicing with a deck of cards in your hands? 1,000 hours? 10,000? Maybe even 100,000? (That would be my guess for the likes of Richard Turner and Roberto Giobbi!)

Anyway, you are pretty familiar with a standard poker deck of cards in USPCC design, aren’t you? I bet you bet you are!

So, here are a few simple questions then. If you have a deck in your hands right now, put it away. If you don’t carry one now, good. Keep away from the nearest box. And don’t peek! (I would notice.)

Ten questions to shake your cardboard world:

(1) How many different print colors do the regular court cards display, including black?
(Don’t guess! Envision the cards and try to remember their precise look!)

OK, that was quite easy for a starter, wasn’t it? Go on…

(2) When we look at all twelve court cards, how many of them are looking to our left?

I think I already got you on this one. But there’s more to come…

(3) How many court cards are shown in profile (and not full-face)?

(4) Which Queen is holding more than just a flower in her hand?

(5) Which King does not hold a sword?

(6) Which Jack is holding what looks like a fancy mirror (or maybe even a magic paddle)?

(7) How many Jacks do sport a fancy mustache? (And which ones?)

(8) And how many Kings don’t? (And which ones?)

(9) Only the Jack and Queen of which suit do not look into the same direction?

(10) Bonus question: How many of the regular 52 cards of a deck feature an asymmetrical design?

OK, that’s it.

And here’s my Super Ultimate No Stooges-Threads-Magnets-Switches-MO Prediction:

You have failed miserably! You mostly have no clue.

But don’t worry, almost everybody is in the same boat with you!

And now go back to your deck for a reality check and study the cards closely, as closely as probably never before in your life! I won’t post the correct answers here so later readers can enjoy (?) this test, too.

If you got just five (or even more) answers out of ten right (by knowing, not by lucky guessing!), I bow deeply and salute you! In that case, if you shoot me a proud and honest e-mail at zzzauber [at] arcor dot de, I will be happy to send you a free commercial and visual trick with a marvellous card-finding sword stunt performed by one of the Kings!


To make you feel better, I’ll post a brief explanation of this disturbing phenomenon in a few days. Rejoice, this is not about you and your shortcomings; it’s all about our brain, the way we perceive, filter and store information (or don’t)! That’s why so often we look, but don’t see…


Well Said: Roberto Giobbi on “Getting Better”


In his latest “Secret Newsletter”, Roberto states:

I think it is one of the big frauds of our time to believe that one could get better at something by buying things. In my opinion one gets better by doing something differently.

Well said!

By the way, you may want to subscribe to his newsletter here.


New Directions (2): The Books & DVD Department

Gioberto Robbi has apparently started to work on his latest tome, Paddle College, with Ian Adair consulting. Rumour has it that all seven volumes can either be read or shown empty from both ends.


Big Butt Media will be back soon with the latest installment of their hailed Project DVD series, this time compiling and teaching “30 Ways to Take a Deck From The Case”.


The Academee of Majical Arts is expected to release a major mental miracle called “Wilma’s Winners” soon. It allows you to elegantly predict all future AMA winners from a secret list featuring, umm, all previous AMA winners. The booklet includes a cheat sheet and a coupon for a “pay 3, get 2” standing lunch at the Magic Castleteria.