Beginner’s Study 10/97-12/97


Beginner’s Study 10/97-12/97

October 1997

The Traveling Ghost Hank
Bobby J. Gallo
In honor of the Halloween season, I’m presenting two effects for beginners with a Halloween theme. The first is an effect that can be used with great success anytime of the year. Kid show performers will be especially pleased with this routine since it is a natural follow-up to the “*Stiff Hank Re-done” routine found last month in the Kids Show Konservatory.

Materials Needed:

  • Two white pocket handkerchiefs
  • Performer must be wearing pants with front pockets that can be pulled out to show that they are empty.


Explain to the audience that your handkerchief not only stands up and bends by itself, (*Stiff Hank Re-done) but it can travel invisibly through he air as most ghosts can!

The performer pulls out both of his pockets and shows them to be empty. He then places the hank in his right pants pocket after pushing them both back in. Then after a quick snap of the fingers, the pocket is pulled out again only to show that the hank has vanished!

Watching the invisible ghost travel through the air, the magician looks into his left pocket and pulls out the hank!

The process is repeated only to have the ghost hank fly back to his right pocket. For a finale, the hank is pushed back into his pocket and made to completely vanish! No trace is to be found…..


You will notice upon examination of your pockets, that in the inside upper corner of each pocket is a small space in which you can place a tightly folded handkerchief. When the pockets are pulled out, the hank will remain hidden and appear to have vanished. This is an old dodge, used to make a hank disappear but is seldom used today. A more complete description of the move can be found in Rice’s Encyclopedia of Silk Magic Vol #1.

Before the presentation, a hank has been previously placed in the upper corner of the performer’s left hand pocket. Now proceed as described in the presentation above.

After performing any previous hank effect. Tell your story, roll the hank up and place it in the right hand pocket being sure to place it is the upper corner. Pull out the pocket proper and it will have vanished. The rest of the routine is self-explanatory.

Practice this in front of the mirror and you will see how effective it really is. Also, rehearse the move of putting the hank into your upper pocket to ensure the (sleight?) operation is smooth and just appears as if you are placing it in there.

Played correctly, this can be a feature effect!

The Witches of Pasteboard
Bobby J. Gallo
This is a card trick loosely based on a routine by Jean Hugard called “Poker Player’s Picnic” found in “Royal Road to Card Magic“. This is a simplified handling of the effect that is perfect for beginners. For our advanced students, you may wish to consult “Royal Road to Card Magic” in order to incorporate more advanced handlings.

In the classic version of the effect, the trick is performed using the four aces. We are substituting them for the four queens that will represent witches. Also dispensed is the “overhand shuffle” as a means by which to control the cards.

Materials Needed:

  • A deck of cards with all four queens on top of the deck.

Effect: after the cards have been dealt a number of times, all the queens end up on top of the piles!


With all the queens on top of the deck, explain to the spectator that the Witches of Pasteboard are going to make an appearance! Ask him to divide the deck into four piles and to place them on the table in a row starting from left to right. The queens are now on top of the right hand pile.

Have the spectator pickup the first (left hand) pile, deal off three cards and place them aside. Now he deals a card from the same pile onto each of the remaining piles on the table.

The process is then repeated with the remaining piles.

At the conclusion the the dealing, turn over the top card of each piles and the witches (queens) have appeared!

Notes: This may sound like a simple card trick, and it is! But do not let that fool you. I have amazed many people with it and I’m sure you will too! We call this the “Too close to the trees syndrome” Sometimes, even simple methods such as this fool people as much as more advanced card magic due to the fact that many times spectators are looking for sleights and gimmicks so much that they overlook what is happening right in front of them.

I am leaving the presentation up to the student. What I’ve done is given you the premise and method. Be creative and make the most of it!

November 1997

This month I thought it best to expound upon the following effects that fall into the close-up category. After the standard explanations, I will add “notes” at the end of the routines for added insight.

Coin Transposition

The magician wraps a quarter in a handkerchief and gives it to a spectator to hold. He then wraps up a half dollar in a second handkerchief, which he hands to a second spectator. The spectators unfold the handkerchiefs and the coins are found to have changed places.


The secret is in the fact that you use of two half dollars. You conceal one of these in you right hand, gripping it in thumb palm position before starting the trick. The other quarter and the half are placed on a table in full view.

Pick up the quarter in your right hand, place it in the center of a handkerchief, and pretend to wrap it up. Before folding over part of the handkerchief however, drop the concealed half dollar into it and remove the quarter, tucking it into the palm previously occupied by the half dollar*. Give the handkerchief to the spectator. Now pick up the half and pretend to wrap it up in a second handkerchief, but substitute the concealed quarter for it in the same way that the previous change was effected. When the handkerchiefs are unfolded, the coins will have changed places.

Notes: *”The Coin Production Move” Fig:20-21; found in the I.C.O.M sleight of hand gallery is an excellent way to switch the coins. Hold the visible coin at the fingertips, and upon placing it in the hank, drop the thumb palmed coin instead. Now, bring the fingers in to tuck the visible coin into thumb palm position. Proceed as stated above.

Double Penny

An old forgotten method of multiplying coins. Also, a really good quick trick.


The magician holds a penny between his right thumb and their and shows it to the audience. He takes it in his left hand, exhibits it, and returns it to his right hand. He then places it on the palm of his left hand and rubs it with his right fingertips. It is suddenly seen to double itself, there being two pennies in the left hand.

The moves in the trick are as follows. Have two pennies in your right trouser pocket before starting. Remove them both with your right hand, retaining one in finger clip position while your hand is still in the pocket. Bring the other penny out, held between the tip of your thumb and first finger. Take it in your left hand immediately, and pass it back and forth from one hand to the other a few times, displaying it to the audience. Put the visible penny on the center of your left palm. Then rub it with your right fingertips and as you do, let the hidden penny drop into your left palm. Remove the right hand, and close the left. Then open the left hand to show the two pennies.

Notes: The finger clip sleight is only one method for obtaining the desired effect. Practice with different palming techniques to determine the best method for YOU. This trick may sound a bit over-simplified, but do not let that fool you. It works.

Jumping Dice Spots

Honestly, this may be one of the best tricks you will ever learn if you practice, rehearse, then practice it again. (The I.C.O.M Inner Sanctum, Magician’s Code #2) Followed by giving it a good try before several spectators. It astounds people! How much so? Suffice to say that I have used professionally for a number of years for high paying corporate clients. It is here in the I.C.O.M beginners study to help the student acquaint him/herself with this basic sleight called the “paddle move”.

The earliest record I could find of the effect is in “Sachs Sleight of Hand, pages 74-76”. Since then, it has appeared in literally countless texts including “The Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic by Martin Gardner page 139”. It is recommended that the student consult these texts if possible for further information. Though it is so effective, over the years I have noticed one very surprising thing…..No one performs this routine using dice the way it was originally designed and intended,……….. except me! Most use paddles, gimmicked pocket knives, etc. All are well and good. As a matter of fact, even I have used these peculiar props and still do on occasion. However, the old dice method is vastly superior in all ways. “Why you may ask?”

  • Dice are truly common objects. More have handled dice due to the popularity of board games than have handled pen knives, not to mention paddles! WHAT IS A PADDLE TO A LAYMAN ANYWAY? At best (or worst) it is a not-so-pleasant object from ones childhood! Think about it………..
  • They are examinable. Color changing pen knives are not. Unless you make a switch. But that requires another move that is unnecessary when you can use the dice. Also, after the switch, do you really want to be handing out knives for examination, no matter how small? I think not…….
  • The fact that they are NOT gimmicks is the fact that makes them almost angle proof. You just can’t beat using the dice.

Method: Hold two regulation dice between the thumb and forefinger with the three and one facing the audience. First see that on the underside of each are the corresponding 3 & 1. A roll of the thumb and the spots apparently jump, using a variation of the classic paddle move. “The Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic by Martin Gardner page 280” (Variation: Just use one die and have the spots change when showing the front and back spots to the audience) An important tip is to make sure your whole are moves when showing both sides of the dice. When executing the paddle move, the arm itself turns up and down along with the dice. This move must be done quickly but smoothly, and must not be OVERDONE or the move will look suspicious.

“Sachs Sleight of Hand” contains some excellent variations of the effect that turn this simple but amazing stunt into a full-blown close-up routine. Included in that text is a way to overcome the occasional over zealous spectator who insists they saw you twist your fingers when in reality, they did not! Sachs recommends, after showing both sides of the dice using the paddle move, to have the spectator hold your fingers so they cannot move. Then merely turn the dice over while being held and the change will have been effected! Since the move was performed before you were held the trick ‘persay’ is already done…The book also has some additional effects that must be studied to be appreciated.

An interesting variation is to purchase and use the novelty ‘playing card dice’ found in magic and joke shops. These dice work very well with the move and provide an interesting twist by adding a unique prop as well as a whole new vista of presentation possibilities. This is another effect that I would classify as “Commando Magic”*. The reason is that is is self-contained, effective, can be done anywhere, and even though it involves a genuine sleight, it is virtually angle proof. Tricks like this are rare, and when we come across them in the I.C.O.M lessons, I will always point out it’s possible Commando Magic characteristics.

Addendum for advanced students:

In my trade show experience, I have found the following routine to be of great value.

Start by having two ordinary dice in your right hand pants pocket and have one poker die in your left hand pants pocket.

Start by bringing out, then holding the two dice in the standard position as explained above. Do not worry about what numbers are showing and where the opposite numbers sit. Perform the routine as stated. However, as you are performing the moves, the left hand reaches into the left hand pants pocket and classic palms the poker die (finger palm may also be used). Then after the routine is seemingly complete, drop one die onto the table and repeat the moves using only one die. After mock surprise that the magic is still working, perform a false placement while pretending the transference of the real die in the right hand to the left. The die is retained in the right and the poker die in the left is handed to the spectator to examine. I have found that nine times out of ten, the spectator does not look at the transformed die right away giving the magician ample time to dispose of the real die. The look on the spectators face will be one of shock and delight!

*Read Bobby J. Gallo’s series “Commando Magic” in the I.C.O.M Spotlight.


“Just a few tricks and stunts you can work on to add to your list of magical knowledge
Warm Coin Trick
While blindfolded or looking away, have the spectator choose any of five to ten pennies, nickels or dimes on a table, hold it tightly in their fist and concentrate on the date. Then have them toss all of the coins into a hat or similar receptacle. You then remove the chosen one!

During the handling process, the chosen coin absorbs heat form the spectators hand. You merely locate the warm coin and remove it form the hat!

Easiest Of All Coin Vanishes
A coin placed in a handkerchief vanishes instantly. A rubber band is secretly placed around the ends of the fingers and is covered by the hanky. The coin is placed in the hanky proper. The rubber band is released to form a pocket around the coin. Shake the hanky to show the coin has vanished. Be sure not to shake the hanky too much or the coin may dislodge.

Notes: This is a surprisingly effective little vanish for just about any small object. It is especially fine when done to music due to the fact that the audience cannot ask to examine the hank. I have found that there is a trick to the handling that may prove useful. Wrap the rubber band around the middle three fingers of the right hand. The hand can then show the hank around with little fear of the band being detected. When the hank is draped over the right hand, the right thumb comes up and is inserted into the band along with all three middle fingers. The fingers are then spread apart making the pocket in the hank. After the insertion of the object to be vanished, the hank should be whipped away from the right hand with a graced flourish to indicate the vanish and immediately disposed of in a receptacle.

Addendum (December 1997): After the publication of this effect, the method was exposed on national television. I do not know whether or not this will have any effect upon its impact in front of an audience, only a trial will show that. But is does illustrate a point. This effect was strong enough to be featured on that TV show, thus proving my earlier point that it “is” effective.

Vanishing Crayon Move
Hold crayon (object) in right hand. Slide right hand along the object toward the left hand. Object appears to vanish into closed fist, but is really retained in right hand by the thumb. Always keep the back of the right hand in a natural position with the back towards your audience.

Notes: A little known fact that is describes in the ICOM Online lessons is that most all classic cigarette moves can be adapted for family audiences by using crayons instead! They are almost the same size and width.

Break a pretzel rod with a dollar bill
Spectator holds the pretzel rod between hold hands. (make sure they don’t eat it!) Hold the dollar in a clenched fist. On the quick downward swoop, extend the forefinger shattering the pretzel rod. Apparently, the dollar does it. Be sure to clean up the mess after the show!

Notes: This stunt may look familiar to some seasoned magicians. For years it was written up to be done with a pencil instead of a pretzel rod. However, I have known too many magicians that not only could not break a modern day pencil this way, but have injured their fingers in the process! Just goes to show how a classic premise that does not work can be made into a fine trick by altering the materials.

Cane Suspension
A cane stands straight up on the floor, sways, etc. with no apparent means of support. It rests on a fine black thread that runs between the knees as the performer is seated. This can be pinned into place just prior to the performance. Walk carefully to a seat in the center stage so that you do not break the thread. Cane may be handed for immediate examination. After the routine, break the thread and continue with your show.

One of the inexpensive “bamboo” canes that are given out as prizes at carnivals work great, as do wooden dancing canes available at most dance studio shops.

Notes: This may be a much more convincing demonstration than a “dancing cane” due to the fact that less motion takes place. The actual suspension should only be for a few moments. Remember, Less is more!

Impromptu Mental Mystery
Here is a fine stunt contributed to me by a friend. Before the presentation write on a piece of paper, :Why 7?” That is your prediction. Then proceed to instruct the spectator to make the following calculations.

  • What is 1+1 ? (Two)
  • What is 2+2 ? (Four)
  • What is 4+4 ? (Eight)
  • What is 16+16 ? (Thirty Two)
  • Now count backwards from 12 to 5.
  • Ask person to choose one of the numbers from 5 to 12. They should pick 7 !

December 1997

An Experiment in Personal Magnetism
To perform this effect you must be wearing a ring. Also required is a paper clip. (in the past this effect was done with a toothpick, however, the paper clip is flat and has a larger surface area that seems to work better for the effects. It would be beneficial to paint the clip with flesh colored paint to mask the silvery tone.

Place the paper clip under the scratching surface of an ordinary book of matches. Before the routine, these are placed anywhere convenient for the performer.

Pick up the book of matches with paper clip side down. Now place the matchbook across the fingers. As you do, let the toothpick slide under your ring. (If you use the toothpick method, be sure to “Blunt” the ends of the toothpick so you do not end up with a giant splinter!) Turn hand over and matches apparently cling to the fingers. Remove the matches leaving the paper clip under the ring. As long as you keep your hand in motion, with the back of the hand towards the audience. The clip will be well hidden.

With the clip in place, you are ready to levitate almost any light, thin object.

A grand finale could be the old time multi-card suspension. Start with one card under gimmick. Then build around it until there is a stack of card clung to the hand.

Notes: This effect is recommended for situations where the audience is seated a slight distance from you. It is not recommended for close-up performance.

The Moving Ring
The magician holds out his left hand and shows a ring on the his finger. A spectator is given the ring to examine. The performer replaces the ring on his hand and asks a spectator to hold his left fingertips. He then puts a handkerchief over his left hand and, lifting it off an instant later, the ring is found to be laying on the back of his left hand. This happens instantly, despite the fact that the spectator has held the performer’s fingertips the entire time, making it impossible for the wizard to remove the ring from his finger.

In this trick you use a half ring that is exactly like the upper half of the real ring. Get two identical inexpensive rings and have a jeweler cut one in half., You are now all set.

When you start the trick, have the half ring in your left-hand coat pocket, the real ring is on your left third finger. Take off the real ring and have it examined. While the audience is looking at it, put your left hand in your coat pocket and get the half ring on the underside of your left third finger. The sides of the gimmick must be bent slightly so it will remain firmly in position.

Take back the real ring in your right hand and pretend to slide it onto your left third finger. During this, have your right side toward the audience, and keep the palm of your left hand turned toward them. Instead of putting the ring on your finger, you hold it in right finger palm position and then turn your left hand back uppermost to show the half ring. The audience will be convinced that the real ring is on your finger.

Ask the on stage spectator to hold your left fingertips and then throw your handkerchief over your left hand and the spectator’s hand. Put your right hand beneath the handkerchief and put the real ring on the back of your left hand. Then grip the half ring and hold it in finger palm, withdraw your right hand. Then immediately take away the handkerchief with the same hand and draw it away from the left hand, revealing the real ring. Put the handkerchief in your pocket along with the gimmick.

Notes: If you are wondering about the unique nature of this effect and how well it can play in front of an audience consider this. It recently came to my attention that the Great Herrmann used a similar effect to this and considered it one of his “pet” tricks. Yes, it will take a little time and effort procuring the ring gimmick, but then you will have a routine that no one else is doing. In magic, that is priceless!

Notice: This material “IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN” and is intended for the personal and performance use of International Conservatory Of Magic members only. This entire page is under copywrite 1998 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be re-produced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing and publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

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