Kid Show Konservatory 7/97-9/97


Kid Show Konservatory 7/97-9/97



Without doubt, despite what many magicians may tell you, the largest market for magic, far and away, is the birthday party circuit. Hence the need for this forum. In I.C.O.M, students will learn many fine points of presentation and aspects of magic. However, some of these theories go right out the window when it comes to entertaining children. Truly, this genre’ is in a class unto itself. It has its own demands as well as its own rewards. It is one of the only classes of magic that needs a forum all to itself.

Over the course of time, routines will be included here from the repertories of working professionals. Also will be the ins and outs of working kid shows, how to prepare for them, booking them, performing them, etc. etc. etc.

So without further adieu, We bring you the first lesson in, The Kid Show Konservatory!

The Stiff Handkerchief Re-Done
By Bobby J. Gallo
Those who are reading my monthly series in the I.C.O.M Spotlight section entitled “Commando Magic” know that I am a big proponent of magic that packs small and plays big. This is especially true of children’s magic. Many times I have been booked to perform as many as SIX shows on a given Saturday. In such a situation, most entertainers including myself neither have the time nor the inclination to use magic props that need to be set up “out-of-sight” as well as cumbersome sized equipment that needs several trips from the performers car to carry into the venue. All magic must fit in my shoulder bag and have little or no set-up time. To learn more about this style of working, please read the I.C.O.M Spotlight section.

While searching for routines to plug into my children’s show, that fit my “Commando Magic” criteria, I stumbled upon the old classic, The Hypnotized Hank” I was a bit apprehensive at first performing what appeared to be an obvious trick. In almost all the of books on magic where it is described, (and believe me, there are many!) It is treated as a “throw-a-way bit” But after dozens of performances. I must say that as far as the kids are concerned. This effect is a winner!

The classic handling of the effect requires the magician to take a silk, then holding the diagonal corners, roll it up so that the entire silk forms a tube. Holding the rolled up silk near the center, taking care that it does not “un-ravel” the hank stands ridged, apparently defying the laws of gravity. Then, by taking an invisible hair off of your head you tie it to the end of the silk and cause the silk to bend to and fro as if being pulled by the invisible hair. In reality, thumb movements are responsible for the illusion. By moving the thumb up, the silk falls away from you, by pulling the thumb downwards, the silk comes toward you. A good trick.

There are a number of very important fine points to this trick that none of the books I have read tell you when they describe the Stiff Handkerchief (or whatever name they have given it.) Sometimes I wonder if so many important little side-notes to tricks are left out of book intentionally, But why would someone want to do that?

  1. Silk handkerchiefs do not work! They are far to flimsy and will not stand up unless the silk is wound-up so tight that the effect loses its believability.
  2. Regulation men’s handkerchiefs that can be bought in the men’s department of your local clothier work best. The larger the better for visibility.
  3. The standard “invisible hair” feint may actually hinder the effect! I have found that some people believe that you actually do have a hair on it! Therefore in their minds, what is the big deal?
  4. The special secret that makes this work 100% of the time for me is an I.C.O.M exclusive. (Mainly because I believe this is an original idea!) An that is SPRAY STARCH!

Before leaving home, iron the handkerchief using generous amount of spray starch that is available in any supermarket. The result will be a super-stiff handkerchief that almost works the effect itself.

Begin by displaying the handkerchief and showing that their is nothing out of the ordinary about it, and there isn’t! Next, twirl it up into a tube and hold it by the center taking care not to let it unravel. Release the top and the hank is standing straight up! Now, depending on your presentation, you can make the hank do tricks or play it serious. You can even attempt to squash the hank down into your hand only to have the hank spring back up again. If you clip the tip in the crotch of your thumb. and bring your hand upwards, the hank appears to rise and straighten by its own accord!

You can have a lot of fun with this and the children will love it! As a matter of fact, recently upon completing a show, a mother approached me with the intention of booking me for her child part a few months down the road. Guess what trick she mentioned as the children’s favorite? Yes, you guessed it, the Stiff Handkerchief. It is beneficial to also remember these features about this trick.

  1. There is no set-up.
  2. It can be done surrounded and under any circumstances. (Very windy days can be a problem however!)
  3. It can be made to be VERY entertaining.
  4. It is instantly repeatable making it ideal for roving engagements!
  5. Takes up no space in your bag and has no weight, after all, the whole effect is one un-gimmicked hank! ( I really wouldn’t consider the starch being a gimmick)

Hope you have fun with it!

September 1997

Streamlined Rising Egg
Bobby J. Gallo
In this lesson we are going to learn a routine that will bring the house down if performed properly. It is a variation of the classic rising ball trick found in many ancient magical texts.

Effect: The magician displays a handkerchief to the audience and shows that there are no holes in it. When the audience is satisfied that the magician is truthful. The magician lays the hank over his fist, then takes his wand and pushes it right thru the center of the hank! The handkerchief is displayed once again and is shown with no holes.

Having done that, the performer explains that what he has done is created a “magical hole” that anything can pass through. Since it is magic, the audience cannot see or feel it, but indeed it is there. To prove this the magician then displays an egg and a drinking tumbler.

The egg is dropped into the tumbler and the magical hank is brought over to cover the glass. A small well is pushed down into the glass and the magician covers the covered mouth of the glass with his right hand to keep the egg from escaping. The audience is now instructed to shout out a magic word. When they do the magician exclaims, the egg will rise up through the glass penetrating the hank only to rest on top of same. All in full view of the audience. A penetration and levitation!

With great fervor the audience shouts the magic word and when the magician removes his hand…..nothing happens! Looking very worried the magician has the audience shout out the word again, and again…..nothing. Finally the magician explains to the audience that the trick does not always work and that the audience must forgive him. At that moment, unknown to the magician the egg peeks up to the rim of the glass, rising and penetrating the hank! The audience screams, but when the magician looks, there is no egg, it has gone down again! Two or three times more this comedy continues when finally the magician looks and sees the egg with great surprise, removes it and once again shows the handkerchief with no holes and the glass empty thus proving only one egg was used.

Sounds good doesn’t it?….It is! This is truly one of those tricks that packs small, but will get more response than a grand illusion. Thus making the value of this routine extremely high.

Materials needed:

  • A wooden egg, golf ball, or billiard ball. (The egg is the funniest visual object of those listed so is the one most recommended.)
  • A bandanna or large man’s handkerchief.
  • A magic wand.
  • A bottomless glass: These are available by most magic dealers. It is a little used prop consisting of a glass with…no bottom! Anything dropped into the top falls into your waiting palm. Usually used to make small objects vanish. I recommend that you find a plastic one so that it doesn’t break. One can even be made, and as I have shown my summer camp students, a heavy paper cup may be made into a bottomless glass when the bottom is removed. Of course, the see through advantage of the glass and plastic bottomless Glasses (BG) are apparent. The audience is convinced that the egg is in the glass if indeed they CAN see it.

Working: In the classic method of this trick, the performer requires two identical objects that will be made to rise. One is in the hank held in the center of same with a rubber band. The ball/egg proper is dropped into the glass the other hank containing the duplicate in placed over the mouth of the glass. By pulling on the sides of the hank the ball/egg is brought up to the top of the glass pulling itself free from the rubber band.

I never cared for this method due to the fact that you could not show the hank as ordinary due to the fact that it contained the duplicate egg or ball. Plus the fact that you have to get rid of the palmed ball/egg in addition to a rubber band that is now in your hand as well. My method eliminates all of these drawbacks and at the same time, allows the performer to get another magical effect into the routine at the same time. The classic wand through hank. This is why I call this version, “Streamlined”.

At the start of the routine, have the glass and egg in your case. Display you hank and show that all is well. Then perform the classic wand through hank described in the presentation. For those not familiar with the move, it goes something like this.

Normally if you were to make a well in a hank over your closed fist, your fingers would be closed into your palm. This would make an ordinary well in the handkerchief with which nothing could pass through. In our case we are going to put the hank over our fist but once the fist is covered, open the fingers so that your making a “U” rather than a tunnel with your fingers. Now, when you make the well, one side of the hank falls in towards your palm making a clear passage through the hank. When the wand in inserted from the top, it is pushed down along the side of the hank rather than through it. But the illusion is perfect. It looks like the wand penetrates the hank.

Now comes the best part of the routine. Show the egg and glass. Place the (BG) on the palm of the right hand. openly drop the egg in the glass for all to see. Now drape the hank over the glass and proceed to push a well into the the top of the hank. Here comes the critical move. The right hand now palms the egg, comes out from beneath the glass as the left hand takes hold of the glass by the sides. The right hand palming the egg immediately points to the top of the glass as the magician is pattering to the audience. Now, using the reasoning that you do not want the egg to pop out prematurely, place the palm of the right hand over the mouth of the glass. Yes, what you have done is openly load the egg into the glass on the other side of the hank!!!! It sounds bold, but it works every time.

Now, go through the motions as explained in the presentation. After an ample amount of by play, pull down on the silk with the left hand holding the glass slowly. The egg will rise to the rim of the glass. Let the kids see this and react. Then, just before you look yourself, loosen your grip on the glass and the egg will drop. This will get volume out of young people you never thought was possible. Tell them you did not notice anything unusual and relate to them that as far as your concerned, the egg is till in the covered glass. Repeat this process two more time. The yells will get louder and louder.

Finally, notice the egg, look surprised and remove it. Show the hank to be undamaged and the glass to be empty and take your well deserved bows.

There is a lot of psychology in this routine. The glass is the last thing suspected if all the attention is given to the by play. The only caveat in this routine is that you have to watch your angles during the critical move when you are palming the egg. Henry Hay in the Amateur Magician’s Handbook states that nothing is harder hide in all manipulative magic than a billiard ball. An egg may be even more difficult do to its oblong shape. But if your pacing is steady and swift. It shouldn’t be problem.

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 copyright 1998 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced 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.

The Slydini Legacy 7/97-9/97


The Slydini Legacy 7/97-9/97

The Slydini Legacy
by Bill Wisch

I am honored to present this page as part of I.C.O.M Online each month.

This will be a short session, but I promise to give you some remarkable and valuable effects, routines, insights, tips, ideas and approaches in the coming months that will absolutely please you with success.

I was fortunate to be able to study with the master for quite some time and when I say it was intense, I mean it was INTENSE!

It is exciting to share this information with you. Both beginners and seasoned pros will find “The Slydini Legacy” of great value. I will share items that were known only to me and will also go through the entire effect/routine formats of the Slydini books STEP BY STEP. This will give further insight, I believe, and add many ideas, tips and thoughts that were given to me while studying in person.

I am able to refer to literally hundreds of notes and many hours of audio tapes that Slydini was so gracious to to allow me to acquire. At first, he didn’t want any record of the sessions on tape and only allowed taping of patter for various effects and routines. I cheated a bit and used to keep the recorder running so I could remember more later on. He found out about that and at first wasn’t very happy, but he knew I was about as enthusiastic a student as he could have and mentioned to me that it would be alright to tape future lessons in their entirety. Needless to say, I was very happy and appreciative about that. To my knowledge that was the first and beginning of Slydini allowing any students to tape sessions on audio tape. Video tapes were never allowed. I asked him about it and he felt it would cheapen the quality and lesson the value to his personal students. Slydini had a very relationship to his students he felt were sincere and eager to really learn his magic. He gave up huge sums of money from video tapes just because of his respect and concern for his students. Typical Slydini.

I will be covering many things in this monthly segment of I.C.O.M Online. Many times I have been approached to disclose this material in books or on tape but never felt it proper to do so. With the many disclosures of material by some past students, as well as the supposed “fictitious” disclosures by some Slydini “wanna-be’s” (not to mention names), I felt the time would be right for this undertaking, and also feel that if Slydini knew, he would probably give me his blessing.

So, this begins what I hope will be a major source of information and enjoyment for you as students of the International Conservatory of Magic. I ask you to refrain from letting this material out. Slydini used to tell me, as I’m sure his other students, to keep the information secret because others aren’t of the same interest level and also the value is diminished to you when the secrets are given away (NOTE SECRECY RULES GIVEN UPON ENTERING THE INNER SANCTUM OF THE CONSERVATORY). This is just common sense anyway, so enough about that.

Naturally any questions about The Slydini Legacy will be handled the same as other member services…email…chats…etc. So don’t be afraid to ask. Slydini was astonished at the number of questions I always asked him. He used to call me the “Question Man” ( a title I accepted with pride), so the least I can do is be willing to answer any question I can.

I will attempt to make this monthly page as comprehensive as I can so don’t look for quick tricks and a collections of vague and incomplete items. As I said, this opportunity is a long time coming so I plan to take my time and go over everything the proper way.

My thanks to my co-director, Bobby J. Gallo, for his enthusiasm and support and I own him and you, as serious students of the ART of magic, the best I can do with regards to this undertaking. It is an honor and privilege to begin my version of “The Slydini Legacy”.

It starts next month.

September 1997

“Impossible Coin Vanish”
Bill Wisch
This is a fantastic vanish of a coin. I’ve used this for years as part of my stand up one coin routine, based on Slydini’s, and it literally stuns people…especially magicians. The reason is because the vanish is totally psychological. The coin never vanishes or becomes hidden! In fact it is openly displayed in plain view of the spectator! The coin is never seen. If you have the BEST OF SLYDINI & MORE, by Karl Fulves, you can see this action as part of the PAPER BALLS OVER THE HEAD routine on page 82, phase three.

I’m not sure if Karl mentions this move as being able to be a coin vanish, but knowing how complete he was when writing the Slydini books, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is mentioned somewhere in the coin sections.

Anyway, the move goes like this. A coin, preferably a dollar or half, is shown on the right palm. The coin is dropped into the LH and classic palmed. At this point the spectator thinks the coin is in the closed LH. Separate the two hands a bit… LOOK at the LH and open it palm up. At the exact same time the RH turns palm up and opens slightly while continuing the classic palm clip. In other words, BOTH hands are palm up and open while you’re looking at the open left hand, with the RH keeping control of the classic palmed coin.

In the next beat, both hands turn down as if to show the backs and you look at the spectator. Again the RH is classic palming the coin. Now the move is over and you can come to a rest position.

(An article will appear very soon containing the use of timing, rest positions, beats, off beats and other elements of the timing sequence so things will be a bit clearer then, I’m sure. This will be part of the T.I.P.of the Wand/Advanced page…watch for it…I’m sure you’ll enjoy it).

It appeared to the spectator that you dropped a coin into the LH…crumpled it up and both hands were shown empty front and back. It is hard to believe that something like this works but you have my 100% guarantee that it does. It is my favorite, complete coin vanish and, when learned, will be yours also.

This may have appeared in one of the other Slydini books…perhaps Ganson,or even as part of the Stars of Magic Series “Flyaway Coin Routine”classic.

I just wanted to mention it as the first official move in the Legacy because it is pure Slydini…subtle, impossible to reconstruct and even more importantly, fairly easy to do. If you have trouble, use one of those e-mail questions you’re entitled to as part of I.C.O.M. That’s one of the most important facets of the school…being able to have personal instruction on anything. Don’t pass it up. My personal email address is Any questions regarding the Slydini Legacy, The Advanced/T.I.P. of the Wand, and the Presentation/Demonstration Forum pages should be directed to my personal email address rather than I.C.O.M because it will get you an answer back much sooner.

I literally don’t know exactly where to start the Legacy due to so much material so strap yourself in for a long and wonderful journey. I hope you enjoy this coin vanish…it’s definitely a favorite of mine. I’m sure other students of Slydini were shown this, but I personally have never seen it done by anyone other than him.


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 copyright 1998 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced 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.

I.C.O.M Online Spotlight 7/97-9/97


I.C.O.M Online Spotlight 7/97-9/97


I.C.O.M Online is proud to introduce the following new series of articles by Ron Dayton. The following installment is worth your undivided attention. It is a true lesson in magic.

“Creativity” Part #1
Ronald J. Dayton
Several suggested roads of travel toward an elusive goal.

It is my intent to offer suggestions and working methods which will direct the reader toward greater creativity. I make no promises for success. You will have to work a little to achieve that on your own. What I will promise to do is to share every means to that end I am aware of. You will be given lists, tips/suggestions, ideas and examples…but no shortcuts. If you are serious about this subject, be prepared to burn the midnight oil.

Creativity is something each and every individual is capable of cultivating. It can be developed to whatever degree you feel most comfortable with. Creativity includes being inventive, but not exclusively so. It is also reflected in the music, patter, costuming, set designs, stage presence and timing for example. These are all aspects of your creativity…all part of the “total” performance to which creativity may be applied. It may be the magical “illusive essence” which makes an act outstanding rather than mediocre.

Every one of us, I believe, would like to contribute something to this world of magic. Something that will leave a mark long after we are gone. It is important to realize, lest we become overwhelmed by the task of becoming creative, that the contribution need not be earth shattering. It may well be something as simple as a particular stance, a gesture or a look. It may be a phrase that captures the imagination of your audience. Like grains of sand comprising a coastal beach, the size of the grain does not diminish its importance to the whole.

One of the keys to creativity seems to be discovering yourself! Knowing who you are, and what you want to achieve in this craft. It isn’t easy. A person must take an honest appraisal of himself and his limitations. You must understand just how much you are willing to sacrifice to attain your desired goal. Creativity, at whatever level, will take real work. Once you come to grips with yourself, you’ll be ready to begin…and to be the very best YOU that you can be!

Next month: Part #2 of our ongoing “Creativity” series!

Magical History Part #1

Though many are interested in magic as a hobby or profession, they know little of how rich the history of this fine art is. No other form of entertainment can be traced so far back in history. Times change, but the element of mystery that makes magic so unique is the same now as it has been for thousands of years. How old is magic? Let’s take a look.

Ancient Egyptian Image

The above image is one of the oldest recorded performances of magic. Archeologists speculate that this represents an early version of the cups and balls feat.(a routine incidentally that you will be learning here at I.C.O.M Online in the not too distant future!) This illustration was painted on the wall of the burial chamber of Beni Hassan around the year 2500 B.C..

In various ancient texts, a number of prominent magicians of the past are mentioned. The most famous of which is probably “Dedi”, wizard to “King Cheops”. This is the same ruler who built the great pyramid at Gizeh. Dedi was famous at re-animating deceased animals such as geese and oxen.( I think I like the cups and balls better!)

Many of the ancient performers tales are recorded in the “Westcar Papyrus” dated around 1700 B.C.. Most magician stories are peculiarly silent throughout the next millennia until about 135 B.C. when “Eunios The Syrian” actually stopped a slave rebellion with a feat of magic (future trivia question?).

The accounts, both large and small, continue in history with a person who was apparently a noble named “Seneca The Younger”, from Spain (circa 3 B.C.), who wrote about a performance of the cups & balls that he had witnessed. (Note that the cups and balls trick is considered a classic, this is why. The classics are tricks that stand the test of time). It is interesting to note that Seneca stated in a letter that he was only interested in the magic when he did not know the secret. When he found out how something was done, he lost interest. Some things never change!

Next Month: More history...

Another I.C.O.M Online Exclusive Series!
“Commando Magic” Part #1
Bobby J. Gallo
How to Perform Effectively in All Situations


First I would like to make a confession that I was not planning to release this material to I.C.O.M Online for at least another six months. But after reading the mind-blowing prose of Bill Wisch (Slydini Legacy) and Ron Dayton (Creativity Series) I realized that it was only fitting that I too begin a quality series for the benefit of all I.C.O.M Online. So it is with great excitement that I start the “Commando Magic” series. First, a little background is in order to familiarize the student with the history of “Commando Magic”.

Four Years ago, I began a task that I felt was needed in the literature of magic. A practical treatise on performing in the real world. As I began writing the book “Commando Magic” I realized that it would be more practical to release it on audio tape, which I subsequently did. It ended up selling to a select “underground” contingent of magicians who like myself, thought that the performing conditions of today, are not what they used to be…

After the production the “Commando Magic” audio tape, I re-thought my position and wrote a reference guide to the tape. A publication which would be more comprehensive and up-to-date with recent experiences that I had while performing on the road.

The book version of “Commando Magic” became another underground best seller, being read more in the STAND-UP COMEDY community than in the magic circles!!! Comics recognized the similarities between our two art forms and embraced much of the theory behind the writings for their performances. “Commando Magic” never made quite the same splash in the magic world which is fortunate for ICOM Online members. Because now, I am releasing, “COMMANDO MAGIC THE BOOK” IN ITS ENTIRETY, in this ongoing monthly series.

As you will see, save for a small number of examples, there will be little magic in the way of “tricks” discussed in this series. There are literally thousands of other books which deal with that. The purpose of this particular series is of a much higher aspiration. It will take any current variety entertainer, and train them to use their craft in its most lean and efficient way, thus increasing their value as a performing artist!

Next Month: Chapter One

The Coin Under the Cup
(A funny semi-magical interlude)
In magic there are times when it is appropriate to perform a routine that contains no magic at all, but is pure entertainment. This apparent feat falls into the category of the “betcha trick”. It is a trick in the truest form of the word. Because in the end, even though you accomplish what you state you are going to do, there is no magic, per-say. However, this “betcha” is a great trick that will add humor to any magic show!

Place a coin on the table and then proceed to place a cup over the coin, stating that you will remove the coin without ever touching the cup. Then go under the table and knock on the underside of the tabletop (done strictly for showmanship purposes). Announce that “It is done!”. Invite a skeptical audience member to lift the cup to see if the coin has indeed been taken. As soon as the spectator removes the cup, grab the coin and remark that you did take the coin without ever lifting up the cup Yourself! (get it?)

Then run for the door! (just kidding)

September 1997

“Creativity” Part #2
Ronald J. Dayton
Several suggested roads of travel toward an elusive goal.
Another factor which is essential to creativity is a well rounded background. An extensive knowledge of magic itself. The best part is…this is something you can develop. This is part of the work and sacrifice mentioned earlier. Time and effort will be needed, but thankfully, there are many marvelous sources at your disposal. Public libraries, bookstores, magic shops, magic catalogs, magic dealers, video and audio tapes, and most notably, The International Conservatory of Magic. Truly the list goes on and on. Magazines such as “The New Tops”, “The Magic Manuscript”, “Magic”, “Magicgram” and “Genii” are all wonderful. Members of the S.A.M. and I.B.M. also enjoy tips and information found within the pages of their respective publications. Various “Magic Camps and Jubilees” are also organized annually both on the east and west coast. Last but not least, one of the most important sources of information of all …your fellow magicians. Young and old alike. Listen to what they have to say. You might be surprised at what you’re able to learn. The older magician may have much broader experience than you have. Perhaps he has seen some of the legends of the past in actual performance. They may be well read, or highly skilled in certain facets of the art. All of which is to your benefit. Absorb the information and lessons they have learned over the years. Take the best, and leave the rest.

The same applies to younger magicians. Do not be so foolish as to pass them by simply because they are young. Youth is fresh and vital. They dare to try the unknown, to take that step beyond, unaware of the supposed limitations which have been drummed into older minds. Youth has not yet been programmed to disbelief. Too often, we hinder ourselves and our accomplishments by listening to inner thoughts, or those of others, as to what IS or IS NOT possible. I’ve heard it said that, the impossible is that which is yet untried! And I firmly believe that is true.

A person might think…how can I possibly learn all about magic, so I can build a strong foundation of knowledge. There is so much to know…and the subject is so vast.

Do not be put off by the scope of magic. There is no possible way you could learn everything, although there are people out there who claim they know it. They are only fooling themselves. The reality of the situation is…the field is extremely vast, and, constantly changing. At very best, much like a medical student, you will do your best to remain ‘current’. Simply do your best to learn as much as you possibly can. You will retain much more information than you realize.

Once you have begun this foundation of magical knowledge and background, we can begin taking the next logical step. You will want to take the information you have learned and put it to practical use.

To be Continued next month in part #3!…….

Magical History Part #2
The new Millennia (A.D) continued the standard traditions of the street performer. Some became literal legends while others languished as common street entertainers for whatever pittance their respective audiences graced them with. However, there were a few notable magicians around this time whose stories became a little tall with time.

In the legend of “Apollonius of Tyana”, who existed in the first century A.D., illusions were reported that indicate he must have been a truly remarkable performer. So much so, he actually had temples built in his honor! (I know of a few magicians today who think they should be accorded such honors!…just kidding) Not to be outdone by Apollonius, a conjurer named “Iamblichus” used to walk ten cubits off the ground nearly a thousand years before certain modern day illusionists performed similar feats! And that’s not all, he used to do a color changing clothes routine at the same time! Of course, this is what is written according to legend. But with magicians, you never know!

Commando Magic Part #2
Bobby J. Gallo
How to Perform Effectively in All Situations

Chapter #1

The first question a lot of people may have in their mind is the classic quote of the industry. Why another book* on magic? After performing for over a decade, I finally feel the need to put pen to paper and expound my controversial thoughts about performing in the “Real World”. Notice I said performing and not just doing magic tricks. This book* is about performance and all of its allied characteristics. Sure, there will be routines that I have developed within these pristine pages, but more important, there is a philosophy. One that has grown into a conviction through trial and error. One that has been developed while working in the trenches of real world entertainment.

This book* is written from the perspective of a magician. For that is the type of entertainer I have been my entire show business career. So, much of the material covered will deal specifically with magic and its allied arts. However, because of my extensive experience in the world of stand-up comedy and nightclubs, it is not just the magician who can benefit from these pages, but any working entertainer from comedians to ventriloquists, to vocalists. As a matter of fact, any “live” performer, for the fundamental principles all remain the same no matter what you do. If there are living, breathing people in your audience, this book* will apply.

To the beginner, I hope this book* will prove a launching pad for their success. To the professional looking for further insight into this complex world of show business, I trust my thoughts and materials will spark your own understanding as to why I call this book* Commando Magic. Of course, there will be those who will read this and dismiss many of my writings as outlandish or simply not practical. But if you ponder this book* and then apply it, you will see that it is worth many times the price you have paid.

Consider this a pilgrimage to the guru on the mountain. Consider this magical boot camp. Better yet, consider this book sage advice and information from one who has been there and still is…Of course, I like everyone else in this world am constantly changing and growing. I think of new and different approaches to entertainment everyday. This book* is a compilation of the knowledge I have amassed up to this point in time. However, I am sure that a decade from now, I will have refined many of the statements I am about to make. So the reader is invited to take what he/she wishes. Then work the material out to make the best use of it according to his/her own performing persona and style.

If you disagree with what is here, no problem, you will see in the chapters that follow that disagreement is part of the world that we live in and certainly present in the field of entertainment. But I think that I’ve bantered enough here. I do not want to give anything away prematurely, so as many an adventurous story has started…

“Let the journey begin!”

The journey continues next month with part #3…
* Since this was series was written and produced as an actual book. These references appear. I did not want to change anything in the text so that I.C.O.M students may get the full original text the way it was originally written.

“Random Thoughts On The Card Box
(A complete essay)
Ronald J. Dayton
It is my understanding that individuals signing up for a certain amount of time in this college of magical knowledge will be sent a complimentary copy of Henry Hay’s book ” The Amateur Magician’s Handbook.” That’s wonderful. And that’s the reason I have been using his text as a source of ideas and effects. Those of you who have the book can cross-reference anything I say, and for those of you without the book…it is readily available via various dealers as well as the I.C.O.M Online catalog.

I’ve recently given a lot of thought to the possibilities of the egg bag in a magic act. This time, I wanted to go back and look at the card box.

Mr. Hay showed a bit of dismay over the quality of the wooden card boxes of his era. He considered it a cheap substitute for sleight of hand. But, he did appreciate the quality and workmanship shown in the thin metal card box. Why his change of heart?

One reason was the quality factor. Mr. Hay considered himself to be a consummate professional performer…therefore, you must always put your best foot forward in the public eye. Your props, your dress and your manner must be appealing. The metal box obviously reflected his desire to be tasteful. But the box did something possibly even more important in his eye’s. It took the crudely made wooden box to another level…and it allowed it to be used as a functional, everyday object of the time, a cigarette box. In other words, it didn’t appear to be a piece of apparatus.

In the present day world, cigarettes are out of vogue…so the use of a cigarette case for the most part might well be politically incorrect. It would also look entirely out of place in most instances. This fact alone would cast a shadow of suspicion over it. It would have lost its innocence.

Looking at the illustration in Fig. 190 of page 262 in the Hay text, what sort of present day containers might be modified to become a card box, or to work on the card box flap principle for a variety of effect?

The first thing I thought of was a box of candy. Perhaps a person could magically print the golden ticket in a Willy Wonka theme routine.

Maybe the box is one constructed to hold baseball or other collector cards. This would allow you to perform a whole host of card tricks without actually using the playing cards.

Perhaps the box is a small metal hinged lid style box which held the ink pad for a hand stamp. You could print your business cards, theatre passes or even money in a logical manner.

What if the box once held a diary. A page would be forced on a spectator, and when they check the diary, it is missing. The page is later discovered in the box, and written on it is a prediction of a word, color, card, etc. “Dear diary” I have a feeling that on (the date) the word (forced word) will be selected by a member of the audience.”

Perhaps the box is that in which children’s puzzles come. Jig-saw-puzzles. Or one they kept such treasures as pong pieces in. Maybe it is a box from the game Clue ™…and the person who committed the crime is discovered in a magical way. Just think of the possibilities.

The box might have held fishing tackle. A freely (?) selected picture of a fish chosen from a large variety of fish might magically appear in the box. For children, perhaps a cards forced to them from the card game Go Fish.

Use your imagination, Maybe an effect based on a musical theme could be developed using the hinged box from a CD. Or why not use a jewelery box in a card trick…forcing diamonds on each of the spectators involved.

If the box you use were designed like a first aid kit, you might be able to do color changing bandages using the brightly printed bandages of the day. By putting a nurses cap on a young girl from the audience, and a stethoscope on a second girl or boy, you could build a nice little skit out of it. Old chestnut ploys such as color changing finger rings (one on the end of you R.H. first finger, another color on the R.H. second finger) could be done with bandages. By using bandage dots, a variation of the very mystifying magic ashes on palm effect could be rendered. All it will take is a bit of thought.

Collector sets of coins often come in small, flat boxes. You might be able to devise a coin flight routine…or produce a whole set of coins and use them for the date divination found in Mr. Hay’s book, “The Amateur Magician’s Handbook.”

Other boxes you might consider would hold make-up and cosmetics, gloves, ties, stationary, cigars, etc.

Consider if your box will need a tray or simply a flap. In some instances, only a half flap would be necessary. This would cause the change of one item placed in the box while leaving another in tact. Think about a locking or magnetic flap. Black art flaps and clear lucite flaps.

If the box happens to be a pencil or crayon/chalk box, see what additional magic you can do with the things removed from the box prior to their actual use in conjunction with the box.

you might also consider the possibility that the object placed into the box is patterned on one side to actually BECOME the flap in an otherwise ungimmicked box. In this way, the flap could change into the object, and then be openly removed from the box…or added to the box to become the flap. In one instance, the box can be examined after the effect, in the other, before the effect.

Depending upon the shape and size of the box you use, the secret flap or compartment could be in the bottom, on one of the sides, or even in the hinged or removable cover of the box. Some card boxes might even use more than one flap. One locking/magnetic, the other free or removable.

With today’s material, self adhesive magnetic strips, self sticking felt, plastic hinges and tapes, mylar sheets etc., it is possible to make a wide variety of common looking yet fully deceptive ‘card boxes’ for yourself. Make them look ordinary and they will be accepted as just that.

I don’t know if all I have had to say made sense to you. I hope it has. The crux of the matter is, ‘principles’ are one of the most important elements in creating magic. You can take a principle and run with it, transforming your effect into a chameleon of magic, giving a different look at every turn.

By all means, be a creative chameleon! Let the color and look of your magic change, dictated by location and circumstance, mood and whim. Allow your magic to have a degree of freedom and flexibility. Read your audience and determine the colors they’d most like to see. The reed that bends, never breaks.

Note: In the I.C.O.M Online Catalog, we offer a Professional Card Magic Set. Contained within is a decent quality plastic card box for those wishing to apply some of Ron’s teachings from this months lesson.

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 copyright 1998 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced 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.

Beginner’s Study 7/97-9/97


Beginner’s Study 7/97-9/97

Lesson #1
Thought of the month

What is magic?

By Bobby J. Gallo
Lets start our first lesson by talking about what magic is. Magic is the art of mystification. It tries to mystify, right? But why do people want to be mystified? Is is because they want a sense of wonder in their life?….Maybe….or is it because they would like to be entertained?….absolutely! Magic is a form of entertainment as well as an artform. Just as dance is, and just as music is.

So when we perform magic, it is paramount that we do it so that it entertains, not just mystifies. How do we achieve that? There are a number of ways, but the first would be what we call, “The Presentation” Throughout the course, we will talk as much about presentation as we will about secrets because the two go hand-in-hand when it comes to making a polished performance.

Presentation is the art of presenting our magic in an entertaining manner so that people will want to watch pieces How do we do this? There are many ways and each must find his/her own special niche. Some use interesting stories (this is a very easy way), some use comedy situations, others use dance and music. There really is no right or wrong method, however certain parameters should always be observed in order to maintain the integrity of our art. What can these be? For instance, material that is in bad taste is frowned upon by most working pros. Even in a comedy club venue, I myself have proven through countless performances that big laughs are possible by working clean. Also, never sacrifice the mystery element for the sake of entertainment. In other words, do not expose the secret of a trick just to get a laugh. Trust me, it will get the laugh, but you will be destroying a valuable piece of magic in the process and will degrade magic as a whole before that entire audience.

The bottom line is simple, the key factor that should always steer you is the golden rule of presentation, “Be Yourself” Do not try to copy others and you can’t lose. But in all your presentations, use good judgment.

The Ten Pile Trick
Materials needed:

  1. One deck of regular playing cards
  2. One piece of paper
  3. One pen, pencil, or thin marker

Effect: The magician places three piles of cards onto the table. No matter what pile is freely selected by the spectator, the magician proves that he predicted the outcome in advance!

This trick is all presentation, but will fool almost everyone. It is what we call a prediction effect. That is to say, it convinces the spectators that it is indeed possible for a magician to predict the future. To start, write on the paper these words exactly as you read them. “You will select the the TEN pile”(see example). Next remove all the tens from the deck and place them in a pile on the table face down. Next remove any ten cards and place them face down alongside of the four tens on the table. Lastly, remove from the deck any amount of cards that amount to ten when added. For instance, a five, a two, and a three. You are all set to perform your first miracle!

The simple secret is that no matter which pile is chosen, the magician will always be correct.

Presentation outline: Take out the paper stating that before the show you wrote down a prediction of what pile the spectator will select. (or you may do this on the spot). Display the three piles stating that even though it is impossible to know in advance what pile the spectator will pick, you have nonetheless proven it can be done. Place the paper where everyone can see it and proceed to have the spectator select any pile.

If they select the pile with the four tens state, “Look you have selected the pile with all the tens in it. If we look at the other two piles, we can see that there are no tens present at all. Please open my prediction and read it.” They will find that it reads “You will select the TEN pile” you have done it! You predicted in advance which pile the spectator selected!

If they select the pile that contains ten cards, DO NOT show the faces of any of the cards! Merely count the other two piles first stating, “This pile contains only four cards (actually the four tens), This pile contains only three cards,(the cards that add up to ten), But this pile has ten cards total.”(slowly and dramatically count all of the cards down onto the table. Then proceed to allow the spectator to read the prediction).

Lastly, if they happen to pick the pile that adds up to ten, here is what you do. Show the faces of the pile that has ten cards in it stating that if you totaled the cards up you get a large number, (proceed to do this). “But you happened to select this pile and they add up to ten. Please read my prediction.” In this last case scenario, do not show the faces of the pile that contains all four tens. That could possibly be an obvious tip off as to how the trick works.

Final notes: As you have seen, this trick does not require any sleight-of-hand or practice as far as the workings are concerned. This leaves you free to develop an entertaining presentation. Ideas may include acting the part of a psychic when writing the prediction or telling a dramatic story about odds and probabilities, etc. The ideas are endless, so go for it, and make the ten card trick something your audience will remember for a long time! Also, do not repeat this trick, the audience will surely discover the secret if you do…

Many magician’s dismiss mathematical principles in magic due to what they term as their obvious modus operandi. That does not have to be the case. With proper presentation, these oddities can be reputation makers. Blackstone Sr. used to perform a trick similar to the one below, and he was a legend.

Mathematical Card Revelation
Ask someone to think of any card. Mentally double its face value. (Jack 11, Queen 12, and King 13) Add 3 and multiply by 5. Finally, ask that the value of the suit of the card be added. (Clubs 1, Diamonds 2, Hearts 3, Spades 4) and the result told to you. You may now name the card by merely subtracting 15 from this total. The right hand digit shows the suit. The next one (or two) the value of the card.

What type of cards to use? Even though the above routine can be done with virtually any household deck of cards. It is generally advisable to purchase a new deck of better grade playing cards. All playing cards come in two sizes. Bridge size and poker size. In England, cards are of a different size altogether so if you are taking the course from the UK, use what is available. Though some may prefer bridge size due to the fact that they are slightly smaller and thus better suited to smaller hands, most professional magicians use poker size. Therefore, it may be best to get used to the larger size from the start, but that is a personal decision.

Lesson #1
Lessons in Sleight-of-Hand
The purest form of magic is sleight-of-hand. Even with the myriad of apparatus available and all of the “so called” self-working effects on the market, the foundation of all magic is solid sleight-of hand.

But why learn sleight-of-hand when there exists all of the other methods?

There are a number of reasons. When you perform, it will be interesting to note the audience reaction when a performer exhibits pure sleight-of-hand skill as opposed to something mechanical. They are not only bewildered by the magic produced by these manipulations, but are equally impressed by the obvious skill involved.

Another reason that sleights are so appealing is due to the fact that they usually deal with simple ungimmicked objects. Things like cards, coins, thimbles, balls, silk scarves, rings, and cigarettes. (even though this last object isn’t very popular these days).

A good sleight-of-hand magician never has to worry about being caught using a gimmick, because generally there aren’t any! Even if there is one, it is usually very minor when compared to something like a production box or a similar piece of apparatus.

When learning sleights, the moves may seem difficult at first. Do not be discouraged. With perseverance, they will become “second nature” in time. Not to mention the fact that the freedom and fun are worth the effort.

The Vanishment of a Coin
The basic sleight of hand mystery that can be done anywhere, anytime! There are dozens of ways to do this, but we will start out with the most basic.

The sleight necessary for this effect is called “the thumb palm”. There are almost as many ways of palming* a coin as there are of making the coin vanish. The thumb palm requires that you place the coin in the palm of your hand near the crotch of your thumb. Then by the simple act of clipping the coin with the thumb of the same hand, you conceal the coin there.

Now, obtain a coin the size of a half or silver dollar depending on what feels more comfortable to you. A quarter will also work. Start by calling attention to the coin and hand it out for examination if you prefer. Then take the coin and place it in the position near the crotch of your thumb as described above. You are now going to pretend to place the coin into your left hand. But what actually happens, is that as you turn the hand containing the coin over, you clip the coin into thumb palm. Done smoothly, it will look at though you merely transferred the coin from one hand to the other.

Remember to always keep the hand containing the coin in a natural position. The hand should look the same with the coin palmed as it would should you be concealing nothing at all. This takes time, so do not be discouraged as first. Your patience will be well rewarded. You are now set to reproduce the coin from the spectators ear, the air, from behind the leg, or merely go to your pocket for a prop and leave the coin there for a complete vanish.

*Definition: Palming:

  1. The act the concealing a small object in the hand unaware to the audience. (See “Palming” in The ICOM Online Glossary. Also, See pages 126-127. Amateur Magician’s Handbook)

Presentation Problem #1: You have just finished performing the Ten Card Trick or The Vanishment of a Coin to a thunderous standing ovation and your audience begs you to do it again, what do you do?

Answer: next month!

Them Bones!
This is a fantastic impromptu style magic trick that can be performed under virtually any conditions.

Materials needed:

  1. Three ordinary dice
  2. A piece of paper and writing utensil for spectator to add figures on. (optional)

Effect: Show the three dice to the audience stating that that these are dice you would not want to play a game with. why?… they’re psychic! Watch…

Turn your back to the spectator and instruct them to roll all the dice , then add up the numbers showing on the tops of all three dice.

Then tell them to pick one die up and to add the number on the bottom of the die to the previous total.

Then tell them to roll the single die that they are holding onto the table again. This time, to add the number showing on top of the die to the total.

Turn around, take all the dice from the table, holding them up to your head and then, very dramatically and with a lot of flair, reveal the number they are thinking of!

Method: Before you pick up the dice, add the numbers showing on the tops of all three dice. Then proceed to add seven to your total for the final answer. That’s all there is to it!


  1. After turning around, spectator rolls all three dice and adds the numbers shown on their top faces.
  2. Spectator then picks up one die and adds the number showing on its bottom face.
  3. Have spectator roll this same die again and add the number showing on the top face for a grand total.
  4. Turn around, look at the dice on the table, add seven to the total showing on the top three faces and announce that number for the climax…

Final Notes: This trick has one inherent problem. You have to trust the spectator. We live in an age where many people like to see the magician in a predicament. So it is important to try to pick a person to help you with this that will be honest and will concentrate on your instructions. The best way to do this is to simply state beforehand that, if they do not cooperate entirely with you throughout the effect it is not your fault and as a result they will miss a fascinating piece of psychic magic.

September 1997

Thought of the month

What is “Real” Magic?

By Bobby J. Gallo
In my last lesson I talked about what magic is in terms of a performing art. This month I would like to talk about magic in the eyes of the spectator. When we perform, what is our ultimate goal? Is it show the audience how much money we have spent on large props and paraphernalia? Hardly… Is it to show how much raw skill we possess? Perhaps… Or is it something deeper, say, to suspend their disbelief for a moment so that they begin to doubt their senses and in that instant, actually believe in magic? Wouldn’t that be something!…

In my new monthly series entitled “Commando Magic” found the the “ICOM Spotlight”, I talk at length about the folly of performing with large props unless you are an illusionist with adequate financial backing and a proper venue in which to perform these “mechanical marvels”. However, since that publication is being released in installments over many months, I felt it necessary to give a brief overview of points I feel are important enough to relate to our students in this, the second lesson in the beginners study.

If one studies the history of magic over the millennia, the student cannot help but be struck with the notion that magic as a performing art was never meant to be performed with much of the boxes and stage toys that adorn many a modern magician’s act. The classic image of a magician with his mythical “bag of tricks” is not as much of a fantasy as one might imagine. In truth, magicians from the shaman of old, to the street performers of europe, to the fakirs of India, to the roving carpet bag magicians of the 1700’s, all used to perform acts “if you will” out of containers not much different than that of the stereotypical “bag of tricks”.

Large grand illusions seem to have sprung up late in the 1800’s and onwards until the vaudeville era with the large shows of Hermann, Kellar, Thurston and many of the other old time greats. These spectacular shows seemed to die out with the decline of vaudeville only to be replaced by supper clubs where the cabaret act evolved. These acts, although born of conditions where the entertainer often found himself surrounded by tables as well as the band, bore striking resemblances to the styles of the past itinerant magicians of history.

It is interesting how many of the old time magicians viewed magic. If the aspiring magician dreams of one day being a world class illusionist, he/she may well take heed of an example set forth by one of the all time greats in magic, The Great Nicola. When faced with replacing his entire illusion show after losing it in a ship sinking accident in 1939, decided instead, to continue his performing career as a children’s entertainer performing a standard kids show! He would have loved the ICOM Online Kid Show Konservatory!

The great irony as I see it, is that in my opinion as well as the opinions of many “working” performers is that it isn’t even necessary to use such large devices. In the eye’s of the audience, the fewer the props, the greater the impact of the magic. After all, if you were a “real” magician, would you need all those props? In your I.C.O.M textbook, the Amateur Magician’s Handbook, Henry Hay talks about this subject with great expertise. I recommend you read and absorb it.

So what is “Real Magic”? Simply put, it is magic that is reduced to its lowest common denominator. No complicated steps, no large props, and a straight forward plot. The image is that of a magic man waving his wand and making magic happen plain and simple, that is the image to strive for. That is what your audience wants to see and believe.

The following trick is one that I term a “Commando Magic” trick. Why?, because, despite its simplicity, it contains all of the elements of good fool-proof magic. This is a trick that I do probably, twenty or thirty times in the course of a trade-show or roving engagement when I am working professionally. Though I feel it is a professional routine, I am offering it here in the beginners forum to acquaint the student with yet another sleight and at the same time, demonstrating how a single sleight can be made into a superb entertaining routine. Best of all., to a layman, it appears to be real magic. Try it and you’ll see.

Bobby J. Gallo’s Worlds Quickest Card Trick!

There have been a lot of tricks that have claimed to be the “world’s fastest”. If this isn’t “the” fastest, it is certainty one of the top ten! This is the first card trick that I do in my close-up and roving shows and sometimes the only one. Finger-flingers and techno-purists will be disappointed with this trick because it does not call for the triple-backhanded Albanian multiple side shift steal or similar “meant for magician only sleights”. But the routine is entertaining, it’s all presentation. Frankly, to my experience, this blows spectators away more than many of the more advanced card magic that I do. One additional point to be made is that is quick. Hence the name! In this television age, it helps to have magic that is fast, furious, and to the point. The vast majority of layman’s attention spans aren’t what they used to be.

This trick is a routine based on only one sleight called the “Slip-force”. (See “forcing a card” in the ICOM Online Glossary. Also, See pages 40-43. Amateur Magician’s Handbook)

Effect: the magician announces that he is going to perform the “world’s quickest card trick” and than faster than the spectator can look at the card, that magician names it!

Start with having a borrowed deck shuffled then cut. Remarking, I’m going to start out by doing the world’s quickest card trick! Not the world’s second., or the world’s third, but what everyone? That’s right, the world’s quickest card trick! Please take this deck and shuffle it. Make sure that they’re all mixed. did you do that? let me see, Wow, you really messed these up good! oh well, I’m going to riffle up the edges of the cards up with my thumb. like this. (illustrate) All you have to do is say stop at any point and that will be your selected card, fair enough? great, ready…..go. (magician riffles and spectator say’s stop) great! Take the card where you told me to stop, look at the “Nine of Clubs” and put it back. (Or whatever the card happens to be.) Wait!…..was that the card?… It was?… I told you it was the world’s quickest trick!, it’s already over!

Workings: After the spectator has shuffled the cards, you look through them. Merely, note the top card. Then hold the deck in the left hand in the “Mechanics Grip riffle down the side of the deck with the left thumb and when the spectator say’s stop, grasp the riffled up bulk of the deck with the right hand. Maintain pressure on the top card with the left second, third, and fourth fingers. Then as you lift away the top portion of the deck, the top card slides onto the remainder of the deck held in the left hand. The audience is led to believe that they are selecting the card that lies at the point where they told you to stop. A perfect illusion! The rest of the trick is all presentation!

Make sure you rehearse this move well to avoid exposure. It must be done quickly and smoothly.

Look for the Slip-Force to be depicted in the “I.C.O.M Sleight Of Hand Gallery” soon!


A self-working card masterpiece that fools magicians
(Not to be confused with the “Ten Pile Trick” explained in last month’s lesson.)
This routine is what I consider, “buried treasure”. About fifteen years ago I obtained a brown paper bag at a magic auction. In it were a few bits and pieces of tricks as well as a worn out type written piece of paper with a single card trick on it. There was no author, no date, as a matter of fact, no information whatsoever on who developed or published this effect. Just the trick itself. Normally I thought that it was just a piece of garbage like the rest of the trash contained in the old lunch bag. But after I read it, I realized that this was pretty good! I then performed the routine to some fellow magician friends and they were knocked out! So much so, that one of them actually threatened me with physical violence if I did not explain the method to him! (I wonder if he was joking?)

The trick from that manuscript was outdated and in need of serious work in terms of subtleties and routining. I have added what I feel are the critical elements that elevate this basic mathematical trick into a truly magical routine.

If anyone out in “magicland” knows the originator of the basic principle, please let us know so that we may give proper credit where credit is due. I have included this trick here in the “Beginners Study” because though it is a dynamite effect, it is so easy to do, it is inappropriate for the Advanced Lab”. So I.C.O.Mer’s here for the first time is the gem with which I have fooled countless layman and magicians alike. I call it TEN.

Effect: A deck of ordinary playing cards are handed to a spectator. After a few minor instructions by the magician, the spectator is asked to think of a card. Under seemingly impossible circumstances the magician names the card!

Workings: Hand the a deck of 52 cards to a spectator. (You must not use the jokers for this effect. Also, the deck must contain all 52 cards!) Have the deck examined and shuffled as many times as desired by the spectator. Multiple shuffling only serves to increase the impossibility of the effect.

Now make this statement. “To prove to all of us present that the cards are indeed ordinary and well shuffled, would you please count onto the table, face-up, and in a nice neat pile, 26 cards, exactly half of the deck”.

As the spectator is doing this, secretly count along to your self the number of cards being dealt onto the table. As they are doing this note and memorize the 7th card. This is the card you will reveal later during the climax of the routine. After a few more cards are dealt, casually state that you’ll even look away while they are doing this. This is a very strong piece of psychological misdirection. I have found that nine times out of ten, the spectators will swear you never saw any cards and that you looked away before they even began counting! In the old manuscript the instructions were for the magician to write a prediction at this point, I have found that it is stronger to verbally reveal the card at the end. Remember, your sharper audience members will realize that if you write a prediction at this point, then just before the prediction was written, you must have somehow gained the knowledge of the card. This situation never arises if they are left in the dark as to what you ultimately intend to do during the course of the entire routine.

Now after the spectator is finished counting, ask them if they are satisfied that everything is fair and above board. When they say yes, tell them to place the pile face down and to the side. Do not draw undo attention to this pile.

Now ask the spectator to look through the deck and remove any three cards and place them on the table face-up for all to see. After this is done, tell them that in order for you to get the “psychic vibrations in balance“, that all the cards equal TEN. How do we do this? Simple… If the card is a ten or picture card, it is already equal to TEN therefore you do nothing with that card, just leave it on the table next to the other two. (This makes sense, for in certain card games, all picture cards equal ten, so this is rarely questioned) If the other cards are lower than ten, the spectator must deal a number of cards into a pile beneath the selected card in an amount needed to make the selection equal ten. For example. If the card dealt is an ace, nine cards are dealt beneath it. If the card is a five, five additional cards are dealt beneath it. An so on. When this is done, the remainder of the cards are placed onto the 26 cards already on the table so all the remaining of the cards are in a neat face-down pile. Be sure not to disturb the order of these cards!

Now reiterate that the spectator shuffled the cards and had a free choice as to what cards to place on the table. After they agree, ask them to total up the cards they selected. For example, and ace, a five, and a two. The total will be eight. Ask the spectator to count down eight cards and to look at the eighth card. This is the card you have memorized at the start of the routine!

Then reveal it in any manner you wish.

Note: Once while performing this trick, a spectator actually gave me a great line to use in the event anyone questions why you need to deal cards beneath the selections. He said “That’s the smoke screen!” He was implying that in his eye’s, this step was done for misdirection purposes. In actuality, that is what makes the trick work. Try this routine, you’ll like it. In my estimation, it is the best trick of its type ever created.

A brief note concerning the “Lessons in Sleight-of-Hand”
Last month we began a series on sleights and the proper way to execute them. However, with the advent the the “Amateur Magician’s Handbook being made an official I.C.O.M Online textbook, we feel that this is no longer necessary due to the fact that most basic sleights are already covered in the text. Also, with the development of the I.C.O.M Online Sleight-of-Hand Gallery located in the library, an additional reason to cease the series became apparent. We will instead be offering additional routines and material to fill the gap created by this decision. We feel it will benefit the student of I.C.O.M Online to a great degree.

Alpha & Omega Dominoes

Not too long ago Bill Wisch and I met at a coffee shop to discuss all things I.C.O.M related. After a about and hour, a cup of coffee and a muffin, I pulled out a box of dominoes and proceeded to show Bill a mental routine. At the conclusion, he had but one thing to say, THAT’S MAGIC! Coming from Bill Wisch that is high praise indeed. Here is the routine that inspires such a comment from a world-class magician such as he.

Effect: A set of regulation dominoes is shown and mixed thoroughly. A spectator is asked to arrange the dominoes in one continuous line, matching the numbers end to end with the next domino. for example, the three would connect with a three on another domino and so on. As this is being done the magician writes a prediction, folds it and puts it aside. After the spectator is finished you ask them to name the numbers on both ends of the chain. The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end so to speak. When they do, you open your prediction and they match!

This trick may be repeated with a different outcome every time!

Workings: Before the spectator begins to arrange the dominoes, take one and remove it secretly. Be sure it has two different numbers, not one where the numbers are repeated. The two numbers on the to are your prediction. The rest is automatic. When repeating the trick, secretly replace the domino and remove another to make your new prediction. If extra dominoes are left after the spectator completes their task, just use the numbers on the existing chain and discard the extras, the prediction should still prove to be true.

Answer to Presentation Problem #1: Just follow rule #3 of the Magician’s Code and you can’t go wrong! Yes I know it sounds simplistic, but many times true wisdom often is…

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 copyright 1998 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced 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.

Advanced Lab 7/97-9/97


Advanced Lab 7/97-9/97

Lesson #1


Bill Wisch 7/1/97
“Beauty of style, of grace, of harmony and of good rhythm is based on absolute simplicity.” This profound statement made by the Greek Philosopher, Theophrastus, more than 2000 years ago is still and always will be absolutely true.

I would like to give a few opinions about the subject, this month, the first of I.C.O.M Online. Simplicity is the opposite of complexity. If you think about actions and words as being the tools we use in the art of magic, then keeping them simple would be the best policy. Believe me…it is.

To discuss why is not to experience why. If you have ever wanted to learn a classic of magic, more than likely it has very few steps and a rather simple and easy-to-follow patter line. When you experience the reaction to a classic you realize why the effect is indeed a classic. It maintains attention, interest, excitement and fantasy throughout.

Complexity, on the other hand, usually leads to boredom,lack of interest and inattention on the part of the spectator. Why? Because usually the performer him or herself is so involved in details that the artistry of the acting and the spontaneity of the performance get as far along the yellow brick road as the toll booth.

Think about how you like to see magic done. To the point with the magic just occurring, I would suppose. I know that the more a magic effect, routine or show appeals to me the more direct and involving it is. This is all common sense so far but it amazes me how few performers really create the artistry and excitement of the magic.

There must be some sort of list of rules about lifting a magic performance out of the mundane or boring state? Yes, there is, and simplicity comes at the top.

I taught literally thousands of salespeople about showmanship and selling during the 1980’s. There was no list of rules about creating showmanship at the time so I had to research and create a list myself. This material has proven to be stunning in application and believe me when I say that anyone can use the five elements I found predominant with fantastic results. I plan to teach everything about the subject in the lessons ahead, possibly as a series, so I’m excited about the opportunity to share these secrets with you at I.C.O.M Online, but for now I only mention the fact that keeping a sales presentation simple is one of the most valuable techniques used by the top producers in any selling venue.

Any magic that you now do, just analyze sometime. See if you can’t break things down and get rid of all unnecessary actions and words. You’ll be surprised at the results in interest. Also, it isn’t a bad idea to check out a few books on selling and on acting if you’re really serious about developing your magic into powerful and dramatic performances.

So many magicians, clowns, entertainers, use magic as a “throw-a-way”. It’s no wonder that the general public has little respect for the art. In Europe and other parts of the world magic is reverently performed and artfully prepared. Magicians are looked up to as stars as opposed to little more than a hobbyist with a few secret props or clever strategies.

Please don’t misread my feelings. In magic anything goes to get the effect, but if effects are kept to a simple conclusion and if spectators don’t have to sit through minute after minute of cluttered mayhem, the artistry almost has to show itself.

I once was given the opportunity to write a few words about my teacher, Slydini. His main performance strategy was simplicity of action and word. This was taken to a high art by the great master and even though I’ll never attain that level*, I certainly was amazed and captivated by it.

Theophrastus and Slydini had much in common…they were both right. Keep everything you do and say simple and, believe me, you’ll have a lot more fun…and so will your audience.

*Co-directors comment: Magicians and audiences the world over would argue this point!

Advanced Lesson #2

Stick it in your ear!

By Bill Wisch
This is a “nifty” vanish and reappearance of a small coin of object.

It is most ideally performed with no sleeves or with them rolled up. I’ll describe it with a dime.

Step 1:

The left hand holds a dime at the fingertips.(index finger, second finger and thumb). The right hand comes over to take it and pretends to do just that. However, the dime stays behind and the right hand comes away pretending to be holding the dime.

NOTE: The best way to practice any pretend move or sleight in magic is to actually do the real action several times first. Pay special note to how your fingers, hands, arms, etc. carry out the particular action. Now duplicate the actions exactly when you pretend. This practice technique works and is a valuable lesson because the art if magic comes from the craft of your actions and words.

Step 2:

Bend the left arm at the elbow as if you are going to look at the elbow itself. Notice that the hand comes up to the vicinity of the left ear and the right fingertips(supposedly holding the dime) come to the left elbow/forearm. Now if you can coordinate both actions at the same time so that right (empty) fingertips contact the left arm at the exact same moment, you will have the timing sequence.

NOTE: At the end of both, coordinated movements, try to have the dime (in the left hand) in the opening of the ear. Practice this a few times until it becomes normal to you.

Step #3

The right hand pretends to rub the coin into the left forearm. At the same time the left hand moves away from the ear and is open. All the attention is on the left elbow and right hand rubbing motion.

NOTE: Take your time. Give the spectators a chance to see what you are doing. One of the most violated rules in this art is the tendency to rush through actions. Rushing your magic is one habit you do not want to acquire. Try watching a two hour movie in fast forward on you VCR…get the point?

Step #4

The hands are separated and the coin is gone. The spectators never catch the coin in the ear. You’ll find that having the coin in the ear is a strange sensation at first but the coin stays safely lodged. provided that no quick motion or leaning over is done.

NOTE: Again…take you time at this point and show that the hands are completely empty.

Step #5

Now comes the retrieval of the dime. The left arm bend again as before and the right fingertips go to the same instant that the right fingertips go to the same spot above the left elbow on the forearm. At the exact same instant that the right fingertips get to the forearm the left fingertips take the coin from the ear. All the attention is on the forearm.

Step #6

Without delay, the right arm bends and the left fingertips (with the hidden coin) go to the right elbow and produce the coin as if pulling it right out of the skin of the right forearm.


I have used quarters, nickels, and pennies and also two or even three coins one after the other. The misdirection* is so strong with this effect that the reaction to it will astound you.

I have chosen this effect to open this section of I.C.O.M Online not only to give one of the finest tricks that I use constantly (ask thousands of witnesses…you may be one of them) but to show that expensive props and complicated routines are not necessary to create the magic. It’s not what you do but how you do it. I plan to give many outstanding items to our students in the coming years but this gem will always be the classic effect of “Simplicity” in any mind. I hope you work on and enjoy it.

Co-directors comment: Readers that have reviewed this month’s beginners study would have seen how to make a coin vanish using a tried and true basic sleight of hand method. This routine in the advanced lab is a perfect example of how the same effect can be brought up several higher levels magically and made even more bewildering and exciting using creativity, subtlety and thought.

*Definition: Misdirection:

  1. An action of interest capturing the audience attention.

The Classic Corner

Thoughts on the classic “X-Ray Deck”

Bobby J. Gallo

As stated earlier, there are no tricks like the classic tricks. However, is it possible for a trick to be a classic when it is rarely performed?. I think it is. One such routine that stands out in my mind is the classic “X-Ray Deck”. This gimmicked deck has been around for almost a hundred years. Vernon in various instances even talked about this deck back in his early days. It has been purchased by thousands of magicians over the decades only to be relegated to the dark recesses of the bottoms of most magicians magic drawers.

The purpose of this lesson is to relate the impact of this particular deck. If performed properly, this is the only card trick you need to do in a close-up act. Which, by the way, is fortunate, because the “X-Ray Deck” can only be used for one basic effect. The revelation of a freely selected playing card.

Do “I” use this effect?, truthfully I will say that I only use it on occasion. My repertoire consists mainly of sleight-of-hand. Many working magicians will tell you, sleights are arguably the best route to go. but even when working pure*, gimmicks have their place. I myself after roving* for around three hours, start to lose a bit of coordination due to the natural fatigue that is often associated with doing 500 double lifts, 200 palms, and 700 forces!. So when those times come, the “X-Ray Deck” more than fills the bill.

The “X-Ray Deck” comes with very basic instructions, hence the need for this lesson. Rather than making your own, we encourage you to buy a deck that is ready to go. It really isn’t worth the trouble of making it yourself. That is to assume that you do not already have one. (I’m sure half of the magicians reading this are searching for theirs as I speak!). To our knowledge, a tried and tested handling has never before been taught, so here for the first time is a professional handling of, “The X-Ray Deck!”

The “X-Ray Deck” is divided into two sections. 26 regular cards, and 26 cards that are gimmicked by having an oval shaped hole punched into the upper left hand corners of the cards. This clever secret allows the performer to glimpse* a selected card that is inserted into the gimmicked half of the deck only to revealed in some way at a later time. Fig #1 shows the construction of the cards.

Start by having the deck assembled with all the gimmicks on top of the deck and all the regular cards beneath them with the JOKER being the the first card on top of the bottom stack. This card can then be transferred to the bottom of the gimmicked stack when the halves are separated. See Fig.#2

Start by showing the deck to be all mixed and different to the audience by fanning the cards out, keeping the deck positioned to that the holes are held towards the body. As you fan through the deck locate the joker and cut the deck at this point keeping the joker with the gimmicked half which you retain while giving the spectators the un-gimmicked half. If the spectator requests that he/she takes the other half state that “it isn’t possible due to the fact that this half contains a very magical friend that will aid me in the feat of magic!”

Have the spectator look over their cards selecting any that they choose. (A point that makes this routine “very” strong!) then, while your head is turned, they are to place their card face down into your half. Make sure you maintain a tight grip on your cards so that the cards maintain a squared appearance throughout this process. This also aids in keeping the cards in “your” hands not the spectators!

Now comes a bit of showmanship. With your head still turned, openly square the cards stating that by doing so, you have completely removed the possibility of finding the card and it is now totally lost in your half. (this is what is called “Magician’s logic*”)

Now, turn your half of the deck toward you so that the faces of the cards face the body and the gimmicked corners are in the upper left hand corner of the deck. Then proceed to remove the joker, displaying it to the audience and creating a line*, something like, this is my friend, the joker, he likes to have fun, but tonight he’ll be serious and tell me what card you are thinking of. Hold the joker up to your ear and listen, but at this point, do not be tempted to look at the deck and glimpse the card. You will have enough time for that, just keep acting at this point. Pretend that you are not getting any vibrations or that the joker isn’t telling you anything. Replace the card on the face of the pack once again. casually show it around stating that at this point in time you cannot reveal the card due to the fact that the joker won’t cooperate. Ask the spectator to ask the joker, maybe he/she will have better luck! (this always gets a laugh!)

After seeing that spectators are not having any luck comes the critical move. Turn the joker towards yourself and scold the card for embarrassing you in this routine(don’t scare the kids now!). While you are doing this, use your left thumb to slide the joker slightly to the right leaving the upper left hand corners of the cards exposed for just a second. The selected card will be staring you right in the face through the cut-out holes!

At this point, get the message, and reveal the card in any entertaining manner you wish. Go through the cards, remove the selected card and you are already to do the routine at the next table!

Note: We strongly suggest that you visit your local magic shop and purchase one of these decks from them, however, we will be stocking these in the I.C.O.M Online catalog for those who do not have a shop locally.


  • Working pure: Performing magic utilizing sleight-of-hand as the main form of modus-operandi.
  • Roving: A style of performance where the entertainer strolls around to small groups of spectators exhibiting close-up magic rather than a set stand-up program.
  • Glimpse: A technique used by magicians as well as card sharps to gain the identity of a particular playing card chosen by a spectator or dealt during a card game.
  • Magician’s Logic: Reasonings that the magician uses to persuade an audience that a given routine is fair and above board. This technique aids in misdirection and keeps the spectators from questioning certain handlings in the effect.
  • Line: A scripted piece of speech used by an entertainer to give justification to a trick or routine.

September 1997

X-Ray Vision “Round Two”
Bobby J. Gallo
One of my favorite effects in magic is x-ray vision. In his book, “The Trick Brain”, X-ray Vision or seeing through matter would be part of Fitzkees 19 basic effects of magic. He would have classified it as effect number thirteen “Physical Anomaly”.

The effect is very strong. It is one of the few experiments a conjurer can undertake that actually gives him/her the appearance of supernatural powers. Perhaps this is because we have witnessed superheroes use this “super power” if you will, in comic books and on television. Nevertheless, it has great appeal with audiences and never ceases to amaze me that so few entertainers actually use this type of act in their show. Then again, maybe we should all be thankful of that fact.

In last months lesson, I gave a routine to be used with the classic x-ray deck. Though it is a fine routine, I wanted to touch upon how a similar effect may be applied to stage presentations with the same or even increased effect.

Effect: The magician after being legitimately blindfolded is able to name a single, or number of ordinary playing cards freely selected and placed in a spectators pocket.

Needed: A bandanna handkerchief and a pack of cards.

Working: The main secret of the effect is the way you are blindfolded. When the bandanna is folded and tied around your head, it appears as if there is a very thick layer of material obscuring your vision. However, before the the actual application of the bandanna, you have folded it in a very special way to facilitate vision.

Start by laying the bandanna on your table and accordion pleat each end towards the center without ever reaching it. What you are left with is a thin layer of cloth in the center of the bandanna that can be seen through. Fortunately, you have second avenue with which you can see as well.

After the application of the bandanna around your head, covering your eye’s, look down. You will notice that you have a line of vision unobscured down the sides of your nose. Do not let the spectator tie the handkerchief on. Only the performer should do it. Remember, they are not aware of what you are about to attempt, so there is no reason whatsoever for them to suspect that you are trying to see “through” the bandanna.

Now, after you are blindfolded, take the cards out of your pocket and hand them to the spectator. Have them remove any card that they choose and hand it to you. Take this opportunity to glimpse the card down the side of your nose. Use the transparency feature only to make sure that the volunteer from the audience isn’t trying to foul up your performance in any way. This is the first application to my knowledge of a magical secret being used to keep an audience in check!

Have the spectator place the card in his/her pocket. Use you magical powers to look into their pocket and pick out the card. Repeat the moves again for additional cards. The trick is mainly presentation, so make the most of it.

I.C.O.M Online is extremely proud to present a world exclusive!

Part #1

Dr. OM’s Treatise on Showmanship and Stagecraft for the Performing Magician
As in the case of artists in all of the performing arts, inclusive but not limited to theatre, dance, and music, the magical enthusiast who would move from the role of hobbyist to the role of performer is no exception. Magical entertainment is an art which requires both magicianship and showmanship. This first series of articles by Dr. OM considers the magical theatre arts components of setting, characterization, acting, costuming, make-up, action, stage blocking, stage business with and without magical props, plot and storyline, climax, denouement, lighting, sound, special effects, encore, coaching, and direction. Dr. OM’s intention is to objectively submit varying points of view on each component, and while expressing his own preferences leave the final judgments and choices to the reader, in terms of the reader’s own personal preference of presentation style.

Professional magicians should appear on a bare stage with few of no stage furnishings and perform magic as would a real magician. This modern contention is at odds with the great magical performers of the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century who performed on elaborately set stages and employed colorful and conventionally magical looking stage furnishings and properties. Dr.OM contends that herein lies the essential stylistic choice of the modern magical entertainer subject of course, to the liberating or restricting demands of the venues in which the magician performs and costs of production.

Clearly, complex stage trappings are difficult to transfer into small platform, floor show, or parlor staging areas. The number of performances per day, logistics of the venues, and transportability are additional considerations of the allowable elaborativenessess of setting. Cruise ship magicians frequently must prepare themselves for staging area entrances in narrow ship’s passage ways. Itinerant magicians performing in private homes, social clubs, corporate hotel banquet halls, restaurants, comedy clubs, school auditoriums, and night clubs each have particular restrictions placed upon them. this present series of articles predicates ideal proscenium stage conditions. As a matter of course each performer must trim down that which is possible under ideal stage conditions to suit the restrictive demands of each actual venue.

The fact of the matter is that there is no such thing as a bare stage or bare staging area. If left unaltered by settings, the stage or room in which the magician performs will retain its original visual character, into which environment the magician enters as a visitor reinforced only by his costume and properties. Pulling the audience into his magical world is effected psychologically by the artist magician. Where and when possible, limited stage lighting, if only a follow spot, will provide focus upon that magical world. Otherwise, the magician must depend entirely upon his personality, charisma, stage presence, magnetism, wit, and skill while surrounded by found objects, furnishings, and natural light foreign to the magical world he must create and into which his invited audience must willingly enter in a suspension of disbelief.

On the other hand, stage settings visually and concretely establish the environment of the magician’s magical world. Stage settings set the tone and the mood of a magical theatrical production into which, as the father of modern magic, Houdin, pointed out, the magician enters as an actor playing the part of a magician. Stage setting includes not only scenery or back drop but also stylized stage furnishings and properties which are consistent with the character which the actor/magician is portraying. The portrayed character appears as the protagonist of the magical theatre piece. The protagonist may be a hero, as in the case of David Copperfield, or an anti-hero, as in the case of Johnny Thompson. The hero magician is an actor performing the part of a real magician possessed of real magical powers. The magical anti-hero must be a comedic magician who frequently fails in his attempts to invoke magic.

Dr.OM, himself, chooses to be a comedic magician, an anti-hero, a magician in trouble, a bungler, and a fumbler upon whom the magic happens to his own surprise, rather than the wizard performer of actual magical feats. Of course, as Shakespeare exemplified, if you can first make them laugh and then make them cry–that’s good too! Confessedly, Dr.OM is beyond middle age, rather portly, balding, and neither young nor handsome enough to assume a persona of the kinds assumed by David Copperfield or Lance Burton. Later in the article dealing with characterization more will be discussed about the choice of character appropriate to the physical appearance of the actor magician. In the context of this present discussion of stage setting, characterization inevitably must be mentioned, because the setting does much to establish the character of the actor-magician for the audience. Be it said that the choice of character must be left to the reader on his own terms and in accordance with his own self image.

Having chosen his anti-heroic character, Dr.OM constructs and decorates all components of his stage settings including: scenery, furniture, and props; unless, items such as silks, balls, and linking rings are readily available, given careful and thoughtful selection, in the commercial market place. Generally however, appearing before an audience in a store-bought setting, which has that slick and sterile look of sameness with other magician’s store bought settings, is as lamentable as smiling at an audience with store bought teeth; not that that can’t be done by the right actor portraying the right character. In art anything is possible. However, nothing can beat a lovingly wrought setting which bears the personal stamp of the magician himself as actor-character. Therefore, the serious magical performer must be a jack-of-all-theatrical trades and must acquire education and skills in set design and construction, as well as all of the other components of magical theatre production. The demands are great, but you can ,meet them, and must, because setting provides the place for the magic to happen.

Co-Director’s Note: Those of you who have read the above have already realized that this is a serious educational piece. You would find no more quality were you to take a university course in theatre, for that is what Dr.OM is!, a genuine college professor. Therefore, some terminology may be a bit advanced even for the professional I.C.O.M’er. So Dr.OM has graciously provided a short glossary of terms he frequently uses which can be found in the I.C.O.M Library page next to our standard magician’s glossary.
Be sure to check out the I.C.O.M Online Library for Dr.Om’s “Devils Dictionary”, a list of theatrical terms worth learning…

“T.I.P. of the Wand” – September 1997
By Bill Wisch
“Misdirection…it’s all an act!”
This is the second article I’ve done for I.C.O.M concerning theory. The first subject was, I believe, a most valuable one, since simplicity is vital to the interest level during magical performance.This month I’d like to cover another subject of great importance…misdirection. I consider it the life’s blood of sleight-of-hand-performance.

In 1995 I had the pleasure and honor to lecture in New York City for Assembly #1 for some of the finest and most knowledgeable magicians anywhere. When they asked me to appear they wanted me to cover something that would be new and pertain to the ideas and methods of the great Tony Slydini. I must say I wrestled with what I’d do for quite some time. Then, almost out of nowhere, I remembered what everyone had always said about Slydini…the fact that he was the “master of misdirection”. I knew it, but actually did not know for certain what it was that he did differently from other magicians that actually made him the master of misdirection.

At the lecture I asked the magicians what they felt was the meaning of misdirection. After they got done with the strange looks they actually realized I was serious. One person said it was getting a spectator to look in a different place from where the secret action was taking place. Another said misdirection was an action that took attention to where you, as the performer, wanted it to be. There are, I’m sure, many versions of the same thought…that misdirection takes something someplace. But taking attention away from or to someplace or whatever you do with it is actually a result rather than a cause. In other words…WHAT IS IT THAT TAKES THE ATTENTION AWAY? Most magicians accept the cause rather than the effect…I was one of them.

Slydini was a fantastic actor. His acting ability was so developed that his mannerisms, words and actions always fit his personality perfectly. I believe that the real definition of misdirection is simply ACTING. Think about it. When you move an object from one place to another the audience will follow the action with their eyes. If you move that object in a manner that is suspicious then the audience will become suspicious. If you move that object in a natural manner then the audience will not pay it any mind or think anything was abnormal. Now, if something must be accomplished that you don’t want discovered, then in order to carry out the task, secretly you must act normally with another action; by the other hand; the eyes; the turn of the head; body shifting…ANY normal action that people will notice instead of the secret action. That’s where the acting comes in.

Slydini acted so naturally that any secret action went totally unnoticed…even after having seen the effect many times or even being shown the secret! When you see the term misdirection printed in the instructions for a magic effect or routine try substituting the word ACTING. In fact, the best advice I can give about misdirection is the same I mentioned to the S.A.M.assembly during that lecture…take notice of how you normally do things. It sounds ridiculous but pay strict attention to how you perform natural actions…moving an object…picking up an object…placing an object down…ANY natural action you perform when you do you magic. It’s absolutely amazing how easy it is to divert attention when you think of it as doing a natural action as opposed to having to just DO something to get attention. I remember Slydini freaking out when he saw a well known magician lap a ball during a cup and ball routine by just bringing his hand back to the edge of the table while he moved the other hand. It was on a TV show we were watching and Slydini yelled out, “he didn’t even move his body forward when he moved the object with the other hand!”. The magician had simply moved the hand to the edge of the table and dropped the ball into his lap, and even though he moved another object while he did that,everyone in the viewing audience, magicians and lay people alike, saw and noticed the lapping move.

I could probably beat this premise to death…maybe I already have, but I certainly expect to continue discussing this topic from time to time as other thoughts and ideas come to me. I just wanted to get the basic thought to you so you could think about it at your leisure. One thing for certain…there was a reason Slydini was the master of misdirection…it was all an act. He was a masterful actor and the misdirection just came naturally. It will for you too if you give it some serious thought.

Beginning this month you notice that I have entitled this page “T.I.P. of the Wand.”The T.I.P. is an acronym for “Theory In Practice”. I’d like to make this a monthly discussion of a piece of magical theory being put into actual practice…

The Riding Angel Penetration
“A World-Class Feature Close-Up Mystery in the Miracle Class!

Ronald J. Dayton
I will be the first to admit that the name given to this effect is a bit bizarre. But once you understand the working method behind it all, things may seem a bit more logical.

This is the way the effect appears to your audience. First of all, an ungimmicked wine glass is standing to your left on the close-up mat. This is a stemmed goblet, approximately four inches in height. The interior of the glass itself is about two and one quarter inches deep. The opening of the mouth is nearly two inches wide. The base is slightly larger in width.*

In your right hand you are holding a cased deck of Bicycle Rider Back playing cards. The deck is held at one end between the first finger and thumb of the hand.

You ask for a loan of a quarter. The coin is received in your left hand and openly tabled. You casually show the card case in your right hand front and back then the case is carefully placed over the mouth of the wine glass. Both hands are used to position it. The case effectively makes entry into the glass impossible.

The borrowed coin is now picked up in the right hand. The right hand moves over to and above the cased deck. With a quick tap, the fingers of the right hand bring their coin down on the top of the case. In that instant, the quarter is seen to visibly penetrate the ungimmicked case and fall into the bottom of the wine glass. The right hand lifts and is seen to be empty.

The card case is lifted from the mouth of the glass and is set down on your table. The glass is taken by the left hand, and the coin is poured into the waiting right hand. You then transfer the coin to your left hand after setting the glass aside. The coin, glass and card case may be freely examined if so desired.

METHOD: First of all, it is important to note that the color of the ink on the back design of any given deck of cards is usually not as dark as the matching design printed on the back of the card case itself. It will be necessary for you to make a color photo copy of the card case you intend to use. Open the case and carefully remove the cello cover. Now carefully disassemble the case…opening out both top and bottom flaps so the case may be flattened. In this flattened state, make a color copy of the back design on the case. Reassemble the case. Put the deck back in and slip on the cello covering.

Looking at the card design you have copied you will see two circular areas which have the image of a cupid or angel riding a bicycle within. These circle are very nearly the exact same size as a U.S. quarter. Place a square of carpet tape on the back of the color copy sheet so it is in the same area as the two angel circles. Now, with a good pair of scissors, carefully cut each of the rider back circles out. Make the cut just above or outside of the thin blue line within the circle. Once this is done, peel the backing off from one of the circles and adhere the rider back circle to the tail side of the quarter. You special gimmick is complete. Keep the backing paper on the second circle and retain this as a spare gimmick.

Just before you’re ready to perform this effect, position the circle gimmick over the lower circle on the card case. This is the one opposite the top flap. The first finger of the right hand rests on the chest of the angle, the thumb grips the deck at the opposite side or front of the deck.

With the visible wine glass in place upon your table, the loan of a quarter is made. You follow through as explained earlier. Casually flashing the card case front and back will not reveal its secret. Now, using both hands, carefully set the coin and case on the mouth of the glass. The tip of the right hand first finger can assist in pushing the coin edge flush with the outer surface of the glass. You now pretend to pick the quarter up off the table with your right hand. In reality, it is lapped. The hand now moves over the top of the case, and with a downward tap it is pressed against the case. This tap dislodges the hidden coin which will fall, nine times out of ten, heads side up in the bottom of the glass with your left hand, covering the interior of the glass briefly until you know the result of the coin fall.

The empty right hand is shown casually, then it lifts the case off from the mouth of the glass and sets the cards aside. While this is being done, the left hand goes to the lap and retrieves the borrowed coin. The left hand then lifts the glass and pours the gimmicked coin into the waiting right hand. Using a shuttle pass once the glass has been tabled, you seemingly place it into the left hand. The gimmicked coin is lapped, and the borrowed coin is tossed from the left hand on to the table. Everything may now be examined.

An alternate handling..the borrowed coin is actually picked up by the right hand and openly placed on top of the card case. Now, when you make the tapping motion, the fingertips of the right hand come down on the deck dislodging the gimmicked coin. The right hand fingers momentarily cover the borrowed coin. The thumb of the right hand now pulls the coin back, down and around the edge of the case, and flat against the underside or back of the case. This is a bold but pretty move if you take the time to perfect it.

The case is now picked up by the right hand in a simultaneous action and placed on to the left hand. This deposits the borrowed quarter right where you want it, on the palm of the left hand.

The left hand then tables the card case and immediately reaches to pick up the glass by its stem. The visible coin is poured into the right hand. Left hand tables the glass, then the right hand shuttle passes the gimmicked coin, seeming to place it into the left. In reality, the gimmicked coin is retained in the right and lapped as the borrowed coin in the left is then displayed. Again, you are clean, and all props may be examined if you so desire.

If the gimmicked coin should have happened to have fallen gimmick side up during this handling, simply execute the cover move with the left hand. Lift the case and borrowed coin from the glass with the right hand. Table the case and lap the coin. Do a full turn over the glass with the left hand to unsure the gimmick comes up tail side up on the right hand. Set the glass aside. Secretly get the borrowed coin with the left hand as the gimmick is displayed in the right. Pretend to transfer the coin in the right hand to the left. Lap the gimmick and toss the genuine coin out for examination or simply return it to its owner.

If you would like, Bill Wisch has suggested holding the gimmick secretly in place with a rubber band which is around the deck from the start. This is a great idea. It allows you to carry the set deck in your pocket. Remove the wine glass from your case…and the deck from your right hand pocket. Openly remove the band, retaining the gimmick behind as explained earlier.

Make the gimmick coins in both red and blue. This offers you variety…and often, you are able to borrow the deck itself, and the host will be amazed at what you can do with it.

Try this effect many times for yourself, and then for a handful of friends you trust. Work out the angles and handling ploys. Find out for yourself if you’d rather use the left hand covering ploy of the glass in every instance or not. In all fairness, it would probably be best to do so rather than tip the working method.

The rounded bottom of the glass I have described seems to control the coin rather well. That is not to say that you shouldn’t try a variety of glasses to find which will and will not work. Never take one suggestion as THE rule of thumb. You must find your own individual way to success.

*Of course you may experiment with different types of glasses and cups. Young magicians may find it difficult to obtain a wine glass therefore any plastic drinking cup will suffice.

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 copyright 1998 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced 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.

ICOM Sleight Of Hand Gallery

The I.C.O.M Online

Sleight-Of-Hand Gallery

Due To The Large Amount Of Images, Please Allow A Few Minutes For Download Time…

Throughout I.C.O.M courses, you will be given references to sleights needed to work with various routines. This page is here to explain any moves that may need clarification by providing simple explanations and stop-action photos. If there are any sleights that you would like us to list and describe, please let us know, we will include them as soon as possible for the benefit of all I.C.O.M Online members.

Classic Sleights

By the hands of Bobby J. Gallo

Billiard Ball Sleights

Fig#1: Billiard ball in classic palm position. (Magician’s view)

Fig#2: Billiard ball in finger palm position. (Magician’s view)

Fig#3: Billiard ball in touch palm position. (Magician’s view)

The French Drop
The standard vanish of all small hand-held objects.

Fig#4: Ball or object is held at the tips of right hand, left hand comes over the top to shield the ball from view.

Fig#5: As left hand covers the ball, it is allowed to drop into the waiting right hand palm where is is then classic or finger palmed. Left hand pretends to come away with ball only to make it appear to vanish in thin air.

The following series of examples illustrate a complete billiard ball roll flourish from start to finish. Fig#6 through #10

End sequence.

Classic billiard ball multiplication moves.

Fig#11: Billiard ball is held between the forefinger and tin the with the second finger beneath the ball. With an upward shift, the ball is…

Fig#12: …brought up between the first and second fingers. The shell still being held between the thumb and forefinger. (audience view) The audience now see’s two balls. If the move is reversed, two balls can be made to transform into one.

Fig#13: The ball and shell held in the fingers. (Magician’s view)

Fig#14: Ball previously held between the first and second fingers in shifted up between the third and fourth fingers by bringing the third finger below the ball as in the previous move and shifting upwards.

Fig#15: Another ball is secretly introduced in to the shell and the first move repeated after first bringing the ball between the second and third fingers between the third and fourth fingers. This example shows the final result. All billiard balls fully produced (audience view)

Coin Sleights

The Palming of coins

Fig#16: “The classic palm” (Magician’s view)

Fig#17: Coin held in finger palm position. (Magician’s view)

Fig:#18: Thumb Palm Position (Magician’s view)

Fig#19: Finger squeeze palm using a silver dollar sized coin (Magician’s view)

Coin production move

Coin starts in thumb palm position.

Fig:#20: Fingers are brought inwards. First and second fingers clip the coin from thumb palm position. (Magician’s view)

Fig#21: Straighten out the fingers bringing the clipped coin between the first and second outstretched fingertips

The backpalming (vanishment) of a coin.

Fig #22: Coin is first held in finger squeeze palm position. Coin remains clipped between the first and fourth fingers, while the second and third fingers are curled inwards, pivoting the coin along its axis.

Fig #23: Audience view of final result. Coin is hidden in back of hand clipped between the first and fourth fingers.

Card Sleights


Fig#24: Classic overhand shuffle

Fig#25: Riffle Shuffle

Fig#26: Bridge

Fig#27: Poker Shuffle


Fig#28: Standard two-handed fan-Position of hands prior to making the two-handed fan

Fig#29: Right hand applies pressure with fingertips or thumb to upper left hand corner of cards.

Fig#30: Cards are spread clockwise to form the two-handed fan.

Fig#31: Reverse Fan-By reversing the fan in a counter-clockwise direction when formation occurs, the entire deck appears blank.

Fig#32: One-handed fan-Hold the deck as illustrated.

Fig#33: By shifting the humb upwards at the same time the hand other four digits are shifting downwards, the fan is formed.

Fig#34: Twin one-handed fans-By duplicating the process with half of the deck in each hand, a decorative flourish results. Move shown here with a magician’s fanning deck.

Fig#35: Flourish complete.

Card Palming

Fig#36: Top card of deck stolen off the top of the deck in the process of being palmed.

Fig#37: A card in palm position. Remember, keep the hand in a natural position.

Fig#38: By using similar moves described in Fig#22, a card can be backpalmed to show the same hand seemingly empty.

One handed cuts
Charlier Pass

Fig#39: Cards are held at the tips of fingers as half of the stock is allowed to fall into the palm.

Fig#40: Forefinger is brought under the bottom stock and shifts them up as the entire hands spreads out. The result is that the bottom half clears the top and the cut is completed.

Fig#41: Edge Cut-Cards are gripped in the talon hold as shown.

Fig#42: Thumb clips off the top half of the card stock and shifts it back while the second, third, and fourth fingers squeeze inwards causing the bottom half of the deck to spring upwards making same to clear the top half of the deck. Cut is then completed.

Ribbon Spread Flourish

Fig#43: Cards placed on working surface as shown.

Fig#44: Cards are then spread from left to right in a smooth ribbon-like row with forefinger helping to keep control of spacing the cards out equally.

Fig#45: Turnover-By turning over the left hand end card, the entire ribbon spread can be made to turnover.(Hence the name!)

Other Popular Card Sleights and Flourishes

Fig#46: Springing the deck– hold the cards in right hand has shown, bending the cards inwards.

Fig#47: Cards are released on-at-a-time, into the left hand in rapid succession. Student must gain a feel for this.

Double Lift

Fig#48: Hold card as in illustration. Lift up the top two cards as one keeping them squared.
(Magician’s View)

Top Change

Fig#49: Hold cards as illustrated. As indifferent card comes down onto the deck, the intended card is out jogged and clipped between the second and third fingers and brought away. Simultaneously, the indifferent card is deposited on top of the deck. All this is done in one fluid motion.

Card Slip

Fig#50: Selected card is on the top of the deck. With the deck held end for end in the left hand, the right hand comes underneath and grasps the top card slipping it to the bottom. This move can also be reversed to bring the bottom card to the top.

Fan Control

Fig#51: Card is selected and returned to the card fan. Pressure is maintained with the forefingers and thumb to keep the card from fully re-entering the fan.

Fig#52: Fan is closed and injogged. The selected card will be jutting out approx: 1/8 in. Thumb presses down on the card and pushes it home. A break in the deck results allowing the performer to control the card as desired.

The Glide

Fig#53: Cards are held as shown. Second, third, and fourth fingers cause the bottom card to slide back thus allowing the next card to be removed. This may be repeated any number of times.

Hindu Shuffle

Fig#54: Selected card, card to be forced etc., is on the bottom of the deck. Top half of stock is removed. Hand containing the bottom half then begins to strip off small piles of cards in rapid succession giving the appearance of shuffling the cards. The bottom card(s) are never disturbed.

Thimble Sleights

Fig#55: Thumb palming a thimble.

Fig#56: Thimble production moves #1.

Fig#57: Thimble production completed #2.

Fig#58-59: Jumping thimble move

Fig#60: Thimble vanish move-Thimble is held as is Fig#56. Thimble is then brought behind the left hand where it is then thumb palmed as in Fig#54. Left hand is then brought way pretending to hold thimble. Vanish is then enacted.

Fig#61: Thimble is on right thumb to start. It is then brought into the left fist and is grasped at the same time with the right hand forefingers and is stolen back in the right hand.

Advanced Sleights

By the hands of Bill Wisch

Fig#62: The One-Handed Card Palm.
Cards are held as per illustration. Pinky shifts upper right hand corner of card slightly out and down. This causes the top card to spring up into the palm of hand.

The following series of shots explain the Bill Wisch coin clip vanish.


Fig# 64

Fig# 65: Notice the coin now being clipped under the fist…(Only half of coin is visible)

Fig# 66: Coin is grasped in finger-clip position with the middle and third fingers during the action of poking the forefinger into the left fist.

Fig# 67: Middle and third fingers are shifted back into palm along with the clipped coin.

Fig# 68: This next series show the correct way to effect a coin vanish using the classic palm. A Slydini technique would be to use the forefinger to correctly position the coin into the palm prior to vanish as shown.

Fig # 69: Coin appears to drop into left hand while it is retained in right hand classic palm. (Even though not visible in this photo, coin is in palm position)

Fig# 70: As hand appears to grab coin, fingers rub against skin creating a grasping sound to facilitate the illusion that an object is being taken.

Fig# 71: Position right before magician effects the vanish proper. Note that the left hand pretends to hold the coin that is actually classic palmed in the right hand.

Fig# 72: The first-step of the the famous “Farrow Shuffle”

Fig# 73: Preparing for the weave.

Fig# 74: Executing the weave. Notice the position of the forefinger to keep the two halves flush.

Fig# 75: A perfect “Farrow”

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 copyright 1997,1998,1999,2000,2001,2001,2002,2003 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law and international treaties.

Miracle Course in Writing for Magicians


Posted October 1998

Ok I.C.O.M’ers, this will definitely NOT be for everyone. But for those with the drive to go the extra mile in this art, dig your heels in and prepare yourself! This is an exercise is the betterment of your magical knowledge from a University point of view! Who knows? After this, you may be the NEXT Tarbell!!!… Also, please be aware that any mistakes in this course are my fault and not that of Dr. Om. Due to web-page restrictions, I had to restructure much of it…BJG

Magician Harry Lorayne has written two books for the general lay public of special interest to magicians and mentalists: THE MEMORY BOOK and MIRACLE MATH. Magician colleagues, knowing of Dr. OM’s (Oscar Muscariello) background in the scholarship and teaching of prose composition, have expressed interest in and need for sharpening their writing skills for the purposes of notating magical self instructions, writing effect descriptions and instructions for others, and composing advertising copy, news releases, and professional articles for magic trade journals. In answer to the many requests, Dr. OM provides, in this CyberMagic Textbook ™ and the issue to follow, a programmed course of study which possesses the power to rapidly and easily improve writing skills in the prose mode, by identifying the most common fault in writing, THE USE OF TOO MANY MEANINGLESS JOINING WORDS, and by providing specific and systemic means for correcting the fault.

The course of study presented in two parts is entitled: DR. OM’S MIRACLE MINI COURSE IN WRITING FOR MAGICIANS PART A: THEORY (in the August 1998 installment), and PART B: APPLICATION (in the September 1998 installment).


Lorayne, Harry. MIRACLE MATH. Barnes and Noble Books, New York: 1966.

Lorayne, Harry and Jerry Lucas. THE MEMORY BOOK. Ballantine Books, New York: 1974.

Muscariello, Oscar Francis, Ph.D. COMPARISON OF GUIDED DISCOVERY AND RECEPTION STRATEGIES APPLIED TO SENTENCE CLARIFICATION. Dissertation Abstracts International. Volume XXXIX, Number 11, Order No.7911210. Ann Arbor, Michigan: 1979.



EXPLANATION: A. All words in the English language may be assigned to one of three categories. First category words refer to physical objects, animate or inanimate; natural or ;T’anuf actured, which can be experienced through the senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, or touch. E.G., stone (natural; inanimate, house (manufactured; inanimate), dog (animate), and John (animate; nominal). To identify first category words, close your eyes. If you can imagine an object for which the word stands, the word may be assigned to the first category.

Underline all first category words on the list.

town, a, sharp, honest, forever, kind, Sweet, clearly, beautiful, box, triangular, clear, wind, it, kidney, string, cake, love, tragic, jaw, luminescent, cape, king, blue, loud, murky, short, griddle, latter, all, angry, tall, confusing, had, read, square, swift, despite, many, be, intelligent, you, rough, rich, athletic, pepper, tender, frightening, house, activate, comical, brute, teach, muscular, above, cards, panda, slow, just, stone, operating, each, heavy, certain, enclosed, profane, hat, aunt, gracious, pungent, etching, fattening, running, dark, grave, Jersey City, remarkable, plain, then, prudent, lift, now, second, because, stale, crab, artistic, dish, spaniel, requires, subdue, paltry, we, nest, rebut, lung, few, recognize, John, spine, mother, party, intend, horrible, chair, sensive, screech, were, fort, creaky, tangy, hurry, former, music, ant, seemed, lemon, fat, that, she, generalize, sandwich, steep, when, respectable, monotonous, horrify, evening, awesome, reason, foot, affected, fish, delicious, the, whether, courteous, us, its, inanimate, decode, inauguration, should, too, I, lion, need, gravitate, correspond, cobra, obviously, metal, better, always, way, president, joyful, seem, cruel, strew, Mrs. Murray, nutritious, of, drab, poor, inch, perfect, nitrogen, comfortable, from, corrupt, your, perhaps, although, rusted, liquid, encase, place, fall, meter, preceding, them, sell, moon, etc., predict, angelic, sky, feel, adjust, noose, long, am, dewy, complex, if, scraps, affection, behave, do, their, playpen, curious, others, which, island, you, probably, quite, spicy, some, pastry, lucky, engine, ore, has, labyrinthine, crow, posture, round, root, pigeon, scramble, insipid, been, scuffle, interrogate, comb, my, may, store, calendar, it, himself, bat, boat, pole, camper, goldsmith, frizzy, Paris, lake, staple, garish, courtly, turnip, catch, collapse, these, like, due, on, admonish, could, his, there, refer, head, have, me, how, corrode, but, sandal, dandelion, pretend, they, cringe, leaf, thing, an, Louis Pasteur, train, being, ornate, one, beetle, who, graph, jail, injured, frog, simple, our, bridge, he, herself, grapevine, rollicking, big, this, first, foregoing, cloud, lamb, shoulder, nobody, decorated, golf course, estate, following, portray, none, medal, someone, commodore, ever, clique, however, fancy, neither, brick, myself, iodine, cloudy, believe, everybody, think, new, frozen, British, Honduras, little, anyone, gong, old, bright, no, flashy, itself, cabbage, seems, grape, trumpet, crisp, lance, to, and, prescribe, only, below, apparently, ours, every, never, grasshopper, for, dull, feather, her, flag, gargoyle, must, bed, whom, altered, cotton, might, monstrous, no, everything, don’t, automobile, candle, fresh, him, article, any, at, bread, escape, book, everyone, organization, watchman, nor, manuscript, by, frost, in, landlord, sometimes, stated, cross, those, medicine, would, into, mine, not, one’s, guitar, diamond, column, store, office, pea, room, sand, pleasant, goose, stork, tobacco, something, airplane, eat, woman

EXPLANATION B: Second category words refer not to physical objects themselves, but to that which can be experienced through sight, hearing, taste, smell, or touch in physical objects as a quality or behavior. Examples of qualities perceivable in physical objects are:
tall, loud, sweet, pungent, and rough. Examples of behaviors perceivable in physical objects are: run, swift, love, thinking and intelligent . To identify second category words, close your eyes. If you can, imagine a quality or behavior of an object signaled by a first category word, the word signaling the quality or behavior may be assigned to the second category.

EXERCISE Underline all second category words on the list placing a capital Q after quality words and a capital B after behavior words:

town clearly , wind, a, beautiful, it, sharp, box, kidney, honest, triangular, string, forever, clear, cake, kind, love, tragic, sweet, jaw, luminescent, cape, king, blue, loud, murky, short, griddle, latter, all, angry, tall , confusing, had, read, square, swift, despite, many, be, intelligent, you, rough, rich, athletic, pepper, tender, frightening, house, activate, comical, brute, teach, muscular, above, cards, panda, slow, just ,stone,operating ,each, heavy, certain, enclosed, profane, hat, aunt, gracious, pungent, etching, fattening, running, dark, grave, Jersey City, remarkable, prudent, second, crab, spaniel, paltry, rebut, recognize, mother, horrible, screech, creaky, former, lemon, that, steep, monotonous, awesome, affected, the, us, decode, too, lion, correspond, metal, way, seem, Mrs. Murray, drab, perfect, corrupt, perhaps, encase, fall, sell, etc., feel, noose, complex, affection, their, curious, you, quite, lucky, ore, posture, root, plain, lift, because, artistic, them, predict, sky, long, dewy, scraps, do, others, island, spicy, pastry, has, crow, pigeon, insipid, requires, we, lung, John, party, chair, were, tangy, music, seemed, she, sandwich, respectable, evening, foot, delicious, courteous, inanimate, should, need, cobra, better, president, cruel, nutritious, poor, nitrogen, from, although, liquid, meter, whether, its, inauguration, I, then, now, stale, dish, subdue, nest, few, spine, intend, sensive, fort, hurry, ant, fat, generalize, when, horrify, reason, fish, gravitate, obviously, always, joyful, strew, of, inch, comfortable, your, rusted, place, preceding, moon, angelic, adjust, am, if, behave, playpen, which, probably some, engine, labyrinthine, round scramble been, scuffle, interrogate, my, may, calendar, it’, bat, boat, camper, goldsmith, Paris, lake, garish, courtly, catch, collapse, like, due, admonish, could, there, refer, have, me, corrode, but, dandelion, pretend, cringe, leaf, an, Louis Pasteur, being, ornate, beetle, who, jail, injured, simple, our, he, herself, rollicking, big, first, foregoing, lamb, shoulder, decorated, golf course, following, portray, medal, someone, ever, clique, fancy, neither, myself, iodine, believe, everybody, new, frozen, little, anyone, old, bright, flashy, itself, seems, grape, crisp, lance, and, prescribe, below, apparently, every, never, for, dull, her, flag, must, bed, altered, cotton, monstrous, no, don’t, automobile, fresh, him, any, at, escape, book, everyone, comb, store, himself, pole, frizzy, staple, turnip, these, on, his, head, how, sandal, they, thing, train, one, graph, frog, bridge, grapevine, this, cloud, nobody, estate, none, commodore, however, brick, cloudy, think, British, gong, no, cabbage, trumpet to only ours grasshopper feather gargoyle whom, Honduras, might, everything, candle, article, bread, organization, watchman, nor, manuscript, by, frost, in, landlord, sometimes, stated, cross, those, medicine, would, into, mine, not, one’s, guitar, diamond, column, store, office, pea, room, sand, pleasant, goose, stork, tobacco, something, airplane, eat, woman

EXPLANATION C: Third category words are words which refer neither to physical objects nor to qualities or behaviors perceivable in physical objects through sight, hearing, taste, smell, or touch, but refer rather to other words. To identify third category words, close your eyes. If you imagine nothing, the word may belong to the third category.

EXERCISE Underline all third category words on the list.

town, clearly, wind, a, beautiful,. it, sharp, box, kidney, honest, triangular, string, forever, clear, cake, kind, love, tragic, sweet, jaw, luminescent, cape, king, blue, loud, murky, short, griddle, latter, all, angry, tall, confusing, had, read, square, swift, despite, many, be, intelligent, you, rough, rich, athletic, pepper, tender, frightening, house, activate, comical, brute, teach, muscular, above, cards, panda, slow, just, stone, operating, each, heavy, certain, enclosed, profane, hat, aunt, gracious, pungent, etching, fattening, running, dark, grave, Jersey City, plain, then, remarkable, lift, now, prudent, because, stale, second, artistic, dish, crab, requires, subdue, spaniel, we, nest, paltry, lung, few, rebut, John, spine, recognize, party, intend, mother, chair, sensive, horrible, were, fort, screech, tangy, hurry, creaky, music, ant, former, seemed, fat, lemon, she, generalize, that, sandwich, when, steep, respectable, horrify, monotonous, evening, reason, awesome, foot gravitate, lion, cobra, obviously, correspond, better, always, metal, president, joyful, way, cruel, strew, seem, nutritious, of, Mrs. Murray, poor, inch, drab, nitrogen, comfortable, perfect, from, your, corrupt, although, rusted, perhaps, liquid, place, encase, meter, preceding, fall, them, moon, sell, predict, angelic, etc, sky, adjust, feel, long, am, noose, dewy, if, complex, scraps, behave, affection, do, playpen, their, others, which, curious, island, probably, you, spicy, some, quite,pastry, engine, lucky, has, labyrinthine, ore, crow, round, posture, pigeon, scramble root, insipid, been, scuffle, interrogate, my, may, calendar, it’s, bat, boat, camper, goldsmith, Paris, lake, garish, courtly, catch, collapse, like, due, admonish, could, there, refer, have, me, corrode, but, dandelion, pretend, cringe, leaf , an, Louis Pasteur, being, ornate, beetle, who, jail, injured, simple, our, he, herself, rollicking, big, first, foregoing, lamb, shoulder, decorated, golf, course, following, portray, medal, someone, ever, clique, fancy, neither, myself, iodine, believe, everybody, new, frozen, little, anyone, old, bright, flash, itself, seems, grape, crisp, lance, and, prescribe, below, apparently, every, never, for, dull, her, flag, must, bed, altered, cotton, monstrous, no, don’t, automobile, fresh, him, any, at, escape, book, everyone, comb, store, himself, pole, frizzy, staple, turnip, these, on, his, head, how, sandal, they, thing, train, one, graph, frog, bridge, grapevine, this, cloud, nobody, estate, none, commodore, however, brick, cloudy, think, British, gong, no, cabbage, trumpet, to, only, ours, grasshopper, feather, gargoyle, whom, might, everything, candle, article, bread, organization, watchman, Honduras, nor, manuscript, by, frost, in, landlord, sometimes, stated, cross, those, medicine, would, into,. mine, not, one’s, guitar, diamond, column, store, office, pea, room, sand, pleasant, goose, stork, tobacco, something, airplane, eat, woman

Part #2
Posted November 1998


Before beginning part B of the mini course, please read and consider the news release below, written by the great magician Claude Alexander, himself and published on April 9,1919 (even the date is in mystical nines), in the TAMPA FREE PRESS. Notice that Mexander frees himself from the restrictions of first person address; free, that is, to report wonderful things about himself, as though reported by someone else. Dr. OM could not resist some bracketed comments along the way.


“To those who witnessed and were mystified by the unusual performances of Alexander, “The Man Who Knows,” [self testimonial] during his previous engagement, the news that he is to return for a special stay will be welcome. [positive assumption] While those who failed to see him will doubtless be on the QUI VIVRE [literally, among those who live; among the living; among those to be present], for his encore appearance [notice; not reappearance, but encore appearance; note, too, how he later informs the reader that the show will possess newness, not be just a repeat performance], scheduled for the Majestic Theater here in Tampa for a period of 2 days.

Alexander has enlarged the magical part of his show this season until the press, wherever he has appeared, has conceded the Alexander attraction to be the greatest [hyperbole] mystery show that has ever toured. Of course it is the famed [hyperbole] Simla Seance that has caused his name to be sesame to the world of science for it is in this [demonstration; he might have employed the subject of the discourse here, rather than the vague word “this”] that while gazing into a crystal ball he answers any and all questions, written in any language and sealed in any manner desired. Something in human nature compels every individual to knock at the door of the future [answers to their heartfelt questions is what they want and Alexander will know how to answer them] and Alexander gives a most interesting as well as astonishing example of opening the door at least a little way and letting each one in turn [everyone’s questlions will be answered] have a peep into his coming fate. Alexander does not claim any supernatural power nor pretend to be a medium of spiritualistic communication [prudent disclaimer]. But he does claim that his success in the psychic field is owing to a lifetime study and to his power of concentration and his use of the positive knowledge that lies in the field opened by that power [reclaims professed powers].

While the Simla Seance is admitted by scientists the world over to be the ultimate in occult [testimonial], Alexander is this season presenting a series of tests that have never before been given publicity [brand new] Included among these is the famous slate test, in which a question is selected at random and a related verse in the Bible appears mysteriously upon the slates, the same being held by a prominent person in the audience, thereby obviating any probability of trickery on the part of the mystic. As Alexander explains, ‘lf there is any fake attached to the experiment it is the auditors themselves who must of necessity be held responsible for it, as they cleanse the slates, [and] tie and hold them during the demonstration.’

The Nartel Sisters, vivacious twins from the Far East are introducing to lovers [promise of romance] of oriental dances the best from an extensive repertoire, including a recent creation, the Dance of Abbal Radhid Myrai, or the crystal dance of India [exotica], a subtle number which allows them ample opportunity to display [a loaded word] their knowledge of esoteric theosophy in motion [notice that Alexander nowhere employs the term: ‘belly dancing,’ but is genteel in his teasing the imagination of the reader; a far cry from the crassness of the present day]. They are proud of the land of their nativity and are conscientiously endeavering to perpetuate their own folk dances.

Ullian Moore, a prima donna [first lady] soprano of renown in light and grand opera circles, will be heard and seen to advantage. She was especially engaged for the present tour and this special scene [note the emphasis upon the speciality of the present production]. Her [Miss Moore’s] pleasing voice, commanding stage presence [she is easy to look at] and unusual personality fitting consistently with the atmosphere engendered by the impressive stage setting and incidental music [Is he claiming that the whole production is as sexy as Lillian Moore?].”

The writing of such remarkable production copy is not necessarily a lost art. Take note that Alexander’s language is image evoking by virtue of the predominance of his use of FIRST AND SECOND CATEGORY WORDS and his use of meaningless THIRD CATEGORY WORDS sparingly, as necessary to “glue” the image evoking words together. Dr. OM considers Alexander’s news release to be a bit of a work of art and a model to be taken heed of.

As a bonus attached to the mini course, Dr. OM will publish in a later edition, under old business, his SIMPLEX COURSE IN PUNCTUATION. Punctuation is easier than you think.


O’Connell, Sheldon with Lon Mandrake. MANDRAKE Incomparable. Hades Publications, Inc. Canada: 1998. (The source of the above Alexander release, among many other magical riches. A must read).


You who are jealous of the birds, think how they are aliens to rest. Exiled to air, they beat their frantic wings, and trace the conic circle of despair; alighting, one claw held aloof, upon some cold, inhospitable roof, still finding breath to sing

Yet we would fly in spite of this surrendering the firmer home, for that cool, secret, airy kiss, which lingers on the lips of stone, and then, exulting toward the sun, to fly, to sing, to die, and then to sing again.

Below is an alphabetical list of all third category words abstracted from the wordlist worksheet. The list does not encompass all of the third category words in the English language, but includes those which are the most frequent offenders in causing obscurity in writing.

Third category words are termed SYMPTOM WORDS because they are symptomatic of obscurity in writing. When an excessive number of ineptly used symptom words occur in writing, there may be suspicion that obscurity occurs.

The checklist may be used to identify symptom words in student compositions. However, the checklist is not needed by the student who is able to identify symptom words by the concepts acquired in the previous exercises.


a, certain, few, above, clearly, first, all, cloud, following, although, for, always, foregoing, am, despite, forever, an, do, former, and, don’t, from, any, due, anyone, apparently, had, at, each, has, enclosed, have, etc., he, be, ever, her, because, every, herself, been, everybody, him, being, every, one, himself, believe, everything, his, below, how, but, however, by, feel, perhaps, if, place, in, preceding, into, probably, it, its, quite, quite, itself, requires, just, reason, latter, like, many, may, me, might, mine, my, myself, second, seem, seemed, seems, she, should, some, somebody, someone, something, sometimes, stated, need, neither, that, never, the, no, their, nobody, them, none, then, nor, there, not, these, now, they, thing, think, obviously, this, of, those, on, to, one, too, one’s, only, others, us, our, ours, way, we, were, when, whether, which, who, whom, would, you, your

The symptom words listed are logically related. Each word listed depends for meaning upon a referent word in the larger written context. E.g., “One can write each one down and explain it, but to separate them is impossible.” The words, “one,” “each,” and “them,” require a contextual referent word for meaning. If the referent word is distant from the symptom word, or if the referent word is nonexistent in the written context, the symptom word is obscure. If too many of the words in a paragraph depend on other words for meaning, the paragraph is obscure. Frequently, even after twelve years of English language study, student writing samples contain symptom words in excess of fifty percent of the context.

Providing students with the Symptom Word Checklist alone is not sufficient. Students are required to revise their own written work. The following list of rules and steps is designed to help students revise their own written work.


STEP 1: Isolate a sentence form the context and underscore all symptom words.

STEP 2: With a pair of scissors, cut out each sentence and attach to a legal size (8-1/2 x 14) sheet of paper.

Example: For someone you can depend on, he’s the one.

Rule A: Do not indiscriminately delete symptom words. Symptom words can be essential to a given sentence. The occurrence of a symptom word does not necessarily signal obscurity.

STEP 3: Determine whether obscurity is actually a fault in the sentence, as signaled by the symptom word. There are three possible alternatives:

Rule B: If the sentence is clear in spite of occurrence of symptom words, do not alter the sentence.

Rule C: If the sentence is obscure, the sentence should be altered by application of the revision steps and rules.

Rule D: If the student is uncertain whether or not the sentence is clear or obscure, the sentence should be altered.

STEP 4: Cover each symptom word in the sentence to determine if the symptom word is necessary to the sentence meaning. Delete the covered symptom word if the symptom word is not necessary to the sentence meaning.

STEP 5: Substitute a specific referent in the context for the symptom word, if necessary for the meaning.

Example: First Draft: For someone you can depend upon, he’s the one.

STEP 6: Remove all contractions.

Example: First Draft: For someone you can depend on, Sam is the one.

STEP 7: Rearrange (turn around) the sentence in a manner allowing deletion of symptom words.

Example: First Draft: For someone you can depend on, Sam is the one.

Revision: Sam is someone you can depend on.

STEP 8: When possible add a suffix to a word in the sentence allowing deletion of one or more symptom words.

Example; First Draft: Sam is someone you can depend on

Revision: Sam is dependable.

Note: The sentence, For someone you can depend on, he’s the one is specially contrived to allow illustration of the Symptom Word Revision Method. In actual writing practice, the necessity of applying every step and rule to every sentence under revision is not likely.

Explanation D: First category words are most concrete and specific. Second category words are less concrete and specific than first category words, but more concrete and specific than third category words. Third category words, termed symptom words, are the least concrete and specific, and produce no images in the mind of the reader. Symptom words have no meaning of their own, but depend upon other words for meaning. Clear, specific, and concise writing consists of more first and second category words and fewer symptom words. Third category words are called SYMPTOM WORDS because their occurrence in a sentence is a signal of possible confusion or loss of meaning.

EXERCISE G – II: Compare the SYMPTOM WORD CHECKLIST with the words you underlined in Exercise F. Answer the following questions.

1. Does the SYMPTOM WORD CHECKLIST contain all of the third category words in the English language? YES NO

2. Should clear, concise writing contain no symptom words? YES NO

3. Do SYMPTOM WORDS have no meaning unless used with first or second category words? YES NO

4. Are first category words more concrete than second or third category words? YES NO

5. Are third category words called SYMPTOM WORDS? YES NO

6. If the answer to question #5 is YES, explain why in your own words below; if the answer is NO, explain why in your own words.

7. Do SYMPTOM WORDS (third category words), if used effectively, perform the important function of joining first and second category words to form complete sentences? YES NO

8. Do unnecessary SYMPTOM WORDS in a sentence cause obscurity? YES NO

9. Does eliminating all SYMPTOM WORDS from sentences result in telegraphic or telegrammatic writing (writing in the style of a telegram)? YES NO

10. On the same of 100 words from your essay on the meaning of love, underline and count the symptom words contained in the sample. What is the percentage of symptom words in your one hundred word sample?

11. What might you suspect about your writing sample?

12. Revise the one hundred word writing sample by employing the revision Steps and Rules.


Remove all the symptom words from the one hundred word writing sample. Replace only those symptom words which are essential to join the first and second category words in the sample. Avoid the Love is Syndrome. E.g., Love is a child with a puppy. Love is not a child with a puppy. Love might be manifested or exemplified by a child’s love for a puppy.


1. Write a message of one hundred words in telegram style. Do not use first person pronouns.

FIRST Nominative-(Singular) I (Plural) We

PERSON Objective-(Singular) Me (Plural) Us

Possessive-(Singular)My (Plural) Our

Possessive-(Singular) Mine (Plural) Ours

Do not use the second and third person editorial pronouns:

SECOND Nominative (Singular) You (Plural) You
PERSON Objective(Singular)You (Plural) You
Possessive (Singular)Your (Plural) Your

THIRD Nominative (Singular)He, She, It (Plural) They
PERSON Objective (Singular) Him, Her, It (Plural) Them
Possessive (Singular) His, Her, Its (Plural) Their, Theirs

(Note that the possessive form of it is spelled without the apostrophe. The spelling it’s signifies: it is)

(Note that the possessive form their is used when the pronoun precedes the noun, e.g., Their house; the form theirs is used when the pronoun follows the noun and verb, the house is theirs. The E preceeds the I in the spelling of both forms).

2. Insert symptom words wherever essential to join the first and second category words in the telegram, in order to complete basic sentence units.

EXERCISE J – II: Compose 10 sentences. The sentences need not be related to the same topic. Underline all SYMPTOM WORDS in each sentence. What is the total number of words contained in the ten sentences? How many symptom words are contained in the ten sentences? Revise each sentence by applying the SYMPTOM WORD REVISION METHOD. Count the total number of words remaining in the revised sentences. How many symptom words remain in the revised sentences? Are the revised sentences clearer than in the rough draft? YES NO

Are the revised sentences more concise than the rough draft? YES NO Which sentences do you prefer? Rough draft Revisions

Explain why:_____________________________________________________________________

By reducing the number of symptom words in a piece of writing, the total number of words is consequently reduced. When assigned the composition or an essay of five hundred words, the student might well have to compose a rough draft of many more than five hundred words in order to end up with a five hundred word composition, after revision by by the SYMPTOM WORD REVISION METHOD. Symptom words cause padding.

3. Which groups of words most vividly communicate? To which of the three categories does each group of words belong?

A. Moonlight/lake/palm treel guitar music/boy/girl

B. Swiftly/ jumping/ leaping/ diving/ swimming

C. Long/ grey/ hard/ sharp/ pointed/ straight

D. Sometimes/ it/ seems/ as/ if/ 1/ do/ and/ at/ other/ timesi not/ so/ much/ as/ it/ can/ be

A suffix checklist is available. Due to it’s layout, we were unable to include it here. If you would like a copy, we would be happy to fax it to you free of charge. Just e-mail us and ask!

Presentation/Demonstration Forum



Welcome to this new page at I.C.O.M!

For quite some time, I.C.O.M has known that many people will want to use a magic effect to break the ice, make a point, make something memorable or just add some fun and variety to a sales presentation, lecture/demonstration, etc.. We realize that, more than likely, you might enjoy the entire Inner Sanctum, even though your interest in actually becoming a magician has not been at the top of your priority list lately.

At the very least, you will more than justify your membership in I.C.O.M by checking out this Presentation/Demonstration Forum page because being in sales myself for many years (retail, commercial, industrial, in-home), I have a pretty good idea of what you would like to get the edge on the competition and most importantly, be REMEMBERED!

I am just giving you a taste of what is to come, but believe me when I say, your membership will be paid back many times over if you just check in and study this Forum.

The Presentation/Demonstration Forum is for salespeople, teachers, demonstrators, trainers, public speakers, bartenders, etc…..anyone who would like to use “ICE BREAKERS AND POINT MAKERS for all occasions!

The effects, tips, and ideas in the Forum will be simple, direct and powerful…NO FLUFF! I can attest to many of the items since I used them myself, and many more items have come from numerous contacts made during mylecture/demonstration career.

A picture is worth a thousand words!

There’s no business without show business!

These are “truisms” to anyone that has ever tried to get someone happily involved in their product or service. I’m going to close this brief introduction this month with one of the truest “truisms” I know…..“You don’t have to be a magician to love I.C.O.M”

“Business Card Turnover”
Routine By
Bill Wisch

This is a must if you’re a salesman or anyone who gives out lots of business cards. Why just give your card to someone? Make it an experience! One of the things Bobby and I try to convey in our salesforce training seminars is that getting someone to remember you (without making a jerk out of yourself) is more than half the battle in this highly competitive environment.

There are a number of ways to give out your business card in a memorable way (check out our audio tape “ULTIMATE MAGIC RAP ™”, which includes a great method entitled “Give Them The Business”. I will be giving you more fun ways in the future editions of this forum, but this is one that both Bobby and I have used for many years. It’s simple, easy to do and QUICK!


A blank card is taken from your pocket, wallet or card case. With a little “magic”, the card becomes printed on one side with your business information. Then the card is made to be printed on “both” sides! Finally,one side is wiped clean and the card is handed out as your business card.


Remove the card from your pocket, wallet or case making sure that the blank side shows. Handle it naturally and place it flat onto your lefthand, which is open and face up. Place it so the card is on the fingers rather than the palm.

1) This next “move” is what accomplishes the effect and is used several times in the trick, so let me describe what happens and you can practice this over and over until you get it smooth. If you were going to actually turn the card over at this point to show the other side, your thumb would come on top of the card, the hand would turnover and the fingers would move back allowing the reverse side to be seen, right? Well, here is a devastating move created by FRANCIS CARLYLE back in
the 1930’s that you will have to try to believe.

2) The left thumb tip pushes UNDER the card and the fingertips at the outeredge go OVER the top of the card. Now if you turn the hand over and at the same time continue to push the thumb until it comes directly under the fingertips on the other side, you in appearance have turned the card over but have only showed the same side twice! It takes a little practice and “feel” to get smooth but if you try it slowly at first and then build up it up to be done in a natural fashion, you’ll have one heck of an illusion.

3) The best way to practice any sleight (move) is to do the natural move (in this case actually turn the card over a number of times) to see how fast or slow you naturally do it and how the fingers and thumb work, etc., then try to duplicate the natural handling using the false handling. Be careful that you don’t “flash” any of the printed side during the turnover.

4) If you want, reverse the moves at the same pace to get the card back into the original position. It isn’t as difficult as you might think and the illusion of casually showing both sides is perfect. Otherwise, just take the card with the right hand…turn the left hand palm up again and place it back onto the left fingers to repeat the move a couple of times.

5) After showing the card blank on both sides a couple of times (don’t overdo it), take the card with the right hand and rub it against your arm,or sleeve, or whatever and turn the card over showing that now one side is printed.

6) Now rub the blank side against the same place and repeat the turnover move to show both sides being printed…simple enough? Show it printed on both sides a couple of times and then rub it on something and show that now it’s back to being printed on one side only. Now you hand it out…miracle completed.

Naturally, you can embellish this effect with whatever patter you like, especially after you become comfortable with it. I usually don’t make it into the Gettysburg Address, I just say something like, “my printer gave me these blank cards…he said I might enjoy them because they are magical (I’ve already removed the card and started my turnover sequence while talking). Watch! If I just rub the card on the sleeve the side becomes printed (show it). Now if I rub the blank side it becomes printed on both sides (use the turnover move, showing the same side each time). Now, if I rub the card on the sleeve again the side goes blank…don’t ask me! My printer was right…these are magical cards and they may be just as magical for you as well…if you give me a call.”

Make it a habit to use this little effect as much as possible. It will give you practice and, again, be REMEMBERED, which is “real” magic, right? It’s a great way to “turnover” your business card…it has meant business for me!

Ronald J. Dayton
“Promotional magic at its finest”

EFFECT: Performer openly shuffles the deck several times end-to-end, then cuts and completes the cut. Holding the cards at one end in his left hand, he states that he will riffle through the cards until the spectator tells him to stop. This is done, and the card stopped at is removed and tabled face up.

You ask the spectator, ” Is this your card?” He will confirm that it is. You then continue…” Well, you may be surprised to know, it’s my card too!” And with that announcement, you turn the card over to reveal your business card permanently glued to the back of his selected card. The card assembly is then given as a momento of your performance.

METHOD: You will need a deck of cards, a glue stick, and two of your own business cards. Apply glue to the backs of the business cards, then stick one card each on to the backs of two indifferent playing cards. When dry, these cards are placed in second and third position from the front of the deck.

When you shuffle the cards, the halves are held by their ends between the thumbs at the inside ends and fingers at the opposing ends. The first three cards of the left hand or bottom half are allowed to fall first. This retains the position of the two gimmicked cards. When you cut and complete the cut, the two special cards are placed at the approximate center of the deck.

Since the business cards add thickness to the cards, they have been transformed into a type of key-card, or locator card, PP. 106 of the •’ Cyclopedia of Magic. “ As you riffle thru the cards from front to back with the thumb of the right hand, you’ll find that the deck will automatically break or open after the first gimmick card, revealing the face of the second gimmick assembly. The front half of the deck is tabled face up without flashing the back of the top card. The front card of the right hand half of the deck is tabled face up. It is then that you ask your curious question…” Is this your card? ”

By purchasing a deck of matching Pinochle cards, you have a ready source for extra or replacement cards from which to make new business card assemblies.

Also, if for some reason you do not hand out the card assembly ( perhaps they already have your business card ), you may replace their chosen card IN FRONT of the other gimmick in the deck and you’re ready for an instant repeat with a different person, which allows them to ‘choose’ a different card from the first individual.

Bill Wisch

Tricks with money are always in demand for “Ice Breakers & Point Makers for All Occasions”. This effect is age old but perfect for that thought or idea you wish to have “magically remembered”. All you have to do is adapt it to the task at hand.

A dollar bill is made to turn over, without actually doing so.

The face of the bill is facing the spectator. Fold top half AWAY from you (downward) and crease. Now fold right half AWAY from you to the left and crease. Do the same thing again. Now you have a small bundle. Open the bill up carefully TOWARD yourself and then lift up horizontal flap. The bill is now upside down, without actually turning it to the right or left!

Patter example:
“There is a need for lower costs in today’s world (show front of bill). In the real world we know that lower costs mean lower performance (show back of bill by flipping it over).  But the boss doesn’t want to look at the other side. He wants lower costs with higher performance (turn bill over a few times) at the same time.

When you try to do this you end up turning your department upside down.  Yet, there IS a way to get from lower costs to higher performance WITHOUT turning your department upside down! (Do procedure carefully and cleanly.)  What it takes is a new way of doing things and that is what I’m here to discuss with you today.”

Naturally this is a sales presentation and it works quite well. I know because I used this exact method and patter many times in the field while in sales. It captures attention and is simple, quick and different. After you do it a few times it becomes second nature and you have greater facility in performance.  Bartenders could easily adapt this as well as any other person who must make that normal face-to-face meeting memorable.

Bill Wisch

Happy New Year! This is the first segment of this Forum for the year and I felt it necessary to mention a few things about PREPARATION, instead of any specific trick or effect this month.

We designed this page of ICOM for anyone and everyone who was in a position of needing an “Ice Breaker or Point Maker for All Occasion”. You may be a teacher, salesperson, attorney, bartender, trainer, or any other professional that needs some pizzazz, and this Forum will be of great value to you. Following this page monthly, as well as visiting the Beginner’s page; the ICOM Library, and any and all other parts of the conservatory, will give you a tremendous amount of ideas, tips, techniques and strategies to incorporate, depending on your aptitude and motivation. But as you know, it’s not WHAT you do but HOW you do it, and PREPARATION for any effect is no exception.

Here are a few guidelines I try to follow before using an effect as an Ice Breaker or Point Maker:

1) What’s the point?
There should be a definite point to why you’re using that specific effect. If there isn’t one it could be more of a negative than a positive, and cloud up the procedure rather than be the picture worth 1,000 words. I was called by a fortune 500 company one time to help design a sales meeting. The first question I had for the Sales VP was what the one , major point of the meeting was for. I know it was an oversight but he didn’t have one! I suggested “The Magic is You” and then every piece fell into place. If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s a cinch you’re going to get there! That’s an old axiom that bears repeating. Each effect you use should have a definite point or justification or don’t use it in this context…use the effect just as entertainment if you get the opportunity.

2)Is it simple?
You can check back in the archives for my article on simplicity and get the full gist of this, but for the most part I recommend you keep the effect as simple and uncomplicated as possible. Any multiple stage routine is difficult to use to drive home a major, simple point (there are exceptions, but they are rare).

3)Am I proficient?
You must know ALL the handlings and ALL the patter and ALL the outs and ALL the “business” BEFORE you even think of performing the effect for anyone, especially a serious client or person you want to impress. This is just common sense. Learn any moves or sleights thoroughly before you devise the patter. This was Slydini’s method (I specifically asked him).

4)Does it fit me?
Only trial and error can tell this but give it a good, sincere try before canning a nice idea or effect.
I try a number of new effects out at Caesar’s every month or so and most of the joy of performing close-up is making an effect that you don’t think you can pull off become one of you’re favorites. If you follow the formula…premise…moves…patter, then you will literally create many effects that fit YOU and adapt and adopt many others.

5)What’s my follow-up?
This isn’t necessarily the point of the effect, but what you will do after making the point. Will you put the props away immediately or just let them sit? Will you hand them out for examination or not?
The point here is not to do anything after you make the “magical” point, to diminish the power and effect. Does that make sense?…think about it and I believe it will.

6)What will you say when they say “How did you do that?”?
My advice is to stay on the point rather than be led off by the mystery. No matter how much they are impressed with the effect they will be mystified and will wonder how you “did it”. Don’t be taken off your purpose. Say something like, “That’s exactly the point…”, or “This is why I used this little effect, to demonstrate the_____________(hit them with the benefit or point you want to convey).
Use the effect like you would use a trained sheepdog to keep a flock of sheep controlled.

These six points just touch the tip of the iceberg, but there is enough here for you to get the idea. To put it simply…you are a surgeon and the effects are your implements. “Go ye and operate!”

ICOM Cyclopedia of Magic

I.C.O.M Cyclopedia of Magic

Compiled And Exclusively Written By Bobby J. Gallo & Ronald J. Dayton Copyright 1998 International Conservatory Of Magic All Rights Reserved

More Than 187 definitions Every Magician Should Know. We feel this is the world’s most complete magician’s glossary.


Acquitment: The sleight involved in showing both hands empty where an object is concealed. The Changeover palm is a popular “aquitment”.

Accordion Pleat: To fold a handkerchief or paper in such a fashion as to appear like an accordion when viewed from the side. The purpose of which is to allow the object to expand in a rapid manner during production.

Afghan Bands: A unique effect in which cloth or paper bands are torn in half along their length producing different and amuzing results at the conclusion of each tear.  The effect uses the mobius principle.

Angles: The viewing path of the audience.

Apparatus:  The equipment used by a performer to present his magic.

Appearance: The production of a single article apparently out of thin-air.

Assistant:  That person or persons who assists or helps in the performance, either directly or indirectly.


Balloon Worker:  A novelty or speciality act in which different style balloons are inflated in entertaining ways,  often coupled with the creation of balloon sculptures.

Billiard Ball: In magic, the name of an object used by magicians in the art of manipulation. A small ball of sorts.

Bill Tube:  A tube and cap made to hold a rolled up dollar bill, often with a screw on or locking cap.  Apparatus is usually machined of brass. Vanished bill appears in tube.

Billet:  A small piece of paper upon which information is written,  used in mental effects.

Bizzare Magic: A form of the magical entertainment that relys on occult, supernatural, or offbeat presentations to add drama to a magic effect.

Black Art:  An old, and very deceptive method of stage magic in which the fact that  black on black background is almost inperceptible.  A near perfect form of visual camouflage and concealment.

Blendo:  Usually referring to an effect in which items such as silks or bills are caused to magically blend together in various ways.

Blindfold Drive:  A very risky form of X-ray vision act in which the perfomer’s vision is obscured with layers of gauze, bandages, metal shields etc.,  then an additional blindfold and possibly a cloth sack for good measure.  Still, in some mysterious way, the person is able to drive and navigate a car through streets he has never seen before.

Blue Room:  A Principle in magic as well as a classic illusion in which the graduated reflective properties of a mirrored cheet of glass are employed.

Book Test:   A specific routine in mentalism in which chosen lines or words in a book are divined by the medium.

Botania:  Effect in which an impressive feather flower bouquet is produced from under a large tube previously shown empty.

Bow Knot: A specialized knot used during certain rope sequences.

Bridge Size Deck: The smaller of the two American sized playing cards. Width measures 2-1/4 in.


Card Discovery: The act of revealing a selected card after being lost in a deck during a magical routine.

Card Index:  A pocket file which separates certain cards from one another so they may be instantly located and openly removed from the pocket.

Card Location: The act of revealing a selected card after being lost in a deck during a magical routine.

Cape: Rarely used apparel of a magician. Early on used as a cover for the concealment and production of articles.

Center Tear:   A method for secretly obtaining a message or image from the folded piece of paper upon which it has been written as the paper is being torn into pieces.

Change Bags:  Cloth bags which have secret compartments to switch one object for another. Some bags have attached handles, others do not, some are even made of clear plastic, but the principle remains the same.

Chapeaugraphy:  A specialized form of entertainment, not necessarily magical, in which a large, donut shaped ring of heavy felt is manipulated to form a  wide variety of hats for the performer to wear.  The changes are rapid, and the patter witty.

Classic Palm: The standard method of concealing an object in the hand unaware to the audience.

Clatter Box: Comedy prop box which falls apart when handled by a spectator.

Clippo:  Term used for a unique cut and restored  effect employing a strip of paper and principles of adhesion.

Close-up: The term for magic that is performed less than ten feet from an audience.

Coin Fold: A vanish of a coin or small object involving a small piece of paper coupled with sleight of hand.

Coin Roll: A Master Flourish involving a coin to travel in between each of the performers fingers over the back of his/her hand.

Confederate:  A secret assistant in the audience, who plays the roll of an ordinary spectator, and relays information to you needed for the completion of certain effects.

Conjuring: A term used in magic to indicate the acting out of magic or, a variation of conjuration, or the summoning of demons to gain supernatural assistance in performing miracles. The term conjuring is synonymous with magic.

Conjurer: An actor playing the part of a magician.

Control: A means by which the performer may secretly cause an object to appear where he / she desires at any given point in time unaware to the audience. Mostly associated with card magic.

Commercial: Material tailored to appeal to the mass public.

Coring: The act of removing the center part of magician’s cotton rope.

Coiling: The act of wrapping a length of rope around the hand.

Crimp:  A bend secretly placed into a card to facilitate finding its location in the deck.

Cull: The secret removal of, and repositioning of a certain card or cards within a deck.

Cut: To separate the cards in the center and reverse the packet positions.


Daub: A secret substance which may be placed under the nail of the thumb or on the pad of a finger so secretly  mark cards.

Dealing: The distribution of playing cards to a number of players/spectators.

Deuce: Another name for a two use in magic and card games.

Diminishing:  Becoming smaller, i.e. Diminishing cards, bills, golf balls, die, etc.

Do-As-I-Do: An effect where a spectator attempts to duplicate the feats of the performer, often with humorous results.

Double Cut: The act of cutting a deck twice rather than the standard single cut.

Double Face:  Special cards printed with  suits and values on both sides.

Double Walled: A gaff where the prop has two compartments, one disguised. Often used to produce, change or vanish an object.

Dropper: A device or holder which is worn under the jacket, near the side edge, which will drop or deliver an object into the performers waiting hand.  i.e. Cigarette Droppers,  Ball Droppers, Coin Droppers etc.


Effect:  A term often used by magicians to refer to the apparent magic as witnessed by an audience during a given trick.

Equivoques’ (Magician’s Choice): An extremely useful and valuable method by which the magician’s influences the out come of an apparent choice by a spectator.


Face: The side of a playing card that shows the value and suit.

Face Card: The cards with values Jack through King.

Face of Deck: The position of the deck where the values show and not the backs.

Fake:  A hidden device which assists in the completion of an effect. Unlike a gimmick, the             fake is visible at all times.  It is an object which appears to be one thing…but acutally has a special purpose.

False Cut: The act of convincing the audience that the cards were legitimately cut when in fact they end up in the identical state as they were prior to the move. Used many times when a False Shuffle is not practical.

False Shuffle: The act of convincing the audience that the cards were legitimately shuffled when in fact they end up in the identical state as they were prior to the move.

Farro Shuffle:  A specialized shuffle in which the cards are divided into two packets, then these butted together, end to end, and the cards interspersed in an alternating fashion.

Fakir: An East Indian magician specializing in physical magic.

Finger-Palm: A type of Palming where the concealed objects is hidden the curled fingers.

F.I.S.M : An international convention and competition…which takes place in Europe every four years.  It is like the olympics of magic.  The very best in the world compete for highly esteemed awards.

Flash: A method by which the performer allows the spectator to briefly see an object used in a magical routine for forcing or misdirection purposes.

Flash Paper: Chemically treated tissue paper which has been allowed to dry.  Contact with fire instantly ignites the paper with an intense burst of fire and light.

Flash Pot: A special container, usually activated by an electrical current which will set off a special powder inside the container, creating a puff of smoke.

Foulard:   A large scarf or covering cloth.  Heavier than a silk.

Flourish: A feat that is a mixture of mystery and dexterity. Often used to demonstrate the skill of the performer. Very pleasing to witness.

Foo Can:  A specialized container which may be shown to be empty even though it actually contains a quantity of liquid.

Force/Forcing (card): The ability of a performer to make a spectator unwittingly choose an object secretly selected by the magician. One of the most guarded secrets in magic.

Free Choice: A truly free selection of an object by a spectator to be used in conjunction with a magical presentation.

French Drop:  An older sleight, used mostly with coins for a vanish. Seldom seen  since newer methods have evolved.  Still effective with modifications.


A joke or funny visual climax to a magic or comedy routine.

A technique used by magicians as well as card sharps to gain the identity of a particular playing card chosen by a spectator or dealt during a card game.

Giant Card: A jumbo version of a normal size playing card generally used in stage magic for visibility reason.

Gimmick: The general term for the a secret device often responsible for the magic effect in a given routine.

Glimpse: The act of the performer secretly noting the identity of an object during a magical routine. Mostly used in card work.

Glide: a sleight used to in-jog the bottom card of the deck to facilitate the illusion of the bottom card being withdrawn.


Hat Coil:  A paper production coil…very visual.  Usually produced from top hats or rice bowls. When inverted releases a streaming flow of paper ribbon.  Great cover for the production of livestock.

Hat Trick: The classic routine of producing empty articles from a top-hat or similar receptacle.

Hold Out:  A secret mechanical device which will deliver objects secretly into or from the performer’s jacket sleeve.

Hooked Coin:  A coin which actually has a hook attached to it for vanishes or productions.

Houdini: The most famous name associated with magic. A Turn of the century magician who specialized in escapes, small magic and spiritualistic stunts.

Houlette:  An old term which indicates a decorative or specialized card case or holder.

Hindu Shuffle: A type of shuffle uses to force of control a card or number of cards.


I.B.M: Acronym for “International Brotherhood of Magician’s ™”.

I.C.O.M: Acronym for The International Conservatory of Magic ™

I.C.O.M Online: A division of I.C.O.M, designed for world-wide students via the Internet.

Illusions: Though a term which can be applied to to all of magic, Illusions generally donate large effects wherein a person is used to illustrate the magic.

Impromptu: In magic, a terms that refers to effects that can be done at any time without special apparatus.

Indicator: Widely used in card magic, a card or object that can be sued to locate the selected object.

In-Jogging: The act of shifting a card or number of cards inward toward the body to facilitate a location of same.


Jinx: In magic, usually refers to a popular magician’s publication from the earlier part of the twentieth century.


Key: A list of code or prompt words used mainly in mentalism effects.

Key Card: A card used as a location device in a card routine.


Lapping: The act of dropping objects into your lap during the course of sit-down close-up magic for subsequent vanishment.

Legerdemain:  A word which translates literally to mean, ” light of hand “.  A fancy way to refer to manual manipulation.

Levitation: The act of seeming to cause an object to rise into the air without visible means of support.

Line: A scripted piece of speech used by an entertainer to give justification to a trick or routine.

Livestock:  The animals used in a magic act.  i.e  Rabbits, Doves, Ducks etc.

Load:  Items which are secretly introduced into a specific place or container for future production.

Locater: See Indicator.

Long Card:  A card which is longer than the rest in the deck.  Used as a locator card.


M.A.E.S: Acronym for the Magician’s Alliance of Easter States ™.

Magician’s Logic: Reasonings that the magician uses to persuade an audience that a given routine is fair and above board. This technique aids in misdirection and keeps the spectators from questioning certain handling in the effect.

Master Flourish: The most technically demanding of the flourish genre. Master flourishes often take years of rehearsal to perfect.

Mechanics grip: The standard way to hold a deck of card prior to dealing.

Mentalism:  The field of magic in which various information is seemingly divined purely by the power of the mind.

Mexican Turnover: A card move in which, during the process of using one card to turn another tabled card over, the cards are secretly switched.

Micro Magic:  Closer than, and more specialized than close-up magic. This is where the performer is usually working for only one or two people.

Misdirection: An action of interest capserpents the audience attention. The process of guiding the audiences attention away from the modus operandi of an effect.

Modus Operandi: In magic, a term which refers to the secret method of an effect.

Mouth Coils:  Specially made packets which will fit into a person’s mouth and allow them to extract yards and yards of  three dimensional paper streamer.

Move: A physical action used in a magical routine. A move may either be obvious or invisible depending upon the demand of the trick.


Nail Nick:  The procedure of using the edge of the thumb nail to press down upon and there-by secretly ‘nick’ or mark a card or object.

Nail Writer:  A secret device, very small, often worn under the thumb nail or on the thumb. This gimmick holds a piece of pencil lead, and allows messages to be secretly written.

Nesting/Nested: A type of gimmick where a number of identical objects are manufactured to be concealed within each other.


Occult: Subject matter dealing with the darker side of the Supernatural.

One Ahead:
 A system or principle in mental magic for discovering information before the audience is aware you are doing so.

One-Way: A term generally referring to a deck of cards of which all are identical. Made mainly for forcing purposes. Term may also be applied to the back design of certain playing cards.

OOM:  Oil of Milk.  An oily substance which, when mixed with water produces a liquid which      resembles milk.

Out-Jogging: The act of shifting a card or number of cards outwards toward from body to facilitate a location of same.

Out To Lunch:  An effect and a principle all rolled into one.  The images on a printed card, usually of business card size and held as the top card of a stack with a rubber band, magically changes.


Palming: The act the concealing a small object in the hand unaware to the audience.

Paddle Move: A valuable sleight which give the illusion of two sides of a hand-held article being identical.

Parlor Magic:  In decades past, a parlor was a room in a home in which guests were entertained.  Parlor Magic refers to the style of magic given in intimate surroundings for small groups of people.

Patter: The scripting used in a magical routine.

Penetration: A type of magic which exhibits solid-through-solid.

Platform Tricks:  Magic which must be performed on platform or stage due to the size of the equipment or the distance required to make the trick effective.

Playing Cards: The single most extensively used prop in the entire realm of magic. Originally developed in the middle ages as a form of entertainent. Others claim that they are a modernized version of the infamous “Tarot Deck”. Modern day decks contain 52 different cards not counting jokers. They come in two sizes, Bridge and Poker. Two primary back colors, red & blue.

Poker Deck: The larger of the two American standard size playing cards.

Poker Shuffle: A type of riffle shuffle used by casino dealers.

Prearrangement: To set-up a deck or other prop beforehand to facilitate a magic trick.

Presentation: The entire magical effect including, the workings, speech and staging of the magic act.

Prestidigitation: French translation for “fast fingers”. Means quite literally, ” rapid fingerwork,”.  It refers specifically to handmovement, but in modern times has come to mean magic of all kinds.

Practice: One of the most important and neglected ingredients for the successful performance of magic.

Production: The article of a number of production apparently out of thin air.

Props:  Short for the technical term derived from the theater, ” properties”…refers to any object, seen or unseen which is handled by the magician.


Q & A: A type of mental magic routine where the performer reveals information written down on small slips of paper by the audience. The information having been secretly obtained beforehand.


Reel:  A small device, spring activeated, which will retrieve or wind a length line back into it.

Release: The freeing of a number of ied or bound objects. Term used in escapes and penetration effects.

Repetition:  A ploy used to fool an audience by doing an innocent action often enough that it is not noticed when it changes into a secret move.

Retension: A charastic of human vision in which the image of an object is held by the optic nerve after it is no longer visible. A perfect example is the Retension Coin Vanish.

Reveal:  The means by which the end result of a certain effect,  such as the value of a chosen card, or the re-appearance of a coin is accomplished.

Reverse: In card magic a term used to in the indication of a selected card by magically reversing same.

Roll Down: a difficult flourish used in coin magic.

Rope Worker:  Yet another specialized act in magic.  This individual works the majority of his effects with rope…also utilizing ribbons, silks or rings to facilitate certain routines.

Roughing Fluid:  A substance which, when applied to cards causes them to slightly adhere to one another.

Ruse:  Fooling an audience by doing something openly which at the same time acts as cover for a secret move or action.

Routining: The act of combining individual magic effects to ascertain the best possible combination in an overall magic performance.

Roving: A style of performance where the entertainer strolls around to small groups of spectators exhibiting close-up magic rather than a set stand-up program.


S.A.M: Acronym for the “Society of American Magicians ™”.

Sandwiched: One card between two others, used in certain effects.

Scaling: The act of throwing cards out into an audience in such a way, and with such force that they often travel remarkable distances.  In some instances, the cards are sometimes made to circle back and return to the stage.

Seance Act: (see spirit act)

Self-Working: A misleading term used to indicate a trick which requires no sleight-of-hand.

Servante’: A secret ledge or bag used in the disposal of attainment of small object unaware to the audience.

Shaved Deck:  Deck which has been tapered at each side, making it wider at one end than at the other.  This allows specific cards turned end for end within the deck to be stripped out.

Short Card:  Playing card which has been made intentionally shorter than the rest in the deck. This card is used as a locator.

Shuttle Pass: A basic sleight in which an object in one hand is seemingly placed into the other  with a dumping or tossing motion.

Silent Act:  An act in which pantomime replaces the spoken word…usually performed to music.

Sleight: A physical move used in magic to bring about a misdirecting action.

Sleight-Of-Hand: General term for th use of sleights in the magical arts.

Simulation: Pretending something is so when it is not.

Spirit Act: The pretended use of spiritualism to seemingly contact those who have passed away.

Spot Card: Any playing card ace through ten.

Spring: A difficult flourish used to cause a deck of cards to fly from one hand to the other.

Spread: To lay a deck of cards out in a row on a table in a long even pattern.

Steal:  A term for the manner in which small objects which are attached to the body in a position of concealment are secretly obtained.

Stock: A portion or packet of cards used in a routine. A portion of a standard deck of cards.

Sucker Trick: An effect in which the spectator thinks he has figured out the secret, or caught the performer making a mistake…only to be proven wrong.

Supernatural: Subject matter dealing with the spirit world.

Suspension: Similar in concept to the levitation…but without the movement.  The object simply appears to be suspended in mid air.


Tarot Deck: An ancient deck of cards consisting of two sections. (Major & Minor Arcana). Used primarily to tell fortunes, the modern day magician often uses them to create magical effects with am occult mood. (see: Bizzare Magic)

Top of Deck: The position of the deck where the backs are uppermost.

Transposition:The act of causing one object to magically change places with another object. The act of causing an object to magically travel elsewhere.

Transformation: The act of causing one object to magically change into another object.

Trey: Another term for a three used in card games and magic.

Turnover: The act of simultaneously reversing an entire deck of cards after using the spread.

Trick: General term used to describe al forms of magic feats, stunts or experiments.

A routine that starts off as a magic trick, but winds up having a humorous conclusion that may or may or may not be magical.

Traps: Secret Compartments in the magician’s table top or passageways in the floor of a stage.

Turn-Up: To deal a number of playing cards upwards during a routine.

Tumbler: A drinking glass or large cup used in magic.


Undercut: To cut the lower portion of a deck of packet of playing cards.

Underground: A potentially popular form of entertainment or communication that is not usually considered mainstream or commercial.


Vanish: Technical term for an effect in which a person or object disappears.

Volunteer:  An audience member employed by the magician to assist during a trick.


Wand: The sign of the magician. a small hand-held rod used for misdirecting purposes as well as the production of hand-held objects.

Waterfall: A difficult flourish used to drop cards singly from one hand to another in an apparently solid ribbon.

Wax (magician’s): A tacky type of wax used for conjuring purposes.

Wiztax: Double sided tape used to mimic the effects of magician’s wax.

Working pure: Performing magic utilizing sleight-of-hand as the main form of modus-operandi.


X-Ray Vision: A term used in magic to convince the audience of the performers ability to peer through solid objects.


You-Do-As-I-Do: A premise in which the spectator mimics the actions of the magician. Often with humorous results.


Zarrow Shuffle: Named after 20th century magician who developed it.

Zinab Deck: A once popular fanning deck produced by Abbott’s Magic. No longer made.

Subject not listed? Just e-mail us and ask, or check out the Devil’s Dictionary in the Dr.Om’s Treatise on Stagecraft for Magicians Cyber-Magic Textbook ™


Dr. Om’s magicschool program of study #3





Because MISDIRECT1ON is essential to performing any magical illusion, Dr.OM is devoting the present installment to this important subject, at a juncture in the magic course at which the topic of misdirection is loomingly important The student should gain both concepts and techniques of misdirection from this, chapter and comprehend the component parts of the art of misdirection.

MISDIRCTION is the art of distracting audience attention away from the “dirty work” (hidden method) and focusing audience attention upon the magical illusion being overtly displayed. MISDIRECTION CONSISTS OF: 1) STEALING; 2) HOLDING; 3) WAITING; 4) PRODUCING; 5) VANISHING: AND DITCHING.


Stealing, simply put, means obtaining an object from a body load, utility holder, pocket, table servante (hidden secret shelf), or chair servante. An assistant, dancer, or show band member are used to “slip” objects to a magician, for his later production, as well. Looking away from the source of the steal and fixing the eys on an object in the other hand, an on or offstage noise, the magician being upstaged by the motion of another actor or object onstage within the audience’s view, and/or distracting patter (talk) are misdirective, i.e. misdirecting the audience’s attention from what they should not see to what the magician wants them to see. If the magician looks at the audience, the audience will look at the magician. If the magician looks at a person or object, the audience will look.


A stolen object should not be immediately produced, but should be secretly concealed and held until the magician has moved his hand (when stealing small objects from the pocket, for example) or has moved his whole body (when stealing larger objects from a table, for example) away from the source of the steal, after the magician has had the concealing hand grasp another misdirective object such as a wand or after the magician has moved his whole body onto an open space away from furniture or other actors on the stage and has waited long enough before producing the concealed object.


Vanishing is the effect experienced by the audience. Ditching is the method whereby the effect is achieved. A hand secretly holding an object may ditch (put) the object into a pocket in the apparent act of taking another object out of the same pocket, usually for use in a subsequent effect. The object to be ditched should be held in finger palm position, leaving the thumb and first and second fingers free to pick up from the pocket the object to be openly revealed, as motivation for going into the pocket, in the first place. An object concealed in finger palm position allows the hand to pick up the further misdirecting object, such as a wand or pencil, leading the audience to believe that nothing else but the wand or pencil is being held by the concealing hand.

(From I.C.O.M Sleight-of-Hand Gallery)


(From I.C.O.M Sleight-of-Hand Gallery)

(From I.C.O.M Sleight-of-Hand Gallery)



The Bobo drop is a method for switching one object for another. For instance, A penny is held in RIGHT finger palm position as a nickel is displayed held by the thumb and the first and second finger tips.


The nickel is seemingly placed into the magician’s own LEFT hand, but is allowed to drop by gravity into RIGHT finger palm position as the penny is actually simultaneously dropped into the LEFT hand. The LEFT hand fingers simultaneously close to mask the falling penny and continues to close into a fist. The RIGHT band picks up a pencil from the RIGHT side pants or suit pocket, simultaneously ditching the nickel into the pocket and then with the pencil taps the LEFT hand, as the Left hand fingers squeeze the supposed nickel which is the actual penny against the palm, seeming to grind and compress the coin. The LEFT hand, then opens to reveal that the nickel has been transformed into a penny. Then, the RIGHT hand replaces the penny and pencil into the RIGHT pocket, thereby resetting the effect for the next performance.


The magician moving from left to right stage holding a bouquet of white roses, passes behind a stage scenery tree with a shelf (servante) invisible to the audience holding a bouquet of red roses. The magician switches bouquet by dropping the white bouquet onto the shelf a picking up the red bouquet. The actions are executed quickly, such that when the magician emerges from behind the tree, the bouquet seems to have instantly and miraculously changed color. This effect is a piece of choreography which must be practiced until perfect.


Plays by Luigi Pirandello
August Strindberg’s “The Dream Play”
Kopit’s Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma Hung You in the Closet and I’M Feeling so Sad




Robert Frost defined poetic metaphor as “.. .talking about something while seeming to be talking about something else.” In the poetry of the magical arts, Frost’s definition rings true. David Copperfield’s beautiful presentation of the classic “Snowfall In China” is marvelous, not only in the magical effect of the falling snow filling the entire stage but also, and perhaps primarily, in the metaphor of his storied recollection of the first snowfall he witnessed as a child. The story and the effect appeal because each of us has witnessed a first snowfall. The metaphoric meaning addresses the newness of all first time experiences to a child. That child and that thirst for newness are still within us. Show me a puzzle and I shall be bewildered. Show me a magic effect and I shall be amazed. Tell me a story and I shall remember it forever.

The metaphor of another classic, “The Miser’s Dream,” appeals to audiences because they experience a metaphoric expression of the universal need and desire for money. In “The Miser’s Dream,” coins are snatched from the air-would that it could be so.

Magicians of the historical past were able to create the illusion of severing the heads from animals and humans and then restoring them. Destroyed and restored effects appeal metaphorically to the audience desire to make whole again not only the physically but also the spiritually and emotionally destroyed in their lives. The “Guillotine Illusion” is one later version of head severing and restoration. “The Sawing a Lady in Half Illusion” was especially metaphorically meaningful during the nineteen thirties when so many were economically and emotionally trying to get their lives back together. The question might be asked: from what was Houdini escaping in the subconscious minds of his audience? Recently, David Blaine performed a variation of the old flagpole-sitting publicity stunt, which was popular during the great depression.

Was Blaine’s two-thousand-and-two audience subconsciously and metaphorically sitting it out and waiting with the performer for an ailing stock market to turn around?

After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the “Immolation Stage Illusion” would have great psychological impact. Seeing a beautiful young lady cremated in a coffin shaped oven and then seeing her restored to her whole self again would provide a metaphoric sub-text suggesting the restoration of the twin towers and all the lives so sadly lost when they fell in flames. There would be no need to back project images of the towers on a scrim. That would be funky over kill, and the metaphor of the effect would be powerful enough.

On a lesser scale, torn and restored effects would produce a similar catharsis in a close-up audience. Close- up magic or small prop stage magic employ simple props in miniature, which are no less metaphorically potent, by subconsciously suggesting the restoration of that which has been destroyed in metaphor by the actual props in use. The effect selected for this lesson may be performed almost impromptu anywhere with found objects.



Do not underestimate the audience impact of this seemingly simple “trick” when well handled and presented with a story line patter tailor made to suit the persona of the performer.


For the larger magician’s hands, whole paper napkins may be used. For smaller hands the napkin may be carefully cut into halves or even into quarters, preferably with scissors. Importantly, the two napkins or portions of a napkin must be identical.


The first napkin or portion is rolled into a tight ball and concealed in the left hand finger palm position.

The second napkin is held hanging by a corner between the first finger and thumb of the right hand and stroked downward by the left hand without flashing or dropping the concealed rolled napkin.

1) With the first, to be restored, napkin in finger palm position of the left hand, the second, to be torn, napkin is displayed downstage to the audience in hanging position by the right hand.

2) The right hand gently waves the napkin three times in the air and then performs a series of three passes of the right hand napkin through the left upward held palm.

3) On the first pass, the right second and third fingers and pinky, clip the first napkin ball, carrying it away hidden behind the second displayed napkin, as the left hand is gracefully and casually turned to the audience to reveal the palm empty.

4) On the second pass the rolled ball is re-deposited into the left hand, in the finger palm position, as the extended second and third fingers and the pinky of the right hand are held as if the right first finger and thumb are holding a tea cup, and gracefully and casually turn to the audience to be revealed empty.

5) The third pass is a misdirecting feint during which nothing happens. The second napkin is merely pulled through the left palm.

6) The free fingers of both hands now tear the second napkin into pieces and roll it into a tight ball, which is held between the first an second fingers and thumb of the right hand and displayed before the audience. (Never move too quickly. The audience must see everything of what you want them to see and see nothing of what you do not want them to see).

7) As the audience is so misdirected to look at the right hand display, the left hand forming a fist is turned thumb side upward.

8) The torn and balled napkin is stuffed gradually and by degrees into the well at the top of the left fist and pushed downward into the fist.

9) Before completely out of sight, the right fingers begin to alternately stuff at the top and pull at the bottom of the fistgradually and by degrees revealing the restored napkin. The stuffed torn napkin must be entirely concealed in the fist, before the restored napkin is entirely exposed to view.

10)When totally revealed. The restored napkin is conducted through a series of three passes, similar to that at the beginning.

1 l) On the first pass, the torn ball is carried away and the left hand revealed empty.

12) On the second pass, the torn ball is re-deposited in the left hand and the right hand is revealed empty.

13) On the third pass, the torn ball is again clipped, removed, and concealed by wrapping it secretly in the whole napkin and rolling both into a tight ball between the palms of both hands held with the back of the left hand facing the floor.

14) The Slydini vanish move (See Dr. OM’S lesson I) is performed.

15) The ball concealed in the right hand is sleeved.

16) Both hands are shown empty.

17) The magician bows and de-sleeves the rolled double napkin ball and ditches the ball, as reaching into the side coat pocket for a prop, perhaps a coin or a deck of cards, to be used in the next effect.


Practice before a mirror to avoid flashing (exposing that which is concealed to the audience) and to move the hands gracefully and slowly for maximum display. Do not perform publicly, until your image in the mirror fools even you. DR. OM’s version of THE TORN AND RESTORED NAPKIN combines handling techniques of the napkin effect with dye tube color changing silk technique. Let your patter TELL A STORY compatible with your magician’s character. Only you should compose your patter. Do not use anyone else’s. PRACTICE and GOOD FORTUNE.

  1. OM