Secret Passageway 1/00-6/00


In the dark recesses of the “International Conservatory of Magic”, a brave member has just entered…

This Forum Is Rated PG

Introduction to this forum,

Magic has many facets and tastes. This area may not be for everyone, but then again YOU may not be everyone! This area is devoted to magic on the spooky side. It may deal with dark imagery and SUPERNATURAL themes. Due to overwhelming demand, we have included a forum devoted to this branch of the magical arts that has been coined, “Bizarre Magic”. This is theatre, plain and simple, and was a wildly popular form of magic around the beginning of the 20th century. It is STILL popular among many people as a way to bring more drama to magic.

The periodic “Shadows” segments are a collection of previously unreleased original Bizarre publications that will appear quarterly. The artwork for “Shadows” are original and include a poem to set the mood for the coming months written by Ronald J. Dayton. With an added quote from noted writers.

artwork copyright 2000 Ronald J. Dayton

SHADOWS is a publication which will appear, as shadows often do, at different times, and in varying lengths and form. As always, the image cast is dependent upon the amount of light being shed, and its direction. Much like our magic itself, shadows change with movement. Without movement, there is no change. Without light, there is no shadow.

Let us enter an enchanted forest. let us search for the secrets its thick foliage conceals. Maintain a presence of mind, and a keen sense of direction… for here too, we shall encounter shadows. Naturets floor is dappled in dancing shades of dark and light. Without direction, without the light…we surely would be lost.

Ronald J. Dayton 23-93

Out of the night which covers me, dark as a pit from pole to pole, I thank what ever gods may be.. for my unconquerable soul.”


May 2000

The Ghost Trilogy
(A Series of Spirit Magic Presentations)
Story #3
Ronald J. Dayton

(Final Story)

We are taking one last look at the Yursky frarm, the plot of land , rolling hills and assorted buildings they called home. Certainly after all we have learned, there can be few if any secrets left to be uncovered. We know of two people for sure who have died here. Could there be more? Death seems such a morbid thing to think about., but in the long run, it is the one thing we frail mortal beings cannot avoid. Basically, a long life is one in which we are old enough to realize God has given us a gift. If you have never come to that realization, you either died young, or lived out your years as a fool.Our family has had it’s share of sorrow in years gone by. My grand mother, Laura Dayton was said to have had twenty-one children, as astonishing as that may sound…But potential joy was tainted with tragedy. Less than half survived, being taken either by complications, or as an early age from childhood diseases.

There was no money for a fancy funeral , So what was to be done? In a poor home the deceased was usually undressed, placed upon a table large enough to hold them, then bathed and dressed for viewing by friends and neighbors. Survivors would dig the grave or graves at a chosen site right there on the homestead. Morners would place whatever makeshift casket was used into the grave. last goodbyes and prayers were said, then the graves were closed. The same was true generations ago at the Yursky farm. Over the years the mounds settled and grass and weeds concealed the site of eternal sleep. The markers crumbled and became rich humas with the fallen leaves of passing seasons.

A cousin of mine named Tilly, had heard murmored stories that there were graves somewhere along the grassy hill that ran beside the house. Being the sort of person who simply has to know if something is true or not, Tilly got a shovel, picked out a spot and began to dig. One shovel full two shovels full until suddenly there was the chilling sound of metal against wood! Tilly screamed and threw the shovel aside as she ran to the house, never venturing to the site she had unearthed.

CONCLUSION; It is now time to bring this trilogy of ghostly stories to an end. Slide the paper covered tray from the parakeet cage you had used in the Doodles Demise effect, The papers are actually made from two sheets of news print glued together with rubber cement forming an envelope into which you place the following items, a small metal cross, one or two glass marbles,a small well rusted pocket knife, some metal jacks ( also aged ) and a one inch wide length of black velvet ribbon to simulate a teething band. A metal pail is introduced which you claim to be soil from the actual burial site.

A spectator is asked to sprinkle several hand fulls of the dirt onto the paper in the cage tray. Looking at the dirt you say, “I have wondered for years, if a child dies, will their spirit continue to mature to adult-hood? As you say this, you pick the paper up at each end and slowly pour the dirt into the tray. ” If indeed they do, perhaps they would give us a sign, and return for things such as these! Sift slowly through the dirt, and reveal item after item. Drop each item one as a time as they are discovered on to a glass dish held by your assistant, offer them for examination if you wish.

April 2000

The Ghost Trilogy
(A Series of Spirit Magic Presentations)
Story #2
Ronald J. Dayton


There are family secrets, skeletons in the closet which are best left where they are. This may well be one of them. Doodles, as he was known, was one of Violets brothers, and he would come to visit the farm from time to time and accept temporary room and board in exchange for work he would do. He was, I am told a quiet, introverted and private man. If indeed there {“were” any demons ravaging his mind, he never let on about the torment or depression he might be struggling with. Doodles was a gentle soul who would stand in the kitchen, enjoying snd whistling back to the caged parakeets Violet was also so fond of. That’s why it came as such a shock the day Doodles came in from chores, sat down at the table to a nice dinner Violet had made, then proceeded to excuse himself and go up stairs to his room, Once there, he carefully folded his best suit coat and pants and placed them under the mattress of his bed to press them. From there he went back down stairs and outside, presumably to finish the chores. At some point in the afternoon, Doodles came back to the house, quietly let himself into the basement, sat down near the coal pile. He then calmly sat down and died. No one ever knew why.

Oddly enough, the day Stanley and Violet returned to the farmhouse following the funeral, s Violet entered the kitchen, the parakeet cage crashed to the floor. The eye-hook which held the heavy spring from which the cage had been suspended was still securely screwed into the ceiling but search as she may, Violet could not find the spring. Two seasons later, while doing some house cleaning, and gathering up some of the few personal possessions Doodles left an upstairs closet at the head of the stairs, there hung a jacket of doodles. in the pocket, Violet found the missing spring!

A parakeet cage rests upon your close-up table. About six feet behind your table and to the left stands a wooden coat tree. Prior to the actual presentation, you borrow sports coat from a spectator. You ask that they go through their pockets and remove anything of value or which might be broken. He is given a paper bag to place his belongings into. He is then given the bag to hold, and asked to hang his coat on one of the hooks on the stand. You have secretly slipped a large duplicate spring into his pocket. The spring on the cage upon your table has been spread enough for easy removal. As you come to the conclusion of your story, you pick up the cage and spring in such a way that the cage may be dropped while you retain hold of the spring in your right hand. Under cover of the misdirection of the falling cage, you casually put the spring into your right jacket pocket while you search the floor for the missing spring. Tell the man that we will pretend his jacket is Doodles jacket…and ask his wife to play the part of Violet and have her check the pockets for the surprising conclusion.

March 2000

The Ghost Trilogy
(A Series of Spirit Magic Presentations)
Story #1
Ronald J. Dayton

I would like you to join me now, if you have no objections in a journey which I am tempted to call a journey of mind and spirit. The facts I am about to relate to you are accounts which were told and shared with me by my own friends and relatives over the years. There is no reason for me to think that these tales were fabricated. The people who told them were honest, hard working people who eeked out a living tilling the earth. As with any account which is passed down over the generations, the facts as they happened sometimes take on a life of their own, so the determination of what did or did not really happen will be yours and yours alone to judge after having heard it. Please bear in mind that life on these remote, even desolate rural farms was harsh at best. Families were usually large as a rule, which meant more hands to work the land and do chores…but on the down side, more mouths to feed and sacrifices to make, hardships to endure. This was an era of hand-me-down clothes, when even a pair of shoes were a luxury, and lard bread sandwiches for school lunch were the norm.

The farm as I remember it was a plain two-story wood house approached from the main road by a long, winding dirt road. The house was simple but had a warm “lived in” quality about it. Now that we have taken a moment to look at the settings and times I am recounting…perhaps we should move on. When you think of Wisconsin, the usual imagery is of wholesome throngs of kids and azure sky, streaked by whisps of stratus clouds. But there is another side to the state, a darker side which, thankfully is seldom seen or thought of. A side in which the names of the infamous and disturbed, speak untold volumes. Now understand please that I do not intend to dwell on tales of terror. I mention these horrorific events in our history simply to illustrate that strange and unexplainable things have and do happen from time to time. What I wonder is, what affect do these violent, premature, unnatural deaths have on the spirit of the victims soul? Do restless spirits roam the earth in search of closure?


Decades ago, my aunt and uncle lived in the farm house I mentioned earlier. Violet told this story many times, and swore it was true. Late one cold winter night around 1939, a thick blanket of newly fallen snow covered the ground. The air had a distinct artic bite to it, but the presence of wind was almost non existant My aunt was relaxing at the kitchen table, sipping a cup of coffee. Her husband Stanley had already retired for the evening. Suddenly someone pounded loudly at the back door, It was much more than a simple knock, it was a loud and forceful pounding sound. There was no doubt at all that someone wanted in. Violet was understandably shaken. Stanley, who was in the habit of removing his hearing aid before going to bed, was unmoved and of little help. Violet turned on the back yard light and cautiously looked out the window. No one, nothing was there, and no footprints were in the undisturbed blanket of snow. Violet squinted to see better all the way out to the barn.

With a back drop of faded red, a pale white whisp of a form circled slowly around an old abandoned well down near the stock pens. Several more evenings during that cold and lonely winter the vapor-like form circled slowly around the well…never touching the ground, just seeming to float a foot or so above. The following summer, my relatives risked appearing foolish by asking the local sheriff to investigate the mystery. When the boards which covered the open ground level well,were removed the skeletal remains of what the sheriff assumed to be a vagrant or hobo who had fallen into the well years ago were discovered. He must have been headed toward the barn in the dark.. looking for a place to sleep. Once again, I cannot verify its authenticy, but I am told that this piece of wood was part of that which covered the well, and had fallen inside with the remains. Show a weathered board on both sides (paddle move) Hand it to a spectator and ask…” Do you think it really was?” When the spectator turns the board over.. The words HELP ME are scratched onto it.

Next month story #2 in the presentation.

February 2000

The Ghost Board
Bobby J. Gallo

Here is a wonderful illusion that I made up as a fledgling magician. Truth to tell, years ago, I thought it was this very effect that would make my fame. Though I took great care to make the necessary props, I never performed it. “Saving” it for a special occasion that never came.

To this day I still think it had great potential. The original idea came to me by reading a similar effect in the virtually unknown classic “Hermann’s Wizard’s Manual” Yes, I know, that is the second reference to the book this month.

The effect is very straight-forward. A blackboard on an easel is shown to the audience. The magician then draws the image of any humanoid figure he desires with white chalk. A ghost, a skeleton, a monster, or just a plain living breathing person with the piece of chalk. The lights dim, the music starts and all of a sudden the figure comes to life and starts dancing and moving. Yes, you read correctly, the drawing itself comes to life!

This is easier to make than it sounds. All you need is a 3 ft. x 2 ft. piece of sheet paneling that you can get at any hardware or lumber store. On the back side, paint it flat black. Then go into your attic and get any paper halloween decoration that looks like a human figure. These usually cost about $2.00- $4.00 and have joints in the arms and legs that enable you to pose them when hung in the window of your house or on your front door. If you don’t have one you will have to wait until halloween to purchase one.

Paint this figure flat black to match the board. Then thumbtack the head of this to the board making sure you paint this as well. Do not fastnen it to tightly, the whole figure must be able to swing/swivel back and forth on the tack. All must be flat black and invisible on when on stage. Now take a few long lengths of black thread and tie one each to the arm and another to a leg of the painted decoration.

Run these offstage to an assistant in the manner of the “Dancing Handkerchief” found this month in the “Kids Show Konservatory”.

Now take a piece of chalk and outline the decoration with it. To the audience it will seem as though you are merely drawing something on the blackboard. When complete, start the music and the offstage assistant will start to work the threads making the figure come to life! And the end the figure stops and you erase it with a chalk eraser making sure to steady the figure with the free hand so it does not move during the erasure and the secret thus exposed.

This is something you probably have never seen done and would be most novel for any stage show. I have explained it in it’s most basic form. I am sure impovements could be made in it’s construction and method.. Good luck and if you ever use it, I would love to know how it turns out. Better yet, send me a video, I’ll pay for postage!

January 2000

Bobby J. Gallo

This premise came to me while performing over this past holiday season. Upon thinking to myself I realized that there cannot be much of a market for Bizarre magic during what is one of the holiest seasons for so many people since Bizarre magic boasts so much dark imagery. So the following idea will suite any of those who celebrate Christmas as well as those who recognize the Festival of Lights.

Start by using either your spookiest and darkest bizarre effect. One that usually keeps people up at night and (I can’t believe I am saying this next, but hang with me and you’ll see why in a moment) includes the Devil somewhere in the presentation. Actually this is not so much of a task, just read some of Ron Dayton’s (Mr. Fun) presentations in the archives and you’ll be set!

Now remember, this really can only be done near a major religious holiday to have any real effect.

Go through the entire bizarre routine just as you normally would. Build it up as best you can for the usual “Big Scare” at the end, but just before your big climax………..

Have a WHITE FEATHER appear in place of the super scary climax. You then tag this appearance by saying, “I am sorry ladies and gentleman. Perhaps I have been to presumptuous as to assume that we could conduct any occult experiment in so Holy a season. I is apparent that the forces of light are in control here and that the forces of darkness have fled.”Pick up the feather, gaze at it a second and say,” Must be Gabriel, I’d know that feather anywhere!”

There are many ways to achieve the appearance of the feather. The most practical would be to use whatever method you normally use in the bizarre effect to make your otherwise gruesome discovery to appear. A flap-type card box other changing device will suit the situation just fine. Since I do not know what effect you would be inserting the presentation into, It is rather difficult for me to come up with ideas for your particular situation.

In closing you must admit that this would be a great and novel presentation that would really give people positive energy rather than the usual negative energy associated with this branch of magic. A whole different feeling. After all Bizarre really means weird. So does weird always have to be dark? I personally don’t think so. And as far as I know, this is an idea I HAVE NEVER SEEN DONE IN ASSOCIATION WITH BIZARRE MAGIC! So if you know of other bizarrists at your local clubs, this is an premise that will knock them well into this new millennium!

Think about it!



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