The Secret Passageway 7/97-6/98


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

Ooooooooh, you’ve found the spookiest place in I.C.O.M! What magic related web-site would be complete without a forum dedicated to the weird and bizarre? On this page will be a running compendium of puzzles, tricks, stories and just about anything imaginable and “unimaginable” relating to the kind of magic that goes “bump in the night!” Such is the mysterious nature of I.C.O.M!

July 1997

An I.C.O.M Cryptogram
Ron Dayton

In the word search shown are concealed the names of nine famous magicians. Can you find and circle them? (you may want to print this out first, after all, who wants to draw on their monitor!?) Using the first letter of each name…what word will it spell that means magic?

Answers: Next Month!

July 1997

Magical Trivia

He was the brother of the most famous escape artist who ever lived. After his brother’s untimely death, he toured as a famous magician himself. Who was he?
(Complete name required)

August 1997

The Haunted House

My Favorite Poem
Recited by
Bobby J. Gallo

This is the poem I used to open my “seance” shows with. It never fails to instill chills in my audience. I learned it as a small child and it still brings shivers everytime I recite it. I hope you enjoy it <G>……………..

Not a window was broken, and the paint wasn’t peeling.
Not a porch step sagged, yet there was a feeling.
That beyond the door, and into the hall.
This was the house, of no one at all.

No one who slept, or laughed, or ate, or said I love, or said, I hate.

Yet something walked, along the stairs, something that was, and wasn’t there.

That is why weeds, on the walkway grow high.
And even the moon, races fearfully by.

For something walks, along the stairs, something that “is” and isn’t there.

I claim no originality for the above poem. If anyone knows who wrote it, please attach it to this thread. They deserve full credit for such a masterpiece. As I said, I learned it as a child from a book I think I read in fourth or fifth grade and have remembered ever since. Or has it remembered me??????????????

September 1997

A True Story

Strange Vibrations
Bobby J. Gallo

Many of you may know that I just got back from a tour up and down the east coast. It was a great string of events with an interesting experience that happened to me at one particular college date.

The school where I performed my full evening show was situated in upper New England. It was a rural school with great students. Before the show I was given a key to my sleeping accommodations. It was the oldest building on campus. Over 180 years old (and smelled like it!). It was originally the main school building many, many years ago, but now served as a campus guest house and in that capacity, only used on certain occasions. Such as visiting performers and faculty. (lucky me!?)

When I first arrived, I noticed that in the “Great Room” of the old mansion, there were old paintings of various people from all eras of American history. These people had something to do with the school in one way or another during their lives. Now all were long gone and their images were enshrined in this ancient parlor.

When I entered the house, the strangest feeling came over me. The hair was standing up on the back of my neck and I really couldn’t say why? I joked to myself about this place being haunted because of the age of the building coupled with he fact that the room with the portraits downstairs looked like something out of the haunted houses in certain very popular theme parks. Also, the fact that I was the only one staying in this old mansion fueled the humorous notion.

Before the show, I was talking to my contact at the school. I joked with her about the house and the fact that it look like to could be haunted. She replied, “You mean you heard about that place?” What? I said!

It so happens that dozens of people have experienced supernatural happenings in that old mansion. Everyone from campus security guards to faculty have reported the ghost of a woman. My contact told me not to worry because she was supposedly a “friendly spirit!” However, one student told me to be afraid, be very afraid. Was I? Suffice to say that after the performance, I quietly went back into the old mansion, up to my room, packed my things and drove all night back home to New Jersey. It was the last gig on my tour and the drive was about 6 1/2 hours. I know I could have went to a hotel, but at that point it was difficult to sleep!

October 1997

“The Web”

An original effect in the realm of the bizarre
Bobby J. Gallo

Effect In Story Form, Script In Italics:

The apprehensive participants enter the room, where a dark, vampiric looking medium stares at them with an unnerving icy glare. “Welcome” he bids, as the layman gather around a large oak table ready for what could possibly be a most memorable glance into realms unseen to the living. The medium begins as the overhead chandelier with what looks like a decade of cobwebs, flickers on the verge of plunging the entire room into eerie darkness.

You are all here to have me beckon spirits and entities from the other side this evening. (A low rumble of thunder in the far distance)

This request I shall accommodate! says the medium in a rather authoritative way. But first we must decide who it is we shall communicate with. Or should I say what?! You see, not all earthbound spirits are those of former humans. Some traditions hold that all creatures, even trees have an almost conscious force that permeates their entire being and then leaves upon death. Look above you! The audience does this as the medium describes what they see. Cobwebs! Made by natures most perfect and most ruthless predator, “The Spider”! At this moment, the lights are extinguished.

Everyone Join hands, and concentrate.

Imagine, if you will, just for a moment. You are a common housefly. flying carefree through vast open spaces that seem to have no end. Only the space is dark, is it night? Or is just a small enclosed space deep within a cellar that seems universal compared to your small almost insignificant form.
You are flying, flying, flying…………………………

All of a sudden, you stop. You seem to be caught in something!
(the mediums voice all of a sudden seems to take on a tone of urgency!) It seems sticky, tangled, yet made of the finest silk. Then terror rushes through your entire tiny being as you realize where you are. You are caught, and even as you contemplate your situation you realize that you are being stalked, closer, and closer it comes. All of a sudden you hear a hisssssss and it strikes! (at this moment the audience does indeed hear a hiss and a scream!)

Pandemonium breaks loose in the room, the circle is broken as one the sitters rushes for the lights only to find out when the darkness is lifted, that all of the participants are present, except one!

There, where one the audience members sat is an empty chair with a skull covered in ethereal spiders webs! No trace of the spider is to be found. Water is thrown on those who have fainted.

Secret Formula:

The three essential ingredients for this horrifying effect are as follows. First is the classic “mediums grip” that is used to convince the audience that your hands are held once the lights are out.

The second is the novelty item sold in party stores known as party string. It comes in a can and can be carried secretly on the mediums person until ready. The string is available in many colors but I recommend black. (Bright yellow or orange string can hardly pass for a spiders web!) I have yet to see white string, and black just seems to add a weird feeling to it.

Third is an imitation rubber skull also found in party stores around Halloween time.

When the lights go out, The performer uses the mediums grip to free his/her right hand. At the same time, a confederate (stooge) leaves their chair and replaces him/herself with the rubber skull they have been carrying secretly before the routine began. The performer during the blackout merely sprays the skull with the string. The spraying process sounds like a hissing noise and actually adds to the effect! Be sure not to accidentally spray the spectators, it is a good idea to have the confederate’s seat positioned well away from everyone else so that in the dark you know where to spray the string. Not to mention the fact that your secret helper will have a better chance of sneaking out un-noticed!

And remember, I have used this stunt many times and it “Will” make people scream and freak out! so be prepared for a lot of commotion!

Creators Thoughts:

A different version effect (actually the original version) first appeared in an altered form in “The New Invocation” No# 78 a publication devoted to weird and bizarre magic. The routine was re-written by the editor of that magazine with my permission. It appears here in the ICOM Secret Passageway in an updated form.

The routine the way it originally appeared had aspects that actually made the effect a little “too frightening”, so I felt it wise to tone the presentation down a bit.

One last thought. The title of this routine was created before the release of a popular marketed close-up item with the same name.

November 1997

Pseudo Spirit Trick

You can produce strange noises answering questions while seated at a table. One tap for yes, two taps for no. All done with both hands in view the entire time.

Method: A stick is placed in an empty cigar tube and affixed in some manner to the leg. A thread runs from the bottom of the stick to the other leg. By merely spreading the knees, the stick rises and falls thus creating “tap like sounds” under the table.

January 1998

Don’t Read This!

Unless you would like the answers to the cryptogram at the top of page.

Answers: Carter, Okito, Neff, Jarrett, U.F. Grant, Richardi, Ireland, Nelson, Goldin = Conjuring…

April 1998


Author Unknown
Adapted By Ronald J. Dayton
From Text In 1964 Hades Gram Magi-zette

The typographical error is illusive and quite sly.

You can search till you go crazy but it somehow slips right by.

It crouches in dark corners and never moves or peeps

Till the print is off the presses, then boldly, out it creeps.

This typographical error was unseen by human eyes

Till the copy’s on the paper and the ink all fully dries.

Yes, the rest of that whole issue is as clean as it can be.

Still that typographical error is the only thing you’ll see.

In his book, ” The Magic of 1937 “

Author, inventor and performer, Eric C. Lewis suggests;


June 1998

The student may wonder why the dates on the following works are nearly six years old. The reason is one that is indicative of many pieces of material found all throughout I.C.O.M. It is “buried treasure” finally seeing the light of day (or should we say “dark of night”). This is a series of previously un-released periodicals devoted to bizarre and psychic magic. In publishing these “masterpieces”, we will try to maintain the integrity of the original manuscripts by making as few changes as possible to the text and format. When the originals are exhausted, new ones will be released as they are presently in the process of being created right at this moment!…So with all of this in mind…Turn out the lights, lock the doors, and enjoy the first installment of “Shadows….

The International Conservatory Of Magic Proudly Presents

artwork copywrite 1998 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.

Who knows what mysteries lurk in the shadows!? Darkness surrounds us before our first breath, and after our last. It is the time between, we hope to illuminate.

Shadows, like thoughts, are intangible, ghostly reflections. YOU are the source which gives it substance. We control the shadows of our lives, by moving forward and seeking light as opposed to standing idle, unable to see the darkness we’ve come to accept.

Ronald J. Dayton 12-15-92

“Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.”
Francis Bacon

Page Two

Co-Directors Note: The effect that originallly appeared in the first issue of “Shadows” was called “Psy-Clip Powers”. However, due to the fact that this fine effect recently appeared in M.U.M Magazine, we are holding off on the publication and instead, giving everyone an exclusive piece created just for us!…Thanks Ron.


Ronald J. Dayton

As the title for this effect indicates, it has been named, tongue-in-cheek, specifically for use on the world’s first INTERNET School of Magic. It is a divination type effect or second sight thich involves several toy novelty spiders suspended from a mono-filament string.

Each spider has a fifteen inch length of mono-filament or clear fishing line threaded through its center so the line will not pull out. At the opposite end of the length you have tied a one inch diameter plastic curtain ring. In addition, each spider has had a different color geometrical shape painted on its upper abdomen. The colors and shapes are: A yellow circle, a green square, a blue rectangle and a red triangle.

Your assistant displays each spider dangling by its ring from the fingers of the hand. while you are securely blindfolded, one member of the audience freely chooses one of the spiders and hands it to you behind your back. After a moments thought, you are able to reveal the shape and color painted on the spider’s back.

The secret to this effect lies in a subtle code supplied by the lengths of fishing line from which each spider is suspended. The line for the red triangle is ungimicked. The blue rectangle has a single overhand knot tightly tied in the line about two inches from the curtain ring. The green square has a single knot tied mid-length in the line, and the yellow circle has a knot tied about two inches above the spider.

when the spiders are placed in your hand, the other hand gets hold of the fishing line Just above the spider and the line is pulled through that hand until the ring is pulled in to it. The spider is then allowed to hang freely as you hold the line by its ring. This simple action of pulling the line through your first finger and thumb while seemingly Just getting control of the ring allows you to ‘feel’ the tiny knot ( or lack there of ) tied in the fine fishing line. when you know where the knot is, you then know the color and shape which you have committed to memory.

Years ago. performers had success by presenting some of their effects with a clever rhyming patter. A similar rhyming verse has been developed to reveal each of the colors and shapes. You of course have the option to use this style presentation or not, as you see fit.

You might choose to build your story around the popular recent movie, ARACHANAPHOBIA. A terrifying movie for most…even more so for people with a genuine fear of spiders.

This effect is based on a color divination effect I created several years ago called Orna-mental in which Christmas ornaments were suspended from lines and hanging hooks. I have added the geometric shapes to give the spider •ffect more depth. I have also modified the knot code which identifies the colors and shapes..

The rhymes used in the revelation for each spider are as follow:

This friendly guy is harmless and mellow. His shape is a circle, his color is yellow.

This spider won’t hurt you. He’s meek, and quite fair. The color is green…the shape is a square.

This arachnid is common, found both near and far. The color is blue, a rectantular bar.

This spider is deadly, a Black Widow here dangles. Their color blood red, their shapes are triangles.


It will take a little work to memorize the colors and shapes, but it certainly isn’t beyond your capabilities. It’s good to work for an effect rather than have it come too easy. It gives you a real sense of accomplishment when you eventually succeed.

Give some thought to other objects which could logically be suspended from a length of line. We’ve already mentioned ornaments. How about fish, kites, toy airplanes etc.!? You could easily take this knot code principle and expand upon it to create new and exciting effects and variations of your own.


Notice: This material “IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN” and is intended for the personal and performance use of International Conservatory Of Magic members only.

This entire page is under copywrite 1998 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be re-produced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

Author: Bobby J. Gallo


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