Magic Square

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 08/05/07 07:58 PM

Does anyone have any reference material for the magic square?
Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought I recalled a performance where not only did the rows and columns, and diagonals total the called out number, but also the corners of the square, and possibly (I thought) smaller squares inside the main square. Does anyone know if that's possible?
I have one source of how to perform the basic magic square, but it's not very definitive. Any recommendations?

Postby Harry Lorayne » 08/05/07 08:38 PM

Hey Cohiba: This is not a joke, is it? You can see me demonstrate my magic square on one of my "Best Ever" DVDs, and I've taught it in a number of books, most recently in MATHEMATICAL WIZARDRY. Aside from the rows and columns, there are about 22 other cominations, etc. HARRY LORAYNE.
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Postby Guest » 08/05/07 08:55 PM

An excellent website source of magic square information is Mark Farrar's site:
Mark Farrar\'s Magic Square Site
His 4x4 square calculator will generate squares that sum up to any given number between 68 and 86 different ways, though enumerating them all would bore most audiences. It seems to me that the major problem in presenting these effectively is learning to reveal the combinations in an interesting way that builds to a climax. Harry Lorayne is a master at doing this, as anyone who has watched him perform it will confirm.

Postby Ian Kendall » 08/06/07 12:46 AM

If you can get hold of it, Chuck Hicock's Diagonal Magic Square is the best version I've seen - although a similar effect to Lorayne's 4x4 square it's a heck of a sight less complicated to learn. The problem is that it's sold out, although you can sometimes find a copy on ebay now and then.

The trouble with most magic squares that start with a target number is that there is a grid of numbers that never change, and then four numbers that hover around the target but can seem somewhat out of place, depending on the number chosen. John Archer explains his method on one of his DVDs (Educating Archer? I forget which one). He told me that he has a solution for this one.

Also, and before Harry jumps on me for being stupid and this is my opinion, I was extremely dissappointed with Mathematical Wizardry. If you are interested in his Squares you would be better getting the back issue of Genii with it in (it's the issue with him on the cover, I seem to remember) or Apocalypse Volume One which has the simple square. John's DVD would be another option.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Matthew Field » 08/06/07 02:35 AM

Without question the secret to performing the Magic Square is the presentation. The two best I've ever seen is the one by Harry Lorayne and the one by John Archer.

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Postby Guest » 08/06/07 03:15 AM


My fave version appears in the Jack Avis book:

I use this at EVERY gig.



Postby Jeff Eline » 08/06/07 05:43 AM

There are a couple of good discussions on the magic square on the Genii forum. HERE is one.

My favorite reference for the magic square is Doug Dyment's booklet Mindsight. Excellent!!
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Postby Gerald Deutsch » 08/06/07 07:43 AM

I saw Harry Lorayne present The Magic Square years ago at the Players Club in New York City.

There were other good magicians on the program at that time but Harry Lorayne's performance was the most effective for these "laymen".
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Postby Guest » 08/06/07 08:02 AM

The method I use is the first item in the Lost Notebooks of John Northern Hilliard. In this method there are no squares with numbers which are obviously larger or smaller than the others in the grid.

Presentation is everything, though.


Postby Jon Elion » 08/06/07 01:57 PM

Harry Lorayne's "Memory Magic Square" rocks! It is in "Reputation Makers", page 193. It combines all of the mathematical by-play of creating a perfect magic square "on the fly", but adds an element of a memory stunt on top of that. My personality does not lend itself well to a straight-forward mathematical wizardry presentation (at least, I am not comfortable with that). But the addition of the memory stunt on top of it really gives me a chance to entertain, toss off one-lines, double-entendres, etc.

The routine is basically this: a 4 x 4 grid is shown with each box in the grid clearly labeled with a number (from 1 to 16 in order). One by one, spectators call out a square (by its number) then name an object that gets written into that square. This is where I have great fun going back-and-forth with the audience, getting clarification on the object called out, making silly suggestions, etc.

For the memory phase of the presentation, spectators can call out an object and you say what square its in, or they call out a square number and you say what object is written there. This may not read like much, but try it on your own (if you can!) -- it really impresses folks.

For the mathematical phase of the presentation, a number is selected and written down. Then all the squares are called out in random order by the spectators (using either the square number or its object) and you call out a number to be written down there. When this is finished, you have made a perfect magic square that adds up to the selected number!

As Harry mentions in his write-up, "The more intelligent your spectators the more they will be impressed..." Once learned, you have a totally impromptu routine that can be done anywhere and anytime (assuming you can have pencil and paper handy). I used it regulary for parlor and sit-down close-up venues, using a large "flip chart" and magic marker (a LOT of presentations were then ready for just a few dollars of supplies).

Check it out!
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 08/06/07 02:21 PM

Hi Ian: Glad you affirmed that it was just your opinion. Fortunately, you are in the vast, vast, minority. Best - HL
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Postby Guest » 08/06/07 02:39 PM

In my presentation, I label the squares with the letters A through P, to avoid any confusion as I fill in the numbers in the squares called out by the audience. I will often stop with a couple of spaces left and tell them which boxes haven't been filled in yet -- also I sell the otherwise incidental fact that I never look at the board. It is a combination mental math/memory effect in the way I present it. There are, of course, other presentation elements that take it one more step into an actual piece of mentalism, but I don't always present it like that.

Postby Pete Biro » 08/06/07 03:11 PM

I learned it from Harry Lorayne's writings, and it kills... it is simplicity.

However, unable to REMEMBER the numbers (sorry Harry - have a learning disorder) I worked out a beautiful system by putting the "work" on a cue sheet on my jumbo magic marker.

The best PRESENTATION that I have seen is Harry Anderson's with a GIGANTIC sheet of paper, all folded up. His handling and the way it looks impossible is beautiful.
Stay tooned.
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Postby Guest » 08/06/07 07:52 PM

Thanks for the great response everyone!!

Postby Guest » 08/07/07 01:30 PM

Try John Archers DVD "Educating Archer".

Postby Ricky Difeo » 08/07/07 06:23 PM


I can see Mr.David Berglas work in Magic Squares in your "The Mind Magic of David Berglas shows", he worked with four person an four 4x4 squares, that formed one 8 x 8 magic square, in combination with one birth date from one spectator.-

He explain it in you "The mind &Magic of David Berglas", pages 457-470, in extense studio.

Also, and if you have one :genii: --> in internet I can found the following mindcracker 25x25 magic square.-

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Postby Ricky Difeo » 08/07/07 06:25 PM

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Postby Guest » 08/24/07 12:10 AM

If you are looking for a magic square effect that is truly magic and not just considered a math or memory stunt then check out The Ultimate Magic Square .

It closes with a visual climax that makes the whole magic square appear impossible and thus magical.


Postby Guest » 08/25/07 01:41 PM

please have a look on JOHN ARCHER's version on his dvd, really incredible and no memorisation work.

Postby Guest » 08/27/07 03:05 PM

I have always collected magic square methods, and have nearly all of them. I have to agree that Chuck Hitchcock's Diagonal Magic Square is superior to any other.

I'm not giving up my copy, but you need to find one!

Postby Guest » 08/28/07 03:12 PM

Harry, I loved mathmatical wizardry and immediately started using 2 routines with great results! Thanks!

Postby Guest » 08/28/07 08:37 PM

Or you can split the difference and get Harry's Reputation Makers, which includes the Magic Square, a killer routine with it, and a bunch of other outstanding magic. It's not something you'll learn in an hour (but what useful thing i magic have you learned in an hour?) But it will stay with you forever once you've learned it, and it truly is a "Reputation Maker."

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