Pure Magic

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Spellbinder » 02/06/08 10:35 PM

I have been working on writing an article for The Wizards' Journal (on my site) entitled "Pure Magic." There are some wonderful effects that are excellent examples of what I call Pure Magic. Consider Phil Goldstein's "B'Wave." If you take away the one gimmicked card and replace it with a regular ungimmicked queen - any suit - you can still perform the effect by taking the equivoque one step further. To me, this is "pure magic."

We all know that magic really happens inside the mind of the spectator. Pure magic is performed without gimmicks and requires no complicated "moves." The magician merely convinces the spectator that magic has occurred, and the spectator agrees wholeheartedly.

Another example is Steve Dusheck's Dollar Punch. You convince the spectator that you have punched his borrowed dollar bill full of holes. He sees the holes and the paper circles fall out onto the table. You collect the paper circles and then hand him the restored bill. To make this pure and ungimmicked, I substitute a simple bill switch for the gimmicked bill.

If anyone can add some more examples of pure magic, I would appreciate it. If I use your idea in my article I will give you credit for the mention of the idea (and a complimentary copy of the finished article), and you don't have to give away any secrets... just describe the effect and what makes it pure magic, in your opinion. If you are working with someone else's idea, as I have done in the two examples given, please cite your sources.
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Postby Brandon Hall » 02/08/08 12:45 PM

Would Al Schneider's Matrix qualify? It's pretty straightforward and requires no gimmicks or complicated sleights.
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Postby Spellbinder » 02/08/08 01:05 PM

It's a good choice, as is Johnny Thompson's Coin Assembly based on the earlier version of four napkin balls and two covers. I had already included the napkin version (I don't know the inventor) but napkins or coins, it's "pure magic."
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 02/08/08 02:07 PM

Haven't done it in a hundred years, so don't know if it'd work on current men's jackets, but knife through coat was "real magic," because you actually did what you said you were doing. Helluva piece of magic. HARRY LORAYNE.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 02/08/08 03:26 PM

Piano Trick
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Postby Spellbinder » 02/08/08 04:48 PM

Harry: Good choice! I'll add it to the list!

Brad: Which Piano Trick? The only one I know was shown to me by the Russian pianist Alexander Hellmann when I was just a wee child. He would close the lid of the piano and tell us children to listen very carefully to the ghost in the piano. Suddenly, a soft chord was heard from inside the piano. Is that the piano trick you mean? Because it WAS pure magic.
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Postby Mitch Dutton » 02/09/08 10:37 AM

How about a cold reading?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 02/09/08 12:22 PM

Originally posted by Mitch Dutton:
How about a cold reading?
Max Maven once mentioned being able to read people's license plates or ID numbers etc through "cold reading" type methods - back in his "Thought Thief" days. I saw him do a little of that at Tannen's magic camp one summer. Amazing.

He also did a trick where a bicycle card wound up with a Tally Ho face (or was it the reverse?) - "too hip for the room" indeed :D
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Postby castawaydave » 02/09/08 12:42 PM

David Parr had a cool trick in MAGIC a while back where you place an empty hand palm down on a table, then lead someone through a suave equivoque by which they ultimately "choose" a coin and whether it's heads up or down.
When you move your hand, there is say, a face down dime there. From the write up I thought that was pretty pure...

Was reminded of this effect too, though might not be quite quite what you want:
Jay Sankey has a trick called "Apparition" where a person selects a card replaces it and is given the deck to hold.
Jay pretends to spread through an invisible deck looking for selection. "Imagine taking your card out of the deck, now picture folding it in half, quarters [while he suits actions to words by miming the directed moves himself]." (The hands are seen empty.)

He puts palms together, concentrates and when he opens his hands, there is a card folded in quarters, which is the selection.
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Postby Robert Toomer » 02/09/08 03:43 PM

Not sure if this is what your looking for but to me one of the most purest magic that I ever saw was Slydini's cigerate routine. I remenber seeing him on the Dick Cavart? show a long time ago, before I got into magic. All I could think of for days after was that there was no such thing as real magic, but I saw Slydini do it. Amazing, I wish I could have seen him in person, wow.. Just my opion, Thanks :)
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Postby Spellbinder » 02/09/08 06:32 PM

For those respondents who suggested performances of various magicians that "seemed" like pure magic to them, Max Maven and Slydini, unless the individual effects described have been published by those performers, they are not much good to other magicians, since they can't be used. This doesn't mean they did not use methods that would fit my definition of "pure magic," but only that they aren't much use for purposes of the article I am writing.

Since the Jay Sankey and David Parr tricks have been published, they can, indeed, be included in the "pure magic" category.

Cold reading, as a magic principle rather than a mentalist's fishing expedition guide, certainly COULD be used as an example of "pure magic" but only in a magic effect like the Max Maven trick described by Jonathan, and that would only be useful to me if the method has been published for the rest of us to use.
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Postby John M. Dale » 02/09/08 10:01 PM

Spellbinder,

I don't know about the Max Maven routines mentioned, but Slydini's cigarette routine has been published.

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Postby Spellbinder » 02/10/08 02:17 AM

Originally posted by John M. Dale:
I don't know about the Max Maven routines mentioned, but Slydini's cigarette routine has been published.
JMD
Which part of the routine, in your opinion, qualifies as "pure magic" in the way I have tried to define it here? I only have the book "Slydini Encores" and both cigarette effects contained therein require the "lapping" move which seems to disqualify them from my "pure magic" category.

I think the paper balls over the head stands a better chance of being included, but it is not Slydini's invention and it also depends on a "move," such as it is. Still, I'm not certain about it. For one person and one moment, it is very magical. For most of the audience, it is just a clever trick.
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Postby John M. Dale » 02/10/08 09:36 PM

Spellbinder,

I didn't consider the lapping "move" in Slydini's cigarette routine any more involved than your example of "a simple bill switch" but I guess that's a matter of opinion. I was primarily responding to your implying that Slydini's routine hadn't been published.

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Postby Spellbinder » 02/11/08 12:27 AM

I thought, perhaps, that you knew of some published Slydini cigarette effect that had escaped me. I freely admit, every other Monday, that I don't know everything, but it seems to me that lapping involves dragging a table and tablecloth around, unlike most bill switches that I know. I used to get a kick out of peeking under the table after a typical Slydini lecture.
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Postby John M. Dale » 02/11/08 07:50 PM

Point made, Spellbinder. Being an amateur, I find myself performing sitting at a table as often as not so I wasn't looking at things from the same perspective.

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Postby Brad Henderson » 02/11/08 08:05 PM

The Piano Trick is done with playing cards. Ostensibly, one card travels from one packet to another. In reality, nothing happens. By a careful use of language you convince the audience that they see something which never happened.

First appeared in print in Stanyon's Magic (1902). I have written on it in Theory into Practice.
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Postby Spellbinder » 02/11/08 08:27 PM

Do you suppose I could have a clue as to Which Volume, Issue and Month of Stanyon's Magic I should be digging around for? While I hate all card tricks on general principle, I would not let that bias keep me from enjoying one which employed the principles of "pure magic" as it appears the Piano Trick does.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 02/11/08 09:00 PM

1902 is the best I can give you. Its been written up in other places - 'magic with cards' by garcia and schindler for example.

You can use pieces of paper as opposed to playing cards per se. Raj Madhok has a great version using business cards and a little extra touch that most will appreciate.

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Postby Spellbinder » 02/11/08 09:04 PM

I found it, thanks to the computer, the greatest genii we have today. It is in Stanyon's Magic, Volume Two, August, 1902.
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Postby Don Stachowiak » 03/05/08 06:37 PM

It's even easier to find in "The Royal Road to Card Magic"
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/05/08 08:09 PM

Don:
Thanks for that reference. The description in "Royal Road" is much better than the original in Stanyon, and having Frank Rigney's illustration makes it crystal clear.
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Postby Bob Postelnik » 03/06/08 10:13 AM

I would nominate a card trick by Stewart James called "MiraSkill." I believe Vernon said that it was the greatest card trick of all time.

It can be found in Stewart James in Print - the First Fifty Years on page 102.

With minimal funny business, it is a real mind blower if presented as a mental prediction, and there are many variations and presentations in print to attest to its popularity after seventy plus years in print.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 03/06/08 11:44 AM

Lubor Fiedler's Dental Dam penetration is hard to beat. The illusion is perfect. Too bad it's a supremely impractical trick.

If you're counting practicality, I'd have to say the trick where you unwind the center of a piece of string and make two fake ends. That's a perfect trick. Does anybody know where this trick first appeared in print?
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Postby Brad Henderson » 03/06/08 12:21 PM

I (not so humbly) think my write up of the Piano Trick in "Theory into Practice" is pretty darned good. But that's just me...
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/06/08 01:25 PM

Pete, Fiedler's Dental Dam trick is not impractical if you're at the dentist's office, or if you do the version using gloves made of the material--that's pretty easy to justify in any situation using ... a SCRIPT! (Sorry, couldn't resist.) :)
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Postby Ricky Difeo » 03/07/08 04:13 AM

Hi!

I think what Neither Blind Nor Silly of Juan Tamarizs Sonata is potent and wonderfull magic. (Ni ciego Ni Tonto en espaol)

You can found also in Apocalypse -of Harry Lorrayne, page 1369, as Blown Away).-

Ricardo Difeo.-
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Postby Doug Thornton » 03/07/08 12:48 PM

Jim Steinmeyer has two great variations on the Piano Trick in his "Conjuring".
The titles I recall are "The Great Silverware Scam" and "Apples and Oranges".
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Postby Bob Postelnik » 03/08/08 09:53 AM

I stand corrected, actually I'm sitting right now, but Vernon said that Paul Curry's "Out of This World" was the greatest card trick of the 20th century.

So, I guess Stewart James' Miraskill is a rightful candidate for being the second greatest card trick ever, or at least a contender for that lofty title.

Sorry for my misquote, I'll try harder in the future.
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Postby Mitch Dutton » 03/14/08 12:00 AM

Another couple of tricks where you actually do exactly what you say (or demonstrate) are the Needle Through Balloon and the Twisting Arm Illusion. Would you consider these Pure Magic?
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Postby Pete McCabe » 03/14/08 01:58 AM

The Wonderland Dollar, Nick Brown's variation of David Britland's Parallax Principle, looks impossible but is, in fact, possible. You actually do exactly what the audience sees you do. It just looks impossible.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 03/14/08 04:14 AM

Which, in turn, is a variation of Bob Neals's Trapdoor...

But it's still good :)

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Postby Q. Kumber » 03/14/08 11:28 AM

Not to forget Terri Rogers.

Incidentally, and in all modesty, I have the very best presentation of Parallax I've come across.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 03/14/08 02:57 PM

Isn't the timeline Trapdoor - Paralax - Stargate - Wonderland?

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Postby Q. Kumber » 03/14/08 04:40 PM

I don't know about Bob Neale's Trapdoor, but Stargate definitely predated Parallax.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 03/14/08 04:58 PM

I thought Stargate was just to Paralax cards back to back?

Trapdoor is the grand daddy, as it were.

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Postby Q. Kumber » 03/14/08 05:12 PM

Actually Parallax is a one card version of Stargate, not the other way round.

As Martin Breese was the dealer who manufactured Stargate, and later released the book Parallax, maybe he can offer some details as to the timelines.

As I don't know the timeline of Bob Neale's Trapdoor, I don't know if Terri Rogers was familiar with it and if and how it influenced her thinking.

As I used meet Terri regularly on my trips to London, I know she had the most devious mind for the most incredible inventions. I once described to her over the phone an effect of Ken Krenzel's that had appeared in Apocalypse. I don't recall the name but basically a playing card turns itself inside-out.

Terri misunderstood my explanation, and next time I was over showed me what she had come up with. Nothing at all like Ken Krenzel's effect - and she fooled me completely.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 03/15/08 08:23 AM

I emailed Martin Breese and he can't recall the timeline. From memory though, Stargate was released as a dealer item in the early 1980s and I'm pretty sure Paul Daniels performed it on his TV show. Stargate later appeared in one of Terri's books.

Again from memory David Britland's Parallax was released in book form around '85 or '86. And again I'm pretty sure Paul Daniels did this one card version using a jumbo card on his TV show.

As I'm going purely from memory I'm open to correction.
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Postby David Britland » 03/15/08 12:24 PM

Terri Rogers worked out Star Gate having seen Bob Neale's Trapdoor Card.

Here's the timeline as I recall it. Karl Fulves (a pioneer when it came to publishing topological card tricks) marketed Bob Neale's Trapdoor Card in 1983. I'd seen Michael Weber perform the Streamlined Trapdoor from the manuscript when he visited London. It was a really entertaining presentation that made me take another look at the Bob Neal booklet.

I gave Terri the booklet, knowing that she had a flair for devising topological tricks, and a few weeks later she had created Star Gate. Incidentally it was Pat Page who devised the method by which the two cards were fixed together with an almost invisible hinge.

Martin Breese bought the marketing rights to Star Gate. I wrote and illustrated the instructions and it was while playing around with the cards that I realised there was a trick that existed somewhere between Trapdoor Card and Star Gate. That's where Parallax came from. It was a jumbo card that incorporated Bob Neale's original idea with the folding procedure devised by Terri.

Star Gate was marketed in 1985. I published Parallax in 1986 in New Talon 1. Later that year Martin Breese put out Parallax as a dealer item. This new booklet included additional ideas by Terri Rogers and Shiv Duggal under the title Hatch 22. In that version the card reverses inside out while the trapdoor stays right side up!

In 1987 New Talon 3 featured other ideas and handlings of Parallax from Gordon Bruce, Eric Mason and Mike Gancia.

Terri Rogers' Star Gate was reprinted in her book Top Secrets, published by Martin Breese in 1998.

I think that's about it.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 03/15/08 12:48 PM

Thank you David.
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