Review – Treasure Island by Kaleb Wade

Kaleb first came to my attention through his debut release via Bazz at Black Cat Magic, an unknown name, releasing a book-test. Of course being somewhat of a book-test devotee I was curious to see what Kaleb brought to the party. The book was based on The Alchemist novel, and it would go on to cement Kaleb’s place in the mentalism community, and make him one of very few people I will buy products from, sight unseen! He has continued to produce innovative releases in Afterglow, Cinematic, Occult and Hacked to name just a few, and his free eBook’s also contain a wealth of ideas.

What Kaleb brought to the release of the Alchemist book-test was an attention to detail, the book was perfect in that it looked exactly like a copy you would get from a shop. It looked like a regular book, and believe me that can be rare in a lot of book-tests. You want it to have all the little details that make this seem innocent, typeface, spacing, cover design, paper quality, and this was all here.

Not only that, the level of detail extended to the method, introducing us to Kaleb’s Alchemy principle that he has added to the U.F. Grant method for getting the thought of words, and allows you to start getting hits immediately.

From there Kaleb released the next iteration of this in his Frankenstein book, the perfect book-test for walk-around and close-up, which retains all the level of detail brought in the Alchemist release, and beyond. This release alone has brought him rave reviews, and rightly so.

This brings us to his current release, the third book-test, Treasure Island.

As noted what Kaleb brings to these releases, and this can’t be stressed enough, is his level of detail and hard work. He has mentioned to me and in the instructions that this was truly a labour of love, and he nearly scrapped this release after several production problems. I for one am glad he didn’t.

The book itself is gorgeous, hard-back, matt finish, cream pages, and looks and feels exactly like it would if you picked it up from your local bookshop.

The book itself contains three main principles. It was Dai Vernon that said “Most Magicians stop thinking too soon”. Kaleb cannot be accused of this as he has taken three of the best book-test features and taken them above and beyond with his excellent touches.

You can again find his version of the U.F. Grant method with his Alchemy principle layered on top, to allow you to begin your divinations before you need to do the necessary. A participant can think of any long word anywhere in the book and you can immediately start the mind reading process.

The book also contains a ‘Tossed-out-book’ element which has become popular in other recent book-test releases. Several participants sat in the audience can open the book anywhere and think of the last word on the page, and again you can get get all the words in one go. But again Kaleb didn’t just stop with what most releases have done to implement this feature. He thought about this element and he has added something that he didn’t need to, but again helps in the disguising of method and goes to elevate the whole package.

The final main principle is Kaleb’s take on Larry Becker’s Dictionary Kicker. Again Kaleb has taken this principle and injected his super smart thinking. The level of care and detail it must have taken to craft this alone is incredible, and something that shouldn’t be glossed over. Kaleb didn’t need to build this in, but he has! I don’t think I am revealing too much, as it says this on the sales website, but this allows you to begin to openly write the prediction which is always 100% correct, before you even address the participant. The participant can think of the first word on any page, even changing his mind several times, and you can write your prediction and finish with the dictionary kicker.

Kaleb’s level of detail doesn’t just extend to the book however, he has given you the tools you need to make your investment really shine. Including an IKON Marker to help you with the various methods and an instruction booklet. This like many of Kaleb’s releases is a book in itself. He doesn’t just give you just a few sheets of paper or a short PDF this is a 95-page booklet, jam packed with hints tips and routines. You get Kaleb’s fantastic performance write-ups along with detailed methods that show you how to use all the features, as stand-alone routines, or combined. And hints and tips along the way, including some great methods on the U.F. Grant/Alchemy principle.

In these routines you will learn how to use one, or two or even all three methods together. Culminating in Kaleb’s own personal routine he uses in Parlour and Stage ‘Don’t Wade in the Water’. This sees a total of 8 words being chosen and revealed in an increasingly impossible manner. However you don’t need to do this full routine, and can pick and choose from the three main methods, and Kaleb gives you routine ideas for every possible combination.

I think you can tell from this review that I am a big fan of all of Kaleb’s releases. This most recent one is no exception. The watchword here is ‘detail’ and Treasure Island imbues and embodies this. Kaleb has made a tool that allows you to be confident in your performance, having thought through all the details and gone above and beyond to include extra levels to each method.

If all of this sounds like something you could use then Kaleb currently has a special pre-order price of £100 but he only has 3 units remaining. The price will go up to £120 when fully available. This is still more than worth it for a tool of this calibre, and whilst you are on his site, if you are on the look out for a close-up book-test then add Frankenstein to your cart and thank me later! Treasure Island along with all of Kaleb’s other releases are available here –

Jamie Daws – Virtual Mind Reading System – Review →

Jamie has released a system of performing mind reading over Zoom/Skype that is based on his The Tracker booklet. I’m not sure why this wasn’t mentioned in the Penguin advert, but to me that would be a strength to highlight this as I really liked his Tracker principle when I bought the booklet a while back.

What Jamie brings to this download is a way of doing Tracker in virtual environments. Jamie gives you a toolbox to pull from just like in his original manuscript, but you are encouraged to come up with your own ideas as well and I have already thought of several ways I could get into The Tracker concept.

I am already going to try using the Missing Digit ploy that I remember learning from Ken De Courcy’s Pentertain booklet, or it can be found in Harry Lorayne’s The Magic Book, more recently brought back to us by Marc Lavelle in his At The Table lecture. So if you don’t like what Jamie teaches, this I think for me at least makes the whole thing a little more hidden, they can generate a random number, call out the number, missing out one digit and you then already have what you need to proceed with the Tracker portion.

During these Covid-19 times I have also been re-reading Jim Steinmeyers Impuzzibilities series, and there are other things in these booklets that would work remotely, specifically just using the spectators hands to get where you need to be and would keep it consistent with the rest of the effect.

So what exactly is this about, well The Tracker and the variations shown here allow you to know if someone is lying or telling the truth, in which hand they hold an imaginary coin, a thought of number or playing card, and even which item from a list they will select, it really is a versatile concept open to lots of variation. Unlike some propless mentalism as well this is very surefire and doesn’t require lots of thought by your spectator.

You get all of Jamie’s wisdom of having performed this, and if you like it then it is well worth picking up the Tracker booklet as well for when we can all get back out there and do face to face shows.

I really liked the ideas Jamie shared of making this concept work with multiple people as well, and all to end on a confabulation type prediction, again with minimal or no props needed on the performer or spectator side.

I for one am totally happy with my purchase even though I had already bought Tracker and as I said at the start my head is buzzing with ways that I can do this virtually, not just the ways that Jamie teaches!

Gimmick It Yourself by Ben Williams

Ben was kind enough to provide me with a free review copy of his latest download.
In the present days of magic publishing – one-trick-downloads and unfinished ideas being published as highly priced e-books – it is really nice to see that Ben has published an over two-hour video download containing 5 solid pieces of magic, with additional thoughts and routines.
The underlying theme, as the title suggests, is a set of 5 effects that use simple gimmicks. Ben takes you through the general idea behind the method. We then get into the DIY portion as Ben shows you how to build the gimmicks, and finally how to use the gimmick in a routine.
The gimmicks are all simple in nature, and very easy and cheap to build, so if like me your arts-and-crafts ability is zero, don’t fear!
We start off with Off Balance with which you can impossibly suspend items like sharpies, sunglasses, forks, and they can be borrowed and handed out afterwards for immediate examination. The display is almost that of the old Broomstick Suspension illusion and the gimmick reminds me of Mark Elsdon’s iBalance however this will work for other objects.
As an aside over the past few years, for me, and the performing I want to do, I have really, really enjoyed reading Andy’s posts over at The Jerx blog. If you have never heard of this, where have you been! Andy is an anonymous writer, and writes about social magic and performing as an amateur, and the opportunities that affords. The reason I mention this here, is that one of the performance styles Andy recommends is something called The Distracted Artist, you can read about that in his Presentation Week post and also in his post entitled Return of the Distracted Artist.
I can certainly see how I could use Off Balance in this scenario, just sat in a coffee shop and distractedly trying to balance my fork. This would be a perfect fit for this performance style and makes me excited to give this a go!
The next effect SOS stands for Secured on Sharpie and is an easy ring flight where the spectators ring ends up duct-taped to the lid of the sharpie in your back pocket. This is a secure ring-flight and affords a very clean vanish. The gimmick is very easy to setup and construct and does most of the work. Ben also shows us a full routine where the ring appears and vanishes a few times before ending with SOS. For me until Dave Bonsall produced his excellent Ring Flight Revolution I wouldn’t consider using Ring Flight because of the hokey looking ring cases. SOS brings that organic feel back to the trick and uses an item you already have on your person as a magician.
Stash is a gimmick you can use to hold-out a card or cards whilst the spectator shuffles the deck for example. The out-of-the-box thinking Ben has applied to come up with this gimmick is what makes this such a brilliantly simple idea. The cards can be loaded and retrieved with ease and the gimmick hides in plain sight, and takes up no pocket space. The one possible issue, if there really is one, is that this might be more suited to informal dress, but I am sure I can come up with a way around this. Ben provides us with a number of ideas for its use, including an Ace production, and a commercial use to make a message appear on the back of a card.
The last two gimmicks involve Envelopes. Enveload is a super simple take on the Paul LePaul Envelope load, born out of necessity for Ben he has come up with a super simple way to create a sure-fire loading gimmick, for pennies, that can be used without having to buy expensive wallets or other devices. Again Ben shows us a routine with the envelope involving a signed card and banknote appearing in the sealed envelope.
Finally Shadow Envelope is a way of shining your mobile phone flashlight through an envelope to show that it contains a prediction or folded card of some description, you can then cleanly remove the folded item, and show the envelope empty, yet you have switched in a signed card, or a business card with a thought of word written on. Again this gimmick takes minutes to make, and is simple yet effective. Ben’s Any Word prediction is a great way to use this envelope, under the guise of a gag mind reading effect you can then cleanly pull out from the envelope a card that contains the word the spectator said moments before, and show the envelope empty. But more than this Shadow Envelope is a utility that gives a strong convincing illusion to plug into your own routines.
All in all the download runs 2 hours 15 minutes, and is simply shot, you see what you need to see for the gimmick construction, and because they are so simple to construct the DIY portion doesn’t take up too much of the video, leaving room for Ben’s thoughts, ideas and routines which are welcome additions.
Gimmick It Yourself can be downloaded from Ben’s website for £15.

Ultramodern by Ryan Matney – Review

Ryan has managed to invoke a sense of nostalgia in me with this publication. In the days of one trick downloads, and ebooks, that you can purchase instantly, with nothing more than your Paypal password, it feels good to hold a physical product in your hand. Something that you know will contain good solid commercial magic, and not a heavily edited trailer in sight.
In releasing this publication I believe Ryan hoped to capture the spirit of the magazines and trick journals of days past along with the anticipation of waiting to receive them in the mail. Lots have come and gone that I remember, Onyx, Channel One, Antinomy, Penumbra to name a handful. They all had one thing in common good solid magic from well respected magicians and you always looked forward to receiving the next issue to get that trick fix.
In current times lots of magicians are now experimenting with the self-publishing format, and it is something that works very well for this type of booklet. You receive a smart, well printed 100 page booklet containing 12 tricks. Ryan introduces each trick and they all contain black and white photographic illustrations.
To simply list the tricks would lessen the anticipation if you intend to order this, and you should. I will point out a few of my favourites however, the volume starts with Robin Robertson’s very simple quick version of the fusion plot, one of my favourite card magic plots. Staying with the simple in the spectators hands card magic, Paul Hallas’s contribution Voodoo Jokers is a version of a Steranko/Hollingworth classic. Paul has distilled this into its simplest form and it may get dismissed for its simplicity, but I can see this playing very strongly.
Steve Dusheck contributes a very commercial time-travel themed piece ideal for giving away your business card. John Carey in his usual style of simplifying method contributes a novel and easy two deck ACAAN.
Ryan himself contributes a a coincidence effect utilising a powerful Paul Cummins technique. I am a huge John Bannon fan so I read his contribution first which is an Any Mate at Any Number routine based on a JK Hartman trick, and as you would expect from Bannon you get a lot of effect for minimal sleight of hand. The last trick in the book from Gordon Bean is a version of one of Ryan’s tricks. It is a very strange, freely selected card through box routine, that again takes place in the spectators hands. It has a kicker ending they won’t see coming, and on top of all that works very well for walk-around as it doesn’t require a table.
The other tricks I haven’t mentioned I will leave you to read and digest, you should have at least some anticipation and excitement to receiving a book in the mail! I believe Ryan’s wish is to make this a regular publication and he is already soliciting contributions for volume 2, so seek him out if you have material to give. If not buy this volume and every volume after that safe in the knowledge you are receiving good solid magic, a well produced physical product, and a little bit of anticipation and excitement as you wait for it to arrive!
Ultramodern can by purchased for $25 at Ryan’s website Retro Rocket Magic

Nicholas Einhorn Bill to Marker →

Nicholas Einhorn bought the rights to Antonio Romero’s Bill to Marker and he is now releasing this through Vanishing Inc.
I got to take part in filming the trailer which you can see on the Vanishing Inc. site linked above along with my cameo appearance! This came about from attending The Session Convention back in January and the filming of the trailer happened on the last night after all proceedings had finished.
In the description on the Vanishing Inc site they tell you exactly what you get, and show you the performance. In light of the recent Dan Sperry controversy with his facebook video calling out magic producers (Vinc being one of them) for selling rubbish and not showing proper trailers I can fully endorse this product. I saw the performance first hand and Nick was kind enough to chat to me and show me the gimmick after the filming, this is a very well made gimmicked marker pen, that does the job extremely well, and Nick’s routine as you would expect is smart, engaging and makes use of the prop to its fullest, the price is surprisingly cheap for what you receive, and if you have a place for this in your show you won’t be disappointed, with this one product you are certainly receiving exactly what is described and shown in the trailer, and it is highly recommended!

Review: Noted by Gary Jones

Noted by Gary Jones
Costas was very kind to send me a review copy of Gary’s new release Noted. You can see the demo in the link above.
This was originally published in Gary’s lecture notes as Starter for 10. The original used a simple basic gimmick, but Magic Tao have taken the idea and greatly improved it.
The basic idea behind the trick is that you walk up to a table holding a note-pad and ask if you can take their order, you then change the note-pad into a deck of cards and you can start your magic.
Just recently I have been looking into and playing about with magical ways to produce a deck of cards, including John Carney’s Chill Pack, David Regal’s Sudden Deck and Alex Lourido’s Instant Deck. These are all brilliant methods but I think there is something fun, simple and organic about Gary’s method that means it will probably be the one I use most often.
Whenever you see Gary’s name on a product you know it is going to be a worker, and this is no exception. My mind is already racing on presentational ideas. I am not too keen on the advertised way of pretending to be a waiter and asking if you can take their order. But I am already thinking about using this in conjunction with Jon Allen’s opening line of ‘Is this the fun table?’ I can see myself walking up with notepad and pen in hand, saying I am just double checking, ‘Is this table 10?’ ‘It is, I heard this is the fun table?’ ‘In that case maybe you would like to see some magic?’ As you transform the note-pad into your cards, and effortlessly start the first effect.
Without giving too much away, there is a certain something you need to get rid of, in the DVD Costas suggest using the old, getting rid of the jokers line, but for me I think I will just have a card chosen, and as they are showing it around, I will turn my back and ditch the necessary. The beauty of the gimmick is that it is as thin as a card and you can easily manipulate and show the deck, and have a card chosen for your first trick, all whilst the gimmick is still in the deck.
The up-dated gimmick has been made to look like a notepad, and I have been fooling myself in the mirror, this does look just like a spiral-bound notepad, it really is awesome. It is also plastic coated, so you can write on this with a white-board marker. Gary has some great ideas for this including an invisible deck routine, and drawing a picture of a deck actually onto the notepad.
The angles are also great, the deck is totally covered, and there is little chance of flashing.
I am struggling to come up with any negative aspects to this, however a few things to be aware of, you are probably going to need to open with this, as I can see it would be a little tricky in most working situations to put this in the middle of a set, but then why would you, I think it is designed as an opener, and that is how it should be used. Also you are going to need some experience of misdirection, the handling of the gimmick is pretty much self-working but it does need some misdirection, even if it is just asking a question as in the Jon Allen line above, you need something to cover the change, but this shouldn’t be an issue with some thought. As I say not negative aspects, but things you should know before purchase.
The DVD is well produced, if on the short side, however you don’t really need to know all that much, it is what it is, a very clever idea, open to lots of interpretation, and personalisation, a wonderful opening effect to establish yourself.
The Gimmick as already stated is well made, and very deceptive, I just hope from all the use I can for-see this getting, that it will last, or that Magic Tao will continue to make these, as I can see this being one of my openers for quite some time. In short I can’t wait to go and road-test this and if you want a method to magically produce your cards, this is one of the easiest, most practical, workable, commercial ways that I have seen, recommended!

30 Card Mysteries

Charles Thorton Jordan was born on October 1, 1888 in Berkley California, in 1919 he put out a small manuscript entitled Thirty Card Mysteries. In 1920 he went on to publish another 5 booklets with over 50 effects, and he continued to publish until 1923 when he lost his interest in magic. Jordan never performed in public and was only known to magicians mostly through his publications. In 1935 he was contacted by Theodore Annemann who wanted to publish a collection of his work. However, the series was abandoned shortly after. Jordan died in 1944 after 4 years of illness.

Now over 60 years later you can access these publications as E-Books thanks to I have just finished reading and working through Jordan’s first publication Thirty Card Mysteries, which I will review below.

I picked this book as I was interested in reading about Jordan’s work on Riffle Shuffle Chains, something which I have come across in a number of modern card effects. The book itself is split into four distinct chapters, I have made notes on all the effects but rather than just going through and describing them all, I will review the book section by section and give some thoughts as to what effects interested me and which ones may not work in today’s world. Hopefully this will give you a good overview of the book and its contents.

The book opens with a preface by Jordan, claiming no originality for the methods, just the applications (but what applications!), interestingly mentioning a Charles O. Williams of Cardiff, England for having some work on the Riffle Shuffle similar to Jordan’s. Following the preface is an introduction by non other than T. Nelson Downs, who has this to say “…numerous books have been written in recent years upon the subject of our beloved Art. But may of them have been mediocre — describing the same old tricks, in the same old manner…”. What would he make of todays magic market I wonder, but he then goes on to praise Jordan’s book as standing out from all the rest.

Chapter 1

The Introduction to Chapter 1 is an essay entitled Trailing the Dovetail Shuffle To Its Lair (With Sidelights On One Or Two Other Shuffles). In this Jordan explains the basic principles behind Riffle Shuffle Chains to help give the reader a clear understanding of the workings to the tricks that follow.

Here would be a good place to mention that a small handful of the tricks in this book depend on the spectator or performer transforming a normal pack into a Piquet deck which is a 32 card deck with all the 2’s through 6’s removed. Now for me this may be a bit suspicious as it would require your audience to have some knowledge of Piquet, which as far as I know is not that prevelant, at least here in the UK, where getting your audience to recognise Poker hands may be a struggle! Or at least some excuse for why you are removing the low cards. I think however with a bit of thought that the methods behind these Piquet tricks are still interesting to read, and could be changed to update them and use them with alternate strategies.

The first trick in the book Close Range Mind Reading uses this ruse along with the Shuffle ideas, however I think it is used to better effect later in the chapter, without having to resort to the Piquet excuse.

Long Distance Mind Reading is an excellent trick which I’m sure I remember reading about quite a few years back, basically you mail a deck of cards to a friend with instructions to do the trick, and mail either half of the deck back to you, and you can tell them which card they picked. This falls into the category of those rare, hands-off, don’t have to be there, kind of tricks, like the Telephone tricks or even IM or E-mail or Web tricks.

The Premo is an impossible location, which while the conditions and setup are fair, the method probably looks exactly like what you are doing, having to deal all the deck into columns, and the justification for it is probably not worth the pay off. A Novel Detection is a similar location effect with a slightly better method, that may be good session material.

The Dealing Dovetail Detection and The Rolling off a Log Detection are the other stand-out items in this chapter, both similar in presentation, both involve thorough mixing of the deck from the spectators point of view, you shuffle they select a card, you shuffle some more and then proceed to find it. In Rolling off a Log, you don’t even have them put the card back, yet you can still shuffle, look through the deck and reveal the card, this uses a nice simple version of something made popular by Harry Lorayne.

The last trick in this chapter is The Full Hand which uses the natural property of a perfect riffle (or Faro) shuffle, but requires your audience members to remember four cards each, although with a bit of thought you could have them written down, or signed, or use four of a kind etc. it is the relative ease of method and presentation which could be quite intriguing, as you seemingly pull out their chosen cards from your pocket, or a container after the cards have been mixed.

Chapter 2

Chapter 2 is entitled Tricks of an Impromptu Nature (requiring little or no skill). The chapter opens with an excellent trick, With the Mind’s Eye, by James J. Moren, of San Francisco. A spectator shuffles the deck, and selects a card, all while the performer is blindfolded, the deck is then handed to the performer who cuts and mixes the deck, then deals through and with the cards face down finds the selected card. The method may scare a few people off, but personally I can see myself doing this, the method like so many of Jordan’s tricks is direct and to the point, as is the effect itself. This is similar in method to the Bare Faced Detection also in this chapter, which is slightly more direct in presentation.

Simplicity Speller is a spelling trick which has a clever control procedure, but I would urge readers interested in this kind of effect to check out David Harkey’s Outsmart from Aha! especially if you do Memorised Deck work.

The Trio is a trick you are unlikely to be able to do, as it relies on certain qualities of the way Bicycle cards were packed back in Jordan’s days, although at the end of the book he does give you a way to do this with a different method.

Odd or Even has for me a ridiculous method for a trick that would probably never work, especially with a challenging audience. The effect of a spectator being able to tell if the packet he cut off was odd or even, is not worth the risky and inconsistent secret.

The last three tricks in this chapter are more worth while, The Escape uses two card packets and elastic bands, a selection escaping from one banded packet, to appear in the other secured packet, the method is sneaky and clever.

The Twentieth Century Puzzle is a display of mind reading where a small number of cards are chosen and then one by one named by the performer, again the method is a brilliant piece of thinking, and could possibly give you good practice for a certain move.

At the time of writing this Corporate Performer Paul Green is putting together a booklet of tricks based upon a particular force, I am not certain of the original source, but certainly Annemann has a trick using this which Eugene Burger has published, and several modern day card tricks use it, and it was one of the favourite methods of my teacher Arthur Setterington. Here in the Jordan trick Telepathic Control, he gives a great way of getting into this from a shuffled unprepared deck, and the performer ends by being able to name the top cards of the dealt packets, as in the Annemann effect with a great little presentational throw-off.

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 contains Feats Requiring More Or Less Manipulative Ability. The chapter starts with a three trick routine involving cards reversing, the first trick The Single Card Reverse has a selected card reversing in the deck, then in the second trick The Half Pack Reverse half of the deck is turned face up and half left face down, when spread the deck is seen to face all the same way, and for the last time in The Alternate Reverse you alternate cards face up and face down, but once again, in the end the deck has righted itself. These three tricks contain some interesting card reverse ideas, though some of the construction of the routine is, for me at least, a bit heavy going.

The next two tricks like The Escape mentioned earlier, use a deck and a rubber band, The Pack that Cuts Itself, is a visual effect where the selection is placed back into the deck, the deck tossed into the air and the pack seems to cut itself, and the selection ends up on the face of the pack.

The Impossible Journey is very similar in effect to Daryl’s Ultimate Ambition, or more precisely Jay Sankey or Justin Hanes version using the deck and an Elastic Band, again Jordan comes up with an interesting and direct method, which for me might be a bit too risky, as the dirty work happens at the time when all the heat is on the deck, and the proving method is not quite as clean as the Sankey or Hanes versions, but the method itself is worth knowing, and I am sure has a lot of other uses.

Jordan finishes this chapter with Ace effects, Our Friends the Aces starts off like an Ace Assembly with the vanish of the four aces which supposedly change into four jokers which then change back into the Aces, for me a confusing effect and method, probably best kept for magicians.

Leave it to the Aces has a chosen ace ending up next to a selected card, this has a very difficult method, although it is probably one of the most direct and clean looking ways of doing the trick, I can certainly think of easier ways to do this effect which probably isn’t that impressive to begin with.

Lastly we cannot leave this chapter without mentioning The Phantom Aces, under a pseudo monte game where the spectator has to find the black or red aces, Jordan describes a method to displace the cards, a method that would eventually become something that (amongst others) would seal his name in the history of card magic, what we now know as the Jordan Count.

Chapter 4

In Chapter 4, the final chapter, we find Feats Requiring Previous Preparation. This is possibly the most hit and miss chapter, with 3 of the 7 effects requiring the Piquet dodge, and at least a couple requiring props or gaffs you would probably never make or use. Saying that though this chapter still contains consistantly good thinking and even if you might not be able to use some of the effects you can still read and hopefully be inspired to change them or come up with alternate methods.

For example the first trick in the chapter The Message from Mars, is similar to Telepathic Control that was mentioned earlier, again Paul Green has a great version using a mini wallet, Jordan adds some great touches to this, including how to get into it from a shuffled deck, again this touches on Piquet but I think it could work if you basically just take out clumps of cards as you execute the required procedure, then make sure it all ends up as it should and go from there, it will look as though you are really mixing the deck, if you do it in a haphazard way. Also Jordan has a great touch to cleanly show one prediction which you could modify to suit your style of dress.

Coluria uses the Piquet method in a similar way to the first trick in the book, so whilst you may not be able to do it exactly as written, you have to marvel at the method behind it, which I understand is related to the Bracelet or Gray code.

Satan’s Trance again uses the Piquet method, and another obscure method that a modern performer would have to experiment with, the trick itself however is interesting in that 4 cards are sealed into 4 envelopes and the lights turned off, when they come back on the envelopes now have names of cards on them, the cards are then revealed to be the ones in the envelopes.

The next trick Change your Mind? is similar in construction to Tamariz’s Neither Blind nor Stupid, Jordan’s method sees a more complicated setup, with a gaffed deck, which would probably need translating to modern cards, but again there are some advantages to this version in the revelation, in that it can be done from a freely scattered pile of face up and face down cards, and that it can be repeated with a half deck setup.

Spelling Any Card Called For is a rather complicated gaffed to the hilt trick that allows you to spell to any named card, for the memorisation involved, and construction of the deck I think this trick will probably never get used, I suggest readers look at other alternatives, Greys Spelling Trick in Royal Road is an excellent any deck anytime version, that allows you to spell down to two cards, one being a spectator selection, that rather than them naming, is supposedly unknown to the performer.

The Card and Number Mystery is a prediction of a card arrived at by dealing heaps and adding spots on cards, if you like this sort of thing the method for the force is clean and clever.

The last trick the Card and Bag Mystery, is a transposition between a Joker which is placed into an envelope and into a small cloth bag, and pierced by a piece of string, with a chosen card, which ends up pierced in the envelope, whilst the Joker jumps back to the deck.

In conclusion even if we take out the effects that you may not be able to do due to method restrictions (although these still make good reading), you are still left with some very clever and fooling effects, and I think what runs through Jordan’s thinking is the simplicity of his presentations, coupled with direct procedures to get the job done, and in most cases methods that are far beyond their time, and even today contain revolutionary sleights and techniques that will ensure Charles Jordan, despite his short publishing career in Magic, will be immortalised in Card Trick History.

Highly Recommended, 30 Card Mysteries is available for $8 from (

Signature Magician and a True Legend

Haven’t had chance to mention this DVD which was released I believe at Blackpool. I haven’t seen a copy, but I can relate to you how it was to take part in the filming. This is probably the first and only magic DVD I may appear in, but that shouldn’t stop you buying it Basically it was filmed at Colin Rose’s on 11th December last year when he hosted a Workshop/Lecture with Alex Elmsley.

When I saw the advert on MagicWeek I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity of a lifetime to meet with one of the greats of Card Magic, and the venue was fairly close to where I live (or so I thought!) So myself and another member of HMC (Rex Stott, who has somehow managed to get a quote on the DVD cover!) set off one cold Saturday morning into the wilds of Lincolnshire, and literally into the back of beyond to meet with Mr Elmsley. After arriving at Colins studio/house we were ushered in, and introduced to Alex. Now I’m not one of these people who will do anything to meet the celebrities in magic, I don’t go to conventions and seek out the big names, in fact quite the opposite… so I am being sincere when I say it was a humbling and slightly nervous experience just to be in the presence of one of my hero’s… to sit and listen to his stories, and watch his magic is a memory that will last a lifetime.

The workshop itself was basically a mix of a teach-in on Alex’s false counts and stories and memories of his meeting famous magicians, and his thoughts on magic in general. Plus performance/explanations of amongs other things his Everchange count, Twisters Flush, One Poor Lion and an in-depth look at his Kasual Kosky swtich which is a great re-thinking on the Kosky Switch. To finish the workshop we were talking about the inherent discrepancy in doing the Ghost Count face-up and someone mentioned that you could do some routines with Jokers, and casually asked Alex if he had any such routines. Mr Elmsley stands up and without any build-up launches into a performance of his Dazzle routine, with the original cards, and blew us all away! What a way to finish the workshop… then it was down to the local pub whilst Colin and Sharon reset for the lecture. Now there is no truth in the rumour that Alex was supposed to rest-up but instead chose to come to the pub with us for more stories and whisky! Also chat about computers which was interesting to hear about his days as a mainframe programmer.

Then back for the night lecture, and what a lecture! It was basically his ‘Alex is at it Again’ lecture which he has recently presented down in London. I was sat on the front-row and got to help in a couple of things, didn’t quite practice my L&L style reactions, but I hope I did it justice! I won’t detail all the material, the highlights for me were Power Poker which is a great poker routine where the spectator can choose his own hand, yet you still end with a Royal Flush.Colour Filter which is Oil and Water meets Cards through Handkerchief. His Kasual Kosky (as mentioned a great casual alternative to the Kosky Switch) and his Andrews Colour Change (hmm can you work out what this is?) Three in Hiding is a great routine based on the spectators hiding objects in their pockets, and you divining what they are, here done with playing cards, also supplied is a great way to frame this around poker. I got to help Alex with his Oyster Shells routine which is a brilliant way of having some fun and letting the spectator take the spotlight for a bit, won’t say much more than that, buy the DVD!

Alex finished off his lecture by taking questions, and then a request for him to do Dazzle, mainly from the guys who hadn’t made the workshop and heard us ranting! Again an excellent performance, which earned him a well deserved standing ovation. It was a true honour and pleasure to spend the day with this legend, and you lucky people get to see it for the price of the DVD available from Hocus-Pocus.

Set to Stun-ning

Jack Parker is not a name known to many, we lucky few over at TSD have had the chance to see his creative output in the tricks and video’s he has posted there. Also you might recall a number of things he has had published in MAGIC magazine. Now its time for this UK card man to release his first e-book. This was released earlier this week, the reason it has taken me this long to post about it is that I wanted to really play around with the material and get a feel for the routines, rather than just dashing something off. So here are a few thoughts that might constitute a kind-of-review.

The e-book is split into three sections, with a stunning graphic layout courtesy of Andi Gladwin. The first section entitled ‘Compulsive Swallowing’ starts with Cross Eyed Suprise. This is a neat little packet effect where two aces transpose from in between the four queens. Inspired by David Solomon, and David Regal, you know this is going to be good! In the last phase we are introduced to a lovely variation on the Kosky Switch that brings about the Hotel Mystery type of climax.

Jack then brings us his variation of a Tamariz routine, namely Four of a Kind or All of a Kind as its published in Mnemonica. Rather than using a fully stacked deck as in the Tamariz version, this can be done from a shuffled unprepared deck. However this does slightly change the premise to the trick, rather than you turning over three cards that you say will match the card the spectator hasn’t yet seen, the spectator looks at a card, you then turn over three indicator cards that you hope will point to the identity of their card, they don’t but you do get out of trouble as in the original routine, with a bit of a Walton premise thrown in for good measure. I think I actually prefer this way of doing the trick, rather than being wrong three times, having to openly act this, and possibly giving away where the trick is going, you are wrong once, and then you correct it for the finish.

First of the First is a very clean vanish and re-appearance of a selection from between two other cards, reminiscent of Elmsley’s Point of Departure, a very clean looking setup phase introduces us to an interesting Vernon move that I had only briefly seen before, here Jack uses it to good effect as this one move accomplishes the necessary to bring about the trick.

We then move onto part two, in fairness to Jack I won’t mention the title of this section as it would tip some of the workings of the three effects, I think it is ok to mention that this is my favourite section of the e-book and you will own the necessary to do the tricks, or what is required is very commonly available, and here it is utilised to great effect to bring about so much magic!

Persistent Offenders is based on Paul Harris’s Tap Dancing Aces routine, it see’s the four kings jumping from their packet to the deck and back again, and even in the spectator’s hands. More Effort Less Magic is a comedy routine which utilises misdirection to bring about some visual changes. In short a selection vanishes from between the Kings in an amusing fashion, and re-appears in a visually startling way. Lastly in this section The Heist is a great packet cards-across effect, based around the theme of a jewel robbery. Inspired by two Paul Harris routines again the construction of the routine gives you a very clean and clear picture of what is happening, as part of the story a card is very fairly placed with four-of-a-kind in the middle of the deck by the spectator, it can immediatley be shown to have vanished and re-appeared in the packet you are holding, its that clean!

The last part Pin Tweaks starts off with U.D.S.I which is an un-gimmicked handling for a Luke Dancy effect, a very straight-forward setup is required utilising a move seen earlier, you can then pull off the very visual climax of the Ace of Spades transposing with the tabled kings, this in terms of handling may be the hardest effect in the book if you cannot do a certain move, but Jack offers alternate endings. Fletch is a variation on a Jerry Sadowitz trick entitled Fetch. Jack has modified this so that instead of one indifferent card seemingly taken on a life of its own and moving around a fan of cards (based on an old gag we all probably do!) and then finding the selection as in the Sadowitz routine, here an indifferent card animates and then magically changes into the selection. 100% Confidence is the trick that concludes this last section, you can see a video clip of this at the Underground Collective site. Based on David Solomon’s Three Indicators trick, Jack has taken this and John Bannon’s Discrepancy City prediction to the limits, with a great climax and some lovely displays, I encourage you to watch the video and see the little nuances of Jack’s handling of this trick that make it look so free and fair.

As a last bonus item Jack offers the Can Can Coin, a lovely impromptu coin through coke-can effect, which is one of those things I will store in my head and await the opportunity to try. I laughed out loud at the ideas used in this routine, for the sheer cleverness of the convincers, and the cheeky clean-up, a well thought out routine that Tim Trono said was worth the price of admission!

This is a great e-book, excellent production standards, well explained routines, but most of all you get the feeling that Jack really knows how to construct his effects, selecting the right moves and sleights to give you the cleanest and fairest possibly setups, with the most powerful climax possible. Hopefully this little review of the effects contained within will give you some idea of what you will be getting for your money, none of the effects contain knuckle-busting sleights, just clever thinking to obtain maximum output. You can purchase Set to Stun at Jack’s Deck priced $20.