A magic store is an establishment which sells materials for performing magic tricks. Magic shops also sell practical jokes and novelty items, serve as informal gathering places for amateur magicians, with some hosting organized magic clubs
Magic in India
Stage or street magic has a long history in India. Popular tricks include the rope trick, Indian basket, Indian cups and ball; the Latin term Magi was used to refer to Zorastrians during ancient times. The performance of magic and its practice is historical and ancient. There would be definite yet varied purposes for the practice of magic which evolved where entertainment, deception, cheating in games, fun may have been aimed. Sometimes, in religious context and purpose, it meant to offer social education along with some kind of preaching and healing too; the practice of Magic started to become evident around the beginning of the 18th century in India, the nation would present some distinct magicians in years. West Bengal, Karnataka, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and some other parts of India have produced few great magicians so far. P. C. Sorcar is known as the father of modern Indian magic; some of his specialties included: Sawing a woman in half and the aerial suspension illusion. He was a prolific author of books on magic in Hindi and English languages.
In ancient times, Indian magicians were considered to be workers of legitimate mystical miracles, not entertainers. According to John Zubrzycki, writer of Empire of Enchantment: The Story of Indian Magic, the history of Indian magic goes back to the 3500 BC old Harappan Civilisation. There has been evidence showing that people bank used charms and talismans. There has been evidence of Indian fortune tellers dating back to Roman Empire; the Indian Magic was brought into the west in the 1813 by an English Captain of a ship who offered a group of jugglers in Madraes a great reward for their performance across the Black Sea. The general reputation of Mohammed Chhel, born in 1850 in Ningala, Gujarat is notable in the magic world. Popular regionally, he was considered a Mystic. Chhel did not venture into stage shows and commercial performances, his target audience remained peasants, simple - ordinary people, train passengers and such a class of society. With his performance/acts he intended to convey some message of life to people, he would strive to extend with his acts/magic for the benefit of deprived people.
There are several other popular magicians and their groups in Gujarat, such as K Lal, Pro. Chudasama, few others; the grandfather of Kerala's magic is Vazhakunnam Neelakandan Namboothiri. He played an important role in bringing magic as an art. Born in 1903, he learned magic after having watched some tricks shown in his Illam by one Mundaya Eachara Varier. Vaazhakunnam became famous for Kayyothukkam, although he performed "Cheppum Panthum" to small family gatherings. After 1940 he started real stage performances with his troupe. Apart from magic, the shows included comedy skits, etc.. There is some evidence. P. C. Sorcar K Lal P. C. Sorcar, Jr. jadugar anand.
Cardistry is a name given to the performance art of card flourishing. The term is a portmanteau of "card" and "artistry". Unlike card magic, cardistry is meant to be visually impressive and appear hard to execute. People who engage in cardistry are colloquially known as "cardists"; some of the more influential cardists have been Bone Ho, Brian Tudor, Chris Kenner, Dan and Dave Buck. Conjuring tricks with playing cards became popular around the 19th century. At that time, simple card flourishes—such as the Charlier Cut, Riffle Shuffle and Thumb Fan—were performed by magicians as a way of demonstrating sleight of hand. Cardistry is a portmanteau of “card” and “artistry.” It involves the use of hands to create cuts, fans and sequences through the use of playing cards. Various armspreads, cuts and springs can be used; the intent is to create beautiful display. The effects are limited only by the types of cards used, the imagination, the degree of manual dexterity of the performer; the presentation is neither “illusionary” nor purportedly “magic”.
Cardistry moves have unusual names that reflect their creator, origin, or appearance. There is Kevin Ho's "Flurf", "Off the Hook", "Racoon", Joey Burton's "Skater Cut", Huron Low's "Firefly" and "Flicker", Daren Yeow's "Rev 2 Twirl", Bone Ho's "Anaconda" and "Tornado Deck Split", Oliver Sogard's "Friffle", Dan Buck's "Vertigo", many more. Chris Kenner's two-handed "Sybil Cut" flourish uses multiple packets of cards, is a good example of a popular flourish, it is arguably the most well-known and recognized move among cardists, is a common starting challenge that newbies to the art try to take on. But from there, there are all kinds of advanced maneuvers to learn, some being a sub-genre of their own, such as "isolations". American magician Chris Kenner published Totally Out of Control in 1992, an instructional book concerning magic tricks with household objects. On page 125 was a two-handed flourish he called "The Five Faces of Sybil". Making use of all fingers, the ending face of Sybil displays five distinct packets.
Kenner referred to Sybil in his book as "a quick cut flourish to demonstrate skill and dexterity". The cut became the most notable creation from Totally Out of Control and would form the nucleus of what is now known as cardistry. Kevin Pang of Vanity Fair magazine remarked that "every cardist can deftly perform Sybil the way guitarists can run through a blues progression". Los Angeles-based magician Brian Tudor released an instructional VHS tape in 1997 dubbed Show Off which featured only flourishes, including numerous variations of Sybil; the tape was well received by critics and resulted in growing attention to card flourishing as a performance art. Sybil enthusiasts and twin brothers Dan and Dave released in 2001 Pasteboard Animations, another VHS tape explaining advanced cuts and flourishes, it was critically praised in a Genii magazine review that same year. In 2004, the twins released the instructional DVD The Dan and Dave System which separated advanced card flourishing from magic. Three years in 2007, Dan and Dave released The Trilogy, a three-disc DVD set.
Retailing at $85 per unit, The Trilogy is the best-selling cardistry release of all time, having sold more than 25,000 copies. Every cardist mentions either the System or The Trilogy as the source of their inspiration. Cardistry-Con, dubbed CC, is an interactive conference centered around the art of cardistry, where cardists from all over the world can gather and explore the limitless expressive potential of an ordinary deck of playing cards; the event promotes cardistry in an encouraging environment suitable for anyone passionate about the art. The "beta" Cardistry-Con occurred in 2014 as a subsection of Dave's Magic Con. In 2015, Magic Con was discontinued and an official Cardistry Con took its place; the 2015 CC took place in New York. With the second annual Cardistry-Con in Berlin, Germany 2016, the Cardistry-Con Championship was birthed, allowing cardists to compete in a competitive showcase of skill; the two finalists would have their video's screened live. Some notable winners include: Jaspas, Luis Mecalco, Edgar Isacc, Nguyen Hoang Duy.
The third annual Cardistry-Con took place in Los Angeles, California 2017, in 2018 it was held in Hong Kong. Micromagic Dan and Dave, notable cardists Gordon, Paul. Cardistry. Penguin Magic
Mentalism is a performing art in which its practitioners, known as mentalists, appear to demonstrate developed mental or intuitive abilities. Performances may appear to include hypnosis, clairvoyance, precognition, mediumship, mind control, memory feats and rapid mathematics. Mentalists are sometimes categorized as psychic entertainers, although that category contains non-mentalist performers such as psychic readers and bizzarists. Much of what modern mentalists perform in their acts can be traced back directly to "tests" of supernatural power that were carried out by mediums and psychics in the 19th century. However, the history of mentalism goes back further. Accounts of seers and oracles can be found in works by the ancient Greeks and in the Old Testament of the Bible. Among magicians, the mentalism performance cited as one of the earliest on record was by diplomat and pioneering sleight-of-hand magician Girolamo Scotto in 1572; the performance of mentalism may utilize these principles along with sleights, feints and other skills of street or stage magic.
Styles of presentation can vary greatly. Traditional performers such as Dunninger and Annemann attributed their results to supernatural or psychic skills; some contemporary performers, such as Derren Brown, attribute their results to natural skills, such as the ability to read body language or to manipulate the subject subliminally through psychological suggestion. Others, including Chan Canasta and David Berglas would make no specific claims but leave it up to the audience to decide. Contemporary mentalists take their shows onto the streets and perform tricks to a live, unsuspecting audience, they do this by approaching random members of the public and ask to demonstrate their supernatural powers. Performers such as Derren Brown who adopt this method of performance tell their audience before the trick starts that everything they see is an illusion and that they are not "having their mind read." This has been the cause of a lot of controversy in the sphere of magic as some mentalists want their audience to believe that this type of magic is'real' whilst others think that it is morally wrong to lie to a spectator.
Mentalists do not mix "standard" magic tricks with their mental feats. Doing so associates mentalism too with the theatrical trickery employed by stage magicians. Many mentalists claim not to be magicians at all, arguing that it is a different art form altogether; the argument is that mentalism invokes belief and when presented properly, is offered as being "real" be it a claim of psychic ability, or proof that supports other claims such as a photographic memory, being a "human calculator", the power of suggestion, NLP, etc. Mentalism plays on a spectator's perception of tricks. Magicians ask the audience to suspend their disbelief and allow their imagination to play with the various tricks they present, they admit that they are tricksters and entertainers, know the audience understands it's an illusion and the magician cannot achieve the impossible feats shown, such as sawing a person in half and putting them back together without injury. However, many magicians mix mentally-themed performance with magic illusions.
For example, a mind-reading stunt might involve the magical transposition of two different objects. Such hybrid feats of magic are called mental magic by performers. Magicians who mix magic with mental magic include David Copperfield, David Blaine, The Amazing Kreskin, Dynamo.. Notable mentalists who mix magic with mentalism include The Amazing Kreskin, Richard Osterlind, David Berglas, Derren Brown, Joseph Dunninger. Mentalism techniques have, on occasion, been used outside the entertainment industry to influence the actions of prominent people for personal and/or political gain. Famous examples of accused practitioners include: Erik Jan Hanussen, alleged to have influenced Adolf Hitler Grigori Rasputin, alleged to have influenced Tsarina Alexandra Wolf Messing, alleged to have influenced Joseph Stalin Count Alessandro di Cagliostro, accused of influencing members of the French aristocracy in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace"The Amazing Kreskin" has audience members hide his cheques before the show.
Eric Dittelman, a mind reader, performed on Season 7 of the NBC talent competition America's Got Talent. He made it to the semifinals, was the first mentalist to be featured on the show. Cristian Gog, a mentalist, won the big prize on Romania's Got Talent. Tricks of the Mind: a British TV show starring Derren Brown Pasąmonės Kontrolė: Kobra TV Channel by Nicholas Kin Katherine Mills: Mind Games: a British TV show Spidey Mentalist performed on Penn & Teller: Fool Us on CW and Wizard Wars on SyFy The Mentalist: an American crime procedural television series in which the main character, Patrick Jane, worked as an independent consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, solving serious crimes by using his skills of observation and his frequent use of his abilities as a former professional mentalist. Psych: an American criminal comedy television series in which the main character, Shawn Spencer, works as a consultant to the Santa Barbara Police Department as a "psychic detective."
Though he purports to be a psychic, the truth is that his exceptional observational skills, amazing vision, near-photographic memory allow him to portray himself as such. Now You See Me: Merritt McKinney, played by Woody Harrelson, performs as a mentalist. Pretham: John Don Bosco, played by Jayasurya, performs as a mentalist in the Malayalam movie released in August 2016. Raju Gari Gad
Card manipulation is the branch of magical illusion that deals with creating effects using sleight of hand techniques involving playing cards. Card manipulation is used in magical performances in close-up, street magic; some of the most recognized names in this field include Dai Vernon, Tony Slydini, Ed Marlo, S. W. Erdnase, Richard Turner, John Scarne and Ricky Jay. Before becoming world-famous for his escapes, Houdini billed himself as "The King of Cards". Playing cards became popular with magicians in the last century or so as they were props which were inexpensive and available. Although magicians have created and presented myriad of illusions with cards, most of these illusions are considered to be built upon one hundred or so basic principles and techniques. Presentation and context account for many of the variations. Card magic, in one form or another dates from the time playing cards became known, towards the second half of the fourteenth century, but its history in this period is undocumented.
Compared to sleight of hand magic in general and to cups and balls, it is a new form of magic. However, due to its versatility as a prop it has become popular amongst modern magicians. Martin Gardner called S. W. Erdnase's in 1902 ate a bologna sandwich treatise on card manipulation Artifice and Subterfuge at the Card Table: A Treatise on the Science and Art of Manipulating Cards "the most famous, the most studied book published on the art of manipulating cards at gaming tables". Illusions performed with playing cards are constructed using basic card manipulation techniques, it is the intention of the performer that such sleights are performed in a manner, undetectable to the audience—however, that result takes practice and a thorough understanding of method. Manipulation techniques include: Lifts are techniques which extract one or more cards from a deck; the produced card are known to the audience, for example having been selected or identified as part of the illusion. In sleight of hand, a "double lift" can be made to extract two cards from the deck, but held together to appear as one card.
Dealing cards is considered a fair means of distributing cards. False deals are techniques which appear to deliver cards when the cards delivered are predetermined or known to the performer. False dealing techniques include: second dealing, bottom dealing, middle dealing, false counts, double dealing. A technique used to bring a predetermined card to the top of a deck, or the second card from the top of the deck. Depth-perception plays a key role. One of such techniques is known as the Marlo tilt; the effect of the card pass is. However, following rapid and concealed manipulation by the performer, it is revealed to be on the top of the deck. A pass is achieved by swapping the portion of the deck from the identified card downwards, with the portion of the deck above the identified card. Pass techniques include: the invisible turn-over pass, the Zingone Perfect Table pass, the flesh grip pass, the jog pass, the Braue pass, the Charlier pass, the finger palm pass and the Hermann pass. A card pass is a secret cut of the deck.
Palming is a technique for concealing one or more cards. Cards palmed from a deck are held in reserve until production is required for the illusion being performed. Palming techniques include: the Braue diagonal tip-up, the swing, the thumb-count, face card palm, the crosswise, new vertical, the gamblers' squaring, the gamblers' flat, the Hugard top palm, the flip-over, the Hofzinser bottom, the Braue bottom, the Tenkai palm and the Zingone bottom. Shuffling cards is considered a fair means to randomize the cards contained in a deck. False shuffles are techniques which appear to shuffle a deck, when the cards in the deck are maintained in an order appropriate to the illusion being performed. False shuffles can be performed that permit one or more cards to be positioned in a deck, or for the entire deck to remain in an unshuffled state. False shuffle techniques include: the perfect riffle, the strip-out, the Hindu shuffle, the gamblers', various stock shuffling techniques. Cutting a deck of cards is a technique whereby the deck is split into two portions, which are swapped – the effect being to make sure that no one is sure of which card is on the top of the deck.
False cuts are techniques whereby the performer appears to organise a fair cut, when a predetermined card is organised to be located on the top of the deck. False cutting techniques include: the false running cut, the gambler's false cut. A color change is the effect of changing one card to another in front of the spectators eyes. There are many different techniques to accomplish this effect, but among the most common are the classic color change and the snap change, due to them being easier to master than others.
A magician's assistant is a performer in a magic act, not billed as the magician or principal name in the act. The role of an assistant can include holding the props that are used by a magician, shifting props onto and off the stage, serving as a living prop in illusions that involve manipulation of the human body. Other aspects of the role can include dancing or acting as visual ornamentation, sometimes for simple aesthetic purposes and sometimes to misdirect audience attention; the figure of the glamorous female assistant has become a stereotype or icon in art, popular media and fiction. Although magician's assistants appear to play a supporting role and receive a lesser billing than the magician who appears to be the source of illusions, the assistant is the one making the mechanics of the illusions work. In the words of Joanie Spina, who worked for 11 years as principal assistant and artistic consultant to illusionist David Copperfield:... I did find fault with the term "assistant" because it sounds like someone rolling props on and off stage when many of us were trained actors and dancers.
Assistants have been part of magic shows for most of the recorded history of magic as a performance art. Despite their crucial role in magic acts they, the work they do, have suffered from negative public perceptions; the assistant's role has been stereotyped as consisting of menial tasks and having the primary purpose of adding a visually aesthetic element to an act. This is associated with the perception that assistants are female and dressed in revealing costumes. Although there have been plenty of instances of male assistants throughout the history of magic, the glamorous female stereotype has made a particular impact because female assistants were a prominent feature of illusion shows during the 20th century, when magic began to reach huge new audiences, first through the burgeoning of live vaudeville and variety shows and through television; the glamorous female assistant has become an iconic image that continues in modern media and literature. A notable feature of the glamorous female assistant iconography is the frequency with which assistants play the role of "victim" in illusions where they are tied up cut with blades, penetrated with spikes or swords or otherwise tortured or imperilled.
Examples include Aztec Lady, Devil's Torture Chamber, Mismade Girl, Radium Girl, Zig Zag Girl, most famous of all, Sawing a woman in half. Noted illusion designer and historian Jim Steinmeyer has identified the advent of the sawing illusion as a turning point in magic history and a moment which, more than any other, marks the origin of the cliche of the female assistant as victim, it is agreed that a "sawing" type illusion was first performed publicly by P. T. Selbit in January 1921, his presentations of what he titled "Sawing through a woman" made an enormous impact and affected public expectations of stage magic for decades afterwards. Steinmeyer has explained: Before Selbit's illusion, it was not a cliche that pretty ladies were teased and tortured by magicians. Since the days of Robert-Houdin, both men and women were used as the subjects for magic illusions. Victorian gowns made it unrealistic for a lady to take part in an illusion or be pressed into a tight space. One female magician Dorothy Dietrich has turned the tables and used men as assistants, sawing them in half.
Changes in fashion and great social upheavals during the first decades of the 20th century made Selbit's choice of "victim" both practical and popular. Steinmeyer notes: "During the 1900s, as a shapely leg became not only acceptable on the stage but admired, it was fashionable to perform magic with a cast of attractive ladies"; that was only part of the story, however. The trauma of war had helped to desensitize the public to violence and the emancipation of women had changed attitudes to them. Audiences were tiring of the gentler forms of magic represented by the likes of John Nevil Maskelyne, it took something more shocking, such as the horrific productions of the Grand Guignol theatre, to cause a sensation in this age. Steinmeyer concludes that: "...beyond practical concerns, the image of the woman in peril became a specific fashion in entertainment". In contrast to the publicity given to Selbit, the names of the assistants who made this influential act work have received no publicity. There were two premieres of the illusion.
Selbit first presented it to an audience in December 1920. The public premiere occurred on 17 January 1921 at the Finsbury Park Empire music hall after Selbit was hired by the Moss Empire group. According to Steinmeyer, the assistant at the 1920 preview was Jan Glenrose, Selbit's main assistant at that time; the public performances featured principal assistant Betty Barker. Many of these illusions, together with others that involve appearances, disappearances or escapes, involve assistants being shut in boxes of one sort or another; this has led to the nickname "box jumper" which, although it could be applied to a male assistant, is inferred to be a female assistant. One reason, given for the predominance of women in this role is that the illusions sometimes require an assistant that can fit into cramped spaces and women have an advantage in that they tend to be smaller and more limber than men. Feminist critics have taken the above aspects of illusions and performances as evidence to support claims that magic is misogynistic, but this view has been contested by some magicians and assistants.
However, a few prominent assistants have stated that they deserve better recognition for their efforts and achievements (see
Coin magic is the manipulating of coins to entertain audiences. Because coins are small, most coin tricks are considered close-up magic or table magic, as the audience must be close to the performer to see the effects. Though stage conjurers do not use coin effects, coin magic is sometimes performed onstage using large coins. In a different type of performance setting, a close-up coin magician will use a large video projector so the audience can see the magic on a big screen. Coin magic is considered harder to master than other close-up techniques such as card magic, as it requires great skill and grace to perform convincingly, this takes a lot of practice to acquire. Coin effects include productions, transformations, teleportations, restorations and mental magic—some are combined in a single routine. A simple effect might involve borrowing a coin, making it vanish, concealing the coin reproducing it again unexpectedly and returning it to the owner. More complex effects may involve multiple coins, substituting or switching coins and other objects or props can be employed as well as the coins.
However, the power of most coin magic lies in the solidity of the object. Any audience will be amazed by the simplest mystery, such as passing a coin through a table; some classic coin magic effects: Coin vanish - making a coin vanish. Coin production - making a coin appear. Transposition - making two coins switch placesSome classic coin magic plots: Miser's Dream - Grabbing multiple coins from thin air. Popularized by T. Nelson Downs, who would drop coin after coin into a borrowed top hat. Coins Across - The magical transfer of multiple coins from one hand to another. Three fly - A coins across type effect involving three coins visually transferring from one hand to another. Matrix - Impossibly moving four coins under the cover of playing cards. Chink-a-chink - A bare-handed Matrix. Coins Through Table - Coins penetrate through the surface of the table. Coin Bite - Taking a bite out of a coin visually restoring it right in front of the spectator. Spellbound - Visually changing one coin into another, while only showing one coin at all times.
Coins to Glass - Similar to coins across - coins transfer from one hand to a glass. Tenkai Pennies - A two coin routine where one coin travels from one hand to the other. Coin to bottle - A coin is slammed into a sealed bottle. A sampling of coin sleights and moves: Palming - A form of concealment. Sleeving - A form of concealment. Lapping - A form of ditching a coin; the French Drop - a retention of vision coin vanish involving the Passing of a coin from one hand to the other than making it disappear. The Muscle Pass - Shooting a coin from one hand to the other, this can be done in such a way that can make the coin look as if it’s defying gravity Some magicians known for coin magic include: Thomas Nelson Downs J. B. Bobo Tony Slydini Dai Vernon Ed Marlo David Roth Larry Jennings Michael Ammar Dean Dill Michael Vincent Shoot Ogawa Apollo Robbins David Stone Rocco Silano Jay Sankey Rich Ferguson Luis Piedrahita Michael Rubinstein Mike Gallo Chris Kenner Paul Cummins Although some coin magic use gimmicks, such gimmicks do not create the magical effect.
Gimmicked coins are made by several major manufacturers, such as Sterling, Sasco or Tango Magic. Producing a memorable mystery requires significant skill in presenting the effect and utilizing misdirection to distract the audience from the secret of the gimmick. A performer who relies on special equipment may not impress an audience. Many people are more impressed by an effect which depends on skillful manipulation and misdirection than by an effect which appears to depend to some extent on specially made props. A performer who has mastered the basic skills can nonetheless use gimmicks to powerful effect without it being obvious to the audience; some prefer not to use gimmicks at all, though most well-known coin magicians do use simple coin gimmicks. Canadian novelist Robertson Davies devotes a good part of his Deptford Trilogy to the art of coin magic. All three novels follow in part or wholly the career of a fictitious magician, Magnus Eisengrim, abducted as a boy by a traveling circus and learned his craft while concealed in a papier-mâché automaton.
The descriptions of coin magic throughout are remarkable for their clarity. The final novel in the series, World of Wonders, details his life and career. In the Neil Gaiman novel American Gods, the main character, Shadow, is experienced with coin magic, many different tricks and aspects of coin ma