Meet Elliott Terral, Director of Magic

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Every now and then I meet people who seem to possess superhuman powers.  Elliott Terral is one of those individuals and his official title is Director of Magic at a company called Art of Magic

How cool is that?!

After speaking with Elliott for a few minutes, I asked if he was a performing magician to which he didn't answer.  Instead, he began patting down his pockets for a deck of cards.  I beat him to the punch and handed him my very own deck of Erdnase 1902 Green Acorn Playing Cards.  One thing to know about this deck, is that you either own it because you're a genius with a deck of cards, or you're a poser. 

And for the record, I am not a genius with a deck of cards.

Elliott took my fancy cards and did the impossible.  He showed me a King of Hearts and slowly flexed it back and forth as the card changed from king to an ace and then back again.  His movements were slow and it was real magic to everyone that was with me.  If you'd like to see the effect performed by the guy who invented it you can watch it here. 

And if you'd like to purchase the method, it's only $5.00 but you need to know it isn't a trick you can do just because you bought it.  There's a reason an "EXPERT LEVEL" descriptor is attached.  But the good news is that there are other effects and concepts on the website that are far more approachable and equally satisfying.  Read the rest

A magician debunks the Great Wall of Drumpf

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MagicPeaceLove writes, "Magician Justin Willman makes the case for why Donald Trump's proposed border wall between America and Mexico is a bad idea -- physically, emotionally, spiritually and (of course!) magically." Read the rest

Daniel Martin Diaz's new art show inspired by science and magic opens in San Francisco tonight

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My friend Daniel Martin Diaz's exquisite paintings lie at the intersection of science, art, and magic to provoke questions about technology, physics, theories of mind, and the nature of reality. He has an exhibition of spectacular new works opening in San Francisco today at the wonderful science/nature/curiosity shop Paxton Gate. The show is titled titled "Atomic Enlightenment." Indeed. Get illuminated.

Daniel writes:

Over the past few years, I have become immersed in scientific and philosophical concepts, such as Anatomy, Computer Science, Math, Cosmology, Biology, Quantum Physics, and Consciousness. I have been particularly fascinated with scientific diagrams, which explain theories and properties through imagery. Although these rudimentary images are without any leanings towards aesthetics, I find them to be beautiful, though that is not the intention. All of the projects I have created begin as drawings, which I feel has a beauty and intimacy that painting cannot capture. The subtle lines that graphite creates, and the quickness in which one can capture an idea makes this medium alluring.

Read the rest

How to make a coin vanish (without seeming like a weirdo)

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Andy at the Jerx elaborates on a great way to set up a magic trick: "the peek backstage." Read the rest

Lovely short film about the joys of performing magic

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Denver-based street magician Edward Hammond is the subject of this charming short by John Allen that explores magic without focusing on the tricks themselves. Read the rest

Using Benjamin Franklin's behavioral economics maxim in magic

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When Benjamin Franklin wanted someone to like him, he'd ask that person to do him a favor, because he noticed that people who'd done him a nice turn would rationalize this by assuming that they'd done so because they liked him, and so they'd continue to do him other favors in the future based on that affection. Read the rest

Mighty Jack: a new series from Ben "Zita the Spacegirl" Hatke

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Ben Hatke's Zita the Spacegirl trilogy was one of the best kids' comics of the new century (and it's headed to TV!), and he's been very productive in the years since, but his new series, Mighty Jack feels like the true successor to Zita: a meaty volume one that promises and delivers all the buckle you can shake a swash at, with more to come.

How to make your own magic "forcing pad"

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"Svengali pads," are magic props that, like a Svengali deck of cards, selectively shaves down alternating leaves so that a performer can seemingly riffle all the pages but only display every second page. Read the rest

Using card tricks to find the truth about Trump

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Magicpeacelove writes, "Magician Ben Seidman wields his cards with elan to nail down the facts about why Trump would be such a great leader." Read the rest

The spores of club moss have magical powers

Lycopodium powder, made from dry spores of clubmoss plants, is used by magicians and special effects artists as flash powder (aka "dragon's breath"), as a lubricant on latex gloves and condoms, and of course to do the impressive science experiments seen in the video above.

"In physics experiments and demonstrations, lycopodium powder is used to make sound waves in air visible for observation and measurement, and to make a pattern of electrostatic charge visible," according to Wikipedia. "The powder is also highly hydrophobic; if the surface of a cup of water is coated with lycopodium powder, a finger or other object inserted straight into the cup will come out dusted with the powder but remain perfectly dry."

You can purchase an inexpensive supply from Amazon: Lycopodium Powder

Read the rest

Iceland's powerful Elf Lobby wins fight to unearth Elfin Lady Stone buried by construction workers

An elf door leans against a rock in the Icelandic countryside outside the village of Selfoss October 1, 2006. Belief in the unseen runs so high in Iceland that the Public Roads Administration sometimes delays or reroutes road construction to avoid what locals believe are elf habitat. 2006. REUTERS

Bowing to intense pressure from elves and the people who believe in them, the government of Iceland will unearth a purportedly magical “Elfin Lady Stone” buried by highway workers by mistake. The inadvertent burial of their sacred site seriously pissed off the mythical creatures, according to reports.

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New Age shop won't sell magic wands to Harry Potter fans

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Richard Carter, proprietor of Mystical Moments, Huddersfield, England's New Age supply shop, does not permit Harry Potter fans to purchase his handmade magic wands. Carter says he is selling "spiritual tools," not toys. Carter, who reportedly fashions the wands under supernatural control, tells The Telegraph:

"JK Rowling has obviously done her research but Harry Potter is for children. It has done nothing for business.... You wouldn't believe how many real witches and wizards there are knocking about. You would be amazed. They know they can come here in reveal themselves without people thinking they're mental...

If I had someone come in wanting a wand just because they liked Harry Potter I would not sell them one, not matter how much money they were offering....I can tell what people are like when they walk in by their aura."

Read the rest

Feast your eyes on Handsome Jack and his new book

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If you don't know who Handsome Jack is, let me get you up to speed.  He is perhaps the most famous male model in the world - and has made the time to be a world class magician.  Read the rest

Handless magician fools Penn & Teller

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MagicPeaceLove writes, "The word 'inspiring' gets thrown around a lot but my pal Mahdi Gilbert (previously) really deserves it. Read the rest

Scientist uses magic (and psychology) to implant thoughts and read minds

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In a new scientific study, McGill University researcher Jay Olson combined stage magic with psychology to make people think that an fMRI machine (actually a fake) could read their minds and implant thoughts in their heads. Essentially, Olson and his colleagues used "mentalist" gimmicks to do the ESP and "thought insertion" but convinced the subjects that it was real neuroscience at work. The research could someday help psychologists study and understand why some individuals with mental health problems think they are being controlled by external forces. Vaughan "Mind Hacks" Bell blogged about Olson's research for the British Psychological Society. From Vaughan's post:

(The subjects) reported a range of anomalous effects when they thought numbers were being "inserted" into their minds: A number “popped in” my head, reported one participant. Others described “a voice … dragging me from the number that already exists in my mind”, feeling “some kind of force”, feeling “drawn” to a number, or the sensation of their brain getting “stuck” on one number. All a striking testament to the power of suggestion.

A common finding in psychology is that people can be unaware of what influences their choices. In other words, people can feel control without having it. Here, by using the combined powers of stage magic and a sciency-sounding back story, Olson and his fellow researchers showed the opposite – that people can have control without feeling it.

"Using a cocktail of magic and fMRI, psychologists implanted thoughts in people's minds" (BPS)

"Simulated thought insertion: Influencing the sense of agency using deception and magic" (Consciousness and Cognition)

Illustration by Rob Beschizza Read the rest

Get yourself thrown out of this show, if you can

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In & Of Itself is a personal gift to us from the most honest man alive.

How to perform a magic gimmick in a way that astounds

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For many years, Tenyo's clever "self-performing" magic gimmicks have been a delight to amateur magicians and a bugaboo of professionals, who sneered at them as being obvious, hackneyed and, well, gimmicky. Read the rest

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