"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
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
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
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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"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."
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
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.
"Simulated thought insertion: Influencing the sense of agency using deception and magic" (Consciousness and Cognition)
Illustration by Rob Beschizza Read the rest
Ah, the magic fortune telling fish! If it curls one way, you are certainly one sort of person! If it curls the other, you are another! Magic, right?
We've spent the morning making our own fortune telling shapes! All you need is some cellophane.
How does it work? I always thought it was body heat, but this simple morning distraction taught both my daughter and I that cellophane is hygroscopic! The sodium polyacrylate that cellophane is made of seeks out water, and as it absorbs even trace amounts -- like from the palms of our hands -- the molecules start changing shapes! The fish starts writhing around!
Cutting out your own is a lot of fun, but lacks the cool packaging of the traditional!
I’ve known Tomohiro Maeda since he was a teenager.
For a period he was well-known in Japan for his many two-hour television specials doing mostly card tricks for famous celebrities seated around a small table. It takes a great magician to keep the high-and-mighty seated for two hours with nothing more than a deck of cards. Above is a good example of one of his recent TV shows in which they also analyzed the brain during the performance of magic (even though it’s in Japanese, you’ll understand the magic tricks with little problem).
Tomohiro Maeda now writes life-style articles for magazines while continuing to perform magic at high-priced private events and he recently made a TV commercial for a Japanese credit card company.
And they also released a behind-the-scenes video.
I think we all wish we could do magic with our credit cards rather than be indebted to them.
Our pal (and former Artist in Residence at Walt Disney Imagineering) Derek DelGaudio's new show In and of Itself is opening at the Geffen Playhouse on May 3rd and it will be stupidly great. His last show Nothing to Hide (directed by Neil Patrick Harris) is literally the best magic show I've ever seen, and I think this one will be better. It's not a magic show in any traditional sense. It's something new - something different and better. It's conceptual art but without pretension or self-indulgence and it happens to have incredible magic in it. Frank Oz is directing and Mark Mothersbaugh is writing original music for it. Read the rest