To do near Minneapolis: The Passing Zone, magical nerd juggling artists (Sat. 9/8)

This weekend I'm camping in a secret location with a bunch of nutty geniuses. Two of them are Jon Wee and Owen Morse, a comedy juggling team who work together as The Passing Zone. They're performing Saturday night, September 8, 2018, at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University in St. Joseph MN, not far from Minneapolis-St. Paul. Read the rest

Magician and audience make two guys believe they are invisible

Netflix has a new magic six-part series called Magic For Humans. The show's star, magician Justin Willman, worked with an audience to help him pull off the trick in this clip. Working together, they make two guys believe they've become invisible, and they really, really do believe they can't be seen. (I was a little worried about the second guy. I think "being invisible" broke his brain.)

“When I was a kid I put a tooth under my pillow, went to sleep, and in the morning there was money there. That tangible evidence was more than enough proof to make me believe in the tooth fairy. To find out how far I could take that premise, I set up a large flash-mob style social experiment all to convince one guy he had turned invisible.” - Justin Willman.

(Likecool) Read the rest

Young man's PhD research focuses on the historical secrets of summoning fairies

New PhD student Samuel Gillis Hogan and colleagues at the University of Exeter are launching a deep study of 15-17th century spell books to understand how people attempted to summon fairies throughout history.

"Fairies were thought of as wondrous and beautiful, but mostly dangerous. But people wanted to summon them and harness that power for their own gain," Hogan told the BBC.

Hogan, a lifelong fan of the supernatural (see photo above) and, yes, Harry Potter, received a fellowship to move to the UK after completing his master's degree at the University of Saskatchewan. His thesis topic? The history of chiromancy, aka palm reading.

From the Canadian Press:

Gillis Hogan said taking a closer look at the magic people believed in gives us an intimate window into how they understood the world.

The way we see the world now, he noted, is just one perspective among many.

“I think that should give us a bit more pause when we have a tendency to look at past cultures, or even other cultures than our own that exist right now, and look down our noses at it as being backwards or strange.”

(via Daily Grail) Read the rest

Rainbow magically appears during Aretha Franklin tribute at a Detroit Tigers game

Last week, Aretha Franklin died at the age of 76 in her hometown of Detroit.

On Tuesday, during a pregame moment of silence at Detroit's Comerica Park dedicated to her memory, a full rainbow appeared.

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Modern-day samurai fools Penn & Teller with "impossible" coin trick

According to his website, Ryan Hayashi is the "world's most famous samurai entertainer." He's also a helluva magician, as evidenced by this video. In it, he performs a mind-blowing coin trick act (at times one handed!) that leaves both Penn and Teller left wondering what they just watched. The best part of the video might be when Hayashi, a fan of the magic duo since he was a boy, is given the big F.U. award at the end. I don't think he can believe that his childhood heroes have just acknowledged his skill.

(reddit) Read the rest

Disappearing magician confounds dog and will confound you too

"Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” - Roald Dahl

(via DIGG)

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Magician rips his assistant's head off, onlookers flip out

There's nothing like a bloodless decapitation to get someone's attention. Read the rest

This is how you dance (without moving)

YouTuber Ryan Higa admits that he can't dance. When one of his viewers asked if he could dance without moving, he put together this amazing stop-motion video with his friends.

This is how it was made:

(Neatorama) Read the rest

Why you might see flying boats

A Fata Morgana is a spectacular optical illusion in which you may see boats floating above the sea or city skylines in the clouds. (The term is named after the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay as her castle was said to hover above the coast of Sicily.) In the video below, Seeker explains the science behind the magic.

(via Daily Grail)

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Harry Anderson, TV's 'Night Court' star, has died at 65 in Asheville, N.C.

Actor Harry Anderson, best known for presiding over NBC's 'Night Court,' has died. He was 65. Read the rest

Macabre and creepy, I like the Karnival Dose deck of playing cards

This elegant, yet faux-distressed set of playing cards is just lovely.

A bit more shocking, while every bit as lovely as the Arch Angels or Skulls I have been using, these offer a bit more a gonzo element. Perfect for magic, this is a deck of US Playing Cards with the Bicycle Airflow finish.

Red provides a nice change from the black and white I've been so focused on.

Karnival RED Dose Deck Playing Cards -Redux Edition (Ltd Ed) via Amazon

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Limited edition Bicycle Karnival Midnight deck of playing cards

This purple and black deck of cards is absolutely lovely.

I like to tell myself that decks with lovely and unexpected art work distract people from mistakes as I'm performing sleight of hand. Mostly, I just like fancy decks of cards.

Limited Edition Karnival Midnight Purple Deck Playing Cards by Bicycle via Amazon

Image courtesy Amazon.com Read the rest

Watch this Rubik's Cube magician baffle Ellen

In this clip, magician Paul Vu spends a few minutes blowing Ellen's mind with his Rubik's Cube tricks. Though, I kind of got the feeling that she didn't like being duped by Vu, even in fun. Did you notice that too?

(Likecool) Read the rest

Bicycle Skull-themed playing cards

Be the dangerous bad boy with a deck of Skull cards!

My second favorite deck of cards is this Skull deck by the US Playing Card Company.

I flip back and forth between carrying a deck of Arch Angels, and these Skulls. The Skulls backs are just lovely, with mostly standard Bicycle 808 poker faces.

The black and white cards look fantastic in flourishes and are made with the usual USPCC stock and finish, so they fan and glide beautifully.

Bicycle Skull Playing Cards via Amazon Read the rest

Watch this high school cheerleader levitate

Ariel Olivar, a junior at Manvel High School in Texas, has powers. More on Olivar's magic at the Houston Chronicle.

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Watch Ricky Jay's wonderful "Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women" TV special from 1989

Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women is a compendium of curiosities by magician and historian of wonders Ricky Jay. In 1989, CBS aired a TV special inspired by the book and featuring a "human calculator," wine glass musician, ballet dancer automaton, Steve Martin (!), and other delightful characters. (Special bonus is the classic "SPECIAL" motion graphic preceding the program.)

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TastyFloats levitates food morsels to your mouth

TastyFloats is a "contactless food delivery system" that uses ultrasound to raise bits of food and droplets of drink to your mouth without any utensils at all. While this method to levitate small objects is well known, what's fascinating is that a small scientific study shows that the levitated food apparently tastes better. Researchers from the University of Sussex describe TastyFloats and their sensory experiment in a scientific paper they'll present at this month's ACM Interactive Surfaces and Spaces conference. From IEEE Spectrum:

The researchers experimented with three of the five basic tastes: sweet (a positive taste), bitter (a negative taste), and umami, which is a savory taste that can also enhance other flavors. The researchers asked a group of volunteers to test TastyFloats with the three basic tastes, delivered in three different volumes (5 microliters, 10µL, and 20µL), with tongue delivery via pipette as a non-levitating control. Participants were asked to identify each droplet, and then rated each on intensity, pleasantness, and satisfaction.

The most significant difference between levitated tastes and tastes delivered via pipette was in intensity: sweet tastes were more intense and recognizable, while bitter tastes were harder to distinguish. The researchers suggest that this might make TastyFloats more suitable for dessert delivery, although it could also be used to make bitter but healthy foods (like broccoli) more palatable to people who wouldn't otherwise enjoy them.

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