A visible penetration of a steel ball through a solid card.

You show an elegant walnut and mahogany box with holes both in the lid and in the base. The interior is just large enough to hold a single playing card or business card, which when inserted will block all passage through the holes. A heavy steel ball bearing completes the set. Should you wish, all items may be closely examined by a spectator before and after the effect.

A freely selected card is placed within the box, the lid replaced and the ball bearing placed on top of the box. The box is now tilted from side to side until the ball drops into the hole in the lid. The ball remains suspended due to the card, but then suddenly begins to melt through, falling out the other side of the box!

Remember that the card is visible throughout and there is no place for the card to hide within the box. There is nothing added or taken away. No secret locks to fumble with, no angle problems, no secret sliding panels. Nothing for the spectator to find yet the steel ball visibly penetrates and everything can be immediately handed for examination!

I think you’ll find that here is nothing like the Marbo Card Penetration on the market today. This does not work like Kaballa, Coin of the Realm or similar effects. This is a quality prop made of the finest quality walnut with mahogany accents, so is best suited to charming elegant magicians whose performance will match the quality of the prop. Nevertheless, I’m sure any of our readers would be proud to use it; indeed, it may even encourage them to progess further on the path to perfection.

The Marbo-Card Penetration was invented by John Snyder c. 1944 and was passed on to James Swoger who in turn sold the rights to Viking Mfg. Usually sells at £48 or more; find it on our Special Sales List 1 at £36, plus postage at cost.

Our second Special Sales List is now available for download. Click here.

I thought I’d add an item here from time to time to give a flavour of the magical delights on offer. So here’s…

Super Mental Die Cipher … You’ll find it on page 4 of Special Sales List 2!

Super Mental Die - b

This is great prop, precision machined in solid brass, employing a brilliantly simple secret.

Although it may appear similar to items like Dice Vision in effect, this is miles ahead in method — the performer does not bring the box to the front, or secretly look into it. Yet you are able to reveal in various ways the number that appears on top of the die hidden inside the box. There is no guess work or ambiguity about the number — you reveal it while the box is still behind your back.

In fact with Mental Die Cipher you can get a spectator to place the die in the box. He brings the box from behind his back with it resting on the palm of one hand, and you reveal the number. What gives this presentation its particular punch is that you have apparently at no time handled the box or die until after the selected number is revealed. Comes with full instructions for two routines, with the props in a handy velvet drawstring bag (of course).

Normally £35 plus post, we’re offering this at £26.25.

As many of you will know, a few months ago the premises (trophy shop and workshop) next door to us here on Broad Street was sold to a developer. He’s been pressing us to sell too as he wants to build a block of flats and use the whole site, including my bit. If I don’t he’ll build anyway and we’d lose light, etc. The pub next door is being sold as well and we’ve heard that’s likely to end up as another tall block of flats. Also we’ve been told that there are major road and tram works happening shortly next to us. So…

After considerable thought we’ve decided that this is perhaps a good time to think about downsizing. I’ve no intention of retiring (though more time to travel would be good!).

Being sensible, we’re unlikely to find premises where we can continue the shop as it is. Suppose we could buy a small house and rent a warehouse and run mailorder. But that’s a hassle and who’d want to compete with the big guys who rely on a constant turnover of new tricks with a two-month life cycle (as one of them once said to me).

We intend to keep the publishing/bizarre side going, because that’s what interests me. And the second-hand book sales too.

So we’re looking for somewhere in the Sheffield/Chesterfield area with enough space to build a reasonably-sized storage/office area in the garden. Or a bigger place with a large, dry garage. Looks possible.

Although we wouldn’t be opening as a shop as such, it would be good to find somewhere with space to continue Saturday Sessions (once we’re back to normal…). But that might not be possible. (Unless you know of anywhere?)

We did think of trying to sell Magick Enterprises with stock (with or without second-hand books), then keep Magick Words publishing going. But this is hardly the time to sell a magic business! (If you’re thinking of starting or expanding your magic business, let me know… If I can’t persuade you of the folly of your ways I’d be able to sort you out a great range of stock at a bargain price!)

In the meantime we’re doing two things: looking for a suitable property and a home for Magick Words; and preparing some special sales lists with lots of bargains for our regular customers. The first of these lists is available now.

Click here if you’d like a copy (PDF) of Special Sales List 1.

We live in interesting (exciting?) times.

I was chatting to a juggler friend the other day about juggling and magic, and the similarities and differences thereof. And that reminded me of a piece I wrote for one of the Prestidigital editorials; issue 5, I think it was. Here’s an edited excerpt…

I used to be a regular attender at the British Juggling Conventions. I always had a great time at the BJC, and enjoy seeing the skill and dedication displayed by these guys. (Except Poi – essentially, placing a ball in a sock and whirling it around your head — which I believe is derived from an ancient Japanese word for too crap at juggling to catch things.)

But there are two types of jugglers. Pro’s and hobbyists, you might say, but it’s not as simple as that. And the difference certainly isn’t based on skill. There’s a term used in juggling circles: sports juggling. Mmmm, part of me wants to say, juggling is, or should be, entertainment. It comes from a long and hallowed tradition of circus and variety/vaudeville. Sport is about running around in circles, kicking balls, or some combination thereof. Mind you, a bit of club passing or some nifty diabolo work wouldn’t half liven up the Olympics.

OK, I’m probably being too harsh. If someone wants to chuck things around as a form of exercise that’s fine. The problem is when they do it on stage and expect it to be mistaken for entertainment. Great, you can juggle seven balls while hardly ever dropping one. That’s clever and I will admire the skill. For several seconds. But you haven’t got an act, even with a sequinned waistcoat and a blue spotlight. There has to be more… let’s hear it for fewer balls and more theatre?

Here’s a video of Chris Bliss juggling three balls to a Beatles song.

So have we got a new genre developing… ‘sports magic’? I hope not as this would be even lower down the entertainment scale than sports juggling, as often there isn’t even the skill to admire.

If you wish to indulge your desire to do tricks, without any thought of structure, narrative and all the other stuff that should go with them, that’s OK (through gritted teeth). But please don’t inflict them on anyone other than members of your immediate family, who hopefully will love you enough to indulge you for a little while, while hinting that you may profitably spend a little time discovering where your true talents lie.

And if that’s outside magic, well, you can always shrug and console yourself with the thought that you may have saved yourself — and others — some proportion of the discomforts and embarassments that beset us on life’s journey. And also, you’ll have a much better chance of attracting the apposite sex.

Within magic, too, we need to find a genre that suits us. For example, I abandoned my children’s magic act some years ago after discovering that many members of my young audience had not reached the level of intellectual maturity to fully appreciate the wonders I lay before them. My cabaret and close-up performances, however, continued for several years at carefully spaced intervals. (“This man has to be seen to be believed!” — Greaseborough Gazette)

Magic is first and foremost a form of theatre, whether your stage is the street, a table top, or the kind that comes with a proscenium arch and red velvet curtains. And the magic is in the theatre (the craft, not the building), and in you, never in the trick. Or maybe ultimately it happens in the hearts and minds of the spectators…

Maybe you disagree? Everyone has a right to be wrong. And perhaps I’ve exaggerated a little in the interests of readability and/or what I’ve been known to pass off as humour. Let me know what you think.

We’re trying to understand the new Covid rules and how they effect us, The Magick Lounge and the Saturday mini-sessions…

It does seem that everyone will need to wear masks all the time except when eating or drinking. Otherwise everything else remains the same:

  • Maintain social distancing.
  • Maximum of four people at the mini-session at the rear of the shop or in the ‘bizarre room’.
  • You can, of course, call in to make a purchase at any time, while wearing a mask.

Should you refuse to wear a mask on the grounds that Covid is:

A) a government conspiracy;

B) the result of mind control by little green men;

C) it was real, has now vanished but Johnson is keeping up the pretence to take attention away from the Brexit cock-up;

D) it is real but you’re young and healthy enough to survive it so bollox to everyone else;

E) any other reason, including selfishness, arrogance, idiocy and belief in some unsubstantiated theory you read on Facebook;

then we accept your decision just so long as you accept ours to refuse to admit you.

Thank you. Stay safe. X

A few years ago Jared Manley’s Bolted was one of our best-sellers. Sadly, it’s not been available for a while. That’s just changed. We received a a new supply a few days ago. Here’s a short video of Jared performing his amazing effect during one of our (pre-covid) Saturday Sessions at The Magick Lounge.

Having a card appear in an impossible location is a staple in magic. The problem that every magician struggles with is, if the object is signed then the location can’t be “impossible”. But if the location is truly impossible, then the object can’t be signed. Now there’s a solution — Bolted!

Bolted allows you to take a randomly signed card, make it disappear, and with no hesitation pull out a locked case with that very same signed card inside. There are many different ways to reveal Bolted, including from a pouch, a tuck case, and even your back pocket.

No forcing
No duplicates
Use it with business cards and predictions
Includes a sleight-free handling for absolute beginners

Bolted contains multiple routines geared towards every skill level. Whether you’re a complete beginner or seasoned professional, perform the routine that works best for you. This is the perfect way to finish any signed card routine, and the best part? You can hand it out immediately afterward, so there is no doubt their signed card is Bolted inside.

Shatters the limits of what’s possible and leave your spectators with a miracle that they can’t explain, with Jared Manley’s Bolted. Available from Magick at £49 plus postage. Or call and pick yours up soon. Order from us and you get a free copy of the original DVD as well as the ubiquitous instructional download!

Tarot decks for magicians, designed by Taylor Imagineering

These are new Tarot decks with special features requested by many bizarre and close-up magicians, and several bizarre close-up magicians.

They are poker-sized to allowing them to be handled easier than standard tarot cards. And the backs incorporate a deceptive marking system.

The cards are boxed in two sets: the Major and Minor Arcanas. Together they form more than a full Tarot deck… much more.

The Ledger Major Arcana Deck contains 55 cards:

  • Two full sets of marked major arcana cards (2 x 22 cards)
  • One unmarked double-back card
  • Four Sun/Death double-faced cards (perform your favourite version of Wild Card with Tarot!)
  • Three extra copies of the Death card
  • Three extra copies of the Sun card

The Ledger Minor Arcana Deck contains 56 cards:

  • Ace through ten, Page, Knight, Queen and King in four suits: Cups, Pentacles, Wands and Swords

The package comes with suggested routines by Christopher Taylor and TC Tahoe. And a velvet drawstring carrying pouch, of course. A limited quantity available ex stock for £52.

We currently have a small stock:

Nowhere in the annals of mentalism has a revelation of such depth been offered to the magic and mentalism/bizarre field. Lee Earle is sharing his vast knowledge and experience earned over 30-plus years as a performer of theatrical séance.

“Lee Earle is the pre-eminent authority on the art of theatrical séance…” Mark Edward

If you have ever wondered what a real séance entails, this book explains all aspects from an over-all view to the most important of minute details. Nothing is held back. In fact, so much detail is shared with the reader that anyone with this knowledge and the spirit to pull it off can present a masterful séance that will guarantee success.

Layout, participant positioning, psychological conditioning, effects to trick the mind and so much more will leave the participants with a feeling of wonder, a feeling of disbelief; some will believe and others will not be sure, but 30 years of research and actual performance will result in achieving the goal of a real séance, without the mundane tricks of a magician.

“BAM” Right out of the starting gate Lee hits you with the major tenets necessary to create a successful séance.” Lary Kuehn/T Everett Bookings, III

This book is not for the curious, it is intended to give the performer of séance real world knowledge that will allow him or her to present an impressive and awe-inspiring theatrical production… In a word… Séance.

The Spirit Guide contains detailed photos, scripts, diagrams, special effects, everything laid bare, nothing held back.

This is a large format hardbound book with dust-jacket. 230 pages. £125, plus postage at cost.

As we are moving towards a slight relaxation of lockdown restrictions we’ve taken another look at how this might affect Magick.

So, from Monday 1 June we’ll be available for collections during our normal opening hours. You will need to ring me during these hours on 0114 276 0482 to check we have what you need in stock. I’ll then get things together for you to collect. Appropriate social distancing will be maintained.

From 15 June we’ll be open for you to call in. Until further notice, one customer at a time, please, and I’m afraid that extended browsing sessions will be discouraged. (And it’s still probably best to ring first.)

This means that there will be no Saturday Sessions at the moment. Sorry about that. I’ll post updates on our blog and Facebook page, where you’ll also find details of new additions to our stock.

Our website is still open, of course, at http://www.magick2go.com and you can still contact us by email: russell@magick2go.com

With love and very best wishes to you all from Russell, June and Julie.

Mermaid Poster-400

When the Doomsday sessions were held in Whitby I was a regular visitor for several years. We always stayed on an extra day or two to enjoy the town and its surroundings. I usually took time, too, to explore the local antique and junk shops for suitable additions to my collection of oddities and strange artefacts.

It was on one such trip that I came across, in the furthest, dustiest reaches of such an emporium, ‘The Whitby Mermaid’. I was immediately intrigued. Of course I’d heard of P T Barnum’s infamous ‘Feejee Mermaid’, reportedly cobbled together from the upper half of a monkey and the lower half of a fish. Its Whitby relative, however, seemed a little better constructed (assuming it was ‘constructed’ and not an example of some hitherto unknown aquatic species!).

I engaged the shopkeeper in conversation, hoping to discover more about this fascinating creature. He told me that he’d purchased it as part of a ‘job lot’ several years ago, and that it had apparently been featured in a small exhibition of ‘fantastic creatures from the sea’ which had closed some time in the 1890s. The ‘mermaid’ and other items had been part of a fairground touring exhibit for a while then eventually ended up back in its home town and had been stored in a warehouse ever since. The stuffed fish, cases of sea-shells and a narwhal’s tusk (apparently labelled ‘Horn of a Sea Unicorn’) had been sold quite quickly (a pity, I’d have liked a narwhal’s tusk) but ‘The Whitby Mermaid’ had been passed over.

He seemed quite eager to get rid of it. In fact before I showed any further interest he offered me a substantial discount — a rare event, I’ve found, in such emporia. He then went on to say that he had a couple of related items he’d throw in with it. Behind the ‘mermaid’ was a tatty brown envelope. He took it out and from inside withdrew a few sheets of even tattier paper. One was a poster advertising ‘The Fantastic Creatures from the Sea Museum’ and another two pages seemed to bear a song or rhyme entitled ‘The Whitby Mermaid’. Unfortunately the latter was torn and bits were missing or illegible. I’ve reproduced below what I was able to discern.

I said I was interested in purchasing the ‘mermaid’ and the accompanying materials, but was keen to hear of any further information he may have. I’ve used an outline of the story he told me to fill in the gaps in the song:

‘Twas one night in Whitby, sir,
The story still is told
A boat set out from Whitby Bay
With crew and captain bold.

The night was dark, the sea ran high
With waves that topped the mast.
“Stand to, my lads,” the captain cried.
“And prepare the nets to cast.”

“This is no night for fishing, sir,”
The bosun soon replied,
“We must return to Whitby Bay
To wait the morning tide.”

“The morning tide will be too late,”
The captain did retort,
“For what we fish, at midnight swims
And rides the waves to sport.”

Apparently this old song refers to a local legend concerning Jack Tyler who, with son, Billy, and crew, sailed from Whitby harbour in his boat ‘Prosper’. Returning late with little to show for his sailing, he ordered the nets to be cast one last time. On hauling them in, the story goes, caught in the meshes was a strange creature, part man and part fish ‘of aweful visage and hellish reek’. This creature leapt thrashing and spitting from the net and latched itself onto the neck of the captain’s son, tearing at the flesh. Before anyone could react, it had drained the lad half of blood and wholly of life.

There is another tale, clearly drawing on the local vampire myths, that states that the boy did not die but over the following nights became transformed into a ‘Whitby Mermaid’ himself before disappearing into the sea… and that the miniature monster later found washed ashore in the neighbouring village of Sandsend following a winter storm was in fact the captain’s own transmogrified son!

Whichever may be nearer the truth, it is said that for many nights thereafter Tyler would sail out seeking revenge on the monster that caused the death — or transformation — of his son. The song ends:

The boat was never seen again,
The wreckage never found,
The crew was listed missing,
Though all presumed them drowned.

The Abbey bells are silent now,
Though when the wind comes from the East
Some say you’ll see the stricken ship
And the mermaids at their feast.

Town Cryer

The photograph above shows the Whitby Town Crier displaying a poster advertising the ‘Fantastic Creatures from the Sea’ poster with its image of the Mermaid.

‘The Whitby Mermaid’ is now on display in our Broad Street studio in Sheffield. You’re welcome to call and take a look when things get back to normal. And you’d be even more welcome if you were able to provide a little more information on this strange creature. I’ve been in touch with The Whitby Gazette but, although the newspaper has been around since 1854, they were unable to throw any further light on the matter. In fact I got the impression that they were somewhat sceptical about the whole subject!