Introducing Theory and Thaumaturgy and the beauty of Thayer’s lathe work

Ring Report Ring #170 “The Bev Bergeron Ring” SAM Assembly #99

May 2018  Meeting

Many stories begin with, “It was a dark and stormy night”. The May meeting was on such a night. Attendance was low but we had a good time. President Mike Matson opened the meeting and announced all the magic attractions and events in the Orlando area. Bev Bergeron was away so we did not have his Teach-in but Mike offered a new feature he calls “Theory and Thaumaturgy”. This month is was about a list of suggestions by Banachek  on how magicians should behave ethically. Jaffo amplified one point about helping other magicians tactfully with performance suggestions. He suggested that if a magician was open to a constructive critique, they could wear and pin with a logo and slogan.

For his 92nd Magic History Moment (his first was done in 2007), Phil Schwartz presented an array of wood-turned ball vases by Floyd Thayer. The ball vase, he said, has been a popular trick for centuries. It is commonly found in cabinets of magic (i.e., magic sets), close-up repertoires, dealer catalogs, magic shops and magic collections. Almost every magician has had one.

Phil described Floyd Thayer vases as “exquisite in the artistry of their lines, precise in the tolerance of their measurements, deceptive in their disguised simplicities, and elegant in their overall appearance. They have poise and presence that command attention. It is not at all surprising that they have become magic’s classic treasures.”

Bill Larsen, Sr., founder of Genii magazine and the Academy of Magical Arts called Thayer’s vases “The Crown Jewels of Magic.”

Phil showed examples of Thayer ball, silk, coin, egg and thimble turnings in maple, walnut, boxwood and yucca.

The monthly show began with president Matson doing a “Ricky the Rat” card looking for the cheese card  but the choices seemed to influence what card was really there, it was Schrodinger’s Cat. It was magic and people who know Physics will find this especially humorous. James Bailey had a volunteer signed card-in- balloon and then he pulled from it in a gem of an effect. Bryan Sullivan had a spectator select a card from a packet and it reappeared in the spectator’s pocket. Tom Parkin used 10 cards. Two were selected by a volunteer and they were the only two face cards in the packet.

William Zaballero took a dollar bill with two small holes and folded it into a red sleeve and then put a toothpick through the holes. Amazingly he could slide the bill and the holes moved. Everything was examined. He concluded with a card effect where cards changed places.

Former member Paul Osterhaut  was visiting and talked about the art of storytelling and how he used an Invisible Deck to involve all the audience members.

Dennis Phillips

Photo by Craig Fennessey



Dennis Deliberations … Ring # 170

“The Bev Bergeron Ring”

June 2018


“My thought on Mother’s Day 2018

Most boys probably started off with magic tricks at a young age. Typically around 8 to 10 years old.  Lots of us Baby Boomer kids found a Joseph Leeming book in the school library and became enchanted with the idea of making tubes and boxes out of cardboard and using Styrofoam balls and a coat hanger for a Zombie Floating Ball.

Perhaps we saw a magician on TV or live. Yes, they had a lot more live magicians way back then.  We began to make props and practice performing.  In most cases, Mom was the first audience and seamstress. Dad would be drafted to help build things and typically wanted to only see your act if it was properly prepared. So , this Mother’s Day season, a note of appreciation to all the Mothers who helped out their boys, and in some cases girls learn magic. Note that in the old paper Abbotts Catalog, the female in the photo of the “Girl from Drum” ,was Roy Houston’s mother assisting him.

Here was my mother, Ethel (d. 2005) , being floated on my home-made Super X type Suspension in 1968.







Egyptian Tombs reveal stage magic was performed in Ancient Egypt










Cairo (CMN ) The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, or Museum of Cairo, in Cairo, Egypt has announced that massive archeological evidence has been discovered that confirms that stage magic was a major form of entertainment in Ancient Egypt.  Director Sabah Abdel-Razek was not available for immediate comment but sources within the museum announced the find.  The curator in charge of this project is himself a magic hobbyist and member of magic societies so he did not reveal his name or the methods of the illusions but he offered some modern references.

He showed a photo of a recently discovered tomb and explained the effect seen is known today as the “Aga Levitation”. The Owl supports can be seen on both sides.  He did not reveal the method but said that steel or iron were not used but woven bamboo reeds are stronger than steel and could easily be used to make the gimmick. He showed us the Egyptian text for “gooseneck”.


He showed another photo of what he described as, “The Jam illusion” or “Palanquin” . He explained that contrary to modern magic historians, it predates  Servais Le Roy’s rediscovery at the turn of the 20th Century. Some may argue this is a Thayer “Noah’s Ark” but clearly the curtains and the load area show it to be a “Double Jam. He added, “They may have also used the old Jarrett method of loading assistants in the top. There is room there.


He said, “We not only have the props but we have playbills and reviews of ancient shows!”  He called reporters over and read the Egyptian characters describing a very bad magic act, “and Ahmose Sapair’s act smelled worse than crocodile dung. His assistant moved like a Hippopotamus!”  He added, “ Critics could be cruel back then. Criss Angel would have gotten nowhere  in Egyptian show business ”

He pointed to another row of characters and said, “ These two magicians were no Penn and Teller or Pendragons. These folks were awful.




You know them from Jewish and Christian traditions as  “Jannes and Jambres” found in the Hebrew Tanakh and Christian Bible in   Exodus 7:10-12.  They botched up the “Rod to Snake” trick, which was an early version of the Walsh Cane. They were so awful that their legendary bad show was included in the Bible.   In your Bible story you know that Moses beat them in a Pharaoh Palace show competition called “Egypt’s Got Talent”.  Moses apparently had a double Walsh Cane, like Fantasio later invented, that ate up their snake. There was no golden buzzer on the shows.  The frogs and locusts came for the losers!   Moses was even better than David Blaine! We still remember his Burning Bush and Red Sea bit. Not even Franz Harary or David Copperfield has tried those. ”

He said, “Here is an early Lotta Bowl” and apparently they had an insert that also could turn water to blood. For some reason it is sitting on a Multiplying Chairs trick”








“Here is a view of a Dekolta Chair but the base is not too deceptive. There was no Floyd Thayer, Carl Owens, Bill Smith ,Willie Kennedy or David Mendoza back them.” His voice was excited. “They didn’t even have a Paul Osborne to sell decent plans!”







“Yep, they had fake hypnotism!  Here is an example of their wardrobe and , as producers in the States say, you need some “shtick  like hypnotism.” He added, “Peter Reveen had nothing on these performers”.






A complete list of illusions, acts and collectors items will be released as soon as the Egyptian Museum  completes it fundraising. The color glossy catalog will sell for $75.

It is hoped that a stage show can be created in the Museum so tourists can witness the antiquities.

© CMN Conjuror’s Magical Network


As you know, Phil Schwartz has been providing a “Magic History Moment” for all of the Ring Meetings where we have a Ring Show. Bev Bergeron also does a Teach-in.

I found the December 2007  Linking Ring Report that I wrote when I reported on the September 2007  meeting where Phil did his very first report!

I thought that many of you old timers would enjoy reading the names and reliving that very first report! With this month’s #92 Magic History Moment, Phil came full circle by talking again about Floyd Thayer.


President Trump’s Rising Necktie Trick


President Trump was seen practicing his “Rising Necktie” Trick on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base. The majority who saw it were impressed. His signature ties are long and always hang low making them perfect for rising up.

Immediately the Liberal Mainstream Press and Democrats criticized his performance as, “A cheap trick that is horribly outdated and easy to figure out.” Many long time Washington Democrats said they remember Al Cohen having a magic shop and selling the effect for 75 cents. “It is nothing but a piece of thin wire in the tie with a small bend on the end and a hidden thread to pull!” screamed Rachael Maddow in a 20 minute expose of the trick and other classics  like Glorpy and the Asrah Levitation.  “I guess this is what he means by making American Magic Great Again, by returning to outdated ideas.” CBS 60 Minutes announced a 6 part series on an expose that says that all his ties are made and imported from China.

President Trump reacted by signing an Executive order that will place Whoopie Cushions in the Press Briefing Room. Sara Huckabee Sanders said, “I will not let them tell you those are fake sounds!”

The Democrats have taken up political donations for “Rubber Doggie Doo” and “Sneezing powder”. They have not announced where they will place them. “Mueller isn’t talking and neither are we!”

George Will , now labeled as a RINO, wrote in his newspaper column that, “The vividness of transient events and the atavistic pejorative tone of what has now transformed this town into the city on the river Styx, has led to a futility which finds virtue in the meaningless struggles of Sisyphus.”


I hope you all have enjoyed this mostly “Fake Magic News” edition of my Deliberations.

All the writing was original and I take all the blame.

Dennis Phillips

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