July 2018 Ring Meeting: Frakson-Egyptian Water Box and more

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

July 2018  Meeting

President Mike Matson brought the July meeting to order.  We had 29 in the seats and three guests, Dr. Ken Schreibman, Jim Duel and Bill Jensen.

Bev Bergeron’s “Teach-in” was on his home-made sight gag, the tape measure watch. He showed how to make it and gave us some great lines, “It’s a foot and a half after 3 o-clock”.

President Matson did  another of his “Theory and Thaumaturgy lectures on rethinking the Hot Rod force. He explained some verbal lines to eliminate the weaknesses of the technique. He also applied the principle to forcing envelopes.


Phil Schwartz, resident magic historian explained  that the day of the meeting, July 18th, was Floyd Thayer’s 144th birthday and showed his book, The Ultimate Thayer. He then presented Magic History Moment # 94 on Jose Frakson, The Man of 100 Cigarettes. Frakson was born Jose Jimenez Savilla in Madrid in 1891. He achieved worldwide success on vaudeville and night club stages. Frakson is best known for his cigarette act.  Phil mentioned that Bev Bergeron, our club’s namesake, is also known for his own cigarette act.  Frakson gained fame from the 1920s to 1950s. Frakson made a fortune only to have it all taken away in the 1936 Spanish Civil War. He fled to Paris, bought a new tuxedo and began his career anew. He became a naturalized citizen US citizen and eventually moved back to Madrid where he died in 1981.

Dany Sanz opened up the monthly show buy cutting to high cards and finding all aces. James Bailey transformed a sponge cube to a ball and back again. Dan Stapleton had spectators write then names on billets and one was selected an burned and re rubbed the ashes on his arm to reveal the name.  Noah had a card selected and revealed it on his iPhone.

Dennis Phillips presented a re-imaged classic Egyptian Water Box, in a full Pharaoh costume with a backdrop. The water box had masking on the sides of the flaps so it could be done without angle problems. Ravelli was the final act with music and a delightful routine of multiplying balls, a giant 3 card monte, genie tube, napkin tear and dove pan finale.

















Dennis Deliberations … Ring # 170

“The Bev Bergeron Ring”

August 2018 Ring Meeting

A secretary overhears an exasperated math professor of Topology swearing under his breath at the Xerox machine in the Math Office. “What’s wrong, professor?” she asks.

“It’s this frigging copier! I set it for ‘single-sided’ and it’s coming out as a Mobius Strip!”

The Invisible Gorilla :

We think we experience and understand the world as it is, but our thoughts are beset by everyday illusions. Researchers asked participants to watch a brief video of six people passing basketballs to each other. Three of the people are wearing white shirts, and three are wearing black shirts. The white shirted people pass one ball among themselves; the black shirted people do the same. Viewers were asked to count the number of passes the people in white shirts made to each other. In the middle of the video, a person in a gorilla suit walks slowly into the middle of the frame, faces the camera and beats his chest before walking off.

Almost half the viewers did not see the gorilla because they were focused on counting the number of passes made by the people in white shirts. He’s shown the video to his classes, and they miss the gorilla by a similar percentage. By focusing on the white shirts, their brains filter out the black shirts — and the gorilla along with them.




We assume that when a magician shows you his empty hand , there is nothing in the curl of his fingers (The Ramsey Subtilty). Illusionist Harry Blackstone Sr. and Jr. did a stage trick where duck disappeared from a small house. Actually, they were put in the little house in a small box with wheels and a rope that went off stage. At just the right time, a clown on the other side of the stage would trip and spill a tray ,with props, making noise, and while all eyes were diverted, the little box with the ducks was pulled off stage in full sight! We believe that we can multi-task but the human mind mist always struggle to focus on the total view of reality.

Slydini was as master at diversion by psychologically obscuring one action with another as well as controlling your suspicion and expectations. Just at their peak, he would pause with a comic action or relaxation and you would take a breath and let your psychological guard down and he would do the secret action needed to fool you.

The principle of self-illusion extends in every part of our lives. When I was in pilot training, we learning to not be distracted from maintaining level wings, altitude and airspeed. Tragic examples of not doing this fill aircraft accident history books.  Steven Colbert’s two brothers and father died on an airliner, in 1974, with distracted pilots landing at Charlotte. That crash led to the “clean cockpit rule” which demands no non-essential talking, leading to distraction,   below 10,000 feet AGL. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Air_Lines_Flight_212  I was a newscaster for WBT radio in Charlotte and covered the story. The crash was less than a mile from my house and both my wife and I heard it  early that morning. Again cockpit distraction happened a few years ago  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colgan_Air_Flight_3407

Deliberate illusion is also used outside the magic field. Many do not know that the late Norman “Stormin’’Norman” Schwarzkopf, the hero of the first Gulf War, was an avid amateur magician. He was friends with Al Cohen, longtime owner of a D.C. magic shop. Warfare has always used “illusion”. Schwarzkopf stage a diversionary raid to convince Saddam Hussein that we would do an amphibious assault in Kuwait. Hussein moved many troops there to prepare and instead Schwarzkopf streamed unopposed, far inland, across the Saudi-Iraqi border. General Colon Powell’s comment to the press was a quote from Carl von Clausewitz’s classic mid-1800s military text (“Vom Krieg” –“On War”)  “Beware of the vividness of transient events”. Powell applied this to the distraction Saddam tried by launching scuds on Israel and as a put down to Iraqi Forces as being so easily distracted and warning that we would not be misled.

We write traffic laws and build criminal cases on the assumption that people will notice when something unusual happens right in front of them. We’re sure we know reality, falsely believing that vivid perception and memories are seared into our mind with perfect fidelity. And as a society, we spend billions on devices to train our brains because we’re continually tempted by the lure of quick fixes and effortless self-improvement.

Deception includes words. Alfred Korzybski ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_semantics ) developed linguistic theories in psychology, that led to Neurolinguistic Programming and modern language theories.

You can see this in Mentalist Banachek’s PK Touches and  fellow mentalist, Kenton Knepper’s “Wonder Words”. The audience is verbally manipulated to believe something is happening at a specific time and the witness to the action naturally misinterprets the phrasing of the question.

Much of today’s politics, business, religion, academia and even scientific interpretation of phenomena, is infused with verbal manipulation of perception, presuppositions  and self-deception.  Even in medicine, which should be evidence-based, we see the Placebo effect. Why? Possibly because people want myth and fantasy?

The cynic in me says, it is for money, power and wishful thinking.  P.T. Barnum’s show business techniques: exaggerated and distorted claims, self-serving assertions and deception are well known, even though the phrase “There’s a sucker born every minute” did not originate from him.



I was at the SAM Convention here in Orlando and was very happy to have Eddy and Sandra Wade come down from Charlotte to attend the meeting and visit with me. Eddy is an old friend who, as a small boy,  watched my Children’s TV show on WBTV in the early 1970s. He grew up and went to work for the late Phil Morris (Morris Costumes) before going out on his own performing and running a very successful party entertainment business. In 2014  he bought the magic company, “ Magic Methods”, from his childhood mentor, Jerry Mentzer and continues to run it. He has a huge collection magic titles with some of the finest classic magic. Please check his web site.



I enjoyed attending the SAM National Convention here in Orlando. To me the best part was seeing old friends and renewing acquaintances. I got to chat again with cruise ship magician Fred and Bobbie Becker, Joe Eddy Fairchild, Bob Little ( known him since the mid-1960s!), Steve Hart and all the local Orlando and Florida Magicians.

The Convention borrowed by follow-spotlight. I realize that the magic community is shrinking and economics are an issue in an increasing expensive  convention business, so the lectures and performances struggled with technical issues such as sound and the Mark and Nani Wilson video feed from California. A proper CAT 6 or 7  video connection ,plus the gear on Mark’s end would have been an expense, so they made do with  Apple Facetime and used a video camera on  the I phone.  It is apparent that prop magic acts are on the decline. The final show was mostly juggling and ventriloquism with illusionist Jay Mattioli concluding with illusions.

Congratulation to Bev Bergeron for all the honors given to him at this years SAM Convention here in Orlando. A highlight of this 2018 Convention was a tribute to his work with Mark Wilson on The Magic Land of Allakazam. Bev was here in Orlando, along with Mark’s children, Greg and Mike and a video feed through Facetime was projected in the auditorium with Mark and Nani from California.














I will always remember Bev on  Mark Wilson’s “Magic Circus” TV specials, sponsored by Pillsbury and Poppin’ Fresh….

This cautionary note about the famous finger-stab in the tummy of the Pillsbury Doughboy.










Test your magic history knowledge :

  1. Who invented the Zombie floating ball?
    2. Who starred in a Broadway musical called The Magic Show?
    3. Name a Magician who became famous for floating a Violin.
    4. Who developed and sold the plastic thumb tip ?
    5. What Magician has made the most money performing Magic ?
    6. Houdini had several Brothers, name one who was also an Escape Artist.
    7. Harold Rice is famous for what product he contributed to Magic.
    8. Who invented the “World’s Fastest Flower Vanish” ?
    9. Name a Magician who became famous by changing a white glove into a rabbit named “Lefty” ?
    10. Who invented the ” Appearing Cane” ?
  2. Joe Karson
    2. Doug Henning
    3. Norm Nielsen
    4. The McElroy brothers, earlier than Alberto Vergonjeanne (stage name “Vernet”)
    5. David Copperfield
    6. Hardeen, ( also known asTheodore, Dash, Theo)
    7. Art designed silks and a wonderful encyclopedia on silk magic.
    8. Al Delage and made by Horace and Marie Marshall
    9. Jay Marshall
    10. Russell Walsh.


The French currently have us beat in the visibility of theatrical magic…They have a monthly variety program, “Le plus grand cabaret du monde” , presented by Patrick Sébastien. Many of the magicians can be seen on You Tube clips from the shows.

This sketch, in a very shortened version ( just the first part) was just seen on Britain’s Got Talent by another magician.

Like this single post version of the Assistant’s Revenge… it is about 3 minutes into the sketch. I never liked the Harbin version.

I think this method originated with Peter Marvey.



Now worth $1 Billion Dollars











Over the years David Copperfield has pulled off some extraordinary and unbelievable stunts. He’s made islands, jets and even whole monuments disappear into thin air. He walked through the Great Wall of China. He levitated across the Grand Canyon. David’s efforts have earned him 11 Guinness World Records, 21 Emmy Awards, a Knighthood from the French government and “Living Legend” status from the US Library of Congress. Impressed yet? It gets better. As of today, you can add one more extraordinary and unbelievable achievement to his resume: David Copperfield has officially become a BILLIONAIRE.

David Copperfield has been performing magic for over 40 years. His first major media exposure came in 1977 when he hosted an ABC special called The Magic of ABC. This appearance led to a series of specials on CBS called The Magic of David Copperfield that aired between 1978 and 2001. As of this writing, David has hosted 17 specials and two television documentaries.

In 2014, Forbes jumped on the Copperfield train and valued his total net worth at $800 million. By our count, between $60 million in annual gross income and the global increase in real estate values over the last four years, we can now conservatively conclude that David Copperfield’s net worth is at least $1 billion. Perhaps more if we’re undervaluing his art collection.

That makes David Copperfield the world’s first billionaire magician… which is perhaps his greatest feat of magic yet. Hopefully he doesn’t make it disappear!

Oh, and by the way here’s a fun little fact: When he was young and just starting out, David’s mom told him “You’ll never make any money as a magician”


No magician ever moved quite like Richiardi Jr. 

Click and enjoy. His dance style is Pasa Doble and Flamenco.   As Carl Ballantine use to say, “Every move a picture! “




A magician was walking along a Hawaiian beach when he kicked a bottle poking up through the sand. Opening it, he was astonished to see a cloud of smoke and a genie appear before him.

“For your kindness,” the genie said, “I will grant you one wish!”

The magician paused, laughed, and replied, “I have always wanted a golden highway stretching from Hawaii to California!”

The genie grimaced, and replied, “Listen, I’m sorry, but I can’t do that! Think of all the pilings needed to hold up a highway over such an immense distance, and how long they’d have to be to reach the bottom of the ocean. Think of all that miles of pavement. That’s just way, way too much to ask for! …Can you think of something a little more reasonable?”

The magician thought for a second and said, “Well, yeah, I’ve always wanted to know how Criss Angel managed to get his own stage in Las Vegas and headline there for so many years.”

The genie paused, and then sighed.  “Did you want two lanes, or four?”




My friend, Wes Iseli ( from Charlottesville, Virginia and a full-time professional) says on his Social Media pages:

“Did you know that I often perform a 100 ft rope escape in my show where an audience member ties me up? No tricks, just pure Houdini style escaping!”

I have seen Wes do this bit at least five times and it is always a hit with his audiences. It is amazing how much entertainment you can get from a $20 length of 100 foot rope from Home Depot!

Wes presents this as an audience challenge which asks, “Can I get out in less time than it takes for you  two guys to tie me up?”  The general tie-up time is less than 3 minutes and he always beats it.

He has someone time him and call off the time.

Lee Jacobs has written produced two excellent booklets on how to do this effect. The complete title of the first booklet is “The Real Methods & Secrets of the Challenge Escape From 75 Feet of Rope”. What a title!

The Novak book (also published by Lee Jacobs) is “What Jacobs Didn’t Tell You About The Rope Escape.” Both are out of print but often sold for a couple of dollars each at Magic Flea Market Tables. Few magicians appreciate the value. Both are full of real world tips. There is no “secret”. They just tie you up. Wes’ only instructions are “please do not wrap the rope around my neck”. Then he does hurry them along, and the spectator calling off the time , in 15 second intervals, encourages them to speed up  because the faster they tie you up the more they tend to just wrap the heavy rope around you and with a few wiggles it merely falls off. Wes adds to the struggle by kicking off his shoes. I sometimes will rock the chair until it tips over! It does little to alter the process and time  but gets a gigantic audience response.

Most audience members believe that the thicker and longer the rope the more secure you can be tied and the more difficult the escape. Just the opposite is true! Use 3/4″ nylon rope. White looks less tricky but  the bright yellow color and size on stage is very visible. Nylon is more comfortable than the hairy hemp brown ropes also. Use a rope that looks massive in weight and when the volunteer holds on to 100′ of it ,with  its mass, it gives the impression of being very secure. When asked, the majority of the audience is skeptical that you  will escape faster than it took the volunteers to tie you up.

Perhaps this wonderful bit of entertainment was bypassed by magicians who saw their audiences as  more interested in quick flashy stage props, thumping music soundtracks, glitzy girls and arrogant posing.   Magic also moved away from the outdoor stage in fairs and events in most urban areas in the 1980s and into television “assists” with the effect.   So the Strait Jacket and classically captivating routines, which take time and showmanship, faded into the background.   One note. This routine is psychologically masculine in perception ( as Houdini was) whereas , magic generally seems to have a more feminine approach.  I believe that both gender themes are valid and the individual performer has to decide  which approach to follow. In doing dove magic, I have avoided a long routines with dove steals from silks and favor Dove Catching and vanishing in a fall apart box. My stage look does not favor the mascara of a feminine thin looking Lance Burton  or Joseph Gabriel.  John Schrock and Rick Thomas have made Doves from Silks work for them, with their stockier body build, when combined with some props.

So not everyone can get away with the Rope Tie, but if you can, it is an entertaining interlude in a show.



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June 2018 Ring Meeting- Mystery of Photo of old magic prop

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

June 2018  Meeting

President Mike Matson brought the meeting to order with 28 in attendance. Mike announced all the magic playing in the Orlando tourist areas. We had guest Michael Resto.

Bev Bergeron’s Teach-In feature a effect which used the Physics principle of inertia. He stacked 3 quarters with another quarter on top and flicked the card away and the quarter remained on the stack.

Phil Schwartz presented Magic History Moment #93. He began by showing a photograph of an old painting, “Boy with a Puzzle, Boy with a Toy or Cherub with a Game of Patience” which hangs in Eaton Hall, a residence in northeast London. It is oil on wood and 15 by 13 inches.  The painting is from 1520 and thought to be the first picture to show conjuring apparatus that does not depict the cups and balls! For several hundred years it was thought to have been painted by Leonardo da Vinci. The motif is of a little boy similar to the Christ child in Leonardo’s works. The painting style is Sfumato a hazy, dreamy look with softened outlines.  It was actually painted by Bernardino Luini (d. 1532)

The trick the child is holding we know today as Jacob’s Ladder and the mechanism is found in the Himber Wallet. It is a two little boards which is hinged so it can open on both sides ways.  Daniel Schwenter (d.1636) called it “The yawning mouth”. Today, you can buy it as a toy where 8 plastic boards are attached and by flipping the top broad, it looks like it magical flips down each board until it is at the bottom. It uses the math principle of topology as seen in the Tetraflexagon and Rubik’s Cube.

This month’s magic show began with Dennis Phillips doing the Nail-hidden-in-a-paper-bag spike trick. He has the audience choose which of four bags to crush and they selected all but the bag with the spike. Bryan Sullivan took a shuffled deck  and was able to correctly find and place the aces on four piles and spell where a card was in the deck.

Jaffo  did a fun routine with 10 giant cards and with free choices by spectators each dealing their own hands, Jaffo always had the winning hand.

Dan Stapleton did  some effects from his lecture on Psychologic Numbers. He counted his hands and showed that he had eleven fingers and then showed how to put 12 magicians in a hotel with just 11 rooms and they each have a private room!  Jimmy Ichihana was in top form. He did a kind of double “Out-of-this world” where a spectator unknowingly dealt piles with  both the red cards and blue cards were separated and do were their backs.  Revelli concluded the show with a coin vanish and transformation to a larger coin, routine with color changing CDs, a rope with 4 ends, and he lassoed a selected playing card from his hat.

Dennis Phillips





Dennis Deliberations … Ring # 170

“The Bev Bergeron Ring”

July 2018

 ” Gort, Klaatu Barada Nikto, Klaatu Barada Nikto”

-From “The Day the Earth Stood Still- 1951

Have you noticed that magicians seldom use magic words anymore? “Hocus Pocus” was a popular one.  It seems to have been a perversion of the words of the  sacramental blessing from the Latin Mass at the invocation that transforms the bread and wine into the blessed body and blood of Jesus, Hoc est corpus meum “This is my body.”  So there is a religious connection!

The first to make this speculation on its origin apparently was English prelate John Tillotson (1630-1694).

“I will speak of one man … that went about in King James his time … who called himself, the Kings Majesties most excellent Hocus Pocus, and so was called, because that at the playing of every Trick, he used to say, Hocus pocus, tontus tabantus, vade celeriter jubeo, a dark composure of words, to blinde the eyes of the beholders, to make his Trick pass the more currantly without discovery.” [Thomas Ady, “A Candle in the Dark,” 1655]

Then there  is Abracadabra.  Again, a religious connection.

It  seems likely that abracadabra is derived from one of the Semitic languages. It’s from the Aramaic phrase avra kehdabra, meaning “I will create as I speak”.

  • The source is three Hebrew words, ab (father), ben (son), and ruach acadosch (holy spirit).
  • It’s also found in the Chaldean abbada ke dabra, meaning “perish like the word”

Sim Sala Bim? These magic words were made popular by the famous professional magician Dante/The Great Jansen. They also served as the name of his famous touring magic show. Sim salabim is spoken by a Turkish alchemist with magical powers in the early medieval folk play entitled Robyn Hode. Sim sala bim is “the Swedish equivalent of ‘abracadabra,’” and is known in other Scandinavian cultures as well.

“Ala Peanut Butter Sandwiches”.   This is the catch phrase used by  the Muppet character, Mumfred the Magician, on Sesame Street to cast his magic trick spells.

Presto. It is From Italian and means (“quickly”).


Here’s a look at the world’s highest-paid magician and magic acts from across the world as of 2017.

They all have a heavy presence on TV.

The report has been compiled by Statista.  https://www.forbes.com/pictures/59ea187aa7ea436b47b4212b/highest-paid-magicians-of/#6090c6466e02

Here’s a list of the world’s highest-paid magicians and illusionists from across the world as of 2017.

David Blaine | The American endurance artist, magician and illusionist has performed famous acts such as ‘Buried Alive’, ‘Vertigo’ and ‘Drowned Alive’. Blaine has made $6 million to make him the eight highest-paid magicians. (Image: Reuters)

Michael Carbonaro | The American actor, improv artist and magician is famous for his hidden camera ‘Magic Clerk’ segment on The Tonight Show.Carbonaro has raked in $7 million, making him the seventh highest-paid magician worldwide.

Derren Brown | The English illusionist and mentalist has produced multiple television and stage shows including the famous “Derren Brown:Mind Control”. He has earned over $7 million and has been ranked sixth on the list.

Dynamo | Steven Frayne is an English magician who stars in the television show Dynamo: Magician Impossible. Frayne has made $9 million according to the report, making him the fifth richest magician.

The Illusionists | This is a touring magic production that features a rotating cast of five to eight magicians. All of them specialize in specific streams of magic. The production has made $11.5 million so far, putting them fourth on the list of richest magicians.

Criss Angel | Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos is an illusionist and musician. The 50-year-old is known for starring in television and stage show “Criss Angel Mindfreak”. He is the third-most successful magician in history having earned $14.5 million.

Penn & Teller | The American magician and entertainer duo were famous for their acts that included comedy with magic. Together, the duo has made $30.5 million, making them the second-most commercially successful magic act.

David Copperfield | The American illusionist has been called the most commercially successful magician in history by Forbes. Copperfield’s career spanning over 40 years has earned him 11 Guinness World Records. The Las Vegas resident has made $61.5 million until 2017.


This is what really gives magic a bad name…


It violates the rule of embarrassing people and transforms theatrical fright into terrorism

The sooner we condemn and expel grunge, street garbage, terrorism stunts and nonsense like this the better we will be.


Good News!

We can use rabbits again without a lot of hassle from the USDA.  The rules were  first reported by Marty Hahn, a few years back.  Many have tried to politicize this as a victory for one of the political parties, but the political action was by Marty’s Senator Claire  McCaskill (D-MO) . Common sense laws and no laws should not be a political issue.


Dennis Phillips with “Thurston the Bunny” 


As a magician, he was very good at one time… Probably could not make enough money with it… Went to the Dark Side of the Force?




How To Do The Like Michael Jackson “Lean”  The complete tutorial.



From the “How Fast they Fall” department:   This is the same Illusionist who accused Criss Angel of stealing one of his illusion ideas. You have seen him on the Masters of Illusion TV shows and others.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former Las Vegas Strip headliner from Germany lost his bid to withdraw his guilty plea in a federal child pornography case involving thousands of videos and images.

Jan Rouven Fuechtener, 39, is expected to face at least 24 years in federal prison on felony charges of possession, receipt and distribution of child pornography, according court records. His sentencing is set for Aug. 2.

Fuechtener is a German citizen who performed as Jan Rouven at the Tropicana hotel-casino. His show closed following his arrest in March 2016. He remains in federal custody.

His plea in November 2016 stopped his trial during an FBI agent’s testimony about images found in password-protected files on computer devices seized from the Las Vegas home Fuechtener shared with his husband, Frank Dietmar Alfter.

Authorities say some of the images depicted sex acts involving kindergarten-age boys.

Fuechtener’s lawyer, Karen Connolly, was unavailable Friday to immediately comment on the June 15 ruling by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro involving the guilty plea.

Connolly previously said federal authorities have recommended Fuechtener serve 24 to 30 years in federal prison and possibly a life sentence.

Fuechtener also faces lifetime registration as a sex offender, near-certain deportation if he gets out of prison, and an order to pay $5,000 restitution to each child sex assault victim identified in his case.

Authorities have said they could identify about 85 victims. That would total some $425,000.

The case arose after Fuechtener was identified in August 2014 by an undercover investigator in Buffalo, New York, as a collector of more than 3,500 internet pornographic videos and images using internet, Skype and email names including “Lars45,” ″LarsUSA22″ and Lars Schmidt.

Fuechtener last year accused his lawyers of misleading him about the consequences of his plea.


Posted in Monthly Newsletter | Comments Off on June 2018 Ring Meeting- Mystery of Photo of old magic prop

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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