Black Art Illusions

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Black Art, in the mind of the average person, is associated with the Black Magic of old, which I discussed in the beginning of the course under the History of Magic. Another aspect of Magic which is associated with Black Art is work done on a dark stage, such as the acts of Paul Kleist and other magicians. In this work, a row of electric lights shines out in the audience's eyes and thus creates even greater darkness on the stage. Suddenly white objects appear and disappear. The secret of the illusion is to expose white objects, which contrast with the darkness. This is accomplished by assistants clothed in black who move about, invisible to the audience, removing black cloths from the white objects and covering them again. Many strange effects can be created in this way.

In discussing Black Art Illusions in this lesson, however, I am not going into the above type, but rather into a semi-black type. This is a special type of illusion in which the color BLACK is used as the illusion principle to cause a person to appear, disappear, or change into someone else. The principle is utilized by having dark spots in the light to gain the illusion. The audience is led to believe that everything is done in the bright light.

Apparatus:

Black Curtain

For this series, a black curtain or back drop is used or a special black screen. This curtain is best made of black velvet or velveteen as it has a surface which gives depth and inky blackness. For temporary purposes, black calico or sateen may be used. This curtain should be placed well to the back of the stage. It may be plain or decorated with bright colors around the sides and top and also at points here and there above the black part to be used in the illusion.

Black Art Chinese Screen

This is merely a frame which can be taken apart for packing. A frame about twelve feet wide and seven feet high is satisfactory. It may be decorated with Chinese figures around the edges for effect. The bottom edge is black. A black cloth which fits the frame is attached to it when it is set up. This screen may easily be set up where a curtain may be difficult to hang.

Ground Cloth

This is made of the same material as the curtain and is spread on the floor under the illusion proper so that people looking down will get the Black Art effect from the floor also.

Phantom Black Art Platform

This is an important piece of apparatus. Though simple in working, it is very effective. It lends itself as a utility piece around which many effects can be performed. Its purpose is to act as a table upon which magician or assistants stand and it contains the essentials for creating an illusion. It consists of two parts: the framework and the top.

The Framework: This is a skeleton-frame construction, consisting of two frames hinged together. Each frame is 26 inches high and 36 inches long. The boards are three inches wide and an inch and a half thick. The two frames are painted white on the front and sides and dull black on the back. The frames fold together flat for packing.

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Simple as these frames look, they are tricked in the following manner:

Hidden in the upper board of each frame is a roller curtain. It is so arranged that when the two frames are opened at right angles and placed on the floor with the top over them, the doors or panels concealing the curtains automatically fly open and cause the curtains to fall down and cover the open spaces in the frames.

Audience can see through the frames before they are opened. Then when they are opened and placed in front of the back drop, the two small curtains fall down to cover the openings. Audience still believes that it sees open frames with the back drop showing through, when in reality it is only an illusion created by the Black Art frame.

Figure 4 is a diagram of the position of the frame in relation to the back drop.

Figure 5 shows the frame as it appears to audience.

Figures 6, 7, 8, and 9 show diagrams of the frame construction for the curtain arrangement. The inside top edge of each frame is cut out to allow for the curtain roller. A hinge joint is then attached. One edge of curtain roll is tacked under top of frame and roll is secured under a panel.

When the two frames are folded flat together, the hinge joint on each remains up and holds the roller curtain in place. When the two frames are opened at right angles and the top placed on them, the hinge joints lift the panels and release the roll curtain so that it falls down straight and covers the opening in each frame.

Figure 10 shows the frame as it appears with the curtain rolled up on the inside.

Figure 11 shows the frame as it appears with the black curtain covering the opening. This when placed in front of the back drop gives the illusion of looking through the open space to the back curtain.

The Top: This is a triangular piece which fits over the top of right angle made by open frames. It has a ledge on two sides, top and bottom, to brace the frames.

Figure 12 shows top. Figure 13 shows top adjusted on frames.

Inward Opening Trapdoor

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In the top there is a trap door. This extends inward from back of top about 12 inches and is about 18 inches wide. This door is hinged in the middle of the top so that it opens upward. Under the door there is a half-inch ledge to support it when someone stands on it.

Figures 14 and 15.

In order to disguise trap on top of platform, it is well to paint lines in black over top as shown in Figure 15A.

If desired, trap may be secured on outer edge with two catches between trap and rest of top to enable it to withstand severe handling. These catches may be opened when top is placed on framework during performance of the illusion.

A Handy Screen

This screen is designed to fit the Black Art Platform. When it is placed in front of a person standing on platform, that person can be made to disappear — or when it is placed on empty platform, a person can be made to appear.

The screen is in three sections for convenience in packing, though it may be made in two sections. In the three-section screen, each section is about 20 inches wide and 5 1/2 feet high. Between each section a narrow strip of cloth is placed to prevent anyone from seeing between the sections.

Figure 16 is a diagram, showing position of screen on top of platform. Ledge around top prevents screen from slipping off.

Figures 17 and 18 show the screen and its position on top of the platform.

Figure 16 is a diagram, showing position of screen on top of platform. Ledge around top prevents screen from slipping off.

A Pistol

In illusion work, a small revolver helps to get a quick flash and a sharp noise. Blank cartridges are used, of course, does not like loud shots at a magical performance. A 22 pistol You must use judgment in the size of your pistol as an audience is best as it does not make too much noise.

Always examine your pistol before using it and NEVER FIRE IT DIRECTLY AT ANYONE. Even though you use blanks, you cannot afford to take a chance.

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Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

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