DIVERTING CARD MAGIC by Andrew Galloway. Available from the author post free £6.50 U.K. £7.00 Europe and 18 dollars airmailed to the U.S.A.
It may be somewhat unusual to begin a review with quotations, but they are relevant to the subject matter of the book, and will help to give authority to my own opinion on the importance of the information imparted. Being quoted from memory they may be less than word perfect, but the message they contain will be clear.
Of David Devant's performance someone (I forget who) wrote 'Everything he did was ordinary — only the result was extraordinary'. I do not recollect any explanation being given why this recognised master of magic was able to produce such an effect on someone who knew something of the secrets of our craft.
What was the 'secret'? How was he able to achieve such an effect on his audiences? Did the answer lie with the methods he used? Was his technique so perfect that the necessary moves remained hidden from the onlookers?
Countless magicians have asked themselves these and similar questions when watching the performances of their more talented contemporaries. Perhaps the answer lies in the following quotation from the master himself.
'Calculated misdirection is the m ost important thing in conjuring'.
Was this the reason why everything he did seemed ordinary? Obviously the spectators could only see what they were looking at, and if their attention was 'diverted' from the secret moves necessary to produce the effect everything they saw would appear to be ordinary.
So far so good. A question still remains. What exactly is calculated misdirection? There is no simple answer to this question as misdirection takes many forms. This is how Andrew Galloway defines one of the basic and most important kinds of what may be termed 'calculated misdirection'.
'Visual misdirection relies, on the natural tendency for the eye to follow a moving object, which IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO RESIST by even the most determined observer'.
This quotation is taken from Part One where the author proceeds to give detailed instructions on how to use visual misdirection in a calculated manner.
In the space of six and a half pages of text, the reader is given the necessary information explaining how to keep the eyes of the spectators away from his hands at the moment the vital sleight is being made. This information alone is worth many, many times the price of the book. It is impossible to estimate its value, particularly to the beginner, who will, for the first time have access to the real secret enabling him to perform the Palm, Double Lift, Glide, Pass and Top Change in an undetectable manner. He will escape the trap of believing that spectators can be wholly deceived by the use of technique alone and so escape spending countless hours in the endeavour to make his sleights 'invisible'. He will learn from the commencement of his studies that the application of misdirection to cover, or hide his moves and sleights, is the real secret of making his tricks appear magical. To be made aware of this one fact alone is of great value — to be given a virtual blueprint on how to actually apply it is a value which cannot be estimated. Even the most enlightened card worker will find in this thought provoking chapter considerable food for thought.
In Part Two the author gives his personal methods for achieving twelve effects. These are all 'oldies' and no claim is made for the originality of any of the effects. The object of this chapter is to provide further examples of how misdirection is utilised in each trick. However, all the tricks are worthy of inclusion in the card magician's regular programme and include juch favourites as the Cards Across, Sympathetic Aces, Lie Detector, Brainwave (using an ordinary pack), Solo Aces and the Colour Changing Pack to name only half of them.
There is an intriguing new use for the Bluff or Mock Pass and an extremely natural Table Palm which has the advantage of not appearing either contrived or difficult to execute.
It is, however, to the Comments on Misdirection appended below each trick that we must return. These provide clear instructions just where and how to apply effective misdirection.
Perhaps a few examples will assist in reaching an understanding of what the book is really all about. In the comments certain points in each trick are indicated where misdirection is required and definite instructions given, such as — follow the right hand with your eyes — address the audience — don't look at the hands
— look at the spectator, etc, etc. In short, you are told exactly HOW TO DO the tricks in a way that will ensure that 'everything you do will appear ordinary' thus ensuring that the result will be 'extra-ordinary'. That is magic.
To sum up. It is my personal belief that Diverting Card Magic is one of the most important textbooks on card magic ever to appear. The information regarding misdirection divulged by a recognised authority on the subject, makes this book of inestimable value to the serious card worker. I cannot praise it too highly and confidently predict that it will become recognised as a classic work on the subject of misdirection as applied to card magic.
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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.