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Jan 2, 2016
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Hey everyone!

If you're like me, you've become annoyed by use of the word "organic" in magic marketing. It seems to get attached to basically any magic product these days and thus for many people it has lost any meaning it once had. I still have my own definition of what I'd consider to be "organic" magic which is:

Magic using everyday items or seemingly every day items.

The distinction here between organic and impromptu magic is that organic magic can include gimmicked objects that seem like ordinary objects (something like Sticky Situation, Sweet Disposition, Peek wallets, quarter gimmicks) while impromptu means it can be done with completely ordinary objects. To me, most impromptu magic is organic but not all organic magic is impromptu.

That being said, I'm an amateur magician with very little desire to do magic professionally. Now that I've graduated and my home town is mostly opened up, I've been doing more magic for people when I'm out with friends, at bars, parties, cafes, etc.

I recently realized that card magic is a huge crutch for me. Even though I can do other tricks, it's way too easy to just stick to card stuff when doing magic for people. Thus, I've decided to temporarily stop carrying around playing cards to encourage me to use more of my repertoire. (I'd also like to note that I don't think anything is wrong with card tricks or carrying around a deck of cards. This is just a temporary challenge for myself). The problem is, I've used cards for so long that I've been getting stumped when someone asks me to do a trick and I don't have my cards with me, even when I do have other stuff I could use on me. It feels like taking away the cards removed a huge chunk of my repertoire, and it kinda did. So now I've been brushing up on my non-card stuff and I want to learn some new material to fill the card magic void.

I was wondering what recommendations you all have for "organic" magic? It could be entire books, downloads, DVDs or specific tricks from them. But I'm also completely open to gimmicks and apps.

I'd like to note that while I'm excluding card magic, coin magic is fair game. That is, long as it can be done with US quarters or smaller denominations. I have nothing against coin magic with larger coins. Most of the coin magic I do now is with Kennedy half dollars. The only reason I make this specification is that I'd like to be able to borrow or "borrow" (if it uses a gimmick) the coins. Even if I don't borrow them, I don't think most people would question me having a couple quarters in my pocket. However, a half dollar is clearly something that I've deliberately brought with me to do magic with. Therefore, it seems more like a magic prop than some loose change I happened to have on me.

I definitely want to pick up some of Greg Wilson's material like On the Spot and Coffee House Conjuring. I know Dan Harlan and Tom Mullica made some videos on impromptu magic as well. I want to get a small pen for my keychain so that I can do billet stuff at any time without having to find a pen. I was going to start carrying a TT since it's a great utility device. However, none of mine seem to fit correctly. Some are just too big and others fit fine until there's anything other than my thumb in them. So I need to find one that fits me properly. I've also been thinking about getting some sort of thumb writer since that opens up a lot of possibilities.

So tl;dr my criteria is tricks that:
- Use everyday objects or gimmicks that seem like every day objects and are easy to carry on me
- Are not card tricks
- Use US quarters or smaller if it's a coin trick
- Are not a rubber band tricks (I'm always open to learning more of these but I'm happy with where my rubber band repertoire is at the moment)
- End examinable (or can be easily switched for something that is examinable)

Thank you everyone!
 
Mar 8, 2016
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7
Wow, that's a huge question. The first thing I thought of was the ladybug trick.

The basic effect is that you poke your finger etc. and the bubble of blood turns into a ladybug.
 
Jan 2, 2016
1,071
878
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California
Wow, that's a huge question. The first thing I thought of was the ladybug trick.

The basic effect is that you poke your finger etc. and the bubble of blood turns into a ladybug.

Haha yeah it's a long question. I wanted to clarify what I was asking because I've asked similar questions in other places and people will be like "What's wrong with cards? Here's some card trick recommendations".

That's a good one though! It's a Paul Harris trick I believe? I just wasn't sure how practical it was considering it seems to use an actual live ladybug. The effect is beautiful though
 

RealityOne

Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
3,663
3,982
New Jersey
Torn and Restored Napkin - Using Cocktail Napkins or Airline Napkins (easy to do if you are all thumbs)
Houchin's Counterfeit - Using a Restaurant's Business Card
Paul Harris Water Trap - Its in True Astonishment and I assume AoA
Coins Through Table - Using Quarters (there is a great routine in Bobo using something peanuts have)
Mark Wilson's Three Way Test
$2 Dollar Bill in Drink Coaster - I'm not sure this is published anywhere but it was something I think Nate Kranzo did at a lecture. I can show you my handling but you can probably figure it out.
Recapped
Steinmeyer's Silverware Scan (Further Impossibilities and maybe Genii)

I'd be glad to brainstorm more on this...
 
Jan 2, 2016
1,071
878
22
California
Torn and Restored Napkin - Using Cocktail Napkins or Airline Napkins (easy to do if you are all thumbs)
Houchin's Counterfeit - Using a Restaurant's Business Card
Paul Harris Water Trap - Its in True Astonishment and I assume AoA
Coins Through Table - Using Quarters (there is a great routine in Bobo using something peanuts have)
Mark Wilson's Three Way Test
$2 Dollar Bill in Drink Coaster - I'm not sure this is published anywhere but it was something I think Nate Kranzo did at a lecture. I can show you my handling but you can probably figure it out.
Recapped
Steinmeyer's Silverware Scan (Further Impossibilities and maybe Genii)

I'd be glad to brainstorm more on this...

Thanks David! These are great! I'd love to hear any others you can think of. I'm also curious about that $2 bill in coaster thing because I'm honestly not even sure that that effect would be
 

RealityOne

Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
3,663
3,982
New Jersey
Thanks David! These are great! I'd love to hear any others you can think of. I'm also curious about that $2 bill in coaster thing because I'm honestly not even sure that that effect would be

You pick up a cardboard coaster in a bar or restaurant. You say, "Did you hear that [insert name of company on coaster] has been putting $2 bills inside some of their coasters as a promotion?" Show both sides of coaster looking at it and ask, "I wonder if this one is lucky?" Start working the coaster back and forth to break it and as it snaps apart, pull a nicely folded new $2 bill from the inside of the coaster. Bonus points if the bill has a sticker saying, "you're a winner." Then watch amusedly as your friends start breaking apart their coasters.
 
Jan 2, 2016
1,071
878
22
California
You pick up a cardboard coaster in a bar or restaurant. You say, "Did you hear that [insert name of company on coaster] has been putting $2 bills inside some of their coasters as a promotion?" Show both sides of coaster looking at it and ask, "I wonder if this one is lucky?" Start working the coaster back and forth to break it and as it snaps apart, pull a nicely folded new $2 bill from the inside of the coaster. Bonus points if the bill has a sticker saying, "you're a winner." Then watch amusedly as your friends start breaking apart their coasters.
I love weird, sorta surreal magic like that. I'd love to see your handling
 
Mar 8, 2016
74
7
I think David Stone did something like that, not sure about the sticker/winner part though. On real secrets of magic, which reminds me of one of the best organic trick I can think of. It's David Stone I think he calls it Duncan. Flash to goldfish in a glass.
 
Mar 8, 2016
74
7
Haha yeah it's a long question. I wanted to clarify what I was asking because I've asked similar questions in other places and people will be like "What's wrong with cards? Here's some card trick recommendations".

That's a good one though! It's a Paul Harris trick I believe? I just wasn't sure how practical it was considering it seems to use an actual live ladybug. The effect is beautiful though


Yeah, it probably is that one. I could have sworn I saw it somewhere else though. It could just be my imagination while looking at it there. He makes it seem pretty simple to keep a farm of ladybugs. If that's not organic...
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,808
2,908
First, the "useful" answer -

Now You See It, Now You Don't (I believe there's two volumes). Pure sleight of hand allows you to create organic magic with whatever is at hand. Guys like Max Malini built their whole careers on these skills. Keep in mind that though something might be called a "card" sleight, what that really means is thin, rectangular item sleight. Coins are just thin, circular items. Ropes are just long, flexible items. A business card, piece of paper, credit card, etc. can all be substituted for cards. Coins: washers, thin rocks, tiddly winks (that might be too obscure a reference for the current generation :D), etc. Ropes - shoe string, headphone cord, lanyard for keys/ID tags, etc.

Once you learn to divorce the sleights from the context in which they are taught, you will gain a lot of flexibility.

Another thing to remember is that sometimes the real key to Organic Magic is waiting for the right time. I can pull a star from the sky and throw it back, but that's not something I'm going to try to do just any time - it has to be the exact right circumstances or the person won't go along with it and it'll flop.

That being said - my personal brand of "organic" magic isn't for everyone. My forte is suggestion and bizarre magic. This allows me to create magical experiences pretty much any time I want with whatever I happen to have on hand, but most magicians would never even attempt my methods because I take too many risks. I'm perfectly comfortable with a routine having a not insignificant chance of just utterly failing. But really what it comes down to is that I have built a skill set that allows me to take advantage of favorable circumstances when they present themselves, and I've built a character/persona that basically allows me to say no to any request of an impromptu performance if I don't think it'll serve my purposes and still be perceived as a magical performer.
 
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Jan 2, 2016
1,071
878
22
California
First, the "useful" answer -

Now You See It, Now You Don't (I believe there's two volumes). Pure sleight of hand allows you to create organic magic with whatever is at hand. Guys like Max Malini built their whole careers on these skills. Keep in mind that though something might be called a "card" sleight, what that really means is thin, rectangular item sleight. Coins are just thin, circular items. Ropes are just long, flexible items. A business card, piece of paper, credit card, etc. can all be substituted for cards. Coins: washers, thin rocks, tiddly winks (that might be too obscure a reference for the current generation :D), etc. Ropes - shoe string, headphone cord, lanyard for keys/ID tags, etc.

Once you learn to divorce the sleights from the context in which they are taught, you will gain a lot of flexibility.

Another thing to remember is that sometimes the real key to Organic Magic is waiting for the right time. I can pull a star from the sky and throw it back, but that's not something I'm going to try to do just any time - it has to be the exact right circumstances or the person won't go along with it and it'll flop.

That being said - my personal brand of "organic" magic isn't for everyone. My forte is suggestion and bizarre magic. This allows me to create magical experiences pretty much any time I want with whatever I happen to have on hand, but most magicians would never even attempt my methods because I take too many risks. I'm perfectly comfortable with a routine having a not insignificant chance of just utterly failing. But really what it comes down to is that I have built a skill set that allows me to take advantage of favorable circumstances when they present themselves, and I've built a character/persona that basically allows me to say no to any request of an impromptu performance if I don't think it'll serve my purposes and still be perceived as a magical performer.

Believe it or not I, a 22 year old, actually do know what tiddly winks are.

Also, one of the things that kind of inspired me to learn more impromptu stuff came after I read some more stuff about Malini recently. I was always aware of him but I didn't realize that he had a huge impact on impromptu magic. I wanna pick up that biography Steve Cohen wrote but it's like $125.

I also own the Now You See It book (I'm assuming it's the first volume) but it's been a few years since I went through it. I'll have to go back and check it out!

I 100% agree with your comment about it needing to be the right time. That's why I'm trying to expand my repertoire to not be mostly card stuff. I wanna be able to have a bunch of impromptu stuff in the back of my mind so that I can pull it out when I'm in the right circumstances, have the right materials, etc.

Also, I'd love to hear more about that star trick if you don't mind telling me about it. I did some stuff with the Iridium Flares a couple times before they were decommissioned and it always got fantastic reactions.

Bizarre magic definitely fascinates me but I'm not really sure if I could pull it off. It's more of something I like to watch than perform. I'm also definitely one of those people who wouldn't do your routines if there's a somewhat significant chance of it failing. I would be curious to learn more about suggestion if you have any good resources.

Thanks for the response!
 
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WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
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Old school hypnotists will tell you that to properly learn hypnosis and/or suggestion, you need to essentially do an apprenticeship. I disagree - I learned from two sources, primarily. First, Anthony Jacquin's "Reality is Plastic". I got a copy as a gift, but I think it was/is around $35? I'm not sure if the print copy exists any more, but the audio book probably does. Jacquin/Head Hacking also put out a DVD/Video called The Trilby Connection which is basically Jacquin taking a new hypnosis student through the material in Reality is Plastic. It's not necessary to watch this video, but it is nice to see someone going from no knowledge to being able to do hypnosis reliably, and it also shows a few performances of hypnosis from Jacquin and a couple other 'street' hypnotists.

The second source I used was Mike Mandel's Hypnosis Academy. In my opinion Mandel is one of the most knowledgeable hypnotists currently living, and the course gave me an extremely thorough understanding of hypnosis and suggestion. However, I will say that it's not cheap and it is focused more on hypnotherapy/change work than entertainment (there is one 'chapter' on entertainment/stage hypnosis, but the bulk is the other stuff).

Other authors I've liked include Aaron Alexander (The Bridge, Ant Queen, Pygmalion Effects), Luke Jermay (7 Deceptions, Building Blocks), and Jerome Finley (Full Contact Mind Reading). Oh, and if you can get ahold of it, the Elemental Magic stuff of Art Vanderlay can be very interesting, though it is extremely circumstantial and some of it is just plain not practical.

As for the star routine - I have a couple versions, and I've only had the opportunity to use the full version maybe 3 times in ten years. Making a star vanish and reappear is simple and I do that somewhat often. But the full routine is a volunteer picking out a star and watching it. They feel the energy of the star flowing into them, concentrating in their cupped hands. Once the star has vanished, they whisper a wish into their hands, then throw the star energy back up into the sky and the star is back where they first found it. I also do a version that revolves around shooting stars which I believe is based on a routine from Garden of Strange by Caleb Strange.
 
Jan 2, 2016
1,071
878
22
California
Old school hypnotists will tell you that to properly learn hypnosis and/or suggestion, you need to essentially do an apprenticeship. I disagree - I learned from two sources, primarily. First, Anthony Jacquin's "Reality is Plastic". I got a copy as a gift, but I think it was/is around $35? I'm not sure if the print copy exists any more, but the audio book probably does. Jacquin/Head Hacking also put out a DVD/Video called The Trilby Connection which is basically Jacquin taking a new hypnosis student through the material in Reality is Plastic. It's not necessary to watch this video, but it is nice to see someone going from no knowledge to being able to do hypnosis reliably, and it also shows a few performances of hypnosis from Jacquin and a couple other 'street' hypnotists.

The second source I used was Mike Mandel's Hypnosis Academy. In my opinion Mandel is one of the most knowledgeable hypnotists currently living, and the course gave me an extremely thorough understanding of hypnosis and suggestion. However, I will say that it's not cheap and it is focused more on hypnotherapy/change work than entertainment (there is one 'chapter' on entertainment/stage hypnosis, but the bulk is the other stuff).

Other authors I've liked include Aaron Alexander (The Bridge, Ant Queen, Pygmalion Effects), Luke Jermay (7 Deceptions, Building Blocks), and Jerome Finley (Full Contact Mind Reading). Oh, and if you can get ahold of it, the Elemental Magic stuff of Art Vanderlay can be very interesting, though it is extremely circumstantial and some of it is just plain not practical.

As for the star routine - I have a couple versions, and I've only had the opportunity to use the full version maybe 3 times in ten years. Making a star vanish and reappear is simple and I do that somewhat often. But the full routine is a volunteer picking out a star and watching it. They feel the energy of the star flowing into them, concentrating in their cupped hands. Once the star has vanished, they whisper a wish into their hands, then throw the star energy back up into the sky and the star is back where they first found it. I also do a version that revolves around shooting stars which I believe is based on a routine from Garden of Strange by Caleb Strange.
Wow! Thank you for the in depth response! I'll have to look into this stuff.

I knew you'd have some good ideas and resources as I remember you saying over the years that you mostly do propless stuff. I'll have to look into this. I'm not sure if I'd ever do hypnosis/suggestion stuff but I'm very curious about the inner workings and I'm sure I'll learn something that I'd want to use. Thanks again!

Also, if you don't mind me asking, do you have any resources on the star vanish/reappearance? Or would you be able to describe it in DM? No worries if not, just figured I'd ask.
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,808
2,908
I couldn't tell you where I learned it specifically. It's been at least ten years. Like I said, it's probably in Art Vanderlay's stuff. Or Garden of the Strange.
 
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Jan 2, 2016
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I think David Stone did something like that, not sure about the sticker/winner part though. On real secrets of magic, which reminds me of one of the best organic trick I can think of. It's David Stone I think he calls it Duncan. Flash to goldfish in a glass.
I'll have to look into that. Thank you!
 

Brett Hurley

Elite Member
Sep 27, 2014
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Okay, going to make a couple of wacky recommendations:

- Tenyo Magic had a "redemption trick" last year called "Image Generator Mini". It's a mental magic trick that used a microfiber glasses cloth. The original trick it was based on used a t-shirt. A glasses cleaner is much more transportable and comes across as more organic.

- Ray Kosby has a Matrix routine ("Square One") on Impossible Close-Up Magic. I'm currently working on this one and it's not terribly difficult to start working on, but does require a bit of practice to make it look clean. He has 2 ways of ending the trick, and I opt for the 2nd ending.
He does have some other coin magic trick on that DVD, I want to work on some of them but they are A LOT tougher than the Matrix routine (one of them is absolutely bonkers on how it works, its great. I think it's the 100% inspectable coin-through-handkerchief).
 
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