Both Volumes of The Little Egypt Gazette are now available on CD for only $24. Click The Bookstore for ordering details.

Milt Larsen tells all.

Aaron Fisher tells all.

THIS OLD HOUSE -- Thanks to a delightful new DVD, you can relax at home before your wide screen plasma tv (should you be so lucky) and allow Milt Larsen to take you on a walking tour of the Magic Castle. Milt hams it up as he tries to slip past the Castle dress code in a Home Depot tie and when he yanks a tablecloth from beneath a full place setting. But the bulk of the video is devoted to his affection for the nuts and bolts (or perhaps nails and sawdust) of the old place. Take a close look at the Magic Castle through the eyes of the guy who built it, in Magic Castle ... The Inside Story, available for $25 from (Dealers interested should contact

TALKING TO THE DEAD -- Should you wish to make tv medium John Edward look like a rank amateur, acquire and learn Docc Hilford's The Richey Technique Revealed. Whether the Reverend Dr. Patrick Richey, "an obscure character in the mediumistic world," was a genuine character, or whether he is the figment of Docc Hilford's and Bascom Jones's imaginations, I do not know. But the technique attributed to him, a combination of technical handling and psychological mumbo jumbo, is a squeaky clean method for writing detailed answers to three questions before they are spoken, and of sealing them in envelopes that either the performer can open and read or that the sitter may take home to open and read at her leisure. My favorite ruse in the book is the Richey Seance, which allows you to determine the name of an unknown spirit in the room, to hear a detailed answer from this spirit before the question has been uttered, and to receive an interrupted message from this ghostly presence. This is very powerful. A companion mss also suitable for seance workers is Mephisto's Journey, Docc's take (and, since the take is uncredited, his knuckles should be spirit rapped!) on Arthur Monroe's "Voodoo" from Practical Mental Effects. But what a take. In this variation, the spectator's own worn deck is sealed in an envelope and hidden away somewhere in a darkened home. The lights are extinguished. An eerie green glow appears, and the medium is seen holding the original deck. The spectator's chosen card (no force) is handed to her. Again the lights are out. When the spectator retrieves her deck from its hiding place, she removes it from the sealed envelope to find that the card she holds is indeed missing from the deck. Sweet. Each mss is $19.95 from your favorite dealer.

THE REAL THING -- Coke, that is. As 2002 wanes, I recall two magic tricks this year that blew my socks off. One was the Criss Angel girl suspension mentioned in the right-hand column. The second was Tim Ellis's performance of the resurrected soda can. The first, alas, I can't do, but the second I can. This trick, originally a free EG contribution by Anders Moden, has seen print in several additional formats, including an issue of Channel One and in Tim Ellis's lecture notes, 24 Years of Living Next Door to Ellis. The most recent publication is Healed and Sealed Soda/A Miracle by Anders Moden, appropriately printed in Sweden and copyrighted by Mr. Moden. This is a very nicely produced 10-page mss that contains just about everything you will ever need to know to perform this stunner. Only $12 from your favorite dealer.

October 2002

October is always a month of distractions, with many magical interests vying for a guy's attention. In other words I apologize for the tardiness of this edition, but can't profess to being too sorry, as I was having way too much fun. This particular month, travel took the top priority, and I greatly enjoyed sharing spooky moments with lay friends from San Diego as well as with magical friends at the Magic Castle. Those of you visiting the Castle should also take the $15 tour of the new Kodak Theatre, where the Academy Awards now take place. Quite a theater, and David Copperfield played there only a week or so after I left. As to this month's reporting, we take a look at some of the merchandise flowing our way, a fine lecture, and an appropriately spooky new magic special. (See footnote below for pricing and contact information for the products mentioned.) Next month: Harry Potter returns. See you at the movies.

FREAK SHOW -- Criss Angel Mindfreak aired on ABC this month to surprisingly little lay comment in my circles, given that it contained much to talk about. Of least note was the Required Big Stunt for TV, which always suck no matter who does them, unless you view this one (Criss escapes from a Houdini water torture cell after being submerged so long his feet get wrinkly) as a deliberate parody of David Blaine stunts (complete with melodramatic race to the hospital), which I suspect it was. Criss himself is a young magician with a goth look, all long hair and eye shadow and dark nails, who speaks with an East Coast accent and who seems to enjoy both magic and people. Gordon Bean recently mentioned that magic is made up of moments (as are other art forms), and this special had many moments that made me like it. To mention a few: (1) From the stage show, Criss constructs a giant killer robot a la Princess Tenko that later turns out to be Criss. Either I missed the switch entirely, or the switched-in Criss Angel moved like Criss Angel better than in any other switch I've witnessed. (2) Also from the stage show, the deKolta chair vanish of a female elfin creature who reappears by swinging toward Criss on rope rings and scissors him with her legs. (3) Numerous David Blaine-like small street moments, including a rose production, chink a chink with coins on a pool table, and card tricks for kids and a bar crowd. (4) Ghastly geek tricks, from the needle through arm and popcorn kernel in eye to Criss's being suspended from fish hooks through his bare flesh. (But he went to the hospital over the water thing? Go figure.) (5) The best magic trick I've ever seen: the levitation (technically, it has been pointed out, suspension) of a girl over the sidewalk, surrounded by spectators and a moving video camera. It had to be faked, but it sure looked cool. This is not your father's Super-X. Criss owes much to David Blaine for his street and video work, and he owes much to David Copperfield for his work with female assistants in his illusions, but the fantastic art direction and music and his take on magic are all his own. I'd love to see his live show (and let it be noted that he has one!). Perhaps it's a mark of success that he is already being hated by the write-in magic press, as were Doug Henning, Penn and Teller, Melinda, and David Blaine before him. Check him out at

CARD PARTY-- A highlight of my October visit to the Magic Castle was attending a lecture by Aaron Fisher. Aaron brought The Paper Engine to life for a packed Parlour of Prestidigitation. Although he did not teach his vaunted "Gravity Half Pass" (it consumes six pages in the book, and every phrase counts), he did part with hours of moves and effects, including my favorites, "The Omen" and "Search and Destroy." Aaron is the real deal, and it was fun to watch him loose and confident before a daunting Castle crowd, fresh off a highly successful week (a week earlier, that is) in the Closeup Gallery. His gem of a book is required reading and will reward your time spent with it. $35 from Hermetic Press ( (And! Hermetic Press is now offering free shipping for orders of $70 or more.)

BOOK TEST -- Phil Goldstein's "Psi-Con Ruse" is commercial updating of Dr. Jaks' "Supersonic," but without the stand that makes it look as if it came from a magic shop or a game show. In this version, the performer inserts five cards from a shuffled deck into edges of a book on fortune telling. The spectator freely indicates one of the cards, which happens to be the four of clubs. The other four cards are different. A message previously in the possession of the spectator reads, "You have a compassionate nature and strong leadership potential. Your sense of humor is admired by others. Your lucky card is the four of clubs." The cards do all the work. I purchased this effect from Max several years ago, when he lectured at a Desert Magic Seminar. My take at that time was to insert the cards into a book of ghost stories, and to let the prediction be a message from beyond. Whatever approach suits you, the item is now commercially available with all the necessary cards (mine are blue Bicycles, which are my favorite) and a nicely produced booklet illustrated by Tony Dunn and designed by Ben Harris.

My thanks to Murphy's Magic Supplies, Inc. for sending along several of the items mentioned above. Phil Goldstein's "Psi-Con Ruse" is a Murphy's item and dealer inquiries are invited (800-853-7403). Dealers should also contact Murphy's for Phil Goldstein's "Shinkansen" (a clean card across routine at $15) and Simon Aronson's popular "Side-Swiped" (also $15).

Little Egypt Magic is the erratically updated web site of Steve Bryant, spawned (the site, not Steve) by a former internet magazine known as The Little Egypt Gazette/for magicians only.

Steve Bryant is an obscure magician and writer who generates this site from a computer (a new iMac as of this month!) in Bloomington, Indiana. He frequently journeys to and performs magic in Little Egypt, the local name for extreme southern Illinois, where the towns bear such names as Cairo, Thebes, and Karnak.

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