The NEW Sands of the Desert HYBRID changes everything!

Something More Convenient than Mentalism…

Magicians are drawn to mentalism for two key reasons…

human-20424_640First, a great deal of the material can be performed impromptu or with very little setup. Second, mentalism is scalable from an intimate one-on-one setting with a single spectator to a powerful connection with an audience of thousands in a large theatre.

A mentalist can perform anywhere, even on stage, with little or no props. Mentalism is one of the most convenient and versatile types of magic on the planet. Plus it’s amazing! Read someone’s mind and they are baffled in a way unique to the craft.

Unless, of course, your audience cannot hear you over the ambient sound of an outside performance, the rowdy nature of a club environment, the honks and hollers of a busy street, or the clattering of glasses and small-talk echoing through the air of a corporate party.

476px-Mind-reading-Russell-MorganIn those situations, mentalism is a billet never burned, a secret never revealed, a thought transmitted into a blaring divide never to be enjoyed. Luckily, early on I learned a type of “fringe magic” that allowed me to elude those nuisances, draw a huge crowd and perform with zero props—silent if necessary.

Impromptu and scalable, convenient and impressive—just like mentalism—yet unemployed by most magicians. And looking back, I probably booked more gigs demonstrating a trick from this one category than from any other type of magic—including mentalism!

So what is this miracle that is more convenient than mentalism and plays bigger than a rainstorm?

Theft.

Honest theft. Watches, wallets, and keys typically. If your spectator wasn’t born with it or it hasn’t been surgically attached, the item is fair game. And people LOVE it! Especially the “victims.”

Every summer as a teenager, I would find small towns without busking laws—if they said, “What’s busking?” I was usually good to go. I walked around their festivals performing magic where and when I could. As I built my crowds, I nabbed their valuables for magical reveals throughout the show.

My hat filled faster than a pig’s belly! (I worked fairs too)

Like a number of magicians, I was introduced to mindreading from the legendary 13 Steps to Mentalism—it changed my life. But what you may not know is that there is an equivalent for pickpocketing, called The Complete Course in Pickpocketing.

It’s the “13 Steps” of thievery—for entertainment purposes.

The Complete Course in Pickpocketing converts the common magician’s repertoire into an exciting audience interactive where anything can happen. Now those everyday [missed] opportunities become magical events, which to a pro means more venues.

The Complete Course was $60 when I first read it, but today you can get this book for a steal! Making the first step obvious…

Read it Now: The Complete Course in Pickpocketing!

 

Featured Mentalism: 13 Steps to Mentalism, GhostIt Notes, I know What You’re Thinking, Poor Boy Billet Knife, Poor Boy Billet Knife Full-Size, Mental Marker Special FX Pen, Mental Marker FX Juice

Keep it Simple Sands

sands_of_the_desert_fronts_originalSands of the Desert sales increase dramatically this time of year. Magicians who perform Sands of the Desert regularly tend to refresh their supply right before the onslaught of summer festivals and stage/parlor opportunities.

Those magicians are already familiar with Sands of the Desert and know exactly what they want—typically, 2-3 refill packs of their favorite colors and type; waxed or synthetic. They have made their selection from years of experience.

But magicians new to Sands of the Desert might see all the options and just walk away from this legendary trick. I posted a Sands of the Desert Buyer’s Guide to explain the differences, however, I think it is time I simplify it even more.

What is the fundamental difference between waxed and synthetic Sands?

  • If you want to pour the Sands into the water, get synthetic.
  • If you need the Sand to clump together—for more vigorous stirring for instance—and don’t mind squeezing the Sands and placing it in the water, chose waxed Sands.

Technically, our waxed Sands are pourable, but it is more difficult. Synthetic is the most popular because it is the easiest to use right out of the package—it is self-working and looks like a movie special effect behind the scenes.

New to Sands of the Desert? Start with Sands of the Desert Synthetic and add this incredible trick to your show—it is a lot of fun to practice, perform, and to see firsthand.

As you gain experience or when you are ready to explore the other options available, get a pack of Sands of the Desert Waxed. It is a whole other adventure!

Secret Powers: A Principle for Better Magic

From a very early age, we learn what secrets are, but we have an uncontrollable urge to share them with others. (photo by Clara Rico)

From a very early age, we learn what secrets are, but we have an uncontrollable urge to share them with others. (photo by Clara Rico)

Think about the last time a friend entrusted you with a secret. Remember how it felt? You possessed exclusive information. Knowledge given to only a select few. And good or bad, a secret is a powerful thing.

If the secret concerned another person, when talking to that person you probably felt like you had the upper hand. You might even have the overwhelming urge to spill the beans and share your secret with that person or with other people.

When secrets are exposed, they are often preceded by, “You’re never going to guess…” or “You’re not going to believe this…” That’s because we feel the secret is so surprising no one could possibly assume the details, or we have hidden the secret so deeply within our mental vault, there is little risk of it being revealed.

But not when it comes to magic secrets.

When a magician—especially a beginner—knows a secret, they automatically assume everyone else knows the secret too. I mean, how could they not? We convince ourselves the secret is right there in the open for everybody to see. We think magic feels like common sense once the puzzle is solved; even complex magic tricks rarely require rocket science to perform them.

This is part of “the loss of innocence” felt by every magician. Sometimes referred to as “thinking like a magician.” It is a feeling you must learn to control and eventually overcome.

Magicians feel guilty of their secrets. It’s like we think our hands are the local gossip blabbing on the phone to anyone who will listen. In fact, the secret—the method—is tucked away out of view, and it is our guilt that is obvious.

If you never take anything else away from my blog, remember [and live by] this fundamental creed:

“Magicians are NOT guilty of a secret, but rather empowered by it.”

A magic trick is not a game of charades wherein you gradually expose the method. Relax. Entertain. Picture your act like a good movie: the audience is so caught up in the story they forget to yell out, “That dinosaur is CGI!” or “They would have called the match as soon as Rocky had the first cut.”

Guilt will ruin a good magic trick more efficiently than bad technique ever could. Magicians are not judged by the sum of their secrets. Magicians are measured by their confidence.

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Some Secrets are Easier to Keep than Others

There are tricks on the market that require either very few moves and sleights, or none at all. While those tricks are easy to do, you want a routine that challenges you a bit more when practicing your secret keeping.

Here are a few magic tricks—a mixture of classics and new releases—where the secret is in the back of your mind, allowing you to focus on the presentation:

Best Kept Secrets Video Edition!

Here is this week’s Best Kept Secrets video blog…

Sands of the Desert Buyer’s Guide!

I am a little biased when it comes to Sands of the Desert. In my opinion, it is one of the greatest magic tricks ever invented. It isn’t my trick—it isn’t anyone’s trick—it belongs to the community as a whole. It may have been invented by magicians in India hundreds of years ago, or by the Italian magician Giovanni Giuseppe Pinetti in the late 1700’s, or it might be the result of a misunderstanding—a different trick described incorrectly by one magician to another. More on that in a future article.

However it came about, Sands of the Desert is here to stay. Over the years, very little has changed. The methods behind the trick have, relatively speaking, stayed the same. Even the performance of the trick is fairly standard. It’s a simple trick. But of course, the best tricks always are. Audience reactions to Sands of the Desert are remarkable. Magic that bridges the language barrier. Perfect for all ages. Packs flat and plays big. The trifecta!

And on top of all that, there is something about this trick I just can’t seem to let go. I devote a considerable amount of my time to investigating both its history and its future. Over the past three years, I have released several Sands of the Desert products, and over the next year, I plan to release several more. This trick will soon be unrecognizable in its current form (it already is if you have my recent instructions where I published a couple of my most prized never-before-seen-in-print Sands tricks).

If you want to come along on this journey, to watch the mystery unravel and to witness what this incredible trick can do for your stage, street, or closeup show, then it all starts with a choice: which Sands of the Desert sand is right for you?

Lucky for you, you don’t have to go through this alone. I have prepared this easy to follow Buyer’s Guide.

Before we begin, I should clarify one point. There are other ways to perform Sands of the Desert besides specially treated sand. Two are quite popular: the hollow ball method and a gimmicked vessel. Both of these have their advantages, but their versatility overall is quite limited. Neither will work for all (or even most) of the tricks outlined in the instructions that come with my Sands of the Desert and they will not work with the tricks I have slated for release in the future.

Otherwise, there are two types of Sands of the Desert sand. Both are hydrophobic—literally, afraid of the water. You can buy cheap hydrophobic sand in a number of places on the Internet, or even make your own. But the sand available here—the sand being discussed in this article—is a specific brand of sand. It is performer-grade hydrophobic sand. Made specifically for magicians from years of research. The sand you buy from me is handcrafted in small batches by yours truly. If you buy Sands of the Desert from another store, make sure it has the labels you see on these pages. I guarantee its quality.

1. Wax Sand

Waxed sand is the oldest version of magic sand. Methods for making waxed hydrophobic sand were first exposed in the 1800’s by the likes of Roderburg, Hercat, Kellar, and Dr. Holden. However, the science behind the magic has been well-known since the ninth century, when the Persian chemist Razi wrote about the special oils in his “Book of Secrets,” the Kitab al-Asrar.

For years, magicians have made their own Sands of the Desert magic sand with store-bought wax, typically white paraffin wax. What many magicians don’t realize is that the sand works despite the paraffin. When regular folks say, “wax,” they picture a block of wax, not a fatty acid. In fact, the impurities within a regular block of wax must be burned off—removed completely—before the waxed sand will work for Sands of the Desert. In my process, I simply eliminate the impurities all together and use a plant-based product instead.

Wax Sand Pros:

Waxed sand stays together well underwater when squeezed into a clump and can withstand vigorous stirring. The magician can easily perform with more than three colors of sand, which significantly increases the magic aspect when the colors separate for the grand finale. Instead of just cheap paraffin wax, the way traditional wax sand is made, the new process creates a more durable sand (lasts longer no matter how many times it clumps together), and falls apart easily for the big reveal when it is removed from the water. Waxed sand can stay underwater longer than synthetics, without succumbing to the pressure of the water.

Wax Sand Cons:

I tried to eliminate as many cons as possible, but some aspects of wax sand are a fundamental characteristic of this type of product. Wax sand “clumps” together when you squeeze it in your hand. Some magicians view this as a feature, while others prefer the clump-free nature of synthetic sands. During the wax sand manufacturing process, sometimes more than one grain will stick together—waxed sand granuals are bigger than their synthetic counterpart, not as uniform, and may float on top of the water. Heat can damage waxed sand. To use Waxed Sand, the magician pours the Sand into their hand, squeezes, and places the clump into the water on the bottom of the vessel. Traditionally, Waxed Sands are not poured into the water.

Click here to see Sands of the Desert WAX on The Magic Depot!

2. Synthetic Sand

The first synthetic hydrophobic sand was patented by Wham-O in 1980. Their method is still the standard: silica-based sand exposed to the vapors of trimethylsilanol. The chemicals are relatively cheap when purchased in bulk, but making it is time consuming. A small operation can only produce a few pounds of performer-grade sand in a day.

Some magicians have tried making their own sand using spray waterproofer. Such methods are not even in the same league as the method described above. Synthetic hydrophobic sand would have been lost to magicians when Wham-O discontinued their sand, had it not been for Gerald Kirchner, owner of Magic City. Through considerable effort and a great deal of investment, he was able to find a company to make high-grade synthetic hydrophobic sand in the 1990’s. Since then, he has increased the quality and consistently produces some of the best synthetic sand on the market.

Synthetic Sand Pros:

the coating on synthetic sand is thin, barely a molecule thick in most instances. Treated sand looks identical to regular sand. The grains are uniform and flow easily, just like regular sand. The sand retains its density after treatment, so it sinks to the bottom of the vessel easier than waxed sand. Synthetic sand can be poured from a greater distance from the water’s surface, and will “curl up” on the bottom with little effort from the magician. Heat has little effect on synthetic sand.

Synthetic Sand Cons:

the thinner coating wears off and can dry out if left in the open air (though it will repair itself if left in an enclosed container). Almost all colored sands available—even outside the magic industry—are a regular white sand painted to the desired color. The paint can liquify during the vapor process, creating an improper seal on the grain. Synthetic sands do not clump—at all—so you cannot stir the water as vigorously as a waxed sand. Some tricks are much harder to perform with synthetic sand than the new wax sand.

Click here to see Sands of the Desert SYNTHETIC on The Magic Depot!

The type of Sands of the Desert sand you choose is ultimately a personal decision you will have to make. Neither will go to waste. Consider buying both to see which you like better.

Waxed sand and synthetic sand are very different substances, both in look and feel. If you have tried one, but not the other, now is your chance to get a good quality product and add this legendary effect to your repertoire.

Like I say in the instructions:

“Sands of the Desert has been handed down from generation to generation; from magician to magician. Now it is handed to you. Take it and make it your own. Perhaps someday, you will be part of this incredible trick’s amazing history.”

Best Kept Secrets…

The purpose of Best Kept Secrets is to provide new magicians with a firm understanding of the magic community and magic products that will help them develop advanced skills. Best Kept Secrets is also a platform where I announce my new product releases and information about The Magic Depot.

Please note: this website is no longer at magic.org. The Magic Depot is now located at www.themagicdepot.com

Thank You!