Archive for November, 2013

SUITABLE FOR FRAMING: Magician shakes tremors for impossible towers

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

One of the biggest joys we get at is seeing how you use the products we make, from decks of custom playing cards to videos showing what you can do with those cards. Thanksgiving always gives us a chance to settle down and really feel all the feels brought by the gratitude we have for all the customers who have kept us working our tails off over the last 13 years.

We love seeing what you do with our products. So many great performances, so many beautiful videos, so many amazing reactions. But every once in a while, one of you comes up with something completely, astonishingly different.

The latest to bewilder us is Jeremy Griffith, who has his own idea of a stacked deck. An Instagram user, Jeremy has been posting incredible pictures of Republics, Artifice and Rounders defying gravity. At first, the cards and decks in his series appeared to be floating. And just when we thought we had it figured out, Jeremy moved the camera down and showed EXACTLY how he accomplished it.

And bewildered us all over again.

See for yourself: Deck boxes balance on top of coins, single cards, glasses, pens and more. Jeremy said there’s no glue, tape, invisible thread or seams. Everything is done using precision balance (as precise as hands can be, anyway), centers of gravity and plenty of patience for trial and error.

“The rules when this thing got started with me were simple,” he said. “Photoshop was out of the question and nothing could be bonding the cards. Also, I was only allowed to use what was in the picture, which is usually a deck and a flat surface.”

The Lake Forest, Calif., resident has studied magic for 23 of his 30 years. For all of those years, he’s had a small tremor in both hands. Nothing serious, medically — but annoying enough to where the tremors become a hassle. Taking up magic at 7, the tremors complicated things, he discovered. It was hard to get that soft touch with cards, so he stuck with coins for the longest time — the hard metal and constant motion was easier to manage.

But he eventually conquered cards. He learned a sort of dynamic tension similar to guitar players and used that to progress deep into card magic. Though he still has the tremors, it’s hard to spot them unless his hands are completely still, he said. Which makes us look at all those towers in a new light.

Talk about an impossible stack.

“Usually I’m just seeing how far I can go with the center of gravity before it becomes too unstable,” he said. Every level you go up gets harder to balance for obvious reasons, and as such, requires a lot more patience. But when you pull it off, it’s like shooting nothing but net from the half court line.”


Biggest giveaway yet: New releases, amazing contest start holidays

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Shortest holiday season of the year? Only one way to respond: THE BIGGEST HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY EVER.

The 2013 Ellusionist Holiday Giveaway is in full swing, and features two ways to bring home some insane loot — including 12 of our rare, limited decks of playing cards, a $1,000 shopping spree, a PlayStation 4, an iPad Mini and, our grand prize, a 15-inch Macbook Pro Retina and Canon T5i DSLR camera. Those two ways:

  • ~ Every order will receive a ticket number. Each week we’ll draw 10 winning ticket numbers, each with a chance to win a prize.
  • ~ Every order can qualify for guaranteed gifts — as you reach certain spending tiers, you’ll receive options for more goodies, including limited decks, signed decks in lucite cases and more.

All the details of the giveaway are available right here. And while you consider what to load your cart with, you’ll want to see this week’s latest major releases:

GAFF SYSTEM: Made to work with our Artifice playing cards, the Gaff System doubles down on every gaff deck we’ve ever produced. Filled with tricks that could easily stand alone and sell for upwards of $20 each, the Gaff System deck features 15 insanely visual effects, including a torn-and-restored routine where the card melts back together, a lingering shadow from a smartphone’s flash, a torn-and-restored box flap, the familiar joker helpfully pointing out a location, a ChapStick that becomes a chosen card and so much more. Developed by three of magic’s most creative minds — Daniel Madison, Eric Jones and Calen Morelli — this deck is FILLED with worker effects. Inspect each one for yourself, and see some of them in action.

MESSADO RINGS: Messado is one of the few performers who took the linking rings seriously. Working as a pitchman for a magic store in Atlantic City, Messado transformed the linking rings into Messado Rings, an amazing magic display. Know how laymen think they know the secret of the linking rings? They will watch rings link in mid-air and defy gravity. They will get to inspect these beautiful carbon-black rings up close, and then become part of the magic by getting to LINK A RING THEMSELVES. And they will forget what they think they know. A bundle features Messado teaching each of these dazzling moves and a set of rings in a slim leather case. A sellout at Magic Live, this is your new chance to pick up this incredible routine.

ANGLE Z: Years ago Daniel Madison released an effect that he didn’t think much of, but the magic community latched onto it. But even after the first time he released it on video, he didn’t dive too much into it. That has changed with Angle Z. A corner of a card is torn, made to vanish then reappear WHEREVER YOU WANT. Beyond the basics, however, are 90 minutes of undiscovered techniques, subtleties and philosophy from the creator. This effect has been used by many of magic’s top performers, including David Blaine, who featured it on his recent special “Real or Magic.”

We’re not done by any means. We will open a few more releases before Santa boards his sleigh. But until then, check out all the unique, eye-popping magic at

Gaff System perfect for Calen Morelli’s use-everything style

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Most magicians stick to what they know — cards, coins, mentalism. Calen Morelli has no such restraints. He’ll use rubber bands, lip balm, water bottles, pens, cellphones, T-shirts, gum… anything that spectators are familiar with.

So when Morelli was invited to be a part of Ellusionist’s Gaff System project, he immediately thought of ways to expand and push gaff cards for effects that hadn’t ever been dreamed up before. Such as a torn-and-restored trick, which turned out to be the first gaff card he envisioned for the project.

“I remember coming up with this in my car right after the call with Brad, when he asked me to be a part of this project,” Calen said. “That idea excited me so much to see what else was in my brain for these cards.”


Calen started magic at 15, after watching David Blaine’s “Drowned Alive” special. He found he had a knack for it, and quickly outpaced the sources from which he learned.

So he started making his own tricks. Starting green, he undertook a yearlong project, where he would create a magic trick each day, and post daily videos of those tricks to YouTube. Called “365 Days of Magic,” the tricks he created gained a large following in the magic community — so large that before he got to video No. 200, he was hired to work for David Copperfield as a consultant.

He said that his unique approach to using atypical items came from a desire to be different and from a dissatisfaction with the material he had been learning. He said that expanding his horizons helped him stand out as an original among a crowd of card magicians, he said.

“I feel like doing magic with every day items is the simplest way to come across original to a audience.”

Even having landed a job with David Copperfield, Calen remains an active performer, filling his social networks with new performances regularly, and appearing with other online personalities, such as YouTuber Stuart Edge.

The grind of creating a trick a day taught him a lot about what works and what doesn’t, he said.

“I learned the process of creating a magic trick,” Calen said. “And how to very efficiently and quickly go from just a simple idea into a full, ready-to-perform effect … If a traditional method doesn’t work for my style or where/who I’m performing for, then it’s limiting me.”

That means Calen’s magic is particularly suited for gaff cards — especially a deck that pushes the boundaries of what gaff cards can do. Calen’s contributions include effects that transform a ChapStick into a chosen card and his favorite: The torn-and-restored trick he first envisioned.

Designed for use with our Emerald, Cobalt and Tundra Artifice decks, The Gaff System will be available on Nov. 19.

Ringmaster: Messado gives linking rings a fresh infusion of magic

Friday, November 15th, 2013

When Messado was a child, he went to a magic show at a neighbor’s house. When the magician asked for volunteers, Messado screamed and waved his arms eagerly, hoping to be one of the lucky kids picked. But it didn’t happen. The magician ignored him.

“I was heartbroken. I still am, 25 years later,” Messado said. “Back then, I decided if I ever became a magician, I would make everybody a part of it.”

That drive to involve has driven his take on performing magic. The creator of Messado Rings has transformed a traditional parlor or stage trick into an up-close, personal moment of magic, leaving spectators feeling like they just did the impossible. And he designed a set of durable rings and dizzying routines that will teach anyone how to create the same magic moments with their own spectators.

Messado Rings will be available on Nov. 19. The set includes a durable, heavy-duty set of rings, a leather case and an instructional video featuring the moves that have made Messado a rising star.

Business trip

Messado got his start in magic about 15 years ago during a trip to Atlantic City, N.J. He applied, and was hired, for a dealer position at the Sands. He was told he had everything the casino was looking for, and would be hired at $25 an hour.

One catch: He had to cut his hair.

“At the time my hair was to the middle of my back. I was like Samson, that’s how I felt when I was young. I told him I didn’t want to cut my hair, and tried to haggle with him. He said that those were the rules, so I told him that I regretfully decline.”

Dejected, he and a cousin made their way to a Houdini’s magic shop in the Tropicana Casino. The shop featured regular, hourly magic shows for only $3, so he and his cousin stayed and watched one.

Then another. And another. After the third show, an employee noted that he must really love magic (he did) and whether he knew any tricks (he did). Messado showed the employee his version of a Larry Anderson trick he learned. That led to an impressed manager, another application, an audition and, a month later, a new job working as a retail sales associate in magic.

Recognizing rings

It was during that first demonstration that he learned that presentation was an important part of magic.

“It was a trick off of Larry Anderson’s ‘JawDroppers,’ where I renamed it ‘Guardian Angel,’ where everyone has a guardian angel that watches over them, and I’ll have ’em come down and check … the magician I performed it for was blown away. That’s when I figured out one of my strong sets was presentation.”

It was in that job where Messado discovered the linking rings. He watched Anthony Salazar perform the routine over and over.

“I was always blown away by it,” Messado said. “I thought it was a really cool trick. He used smaller rings. He taught me the basics, and showed me how to link and unlink.”

He also noted that not a lot of other magicians were working with rings. Most others stuck to cards or coins. Realizing rings were largely left alone, Messado decided to make the rings his thing.

The store had bigger rings sealed in a package, and a set of smaller rings loose. Messado took those rings outside regularly and performed with them as a pitchman, snaring customers to step inside the store. Inspired by Salazar and Chris Capehart, Messado practiced every day, whether as a pitchman outside the store or an apprentice at home.

His skills grew with every movement. Before long, he started piecing together his own routine, developing his own moves — and after discovering some of those moves were created by Shoot Ogawa, he was able to meet and perform for Ogawa and his teacher, Masahiro Yanagida. Messado said he was blessed to be able to learn from them, and said he stands on their giant shoulders.

Sticking with the smaller rings, so that he could easily carry them and be ready to perform at the drop of a hat, he developed flourish-style ring movements that added to the magic. His routine includes a number of visual moves, including one where a ring slowly rises as it spins around another ring. He began fooling himself regularly, especially with his version of a jumping link that jerks up.

“One of the main reasons I wanted to do the rings is that it looked like one of the closest things to real magic. I used to say to myself, ‘I wish I could walk through walls.’ With rings, you can pass metal through metal, and that was pretty cool. As I practiced, and passed metal through metal, I got to where I couldn’t see (the gaff). I thought that if it was fooling me, I knew it would fool a lot of people.”

With that first magic show in the back of his mind, Messado developed routines that let the spectator hold the rings themselves. They get a chance to search the rings themselves for a gap they think is there, but never find. And when they make the rings link themselves, “they are completely destroyed in the best way,” Messado said.

“I never liked the idea of ‘lookit me, look what I can do’ in magic,” Messado said. “I wanted people to know they could do anything, or the impossible. It really creates a beautiful moment of magic for them.”

Philly pro

Now Messado is a performing magician that works a busy schedule of corporate clients and childrens shows. Before the introduction of Messado Rings at the most recent Magic Live conference in Las Vegas, he was known as an excellent performer with a stand-out ring routine.

Since that conference, his reputation has spread worldwide. He earned impressive reactions from David Copperfield and Jeff McBride, and his rings became one of the most talked about items at the conference.

Messado said the reach of his rings have stunned him. People from all corners of the world on the Internet have reached out to him — including a fan in Peru who sent a video of a Messado-inspired ring routine.

“My magic made it from Philly to Peru in a day or two,” Messado said. “Words can’t express how much joy I feel in my heart from all the love I’ve received from the magic community.”