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Conjuring Terms

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See also Category:Term.


Ambitious Card Routine (ACR) - Card effect where a chosen card keeps on returning to the top of the pack.

Angles - People sitting at certain position in the audience can spot the secret. Usually extreme left or right or behind. If a trick is "angley" it can only be done with limited audience viewpoints. Example: The Balducci Levitation which can only be viewed a 45 degrees view between side and behind angles.

Asrah - Stage Levitation and vanish of a woman, achieved by a collapsing form in the woman's shape, which is levitated by a zombie type rod or stage rig wires. Black art is used to hide the form, when the cloth is removed.


BA - Black Art - You can't see black on black very well which is useful for secret compartments or secret hiding places on stage. Can be used for the inside of illusions to hide depth or in close up work, or the same principle used with patterned materials which hide an edge.

Bat - Strong magnet in black cloth, used for PK or vanishing objects.

Bobo's - Bobo's Modern Coin Magic book reckoned to be one of the most comprehensive on coin magic.

Book Test - Mentalism effect where a chosen word in a book is guessed successfully by the performer. Can use forces, miss calls, swithces, subterfuge, carbon paper, special books, or a combination of methods.

BT or BTone Double writing gimmick invented by Bill Tarr


Center Tear - Special way of tearing up paper so that the centre piece with the message is retained by the magician. (Revelation/mentalism)

Chop - Code word for a magnet (eg in a ring or in a cup)

Chop Cup- Cup with secret magnet used with a magnetic ball which can be made to vanish or appear at will using the magnet.

Cold(deck) - Switching in a stacked deck.

Confederate - See Stooge.

Change - Changing one card for another.

Charlier - One handed flourish cut or pass.

Classic force - Making a spectator choose a card by fanning them and timing the force card to land under their fingers.

Classic palm - Holding an object in the centre of the palm, gripped by the palm muscles lightly eg A coin.

Clip - Holding an object, usually a coin between the fingers, often on the back of the hand. Also a device to hold a ball or other object under the jacket to steal for a production.

CIB - Coin in bottle. A coin is made to penetrate insisde a bottle. Can use folding coins, split cap, false transfers, magnets, coin hidden in cap or label, split bottle, deforming plastic bottle mouth beforehand, or switches.

Crimp - A bend in a card or cards which is used to locate them later. A gamblers move which can be used in magic, there are many different types.

CC/MC- Conjurer's/Magician's Choice where an object is forced on a spectator by deciding if he takes or discards the objects selected. Also known as Equivoque


Daub - A paste used to secretly mark a playing card by giving it a shiny or tinted smudge, which can be used as a Key Card.

Deal - To take cards off the top of the deck. Deal seconds (take the second card looking like the top) Deal Middles (take a middle card looking like the top) Deal Bottoms (take the bottom card looking like the top)

DL - Double lift. Lifting two cards as one.

DW - Double writing. Writing twice physically or with a gimmick so that one copy can be used as your prediction later in the effect.


Effect - A magical happening. The proper word for a trick. Beginners do tricks. Magicians perform effects.


False transfer - An object is put or taken into one hand while being retained in the other.

Fake - Similar to a gimmick, the object is modified, but it is seen by the audience whereas a gimmick is generally unseen.

Faro - A skillful shuffle similar to the riffle where the cards mesh perfectly.

Flashing - Exposing an object or part of an object momentarily during a secret move.

Flourish - A showy move which displays handling skills.

French drop - A take false transfer with a coin or small object.

Force - Where a card or object is made to be selected even though there appears to a free choice.

Foulard - Old fashioned word for a large cloth, usually silk to cover something. Often used with the zombie ball to hide the rod gimmick.


Glimpse - To get a secret view of a card or object. Eg the bottom card or sight the top one while looking through the pack to find another card. The top card may also be sighted by lifting slightly with the left thumb while misdirecting in some other way.

Glide - Pulling back the bottom card so the second from bottom can be dealt.

Gimmick/Gaffe - Secret part or object used to make the trick work.



IT/ITR - Invisible thread, Invisible thread reel. Thin nylon thread that you can't see is used to levitate stuff.

Impromptu - A trick that can be performed at a moments notice, usually with everyday objects and little or no preparation.

Invisible deck (brainwave deck) - Gimmicked roughed deck enabling the deck to be fanned and any card to be shown face up/face down.



Key/Key Card - Known card used to locate another.

Key Ring - Ring with a split in it as used in the linking rings efect.


Lapping - Dropping an object into one's lap to vanish it (done while seated).

Load - To secretly put an object into a location eg A ball under a cup or a rabbit into a hat.


M5- Powerful Neodymium magnet used for PK effects, balances, stopping watches, and vanishes.

Manipulator - A magician with a showy sleight of hand act, often set to music, who produces cards/coins etc or multiplies balls in the air.

Mechanic - An operator who is very skilled at sleight of hand (usually with cards).

Mechanic's grip - A way of holding the pack in the left hand ready for dealing. The fore finger is on the front of the deck to help square the pack and control the cards. A lay person will hold the deck with the fingers all underneath or down the side.

Misdirection - Getting the spectators to concentrate elsewhere when a move takes place.

Monte - Famous con game where three cards are thrown down and the mark has to find the queen/ace etc. Due to sleight of hand, he never wins.

Muggle/mark - Non magician or subject for a con game


Nose Peek - Seeing down sides of nose while blindfolded


One Ahead - Principle often used in mentalism where the magician writes down the name of an item previously discovered instead of the current item he is trying to guess.

Out - An ending to a trick that the magician uses if the trick goes wrong.

OOTW - Out of this World. A popular almost self working card effect where the red card are separated from the blacks. Modern variations include "Galaxy"


Palm - To hold an object in the hand secretly.

BP - Back Palm (Held on back of the hand) FP - Finger Palm (Held in the fingers) CP - Classic Palm (Held in centre of the hand) TP - Thumb Palm (Held in the crotch of the thumb)

Pass - Secret move to transpose the halves of a pack eg to bring a card to the top.

Patter - The words magicians use.

Peek - See Glimpse

Pinch - Vanish done by snapping coin from lengthways in the finger tips to edge-ways, incorporating a ROV element. Also a vanish used by carrying a sponge ball from pinched between fingers to a palm.

PK - Psychokinesis. Ie moving things around usually done with threads or strong magnets.

Pull - Device on elastic which pulls object up sleeve or under jacket.

PW - Pocket Writing - Writing secretly in a pocket or hidden location, information to be used later in a prediction.



ROV - Retention of vision vanish. Put vanish for a coin.

Raven - Magnetic Pull device used to vanish a small coin or magnetic object

Readers/paper - Marked cards which can be read from their backs.

RRTCM - Royal Road to Card Magic. 20th C book by Jean Hugard often cited as the best text for beginning card magic.

Riffle - To let cards come of the hand creating a noise. Also riffle shuffle.

R/S - The use of rough or smooth compounds on cards which makes them stick or slide easily.


Servante - Secret shelf or compartment behind magicians table.

Silk - A silk handkerchief. Shell - A hollowed out coin or ball which fits over the real object allowing vanish and reproductions.

Shell game - Con game with walnut shells and a pea where the muggle has to guess the shell with the pea in. Due to sleight of hand he never wins.

Sleeving - Dropping an object up a sleeve to vanish it.

Sleight - A secret move.

Slide - A tube to get an object to an impossible location. Eg Marked coin to ball of wool or object inside nested boxes.

Sponge - A sponge ball

Stack - A prearranged deck or part of the deck of cards

Steal - A slight to obtain an object secretly eg Stealing a ball from under a cup or stealing a card from the pack.

Strippers/Stripper Deck - cards are wider at one end, enabling a reversed card to be located.

Stooge(or shill or stick) - Audience member who is actually planted as part of the act and who acts in a cooperative manner.

Sucker effect - A trick where the spectator is lead to believe he has worked it out, only to be proved very wrong.

Svengali/Svengali deck - Gimmicked deck where every other card is the same and also short. Can be used for forcing and many other effects.

Swami Gimmick - Small writing device hidden under the nail used to "predict" what a spectator says by writing it secretly after she says it. (mentalism) Also known as nail writer or Boon writer.

Switch - To change one object for another. Eg Bobo switch for coins or Gypsy switch which uses a silk handkerchief.


Talking - Not the words spoken, but an inadvertent noise made by the props which can give away the trick.

Topit - Jacket with secret receptacle to vanish things.

T&R - Torn and Restored. The magician rips something up into many pieces (eg playing card/paper etc) and then "restores" it. The method lies in switching in a new undamaged item.

TT - Thumb tip. Plastic thumb cover for vanishing and reproducing small objects. Can be used for small liquid/powder (eg salt) vanishes and appearances.




Woofle Dust/Magic Dust - Excuse for going to a pocket to get rid of a vanished item.




Zig Zag - Stage illusion where a woman is split into 3 pieces. The effect is achieved by the woman contorting within the apparatus as her centre section is displaced.

Zombie - An effect with a floating ball. Zombie type/zombie gimmick - a secret rod to make an object float usually under cover of a cloth.