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It’s Halloween 2021 and by all accounts, the various séances conducted today did not get a response from Harry Houdini. Here’s a theory: Maybe because there are so many seances, Harry feels overwhelmed and decides to just stay in, relax, and play rummy with Bess. Just a guess.

The month brought Jim Krenz to our Zoom meeting. Fifteen of Jim’s magic years were spent working for Jay and Francis Marshall at Magic Inc. He regularly performed close-up at Schulien’s Restaurant in Chicago. In 1993, he won the Most Valuable Participant award at the prestigious FFFF convention. He has created over three dozen original effects and techniques and has lectured about them in nine countries. Jim has studied with Ed Marlo, Jim Ryan, Tony Andruzzi, Don Alan, Eugene Burger, Slydini, Tommy Wonder, and Juan Tamariz.

Jim began by having a card “signed” on the face then lost it in the deck. He found it by apparently feeling the extra weight of the ink. Then on the back, a message appeared and vanished. This segued into an Ambitious Card routine and finally the card was found inside a hotel-style desk bell that sat on top of the closeup mat. This was a great routine consisting of a variation of Chicago Opener called LA Opener, an effect called Devilish Divide, plus the aforementioned Ambitious Card and Card to Bell. By the way, here’s the tip of the night: Tommy Wonder recommended to Jim that to master the Mercury Fold, get a dozen or so cheap decks and just practice.

Next, in an effect called Victorious Assembly, a four of a kind vanished from packets of cards and gathered together. Jim explained this could be done with or without sleights. (Words to our ears.)

Another one, called Coincidencia, used thirteen parlor size cards that were cut in half. Three times the cards matched the respective half. Inspired by tricks from Paul Curry, Aldo Colombini, and Tamariz, this utilized the Hofzinser Spread Force, Bill Simon’s Prophecy Move, and the Svengali principle.

We were also treated to Jim’s brilliant addition to John Cornelius’ Pen Through Anything and a Looy Simonoff-inspired coin effect with traveling coins without using a shell. As always, there’s not enough room to share all of the night’s events but be sure to ask Jim to demonstrate his card case load. It’s great! It utilizes Tamariz’s Perpendicular Control. Jon Racherbaumer published it in another magic magazine (that starts with the letter G). See you soon! — Doug Thornton