How are Optus even still in business?


I haven't written on this blog for sometime now - most of my ongoing exploits as a magician can be found in the NEWS section at 

However, this blog still has quite an archive of stories - especially complaints - and a LOT of them about OPTUS.

So why do I stay with Optus? Pretty much solely for cheap movie tickets, but even the money I save is really not worth the aggravation they continually cause. (Is it just me? No. Check this story.)

I have ADSL and a Landline with Optus. When it works, it's fine (not as fast as they promise... but, adequate). The problem is that as soon as anything goes wrong, I can kiss all my free time goodbye because I know I'll be spending it trying to get through to ANYONE at Optus.

Before Magic Festival (July 2-14) this year, my landline became static and my internet speed dropped to 0.7mbps.

So I called Optus (well, tried to, but they put you on hold until you get disconnected as some kind of cruel ritualistic test of stamina). Instead I had to message their Facebook page (what kind of a multi-billion dollar company uses free social media as their main form of contact anyway?) and tried their LIVE CHAT (which was offline).

In the end, I was finally able to get through on the phone and a technician told me I would need to go through a service test (the same test I do on the phone with them every single time this happens - and it happens a few times each year). Based on the fact this is an ongoing problem I told them the issue was that something had happened to the lines outside my house. They said that was possible, but if they sent a technician without doing the service test first, and it was determined the issue was inside the house, they would bill me for the repairs.

I was in a bind - my landline was the information number for the Magic Festival (but was impossible to use because of the static) but I didn't have enough spare time to do the service test (which takes up to 40 minutes) because I was running the Magic Festival and had quite a few time critical tasks yet to complete.

We agreed that THEY would call me back on July 16 and do a service test, then come fix the line.

So I was without phone and with incredibly slow internet for the next three weeks. I diverted the landline to my mobile and moved on.

Optus called me back on July 17 (maybe it was the 16th in India?) and did the service test (probably the 15th time I've done it) and determined that the line outside my house was damaged. I asked the Optus guy (Aamir) about compensation for being without a phone or internet for a month, and he said Customer Service would call me tomorrow (the 18th). Every time this has happened in the past they don't bill me for the service they did not provide. It's literally the LEAST they can do, but I still have to ask for it or I don't get it.

Aamir booked a Telstra repairman (they are Telstra owned cables, Optus just rents them) and the next day (the 18th) the phone was working again and my internet speed went from 0.7 to 7.0mbps.

(As a side note, Aamir said there was NO RECORD of any of my previous Optus faults on my account. He said once a problem is resolved, it's deleted from the customer account! Is that some weird way that they can claim they have a much lower number of faults than they actually do? If it's fixed... then it never happened?)

But... Customer Service didn't call. Not on the 18th, 19th or 20th. 

I contacted Optus FB and they said, according to my account, I was waiting to do a troubleshoot (service test). I explained that was done and I was waiting for Customer Service to call me. They gave me three other Optus departments I could try contacting instead, explaining that refunds need to be assessed and take up to 16 weeks to process.

I kept on at them, trying to simply have them ask Customer Service to call me back.. but no dice.

I get through to LIVE CHAT and they had a completely different set of notes on my account. They said that my issue had been escalated and was being looked at by a different Customer department. I explained I didn't care, i just wanted to get the call back I'd been promised on the 18th (it was not the 23rd and I had been in contact on a daily basis.

I continued to be in contact on a daily basis.. I noticed that the FB Optus would only respond to a private message every 24 hours.. which made conversations unnecessarily drawn out. (Intentional?) They also clearly were reading from a completely different set of notes attached to my account - it appeared that even within Optus, communication is not their strong suit.

Finally, I got back to the LIVE CHAT on Thursday the 27th and was PROMISED a call back at my convenience. As I had shows all morning Friday, I requested Friday after 4pm. 

Yes, the time came and went with no call back.

Tonight (Saturday), I contacted Optus FB saying "Live Chat GUARANTEED I would be called back yesterday after 4pm... guess what?? NO CALL!"

I'm unsure as to why they had done that Tim šŸ˜ž As I'd mentioned this wasn't noted on your account, unless they were organising someone to follow up with you, it's definitely not something I can see noted on the account - Marie

This was after a conversation on Wednesday where Marie wrote:

Hey Tim, as Steph's mentioned to to you before we are a social media team and contact our customers via the methods they reach out to us on. Who did you speak with that promised a call back? I'd be happy to follow it up for you - Marie

So on Wednesday she was going to follow it up, but on Saturday she asked me if someone was going to follow it up as there was nothing noted on my account... should SHE have noted something on Wednesday???

You see she also mentioned a Steph. From my initial contact on June 24 when I first private messaged them on FB I chatted to Alex, Miles, Aman, Phil, Steph amd Marie.


So, I tried LIVE CHAT again and eventually got through. I told them I was still waiting to get the promised call from Customer Service and, after some time, came this reply:

I understand that you are looking to get technical set up assistance for your broadband service. As I will not be able to put you across to them on chat as they are closed, I kindly request you to contact our technical team on 133937.

 How on earth they came to that conclusion I have no idea! At my suggestion he looked up my account and assured me that Customer Service were into it and I would get a call back tomorrow.

To be honest, if a team of installers turn up at 6am on my front door ready to hook me up to broadband I would not be surprised in the slightest!

But then, this LIVE CHAT person was the first in ALL the conversations I've had over this month to give me a reference number....

Got Talent?

So what DOES it take to win a GOT TALENT show?

In Britain, after magician Jamie Raven came second to a performing dog last year, another magician has just taken out the top prize. Last week 25 year old amateur magician Richard Jones won with more than a touch of controversy.

The Magic Circle, Britainā€™s world-famous club of professional magicians, tweeted to say it was proud to see a member finally taking the Ā£250,000 prize.

But others are not so happy. Some are saying Richard performed exactly the same effects that American magicians performed on America's Got Talent in 2015 and 2014. Someone has even created a video so that viewers can judge for themselves.



For his grand final performance, Richard performed a story deck effect and a card painting effect together.


both of which were performed by the magician who won America's Got Talent in 2015 Matt Franco



It's not only magicians who noticed that Richard was performing effects that had already been done on the franchise, the media in Britain picked up on it too with headlines like BGT'S RICHARD JONES ACCUSED OF STEALING WINNING TRICK FROM AMERICA'S GOT TALENT CHAMPION.


So... did Richard choose his repertoire based on what worked on the show in America... or did the producers suggest what effects he should do?

Is this the real secret of winning the competition?


I hope not.

Over on AMERICA'S GOT TALENT they just featured one of THE best acts in the world today - Thommy Ten & Amelie - The Clairvoyants. If there is ANY justice in the world they will take out the top prize with absolute ease. Take a look, their act is truly astonishing.



RACV.... sooooo slow



So on Monday May 9 a guy reversed his car into mine while I was stationary. He said he would have his insurance company call me and sort it out.

By Friday May 14 I hadn't heard from them so I chased them up. Apparently he told his insurance we were equally at fault (?!) but after speaking with them they told me they would call me on Monday... the whole week passed. I called them this morning (Monday May 23) and they assured me they had called me (on May 17 according to their records... but they are not allowed to leave a message on machines... so how do I know if they called me???) and they posted a document to me because they can't proceed with the claim until they get a diagram from me.

They told me they would post another copy to me - as they also haven't received one back from the other party either. 

I asked how two different diagrams of the incident would help them determine what happened any better than the two different descriptions they already have. Apparently, according to the RACV representative, the diagrams will clear it all up...

Seems like it does nothing more than draw the whole situation out as I continue to drive around with damage to my car.

Two weeks so far - it looks like it will be at least another two weeks before we get even close to repairs.. 


Not impressed RACV. I love your roadside assist but I'm glad I'm not insured by you.



UPDATE June 20

Apparently RACV have been trying to call me but are not allowed to leave messages - so it's their word against mine in that regard - they reviewed the "diagrams" and decided that, although the other party reversed into me while I was stopped, if I wasn't fully in the lane (because I couldn't complete my U turn because the other party suddenly stopped in front of me) then I was equally at fault and have to pay for my own repairs.

Clearly, RACV is trying to save a few dollars (the repair is minor) but on principle I am deeply offended by their petty attempt at blame shifting.

This will continue as I am not prepared to accept their decision.


UPDATE July 11

For those of you still following this saga... I sent a photo of the damage to my car which clearly shows that I must have completed the U turn in order for the other party to hit me where he did. I sent the photo to RACV on June 21. Since I have heard NOTHING back from them after 3 weeks - I have emailed them again. 

Why am I having to be the pro-active party in trying to get this claim sorted? Or is it an intentional delay strategy on the part of RACV? I asked them in my email. The waiting continues...


UPDATE July 22

Frustrated.. I phoned RACV. I accidentally got put through to their SALES line within 30 seconds. When they realised I was trying to get through to CLAIMS I was put on hold for 15 minutes. The CLAIMS man said I needed to speak to LIABILITIES. He said to stay on the line and he would transfer me. After being on hold for another 5 minutes I was disconnected.

I have now emailed them and, if I don't get a reply, next step is the ombudsman.


UPDATE July 28

Well, as soon as I messaged the Ombudsman, the RACV suddenly called me! On Monday their Customer Service people phoned me to explain that someone from claims would call me asap. Sure enough, I got a call from claims the next day - they actually left MESSAGES on my answering machine asking me to call them back - even though they had repeatedly told me previously that they were not allowed to leave messages...

Things change once the Ombudsman is involved.

Then today they emailed me their official reply - the one I've been waiting for SINCE JUNE 21 - sticking to their original story that they are "holding both parties equally responsible for the damages to your vehicle and our clients vehicle."


Their sole basis for this claim is this:

Giving way when making a U-turn
A driver making a U-turn must give way to all vehicles and pedestrians.

So, by their interpretation (and in order to avoid paying to have scratches buffed off my bumper bar) I should have "given way" to a vehicle heading in the same direction that I was heading in  - after it stopped in the middle of the road and started to reverse.

Their argument is that I had "not completed the U Turn". However, I'm certain that, at the time of impact, I was parallel with the road - based on the point of impact to my car (as shown in the photo) and the fact that the other driver exited his vehicle and came up beside me and gave me his details WHILE OTHER VEHICLES DROVE PAST US ON MY RIGHT.

More to come.


UPDATE August 4

Since contacting the Ombudsman I have had calls and emails from several different Customer Relations departments of RACV (and their parent company

The latest email said they hope to have this matter resolved by end of business today.


UPDATE August 5

The "final decision" email was sent through today. As it turns out, the other party has chosen to LIE about what happened.. claiming that he was reversing into a parking space when I made a U turn and impacted the rear of his car.

The FACTS don't support that claim at all. There is no way my car could have hit a car in the left lane without completing my U turn, and the damage to his car was the side, not the rear. (Plus, if I was moving at ANY speed the damage to his car would have been much worse).

However, RACV instead of investigating or assessing the claim, simply put the thing in the too hard basket and through it out saying "I am unable to conclude that the incident was not in any way your fault or that our insured was solely responsible."

This will continue....


UPDATE August 31

Today I received a reply from the Financial Ombudsman Service of Victoria. I explained everything about the case, how RACV decided both drivers were equally "at fault" because of the other driver lying about what happened. But they are unable to help me.. why?

Because I am insured.... 

It doesn't take a magician to tell the deck is totally stacked against him.


"Why we cannot consider the dispute
FOS is only able to consider a dispute about another personā€™s insurance company
if all of the following requirements are met:
1. The motor vehicle you were driving has to be uninsured when you had the
2. You must request that RACV pay for the damage caused to your motor
vehicle by its insured. The cost of repairs to your motor vehicle is below
3. You must believe that the person insured with RACV was at fault for
causing damage to the motor vehicle you were driving.
4. The person insured with RACV must have lodged a claim with their insurer,
which must not have been declined or withdrawn."


Mark Kalin in Conversation


Here is a very unique opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the most influential magicians today, creator of The Illusionists 1903, Mark Kalin... and it's free!

Mark will be interviewed by President of The Australian Institute of Magic, Lee Cohen, as she asks him about his life, his career and his creations.

You can do your own advance research by visiting his official website here

This event is free, but bookings are essential because it will sell out FAST.

It all takes place in Melbourne at The Victorian Arts Centre onThursday 7 January 2016, 5pm


Are they STILL in business?

Regular readers know I am NOT a fan of MAGIC MAKERS - the magic manufacturing company that seems to profit by copying other people's creations.

When HEALED & SEALED came out, they brought out CRUSHED & CURED COLA and claimed it was based on an "old principle". We all know that was a blatant lie.

Well now they have responded to critics by trying to "credit" the creators of the effects in the instructions they supply.


For example, THE CARTOON DECK (a complete rip off of Dan Harlan's CARDTOON) says "Designed by Rob Stiff Magic Makers, Inc. - additional crediting is in the teaching video.
Credit in this category of magic should be to the brilliant mind of Dan Harlan.
Also, credit to the original effect in the same playing card flip book format with an animated magic top hat and dove flying out from 1954 & 1959 by Educards of Canada."

The credit to Educards is irrelevant as it was not a trick, but a flipbook using cards. Magic Makers simply added that to try to make it look like Dan Harlan's creation was not original either.


Another example, THE SECRET BOX is credited "Terry LaGerould is credited for this effect.
Terry has been performing magic & entertaining audiences for over 3 decades."

Yes, Terry did invent that effect. He called it THE NOTHING BOX and it's available at Penguin Magic. Magic Makers seem to have come up with the idea that if you credit the creator, then it's alright to rip him off!


Another example, SHRINKING GLOVE ILLUSION. Credited "This effect is based on the 1997 Incredible Shrinking Glove by Rob Stiff." Rob Stiff was inspired by his own trick apparently...

No mention of Samuel Patrick Smith who has been marketing this effect for years.


Perhaps the worst example is THE MILLION DOLLAR BOOK TEST. In the instructions, Simon Lovell points out it was based on an old UF Grant Magazine test. Correct. Several DIFFERENT book tests have been based on this principle- but Million Dollar Book Test is not a DIFFERENT book test, but a direct copy of Ted Karmilovich's MOTHER OF ALL BOOK TESTS. The only variation is that it includes four extra words, something the MOABT's originally had, but felt it weakened the effect so removed them. 

What makes it worse is the title MILLION DOLLAR BOOK TEST is the name of another Ted Karmilovich effect - one that he published but didn't circulate. It's almost as if Rob Stiff is having a jab, letting Ted know he deliberately left his name out of the credits.

That's right, according to Simon Lovell is this thread on The Magic Cafe, Simon did not know THE MILLION DOLLAR BOOK TEST was the name of a Ted Karmilovich effect. Simon did mention Ted in the credits but spelled his name wrong. Simon said "I had heard of MOABT but, with research and assurances, learned that it was not a new principle ... simply an application of an older one."

Yes, it was an application of an older principle, but a unique application. Million Dollar Book Test was the EXACT SAME application.

Bill Palmer added in the same thread "To be absolutely fair, I must point out that this is completely legal. Ted K. did not originate the principle used in MOAB. Although he has copyrighted the text, if someone else has written a new novel that uses the same principle, then there isn't anything we can do about it except write bad reviews of it."

Yes, what Magic Makers is doing IS legal. Some would say it's good business bring out "generic", cheaper  versions of popular tricks. But magic is a cottage industry. It's hard enough trying to make a profit after spending all the time and effort creating a new trick without someone else copying your idea and selling it to your customers cheaper than you can.

A lot of magicians understand this and strive to support the creators, which is sensational!

As for Magic Makers and their continual copying of effects and attempts at rewriting magic history... I guess we as a magic community only have ourselves to blame if they are still in business...

The Optus Merry Go Round

My wifi has been playing up. It seems to reset itself or something because frequently I have to manually reconnect my notebook, and my printer keeps going offline as does my Akruto sync that keeps my phone and computer talking to each other. 

My modem is provided by Optus,... yes, here we go again... but I already know going into a store will not achieve anything, they will tell me to call technical support on 131 344 (where I will be kept on hold until I hang up out of frustration after an hour or so) or I can go to their website... I chose the latter.

Going to their home page I see this:



Screenshot 2015-09-30 10.24.44



and I click on SUPPORT - as you would


Screenshot 2015-09-30 10.19.51



Which takes me to their SERVICE HUB where you can type your question in and you are offered a few stock answers - none of which helped me unfortunately. 

At the very bottom of the page is a link saying CONTACT US - pressing this takes you to a page called ASK OPTUS


Screenshot 2015-09-30 10.29.28



where, after you ask your question again, and they provide the same answers again, you are given the options of:

  • JOIN THE OPTUS COMMUNITY (You need to register to join a forum where you can chat with other disgruntled Optus customers)
  • PHONE US  (They give a number 133 937, which they said is "General Enquiries/Tech Suport", but it's actually just General Enquiries, once you eventually get through, they will transfer you to the back of the line at Tech Support on 131 344)

At the bottom of that page you see two more additional options. Contact via Facebook or Twitter


Screenshot 2015-09-30 10.33.02



I chose the Facebook account and received a fairly prompt response which ended with me being told 

"If that's the case it's best to get in touch with our tech support team on 131344 or via to get this further investigated. Steph"

I clicked on the link she gave and was back on the website


Screenshot 2015-09-30 10.19.32



I click on TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES and was taken to this page


Screenshot 2015-09-30 10.19.11


Not exactly helpful.

I did notice at the bottom of the NEED A HAND? page was the option to FILL IN A FORM and they would get back to me... 


Screenshot 2015-09-30 10.19.39


So I clicked that link and was taken to...


Screenshot 2015-09-30 10.19.51


Yes, the merry go round had completed a full lap and was ready to start again!


I went back to Facebook and asked

"Why is there no link to tech support on your web page"

and Dave replied

"We have this one - Not sure if that's what you were after. Dave"

Yes, that is indeed what I was after, but you cannot actually find that page. It's deliberately hidden.


Screenshot 2015-09-30 10.43.56



It appears that the only way you'll get it is by going to the ASK US page and typing in HOW DO I CONTACT OPTUS. 

Even then, it gives the same options: Optus Community, Facebook, Twitter, 131 344. Plus an OPTUS APP you can use for questions about your mobile service

But at the very bottom of the page....


Screenshot 2015-09-30 10.44.05


It's like discovering buried treasure... those magical words... HOW TO EMAIL US. Clicking on them takes you to


Screenshot 2015-09-30 10.44.17


But the excitement is short lived


Screenshot 2015-09-30 10.54.47


The next screen warns you off emailing by letting you know it may take several days to get a reply... and again directs you to OPTUS COMMUNITY ("Discuss your problems among yourselves please, don't bother us.") PHONE US, or us LIVE CHAT... sounds promising, but that link tells you to download the OPTUS APP, Live Chat is for Mobile support only...

So, as I refuse to sit on hold for hours at a time (again), my only option is to fill in the form and wait a few days for them to reply. (Bearing in mind, the last time I did this they didn't reply at all. I had to fill out and submit the form THREE TIMES).


At least I get to sit on a bench and watch the Merry Go Round turning, taking all the other customers for a ride while I wait for my phone to ring....



Hi Tim,


Thank you for sending your concern to us.


This is in response to the email you sent on 30 September about Internet Connection Issue.


I'm sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. Thank you for letting us know about this; I can see how this may be a cause of concern for you. We appreciate the feedback and suggestion that you will be providing and my apologies again for the experience that happened. 


I can see that the issue have not yet been raised to our Technical Support; I highly suggest to contact our Team so we can perform troubleshooting and check what's causing the issue for Internet Connection drop outs.  Just to set your expectation factors that can impact speed such as demand on the network, local conditions such as internet traffic, hardware, and the source or destination of the site being accessed. You can contact them directly by dialing 1300739407 Hours of Operation: 24 x 7 (Open all Hours).

Or you can get in touch with our Webchat team online for further assistance, you may use the link -




Optus Email Servicing

Ref #: 1742-48915


Repost of 'RePop' from 2002


Magic and the internet certainly make strange bedfellows. Magic is known by it's desire to keep secrets, whereas the 'net is all about spreading information at lightning speed.


It only took 12 hours from the time David Blaine performed the "Beer Can Trick" on his 'Vertigo' TV Special for the secret of the trick to become available on the internet auction site eBay. The advertising read: "David Blaine - "Resealed" beer can effect from "Vertigo". Yes! As seen on TV this week."


As I have a vested interest in protecting the secret of this trick, I took a personal interest in this matter. The history of this effect is that Anders Moden first published it on the Electronic Grymoire on February 13, 1997. Few magicians were interested in his idea back then, I was one of the few who actually took the idea and modified and developed it further to suit my style. I even paid Anders for the right to include my version ('Soda Resurrection') of his trick ('Healed and Sealed') in the Ellis & Webster lecture notes '24 Years of Living Next Door to Ellis'. David Blaine also paid Anders for the exclusive rights to perform the trick on TV until the year 2005.


I contacted the man who was offering the secret of the trick for sale on eBay. His name is Stephen Pellegrino of St. Louis Magic, and this is what he had to say about the effect: "My principle is based on another effect that has nothing to do with a beer or soda can, that I adapted and is over 50 years old. I literally worked this out this morning." It sounds like he watched Blaine perform, figured out how the trick was done, then released it for sale as his own creation. A colleague of mine actually bought Mr Pellegrino's manuscript and strangely enough the method used was exactly the same as Anders' original trick. The only difference is that in Anders' version, the can is also crushed, and then uncrushes itself. This is what Blaine performed, but Mr Pellegrino may not have noticed and so he didn't include that part of the trick in his manuscript, so his customers would be within their rights to accuse him of false or misleading advertising.


Mr Pellegrino argued that the method was "over 50 years old" and to prove his point credits several people in the manuscript he offers for sale. Richard Stevenson is credited for a trick where a soda can's pull tab is removed and restoredā€¦ though it has nothing to do with resealing a can. David Harkey is credited for an effect where you appear to be eating from a can. Paul Harris and Bill Herz are credited for a re-working of the climax to a John Kennedy effect. This is close to Anders' effect however, when Anders contacted Kennedy, John said "Your effect sounds different from mine. Nice idea!" All of these credits, and the omission of Anders' name, suggest that Pellegrino was trying to justify that the effect was "old" and therefore okay for him to sell.


A few days later the effect appeared on one of Steve Fearson's many web-sites, all re-packaged with slick new graphics, and re-named 'Re-Pop'. Mr Fearson wasn't selling it, but offering it free to anyone who bought one of his other products. Fearson denied he was cashing in on Blaine's success, saying: "I do not claim to be selling the same method that was used on the David Blaine special, Vertigo. My ad clearly states, "Recreate the magic you saw on TV". From that, someone decided to describe my ad as saying, "Get the same trick David Blaine did on 'Vertigo' for free".


A week later, out came a booklet called 'Three Secrets Revealed' with ads touting: "Did you see the David Blaine specials? Here is a new booklet with three great tricks. Just like David Blaine did on TV." This was featured on the websites of many major magic dealers and was again seeking to cash in on Blaine's success. This also featured "The UnCanny. Another oldie, but not quite as ancient. An empty beer or soda can refills itself." This booklet was written by a street performer named Stefan Keppner. Some of these dealers, when contacted, agreed to withdraw the book from sale.


So why is it, that in a business where we "protect our secrets", do so many of us rush out to tell our colleagues how the latest tricks are doneā€¦ especially if there's a buck or two in it as well? It doesn't even matter whether we have any legal or ethical right to the secret or not. Mr Fearson said, on the public Genii Forum on the internet: "I don't belong to any of your organizations and I haven't infringed upon any copyrights. I am doing perfectly legal and in my opinion, quite ethical business." Mr Pellegrino used Copyright Law to point out that the actual text of an idea is protected by the law, but the idea itself is not. So, he is quite within his legal rights to rewrite the instructions of any trick in his own words, and sell it as his. There is not a darn thing the inventor of the trick can do about it. As Fearson said, on the public Genii Forum: "So kick me out of your clubs and blow me out your magic circles. I'll keep working."


So how do inventors of magic protect themselves? On the website Chuck Leach has a section headed 'Legal Dept.' which explains: "The purpose of the Legal & Ethics Fund will be to generate issues, information and resources to try and improve the protection of magic intellectual property." Great. However, Chuck also runs the website 'Secrets Revealed' which advertises "Did you ever wonder how David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear? Or about his other amazing illusions? A magician won't tell you these secrets. But we will! These are the secrets you really wanted to know. The ones even the Masked Magician was afraid to reveal! The magicians are steaming mad about this site. But we don't care! If you want to know the secrets, we're going to tell youā€¦ everything!"


I asked Chuck Leach: "What rights do you have to give away the secret of Copperfield's Statue of Liberty vanish, and how do you think doing so will enhance magic?" Chuck's reply was: "Are you implying that I have no right to explain how that illusion is done? There is no patent on that illusion sir, and it is not illegal to explain the method to it. And as for how it enhances magic? The method to that illusion is one of the few secrets in magic that is actually exciting to learn. It is truly ingenious and learning it inspires a fledgling magician to learn even more about the art."


I also asked him: "Are the tricks simply "revealed'/explained, or do the visitors to your site have to buy the props/secrets (like the 'Twisting Arm Illusion' or the 'Balducci Levitation')" Chuck said: "I don't know what props you are referring to when you talk about those two illusions as there are none involved. The methods are revealed and explained, if it makes you happy we can call it teaching. And yes, they have to buy the secrets. As a matter of fact, you could hardly call my sites exposure sites since there is absolutely nothing exposed until you do pay. So I guess that answers your question, yes they have to pay before learning. My sites are a part of the Magic Secrets Network, run by which is a site that supplies magic webmasters with the ability to create a gateway page that customers can't pass through without a password. A password costs them $29.95 for a one year period. But you must already know this if you visited my site, so why are you asking?"


(I wonder how Mr Leach would feel if another website were to "reveal" the secret passwords to his site for free?)


Yes, if you pay $29.95 Mr Leach will tell you how Blaine, Copperfield etc do their tricks. Who runs Magicheck? Steve Fearson. However, Steve won't let just anyone in. You must first read and agree to The Magician's Oath before he'll accept your $29.95.


His site explains: "The magician's code is a statement of ethical guidelines designed to help keep the art of magic alive and healthy. We require that you agree to our stated code of ethics before subscribing. Although the traditional magician's code is not enforcable by legal means, some of the issues regarding copyright infringement and the internet are, and we reserve the right to cancel your membership if it is found that you have purposefully violated any part of the code."


The code you need to agree to is "based on" one established by the IBM in 1993 and before they'll tell you how the "big boys" tricks are done you are required to agree that: "I understand that The Magic Secrets Network uses the terms "Exposure" and "Secrets Revealed" as tools to draw as many people as possible to the art through web searches and advertisements, introducing them to magic, and concepts like the magician's code of ethics as well. But Magicheck does not condone exposure for exposure's sake. The Magic Secrets Network is a learning facility. During a performance, the use of such terms should generally be avoided." Another clause talks about the need for respect within the magic community: " I agree that the originator or inventor of a trick should be credited when possible. If there is a performer who has become associated with the effect through outstanding performances, they may be credited as well. This should be done out of respect but also to encourage future inventors by letting them know that we respect their work and the community will not forget their contributions."

Steve Fearson, on the public Genii Forum, also had a word for magic inventors: "It doesn't matter what you invent, if you don't do anything with it you're not going to be recognized for it. Generally, the guy who does the footwork will get the credit. That holds true for marketing as well as performing. And you'll be lucky indeed if you find a guy like Mike Ammar or myself, who is willing to give credit once you've let it slip away."

Anders Moden should be so lucky.


Steve Fearson has the final word: "The fact is that unless you work harder than me, the future of magic and the net is in my hands."



The original 'Healed and Sealed' by Anders Moden can be purchased at:

Tim Ellis's 'Soda Resurrection' can be found in the book TIMELESS MAGIC and purchased here 

10 easy mistakes to try to avoid...

There is a definite art to capturing "magic" in a single still photograph. Over the last 42 years I have had some success with professional art photographers like Tashkah

Tim Ellis - Melbourne Magician

and Jonathon Pearlman


and some... slightly less successful images trying to do it on my own


Some of the professional images have been so effective they've ended up in magazines.

newave  al&in  disney

But I always like to think that you can learn something from the less successful attempts as well.

So today I'd like to offer you ten tips so we can all learn and not make the same mistakes over and over again...  




They say the eyes are the windows of the soul. Try to keep yours open during the moment the photo is actually taken. The chap here has used so much lighting that not is he blinded by the flash but his doves have almost completely disappeared!

010.Zombie Ball    



Try to use all of the elements in your photograph to communicate who you are and what you do. This photo, for example, suggests that the magician is possibly a child at heart based on his choice of head-wear, though his vest appears to have liquor bottles on it and he's puckering up either to whistle or to blow a kiss. Meanwhile, he's either taking out or putting a hamster into what appears to be a Church offering collection bag. Maybe he's an alcoholic prankster who never grew up?

Anth 12  



Try to limit the number of playing cards in your shot. Just because you can grip one extra card with the loose skin of your neck doesn't mean you have to. In fact, this magician has another 26 cards clenched between his butt cheeks as well.

Anth 23



Believe it or not, some styles of clothing do actually go out of fashion. A good stylist will help you to avoid costumes that make you look like the love child of Willy Wonka and Prince. They'll also explain to you what the phrase "choking the chicken" means and why your photo shouldn't plant a visual image of that metaphor in the minds of your audience.




Though this chap has avoided the "choking the chicken" metaphor simply by holding his chicken upside down, his facial expression in combination with his body language and costuming does make him appear a tad like a serial killer... just a normal, happy guy who lived next door... but one day just cracked...




If you manage to find a really glittery shirt AND pull an appropriately astonished face to communicate that your magic is so mind-blowing it even amazes you... then you probably shouldn't pose with a trick that 99% or more of your audience already knows how to do,


Again. here we see the "Even I have no idea how I'm doing this one!" face and the trick is marginally more deceptive than the clinging wand... but a magician who levitates Ken dolls instead of people? Is there really a market for that?





Here we have a man who seems to have it all together. He looks suitably astonished, his ball is dangling mysteriously from a white handkerchief in a manner that has us not only asking "how?" but "why?"... Note the clever red-hering of the power cord plugged into a socket in the lower right hand corner to suggest the ball is somehow electrically powered. Unfortunately, he seems to have forgotten his jacket. Either that or he has borrowed a Chippendales costume and put it on the body of a computer programmer.


It's not only the male magicians who forget to bring their costumes to photo shoots. If you've only brought your tie and your belt it's probably better to reschedule than improvise.




Nothing says magic more than a beautiful white dove. Unless, of course, that dove appears to be dead.


If a gravity defying dove doesn't do the trick, you can always try a poodle of a flying carpet. Not exactly the traditional image everyone thinks of when imagining a classic magic trick... but it will definitely get people talking about you


Of course, you can always go for the traditional 'rabbit in the hat' image. This PR photo from Dave J Castle teaches us several important things:

  1. People can tell if you don't use a real rabbit
  2. Don't hand write your name on the hat. If you're worried you might lose it you can always order name labels to put on the inside of all your clothing just like Mum used to.
  3. Don't use a photo where it looks like you are about to back hand the rabbit across the face or you'll look like a dick.
  4. Don't be Dave J Castle.




Try not to create weird mutant tricks. For example, it the effect below a beautiful waterfall of the cards, or a frozen waterfall levitating in front of his hand.


In this shot, is the magician vomiting cards from his mouth, or is he so short of gigs he's had to resort to eating his own deck?




Your camera has a delete button. Sometimes you really should use it.


The Paulie Awards

What the Oscars are to movies, the Emmys are to television and the Tonys are to theatre, the Paulies are to magic's hairdressing industry.

Named after the great Paul Daniels who is best known for his penchant for hairpieces (here is one he sold on ebay in 2011) the Paulies are presented for the most amazing hair in the industry.

Previous winners have included David Copperfield and his amazing animated hair (courtesy of several well placed wind machines) and his successor Hans Klok 


who has kept the tradition alive long after Copperfield moved on to what one commentator cruelly referred to as "painted on hair". As well as the multi-award winning Criss Angel for his legendary "chameleon hair".



This year the nominees include Tony Hassini who, at age 74 when most magicians are losing their hair, is actually gaining even more.

Here he is back in 2002


and now in 2015



Steve Carrell as Burt Wonderstone channeling the unique style that only a magician can wear.


And Deddy Corbuzier channeling the unique style that only Max Maven can wear.



But the winner of this year's Paulie Award for MOST MAGICAL HAIR OF THE YEAR goes, once again, to Johnny Thompson for both creativity and ingenuity. A true master of all facets of the magical arts. Congratulations!