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Hofzinser's Card Conjuring
by Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser & Ottokar Fischer & Sam Sharpe


(1 review, 30 customer ratings) ★★★★★

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Hofzinser's Card Conjuring by Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser & Ottokar Fischer & Sam Sharpe

Hofzinser was born at the beginning of the 19th century and lived in Vienna during a time called the 'Biedermeier'. This was a time where people enjoyed art and entertainment in drawing-room presentations and at little receptions in the houses and villas of the rich and famous. Hofzinser thus never performed on a stage but perfected the branch of magic today known as 'Close-up'. One could argue that Hofzinser is the grandfather of close-up magic in particular close-up card magic. And this book is all about card magic. We have to thank Ottokar Fischer for collecting Hofzinser's material about hundred years later. But a gap of hundred years is difficult to bridge. And today scholars argue about many details of Hofzinser's life and particularly his tricks and inventions. Disregarding all the little details, Hofzinser without a doubt was one of the giants of close-up magic who discovered and invented many great pieces of deception. Anybody who wants to call himself a serious card man must study Hofzinser's material.

Translated by Sam Sharpe.

Translation of Kartenk√ľnste by Ottokar Fischer; 1st edition, 1931, George Johnson, London; reprint, 1973, Karl Fulves; reprint, 1986, Dover Publications, New York; 188 pages.

  • Foreword
  • Editor's Preface
  • Preface
  • Biography of J. N. Hofzinser
  • Guide to Performance
  • Experiments with Unprepared Cards
    • The Sympathetic Numbers
    • Synonymous Thoughts (First Method)
    • Association of Thoughts
    • The Four Eights
  • Experiments with Duplicate Unprepared Cards
    • Everywhere and Nowhere (First Method)
    • The Four Aces
    • The Metamorphosis of the Flying Card
  • Experiments with Double-Sided Cards
    • Sensation
    • Pre-Determination of Thought
    • Thought
    • The Power of Faith
    • The Four Kings
  • Experiments with Pre-arranged Packs
    • Domination of Thought (First Method)
    • Domination of Thought (Second Method)
  • Experiments with Divided Cards
    • Remember and Forget (First Method)
    • Remember and Forget (Second Method)
    • Remember and Forget (Third Method) [Gary Kurtz is teaching his methodology in this video.]
    • Omnipotence of the Ladies
    • Deceive Your Neighbour as Yourself
    • The Married Hearts
    • The Married Hearts, the Loving Couple
    • The Queen of Hearts
    • The Mysterious Pack of Cards
    • Everywhere and Nowhere (Second Method)
    • Everywhere and Nowhere (Third Method)
  • Experiments with Differently Prepared Cards
    • Synonymous Thoughts (Second Method)
    • The Insoluble Impromptu
    • Lost, Stolen or Strayed - a King
  • Experiments with the application of Transparent Cards
    • The Ace of Hearts
  • Experiments with Mechanical Apparatus
    • The Flying Thought
    • The Three Powers
  • Appendix
    • Card Problems

word count: 48357 which is equivalent to 193 standard pages of text

Reviewed by Tim Conger (confirmed purchase)
★★★★★   Date Added: Tuesday 29 June, 2010

This book is legendary for reasons I think are well-deserved, if only because Harry Houdini once had a copy of this book and then sold it and was sorry that he couldn't replace it. He was a very big fan, as evidenced in the biography in Houdini On Magic.

Hofzinser's use of stacked, perarranged, and special decks doesn't suit me right now, but who knows what the future may bring? In any case, maybe I can master one of the sleights Hofzinser invented and use it in a trick of my own invention. Reading Hofzinser really expands my magical imagination. Plus, his patter is hilarious--sort of a cross between a 19th Century psychologist and a pirate. One of his mock decks, for example, he calls "the divine." At another point, he says his deck only has four Aces so he will have to "employ his satanic powers to cause these to multiply. Now try getting away with saying that nowadays! Anyway, the important word of warning is the sleights are really really hard even for unusually dextrous people so you have to really be determined if you want to learn to do a Hofzinser trick. Treat it as an adventure and a keepsakes.