Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Rising Card / Card on Wall

An early version of these plots, in which a chosen card vanishes from the deck and appears on a wall, where it rises to the ceiling and then travels across it, is described in Breslaw's Last Legacy, 1784, p. 132. A vague description which is thought possibly to be an early reference to the Rising Card is found in Tomaso Garzoni's book La piazza universale di tutte le professioni del mondoli, 1585, where mention is made of the amateur conjurer Abramo Colorni being able to “make any card named […] come out of the pack.” However, this effect may have been closer to that of the Haunted Pack.

The same year the Breslaw book appeared, Henri Decremps published his classic La Magie blanche dévoilée, on page 57 of which is found “La Carte qui saute en l'air, en sortant du jeu, sans qu'on la touche” (trans.: “The Card springing up into the air, from the pack, without being touched”), which is much closer to the modern-day Rising Card. In it, the deck is placed in a holder while the selection rests on a pin that is secretly attached to thread coming up and out of the holder. By pulling down on the thread, the pin rises up in the holder, bringing the selection with it. Pulling fast enough will get the card airborne. One year later, Philip Astley published an English translation of this trick from Decremps in Natural Magic: or, Physical Amusements Revealed, 1785, p. 41. In fact, twenty-three of the twenty-four tricks explained by Astley are unacknowledged translations from La Magie blanche dévoilée.


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