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  • Writer's pictureMadison Hagler

Aretalogy of Vanni Bossi

This review is from five years ago. It was a lovely read. I have a bad habit of reading a book, absorbing the material, and then selling the book a year or two later. This is one I which I wouldn't have sold.

I read it all in one sitting from cover to cover and I must say... it is one of the best (if not THE best) magic books I own. I'm amazed it doesn't have way more attention than it currently does. It is FULL of incredible, show-stopping material. I literally made a trip to the store after reading to collect the material to do every trick in the book... yes, it's THAT good.

There's so many good things in this book but here are some of my favorites:

Framing the Sandman - A cheap picture frame is taken apart and every aspect is cleanly shown to be normal and empty. The frame is rebuilt and given to a spectator to hold facedown between her hands. This spectator then calls stop to select a card. The selected card gets its turner torn off (in a VERY fair way.) The corner is given to the spectator to hold on top of the frame. The rest of the card is torn to pieces and the torn pieces vanish without a trace. The spectator holding the frame turns it over to find their card restored and inside the frame behind the glass. The torn corner is held up and it does indeed match. The frame can be taken apart, given out for complete examination, and the card can be kept as a souvenir.

I LOVE this routine. It plays incredibly well and packs small, plays big. And all with an ungimmicked picture frame! There's even a subtlety Vanni has added which may make some people remember it as a signed card. Good thinking. I can't wait to perform this one.

*honorable mention* Milking the Force - This is a bold force which seems like it would fool no one. I used this force 10 times in a row on my girlfriend and assistant (who knows a LOT of card moves and almost always figures my tricks out) and she was fooled. She had no clue I was forcing the card. This just goes to show how deceptive this force truly is. I think I'll be using this one every now and then to change up my force procedure.

U.T.N. Card Fold - This stands for "Under Their Nose card fold." This is a way to fold a card neatly in sixths while turning the top card of the deck face up and back facedown. I didn't think I would like this one at first... but boy was I wrong. I love it! I've gone through a whole deck of cards practicing this technique and I am already getting a nice, neat little packet at the end. And it all happens so quick! It's bold, but I think it will fly. If I can become proficient with this, I will be using it to replace my murcury card fold.

With Your Peanuts - A can of peanuts is introduced. The peanuts are offered to audience members. The lid is snapped back on and the can is set aside. A card is selected, signed, and returned to the deck. The peanuts are dumped out and everyone can see a folded card emerging among the peanuts. The card entire can is dumped on the table. The folded card is retrieved from the pile of peanuts. It is fairly handed to an audience member to unfold. It's the signed card. The pile of peanuts can be examined. There is nothing to be found and the performers hands are genuinely empty. The peanuts are put back in the can, the lid is placed back on, and the performer is left clean.

I love this one too. I bought everything to make it up and will be making it and playing with it within the following days. It truly seems impossible and it looks so fair. Mystery box plot on steroids.

Bottom Feeder - A mystery box made out of a ring which does not require a switch of the card. I want to make this one up as well if (when) I find a suitable ring box. All appears very fair.

The Card in Finger Ring - Talk about an impossible effect! A spectator is asked to remove his ring and hold it behind his back between one thumb and finger. A card is now selected, signed, and replaced in the deck. Moments later, it has disappeared from the pack, and when the person's ring is brought from behind his back, the card is found rolled inside.

This is one of Hofzinser's unsolved effects. Here are the conditions that are met:

1) The spectator removes and handles his ring.

2) No duplicates of the card or ring.

3) The card is freely selected and can be signed.

4) The card must vanish instantly from the deck with no suspicious moves.

5) The performer is never seen to touch either the card or ring. If the performer does touch the ring, it is only to show the owner how to hold it.

6) At the climax of the trick, the helper removes the card from the ring himself and immediately recognizes both as his.

Vanni has two versions of this. One meets all the above conditions. One does not meet one of the conditions. Both are fantastic. I can see myself using the one which meets all conditions. It will take some practice, but it would be well worth the effort because the effect is so impossible!

*honorable mention* Fresco - This is simply a brilliant way to prepare for the card on ceiling. I'll be using this.

A Germain Twist - A card is freely selected and it's face may be signed. It is lost back in the deck, which is then bound both lengthwise and width wise with a rubber band. The banded deck is placed into a small clear plastic bad and held with its face in view. A scarf, menu, postcard, or other unprepared object is passed fleetingly in front of the bag, and the selection appears instantaneously on the face of the banded deck.

The is my favorite effect from the book. It is simplicty at its finest. This passed the knowledgeable girlfriend test... TWICE! I also performed it for her father who was very impressed. I overheard him telling someone else about how incredible the trick was at a dinner we went to later that night. If you over look this one because of its simplicity, you will miss out on a great routine. It packs small and plays big.

Stick-Stab - Someone selects a sheet from an unprepared newspaper. Another person freely selected a card and signs it's face. The card is lost in the deck and the sheet of newspaper is glued shut to form a large envelope with the deck inside. The sealed package is shaken, further mixing the cards. The performer then stabs a large knife blade through the newspaper and imapels the chosen card.

Again, brilliant stuff. Everything is unprepared which means you could arrive at a venue with no luggage, go to a local store and buy everything needed very cheaply, and perform some killer magic. It packs small and would fill the largest of theaters. It is a bit more difficult than I was expecting, but I think with practice and some playing, I will get it down. When I do, it is going on my list of tricks I want to perform. I've never done a card stab. But perhaps I will now. OH! And it uses no table which is a plus.

The Surfing Card Stab - A freely chosen card is shuffled into the deck and the cards are ribbon spread face down. The performer places a joker face up on one end of the spread. He then flips the spread slowly face up. As this happens, the joker rides along the crest of the turning cards and lodges in the spread--precisely next to the selection.

This is another one that passed the girlfriend test. She was amazed by this one. It is simple, but very effective and very cool to watch. It does seem impossible. I'll be using this for sure.

The Secluded Card Rise - A chosen card is lost in the deck and the deck slipped into a clear sandwich bag to isolate it from all possible connection (finger, thread, etc.). While the bag is held up, a card rises slowly and magically from the deck--but it is not the selection. When the performer realizes this, the card sinks back down into the deck--and then the correct card rises. The deck contains no mechanism and may be examined or used for further effects.

Wow what a great effect. This is another of my favorites from the book. It seems impossible and very magical. The double rising card is funny and very disarming. It passed the girlfriend test with flying colors. This is a keeper. I'll be using it. Again, packs small, plays big.

Straight Up with a Twist - A freely selected card is noted and lost in the deck. While the performer holds the pack on end in one hand, with the thumb and all fingers accounted for, the selection slowly rises from the deck, finishing its ascent with a revolution. The deck is entirely unprepared.

This is a fabulous card rise. This is one of my favorites as well. It looks eerie, it isn't TOO difficult to do, and it looks great. I have trouble making the card rotate as the book describes, but I think it it just as good without the rotation. It's a fun one. I can see myself using this one.

Prematrix - A deck of cards is riffle shuffled a couple of times, then the performer runs through the deck and removes 4 cards placing them on the table. They are pulled back revealing 4 half dollars--one under each card.

This is so very good as an effect before a matrix routine. I read the explanation and was thinking, "no way!" So I tried it and... yes way! It works and it isn't difficult at all. It's very effective and it all done with empty hands. I like it a lot.

Hole-Due-Chination - Two coins with holes through their centers are honestly threaded onto a lace or ribbon. Someone is asked to hold the coins on the center of the ribbon. The lace is slowly pulled away from her hand and one of the coins passes through the ribbon. This feat is repeated twice, each time under more stringent conditions and with an increasing level of impossibility.

This is a GREAT coin through lace routine. It does appear increasing more fair and more impossible. I have ordered two ungimmicked coins with holes in them and I'm chomping at the bit to practice this routine. I will definitely use it.

No Fleshly Barrier - The performer takes a large coin and presses it against the back of his fist. In an instant, it passes through the fist and falls to the table. There is unquestionably only one coin, and the effect, although well worn, is in this case a remarkable illusion.

I love this. By far the best coin through hand I've seen. Yes it's fast, but it looks so dang good! It's as good as it gets for this type routine.

A Trick to Please the Pope - Two large coins (half dollars) are displayed in the hands in a way that can leave no doubt that they are alone there. The coins are stacked one on the other and rubbed together, upon which a small coin (dime or penny) slowly emerges from between them: the birth of a coin.

This is FABULOUS. I'll be using this. I laughed out loud reading the explanation at the sheer brilliance. It passed the girlfriend test; she had absolutely no idea where the penny came from. I will use this with two quarters and a penny on a whim when I feel the need to do something magical. I love it.

High Strung and Lapless - Standing behind a table, the performer shows four large coins and a clear glass. He holds the glass beneath the table while his other hand holds the coins. One by one, the coins penetrate the tabletop and are heard as each arrives in the glass. Yet, everything the perform does appears disarmingly fair and open.

This is the cleanest coins through table I've seen. Everything is extremely clean and above board and it looks fantastic. I have tried it out and I like it a lot. There's a tip at the end that I encourage readers to not skip over. It is a very clever way to make the last coin vanish cleanly while in a pinch. I love it!

True Pencil through Bill - The world famous pencil through bill with a real bill, a real pencil, a real hole, and a real restoration leaving a bill which can be kept by the spectator with no switches.

I've already ordered the special something to use this and I can't wait for it to arrive. This is about as close to a real miracle as someone can get. And it's all done without any funny moves. You're practically doing it for real.

Here are some performances of some of the effects:

A Germain Twist -

A Trick to Please the Pope -

Secluded Card Rise -

Straight up with a twist -

True Pencil Through Bill -

Framing the Sandman -

Okay so my "favorites" end up being almost the entire book. The ones I left out are all great as well though. There's some nice card moves, card changes, okito turnovers, and methods capable of making legends. I'm blown away by Vanni's thinking. This book truly is filled with miracles, not magic tricks. If you don't have this already, what are you waiting on? This is one of the best books in my collection and I will cherish it until the day I die. (Ha! I said this and then sold it a couple of years later. Five year ago me was a bit dramatic.) You could make a whole show at of the material in this book easily. This is an investment worth making. I cant believe the book is as cheap as it is. Get it while you can.

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