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Topic: Blood and Cards
Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Mar 20, 2004 08:15AM)
I am totally new to this area of magic but fascinated nonetheless..

I was playing around with some ideas the other night and I came up with something that would fit into this area and thought I would post.

It involves a spectator choosing an occult based word that is based around vampirism, and death, this is a free choice from a selection. An envelope is opened to show a blank card and then the performer starts to bleed as the word is concentrated on and the blood forms a word on the card that the spectator has chosen.

What do you think? If this is already out there please don't shoot me down just let me know ;) I am just enjoying the creative thinking process, not trying to break new ground ;)
Message: Posted by: Reis O'Brien (Mar 20, 2004 12:29PM)
I toyed around with this idea, myself, not too long ago. PM me if you want to know the details.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 20, 2004 12:43PM)
The idea of using a fluid to paint or reveal a pertinent idea is good. It has all the elements of a strong effect; thought-image, tactile in both the cards and the liquid and visual in the way the thought is revealed.

That said: blood, vampires... not even real kiddie horror. Such things are not even pertinent to our society anymore. Today's children are worried about being caught alone by their teachers in empty classrooms, about getting shot on the way home... or what might be happening at home.

Try using words from the IRS forms, or from your 401(k) documention.

Why even pretend to use blood when our society uses ink to mark commitments and numbers to ensure compliance?

Please, unless you have a time machine and want to freak out folks from 100+ years ago... let the antique stuff sit.

Or is your name Randolf Carter?

The fluid from the vial of chaos is starting to move and spread over the pan. It's starting to flow in to a pattern. Is the word you felt compelled to focus upon ...
Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Mar 20, 2004 01:11PM)
Would that not depend on the presentational angle. Of course Vampires and the like are not at the forefront of horror, but psychologically people can stil be led to believe. After all is the occult not built on these kind of silly beliefs? I mean we all know that demons and the devil are not real yet the pentagram and the like are still used, right?

I think blood still has a psychological effect on people and with the right wording could you not have people going away from the effect thinking that maybe vampires could exist? This would be more rewarding than the effect itself...

Maybe along the lines of a new breed of undergound horror that has the ability to tap into the mind of the human to find 'uncontaminated' blood and feeds off thought waves themselves?

I am only speaking personally but I get freaked out when I am walking home late at night because of 'night terrors' I know do not exist, yet the vial of chaos would have me yawning quicker than a rerun of Dallas...

That being said I take your point about the antique stuff and think that a fresh presentational angle could work. Then again as I said in my first post I am new to this....
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 20, 2004 01:42PM)
Okay let's pull that apart...

Vampires etc silly...here and now yes. If you look at where the stories come from you can find out what the ideas are that the stories were written to communicate.

Demons, devils, pentagrams... all have religious basis and our current perspective comes from a religious standardization in Christianity into it's current form. The symbols and deities of other cultures were cast as 'evil' and an imaginary punk version of 'wicca' was cast into 'devil worship'.

Perhaps the minor demons became parking meters and internet servers? Perhaps the vampires now work in hospital blood labs? Perhaps getting an MBA really means forsaking salvation/afterlife for rewards from mammon? It's the ideas that horrify. Who needs fangs when we have disease and drug testing?

As to blood... A loose vial of blood is to say the least... unsanitary. Such is not exactly welcome at the coffee table. Or will you bring enough for everyone? ;)

Okay, who is Randlof Carter?
Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Mar 20, 2004 06:37PM)
Ok I accept that it is old fashioned.

I like the ideas that you have raised with regard to disease....

Yes blood is unsanitary, maybe that is part of the appeal, the recoil factor.

.....who is Randolf Carter?

Message: Posted by: gocall911 (Mar 22, 2004 12:15AM)
I came up with an idea for a effect called paper cut that plays out alot like what your talking about it goes like this, a card is selected, signed, and lost in the pack. Then another card is shown and is used to make a paper cut on your hand. The blood then forms the number and suit of the card. To end you turn over the card you cut yourself with and it is the selected card.

This is one of my pet tricks that I am slowly but surely working into something worth while.
Message: Posted by: D Atkinson (Mar 22, 2004 03:24AM)
Ah yes... the old Fake blood and card tricks argument.
I think that the use of blood, when speaking theatrically, can be very effective in context. I have performed the syringe version of the Spangler 'Needle through the arm' for many moons. Fake blood could, however, play a legitimate role in certain card plots. 'The Cannibals' for example, or Possibly 'The Collectors' if you storylined the effect around the idea of the collected cards being the victims of serial killers. I don't know how either of these ideas would work in reality though. I'm guessing not too well, in a normal situation anyway. I think there would almost certainly be a lack of empathy for both performer and effect in the aftermath.

In answer to salsa_dancers earlier question. I quite like the idea of blood in magic, although I have to say, out of context, it always looks a little camp to me.
Message: Posted by: Stuart Hooper (Mar 22, 2004 09:58AM)
Mr. Townsend is bringing up issues about Bizzare magic that I have long attempted to form, but have not commanded the eloquence. I think we should explore it further!

Is there anything more bizarre in history, than the modern world? This does not completely negate, antique routines, but isn't it better to weave our magic into the folds of today's life? It's about connection, is it not? With that aim, are we not better served by tackling today's troubles and hopes in our routines?

Are we afraid to perform something that might have meaning in the current world contexts? Something that might generate some attenion and fervor, or perhaps controversy? As true Art might?

I get the feeling that magic here is being divided, into traditional, and bizzare. My trouble is that many with whom I've spoke seem to think that truly themed performances, things with direction and inspiration, are under the bizzare category. 'Bizzarists' with whom I have spoken look down on 'traditional' magicians, as uncomprehending second rate entertainers.

There may even be some truth in this, but as Mr. Townsend seems to know, we can inspire, theme, and make scripted and story performances using more conforming performances, and when I say conformist, I mean conforming to today's themes!

I love history, with a passion, and many fantasy novels as well, so don't get me wrong, *I* enjoy that sort of thing. But I also believe in real magic, the magic in Art, the magic in bonds of human fellowship, and for that, folks, I believe we need to bring our magic into the real world...

Message: Posted by: montz (Mar 22, 2004 11:15AM)
Going back to the routine suggested, a nice presentation could be to use a photograph as the paper.

As there is a long, documented phenomenom of bleeding statues and weeping photo's and pictures, you could combine the two to create a nice idea... that is, that a photograph bleeds, and the blood running down the photo reveals whatever... perhaps the name of the person in the picture?

I think blood can have a place in magic, particularly bizarre, and producing it magicially, (as opposed to trying to convincingly slice your arm or whatever) you might be able to skip around the issues that usually make it look so false.

Just some thoughts,

Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Mar 22, 2004 11:36AM)
Giving some more thoughts to this, how about the card itself bleeding?

13 of them are covered with hearts ;)

Maybe utilising the number 13 - and a stab through the heart..
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 22, 2004 11:44AM)
Saying that... and taking a pin to the eight of hearts... puncturing it... it bleeds... till it is just a seven of hearts.
Message: Posted by: Seance (Mar 22, 2004 12:17PM)
On 2004-03-22 12:36, salsa_dancer wrote:
Giving some more thoughts to this, how about the card itself bleeding?

13 of them are covered with hearts ;)

Maybe utilising the number 13 - and a stab through the heart..


Keith Arlen Lack has the "Bleeding Heart" card available on his website:


I have the effect, and it's a nice one.
Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Mar 22, 2004 01:04PM)
Isn't that always the way... you start to get excited about an idea and it is already out there!!
Message: Posted by: Caleb Strange (Mar 22, 2004 02:51PM)
Salsa dancer, exploring the ideas raised in your interested thread I have posted a new routine here:


Exploring Jonathan's and mithrandir's ideas, it is my attempt to create a a very contemporary and pressing horror.


Caleb Strange.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 22, 2004 07:43PM)
I wonder... if someone in a photo might bleed ink... which could turn into words. Or perhaps in reverse?
Message: Posted by: Caspar (Mar 24, 2004 09:30PM)
I like the idea of a bleeding card, especially if the card is from a tarot deck.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 27, 2004 12:46AM)
Jonathan Townsend wrote:
That said: blood, vampires... not even real kiddie horror. Such things are not even pertinent to our society anymore. Today's children are worried about being caught alone by their teachers in empty classrooms, about getting shot on the way home... or what might be happening at home.

Interesting take. Maybe you should go to one of the Gothic clubs in New Orlean and say that very loud.

Wear a crucifix and carry holy water and garlic. Some of these silly Goths think they are the real thing.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 27, 2004 01:04AM)
New Yorker here Bill... If the Goth kids start leaving bodies drained of blood... that might be interesting. I wonder what would happen to the clubs and the patrons if some members took their pose fully into actual life practice? A club full of such predatory creatures would need hundreds of liters of supply a night. Are you suggesting the Red Cross is managing the infestation with nightly deliveries? Is this why the great concern over blood drives when supplies get low?

Scary is an MBA which expects to immediately improve a real company with school learned procedures.

Scary will probably always be with us. I hold that many of the antique metaphors are without meaningful context today. The truths may be horrible, it's the vision that changes over time.
Message: Posted by: Babymagician (Mar 27, 2004 01:10AM)
For some reason people can't stand the sight of blood.
Any idea why?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 27, 2004 01:25AM)
Once upon a time I met a young woman who was unusual. At the house one evening, a friend had accidental jabbed himself on a knife blade in the sink. He quickly got his hand out of the sink and was holding his hand and looking at it when she entered the kitchen. She asked if he was okay. He told her he had just gotten cut. She asked if it was bleeding. He nodded. She asked if she could watch.

Most people have unpleasant memories associated with bleeding. The sight of blood may evoke these memories.

In 15 year hindsight, I wonder what she was remembering or managing to keep from remembering.
Message: Posted by: Stuart Hooper (Mar 27, 2004 07:54AM)
I gotta agree with Mr. Townsend here, although I will come out and say that perhaps many people on this board cannot quite appreciate the *subtle horror* of "an MBA which expects to immediately improve a real company with school learned procedures."

But yes, the antique metaphors grow outdates. Like Mr. Townsend says, it's not to say that if you were faced with a bloodsucking vampire, it wouldn't be scary...but things like "Dracula, Dead and Loving it" cartoons, REALITY, all sorts of things take the bite out of such things. (no pun intended).

As far as Goths, modern kids, yes, well, I've seen firsthand what Live action roleplaying as it is benevolently called can be like. However, you want scary, modern things? Who remembers the days when the jocks picked on the "nerds?" Not these days, glad I didn't have labels myself but sheesh, there was a vast collection of pale-faced, trenchcoat wearing "Goths". Sure every day, they would *play* at being vampires, among themselves, but it wasn't so funny when they started packing knives, and copulating in odd places on school grounds. It was truly scary, but in no antique sense. I can't even count the number of friends I've lost who began, like I with a love of fantasy, perhaps, and ended up suicidal, drug wielding freaks.

Er...sort of sorry for this, but perhaps I just proved Mr. Palmer's point...but if you want to make routines about "modern vampires" your going to have to examine some pretty painful images, those of children wielding pipe bombs, and blowing their fellows to smithereens, only because these fellows are more beautiful, or more "popular".

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 28, 2004 02:35PM)
"Scary" is a very interesting topic, as is "reality." They have different meanings to different people.

Like it or not, there ARE people who take Gothic role playing into a far deeper area than it should be taken. The upsurge in "literature" and television programming in this genre during the past 10 - 15 years is a testament to this.

But to the former heirs of the Belknap Hardware
conglomerate, the image of the MBA straight out of college trying to improve the company is a wonderful example of exactly what not to do.

Think of all the wonderful companies that no longer exist because either inexperienced MBA's or inexperienced CPA's who had no practical understanding of a given business gave bad advice.

Modern vampires -- different blood.
Message: Posted by: Black Hart (Mar 29, 2004 12:44AM)
The practicalities of using blood in a presentation...

Blood can be a very powerful prop, in the right circumstances, but it does need to be the right circumstances.

Take for example the Black Artefacts effect 'Slasher' - the cut throat razor. I use it as a single effect, a blood sacrifice, to begin a banquet, or I use it at the end of my seance act as a closer.

The reason for this is quite simply the blood. After I have done the effect I have blood on my arm and hand so I need to get cleaned up or I will get blood all over things I don't want to get blood on.

I also have another angle on the seance where I use blood. This is a stage seance by the way. My ouija board is placed in full view of the audience and a wine glass (empty) is passed from one of the dinner tables and placed upside down on the board. However WE are not going to touch the glass as we are going to get the spirits to move the glass by themselves. After building up the tension, my assistant, the medium, who is seated at the side of the stage (performing area) falls into a trance. Just as the tension in the room reached it's peak, without warning the glass shatters and at this moment my assistant lets out a violent scream. I reach for my forehead as I try to calm down the audience and as I lower my hand the audience can see blood dripping from my forehead as I have been hit by a shard of flying glass.

The seance if finished at this point - a very dramatic ending.

Blood is a prop. Like ANY prop, like any action, like every word in every effect, its use should be considered and thought about and then used if and when it is right to do so.

Black Hart
Message: Posted by: ptbeast (Mar 29, 2004 12:40PM)
I find the question of what scares people, why it scares them, and what types of scares that we should strive for a very interesting one. I think, however, that we must keep certain things in perspective.

I have been involved in scaring people for a long time, as a designer of haunted houses as well as performing bizarre magick. I love to scare people and (for the most part) I have found that people love to be scared. But I think that it is important to ask the question "why do we want to scare?" If the answer to this is "to entertain," then I feel that it puts some constraints on our stories and our methods.

There is plenty of real horror in the world: terrorism, drive-by shootings, drug addiction, war,
disease, poverty... to name only a very few. But, in my (not always so) humble opinion, putting people in the middle of these scenarios, while it may be scary, does not entertain, simply shocks. To entertain we much reach deeper. We much touch something inside that allows them to shiver and scream, but in the end know that it was fantasy. If we push too far into the real then we run the risk of simply reminding people that they don't live in a safe world. Do we want to scare or to scar.

I have used ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and other things seen and unseen to cause people to scream, yell, and yes even wet their pants. But in the end, they generally end up laughing. Not at me, but to release the stress -- knowing that it is over. If we use the terrors of real life do they ever know that it is all over?

I am not saying that there are easy answers. I am certainly not saying that the questions should not be asked. Perhaps many of our stories, and certainly many of our props do need to be updated. But I think that our audiences deserve for us to do so with care and thinking.

Just my two cents worth.

Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 29, 2004 08:33PM)
And then the lights go out in the 7-11, the twinkies start to shuffle on the shelf. In the small house that is the convenience store, the inhabitants start their day. A short day. Just a few hours while silent and blind computers count what some call money. Enough time for those who exist differently to do what the need. And plan.
Message: Posted by: charles schneider (Mar 30, 2004 07:41PM)
.....who is Randolf Carter?

Randolph Carter is a character in a story by master horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. To read the entire tale go here.

Message: Posted by: Dustin Baker (Nov 20, 2006 01:52AM)
I developed an illusion where the magician slices a 6-8in gap in his arm using a playingcard, heals himself, leaves a scar, ect. It's completely angle proof to.

I developed a "Pro-Edition" of the effect, to be used as a more classical effect rather than the "shock magic" that it was before. Gerry Griffin helped me with the patter and the effect looks awsome.

PM me if you want to know more about it.
Message: Posted by: kaytracy (Nov 20, 2006 09:52AM)
I do not take issue with Mr. Townsend's views on what is scary.
I think that there are a great many things that children have been made to fear by their parents, peers, siblings and society at large<not to mention TV and movies>.
I guess I think that to the people of the time and genre originally mentioned such as vampires, etc. there are maybe a few things to break out further. Understand I am not an English/Literature expert, not a Poly. Sci. or Psych. major.
There is a difference in what people 100-150 years ago worried about, and there were differences in the societal structure as well. The lower classes had a few concerns that the upper classes did not. The upper classes worried mostly about not becoming part of the lower classes! <or so I have been told!>

Organizations "demonize" what they fear, or fear to become. In this day and age, there are still people <and I have met a few of them> who think that people of certain religious cultures are born with horns and a tail. In order to move among us "unseen", they must have those appendiges removed at birth. Just ask my co-worker how his daughter took it when the neighbor was examiining his childs forehead and commenting on what a good job the doctors did, she could not see any scars!

As a man who was able to afford to attend college in Ireland of the 1870's, <meaning he grew up during part of the great famine> Bram Stoker was able to travel to other locales in Europe, gather folk tales from the countryside, and bring them home to "sensationalize" them into his more famous work. I am not sure that the genteel and educated readers of his books at the time had any inkling of what he was writing about as far as vampires, etc. Not being a product of the times, I cannot say for certain that there was not also some form of political or class satire written into the work as well. Perhaps there was a sensatonalized popularity that surfaced when Mr. Ripper came onto the scene.
I guess I am saying that personally I prefer a bit of metaphor for my being entertained in a scary manner. There IS plenty in the day to day world to scare me. There is also plenty in the fantasy world that can tweak me into a scream as well.

I think it depends on the audience, and the tale. The objective of the story if you will.
Why are there still people today who are afraid of clowns?

Salsa Dancer, I say work out the tale, script it, be aware of the audience you are performing for, and give it a go. Sometimes we can over ****yze a thing (note the first few letters of that word!) and we just have to make like the shoe folks say and Just do it!
Message: Posted by: SeaDawg (Nov 20, 2006 10:10AM)
Sometimes as a stress mechanism humans turn to parody to deal with things they cannot explain. The horror of the undead feasting on the blood of others certainly captured the imaginations of generations and did so until the archetype was turned into many, many comedy spoofs.

But real world horrors still capture our imagination and yet attract and repel us at the same time. Need modern examples? Gacy, Dahmer, Manson have the same kind of intrigue as the Strangler and Jack the Ripper.

Look at the Success of the "SAW" franchise. Number three and still going strong....

Paterson and Deaver... still cranking out thrillers. We are fascinated by the macabre.

To effectively capture our audiences minds and fears is a great asset...
Message: Posted by: Dustin Baker (Nov 21, 2006 03:44PM)
On 2004-03-22 12:36, salsa_dancer wrote:
Giving some more thoughts to this, how about the card itself bleeding?

13 of them are covered with hearts ;)

Maybe utilising the number 13 - and a stab through the heart..


That's a good idea; I'll get on it.

Sorry, I misunderstood the point of the forum
(I thought someone was looking for a trick not discussing magic principle and theory).

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been doing an effect with cards and blood for a while. I present the whole thing as a glimpse into the history of magic, when Indian Fakirs would pierce, slice, and cut themselves with various sharp implements. As a less menacing substitute for the weapons, I use playing cards.

The audience is not meant to respond with fear, evem though the very presence of blood suggests fear. I mean for them to be intrigued, about the trick and its history.

As for "shock magic" itself: everything is in the presentation. Sawing a woman in half is just as much dismemberment as Andrew Mayne's most gruesome work. Take Gut Buster. If you present it as "Watch me do this thing that should kill you." it's shocking and unmagical. If you present it as "Watch me pass my arm through his stomach, leaving him un-harmed." It is magical.

Gerry Griffin told me this once, "If all you want to do is shock the audience, you might as well put a bucket of blood with a goat's head sticking out on the stage. You'll get the same reaction."

When you come down to it the question is really, "Do we want to portray magic as? A positive or a negative force?"

As a positive force, everyone is healed and un-harmed at the end of the effect, the audience enjoyed what they saw (despite confusion and disbelief).

As a negative force, we're saying "Watch-out for magicians they'll stick their arm through your chest, slice you up, and make you disappear."

In my opinion, magic should be the force that fixes the problems caused by the world. i.e. Mortal means cause the problem, magical means fix it.

Maybe I'm reading too much into the subject, but that's where it brought me.