(Close Window)
Topic: Ignis Fatuus - By Zach Allen
Message: Posted by: MikeJRogers (Jan 23, 2004 11:22PM)
Hi everyone,

I thought I may as well start a thread on Zach Allen's new e-book 'Ignis Fatuus'. From what I've read it sounds great.

So whats the verdict everyone?


Mike Rogers
Message: Posted by: cybercardmagic (Jan 24, 2004 07:26PM)
Where can I find this new e-book???? It is about cardmagic????

Can you make a review????

Thanks for help

Message: Posted by: Zach Allen (Jan 25, 2004 01:21PM)
Hmmm...I'd be interested to know what people think, too. :bg:

I had a few people PM/email me and tell me that of what they read so far was good. Maybe some people can post their reviews here. One purchaser said a few brief words about it in the post in the "Books and Lecture notes for sale/trade", but no one has put up a review yet...

Message: Posted by: Sean Fields (Jan 25, 2004 11:09PM)
Mr. Allen sent a copy of Ignis Fatuus to me to read over, and asked for my thoughts. I will post a condensed version here for anyone interested.

Now, I don't know if the version I was sent is a final draft, or if there is editting to be done, so keep that in mind while reading this review.

Ignis Fatuus is a strange mix of effects. Some good, some not so good, some simply outstanding. There is magic with cards, coins, rocks, and even raindrops!

Some of the highlights include:

Yin & Yang - A story deck with a dark story, as well a kicker effect.

Vanish 3-D - As simple as it is slick. A card is leaned against an object, and in an instant, the card falls flat, the object has vanished!

Think Of A Card - A simple gimmick makes the Paul Harris effect, and the Ray Kosby elaboration far simpler. Now the effect is attainable by mere mortals!

Crossing The Line - This effect made me wish I lived in the US. It is a simple coin transformation, but the transformation is very 'organic'. Paul Harris fans will most likely love this one.

Poke! - I developed a similar idea independantly, but Mr. Allen has gone far further with it than I ever did. It is a completely impromptu pencil thru bill. No gimmicks, and it looks as good as some of the marketed versions, better than some in fact! I have to mention Mr. Allen has included a 'melt thru' effect that almost exactly mimics Misled. Need I say more?

Ham & Rye - A unique, if albeit stupid 'sandwich' effect, utilizing a real ham sandwich. I have no doubt that this could be a comedy miracle in the right hands.

Re-Light - This is one of my favorites in the book. A match is lit, and blown out. After a few moments of concentration, the magician causes the match to burst into flames!

Mark of the Devil - A pentagram is drawn on the back of the magicians hand in blue marker. During the course of a card location, the pentagram changes color to red. Neat idea, with A LOT of possible applications.

Case Cut - A simple, and direct any card at any number effect. The method will make you smile.

White Cliffs - A very innovative ring on wand routine. A finger ring is borrowed, and threaded on a golf pencil. The ring is then caused to penetrate on and off the ring in a very convincing manner.

Matrix - Quite possibly the most disappointing effect in the book for some. For me, it is one of the best. The magician causes a raindrop to stop in mid flight, and hover in mid air, before continuing on to the ground.

Now, those are the highlights, but not all is perfect. There are some effects that read like 'filler' to me. They may work very well for Mr. Allen, but they don't do it for me. Whether it be due to originality issues, practicality, or simply effect, there are some effects which I would rather have seen on the cutting room floor. With just the effects that I have hightlighted, there is more than enough material to satisfy the most die hard neophyte, so I don't feel it neccessary for the 'filler'.

As it is now, it is a great book. If Mr. Allen eliminates some of the lackluster effects, and perhaps even replaces them with more of his 'A' material, it would be a spectacular book.

There is room for improvement, but not much.

I would rate it 7/10. That rating is based on the copy I received, and is subject to change if Mr. Allen adds or removes effects for release.


Sean Fields
Message: Posted by: Zach Allen (Jan 26, 2004 05:50PM)
Thanks for the comments...I appreciate them. And please, call me Zach.

I'm not really trying to defend myself on any comments that Sean made, since I hate it when creators think their product is perfect and try to come up with a rebuttal to any criticism. As Sean said up above, some of the effects didn't work for him. They all do work for me. They may work for you, they may not. I do think that there is enough in this book to be of interest to anyone, however.

Anyone else have a review?

Message: Posted by: Sean Fields (Jan 26, 2004 11:43PM)
I didn't mean to sound overly critical. I must stress that some of the effects did not work for ME. As I mentioned, I have no doubt that the effects in question work well for Zach, and will work well for others, they are just not for me.

I also have to stress that in this day and age, where people are releasing subpar magic (Heaven knows I have been accused of this), Zach's book is refreshing. There really are great, offbeat, original effects presented here.

Message: Posted by: larry7412 (Jan 27, 2004 11:56AM)
Just wondering where I can order this e-book?

Larry :hamburger:
Message: Posted by: Zach Allen (Jan 27, 2004 08:10PM)
Hi everyone,
My website is currently under construction. However, those wishing to purchase this ebook from me can either click on the following link to pay by PayPal, or can pay by a check / money order.

[url=https://www.paypal.com/xclick/business=zachallenmagic%40hotmail.com&item_name=Ignis+Fatuus&amount=20.00&no_note=1&currency_code=USD]Click here[/url]

I prefer PayPal, as it is easier to deal with and also easier for you, as you will get Ignis Fatuus delivered to you within 24 hours, and more than likely a lot sooner than that.

However, if you want to pay by either a check or money order, you can send payment to:

Zach Allen
5 Quail Run
Plymouth, MA 02360

Be sure to PM me informing me that you sent payment via mail, and also include your email address, either in PM or in the mail so that I can email the file out to you pronto.

Since I just recently re-realized that the Buy, Sell, Trade forums are only viewable by those that have made 50 posts, I wanted to post the rest of the contents of the book here.

Dealing with the Devil - a false deal that places the card into a palm as it is dealt - completely different from the Snap deal

Allen Spin - card flourish

Visi-Triump - a gimmicked deck triumph that is visual and clean

TrainStop - version of Jay Sankey's Locomotion with ungimmicked cards

Death Switch - a versatile switch of a card - must be seated, but still useful

New Best Friends - version of Collector's that uses a "no-force - force" technique to put you three ahead (That really doesn't make much sense, so I'll just say that it makes it very clean)

Psych 101 - 3 routines strung together that allows for a psychological force of a card

Heads, Tails, Gone - 3 coin vanish along with a utility ditch - coins heard in the hand until the vanish

3 / Visual Tenkai - my two additions to the 3-Fly plot - a no hands transfer and a barehanded, sleight-of-hand vanish of the last coin - looks good, requires practice

Card of Mystery - Inside magic joke. If you've been in magic for any period of time, you might find this funny.

BLiMP (Barehanded LIt Match Production) - what the title says

Bluff Find - If you lose the spec's card, this is the way to go to find it - requires ACTING

Rock Through Window - again, what the title says - its a situational effect that takes a bit of prep - up to you to see if you want to do it

NewsJump - a way to pull a newspaper unharmed out from under your feet while you're standing on it

Got business? - tear your business card in half, put it back together

Q-Tip up ear - for the third time, what the title says

ClayDo - harden a lump of bake-in-the-oven clay in the spectator's hands

I think I just about covered everything that wasn't mentioned up above by Sean. Any other reviews from the 20 or so of you who pre-ordered this? I'd really like to hear what you think of it. Thanks!

Zach Allen
Message: Posted by: Sean Fields (Jan 28, 2004 12:57AM)
In my review, I forgot to mention one effect that I also felt deserves to be highlighted, TrainStop.

This effect, while dirt simple, produces a great illusion. You visibly move a pip on a card from one end to the other. The better you are with cards, the more amazing this will look.

Please excuse the oversight. Having said that, I would probably have to bump the review slightly, 7.5 perhaps?

Message: Posted by: montz (Jan 28, 2004 02:42AM)
Zach, I particularly enjoyed your ebook, and although all the effects weren't for me, to be honest I bought it for the matrix effect, and wasn't disappointed.

The other routines, particularly the 3-D vanish, were an unexpected bonus.

These things, together with the false deal, really made my day.


Message: Posted by: Tom Jorgenson (Jan 28, 2004 05:42PM)
Very well executed, and most reasonable. I think your choices for doing it e-Book style were right on. This sure seems a reasonable way to get your work in print.

Loved the work on gaffing your own cards, and the instantaneous ring off pencil seems to be an anywhere anytime minor miracle.

cant wait for the next volume....
Message: Posted by: Zach Allen (Jan 29, 2004 07:24PM)
Thanks for "bumping up" the review a bit. :)

Liam and Tom,
Thanks for the kind words. I'd also like to thank all of you who purchased this from me...I encourage you to post your thoughts here, or at least PM/email me with them. I'd really like to hear what people think of this.

Thank you for your post. I'm more than happy to answer all of your questions.

"Is there any original material that you have performed for 10 yrs in front of a paying public. "

First of all, I have been practicing the art of magic for nine years now, so no, I can't say that I have performed for 10 years in front of a paying public. However, all of the items in my book I have performed in front of paying audiences, with the exception of two routines, because they are inside magician jokes. Everything in my book has been audience tested. Many changes over the years have occured in my routines.

"All I see is other peoples material that you have rehashed."

You are certainly welcome to see that. Yes, I will admit that some of these routines are either variations on a classic plot, or the effect was derived after seeing another similar effect. The effect, not the method. In some cases I feel I have added an improvement, or at least a variation which is not a step backwards. Then, in other cases, I thought of an effect, and came up with a method. These routines have been years in the making.

"Please tell me where you have performed in Las Vegas, Alantic City, Chicago, LA. If you are a student how could you be a full time professional."

Well, I have never had the opportunity to perform in any of those places. Yes, I am a student, and I never claimed to be a full-time professional. Just because I am not a full time professional magician, does not mean that I do not use these routines. I created these effects for my own personal use, and decided to share them with the magic community as a way of getting my work into print and attaching my name to my original creations. These routines work, and while they may not all be for everyone, there is enough variety in this offering to satisfy most.

"I only buy material from proven sources."

Ouch...I must admit that one hurt a bit. Ok, here we go. I will be the first to admit that I am not a "proven source", as you call it. Yes, I am a relative unknown in the world of magic. And yes, I'm sure some of you are thinking, "Oh no, here's another new magician thinking he can whip an ebook together and make a few bucks by selling bad magic."

That was exactly the presumption that I was trying to avoid. I did this by having a vote in the Secret Sessions forum. I listed the tricks above and had people vote for their two favorites. Then, I released the two routines for free, for public consumption. Im including the links below, so you can check out my "rehased material" and judge for yourself.

I'd type more, but my fingers are getting tired...

Here are the links:



And since you have enough posts to gain access to the SecretSessions forum, I'll post the links to the topics as well, so you can read the feedback I've gotten on my tricks.



Well, I apologize for the long post, but I always hate the assumption that I'm simply another newbie trying to make a quick buck...

Message: Posted by: Steve Friedberg (Jan 29, 2004 08:57PM)
I will stipulate several things off the top...

- I have not read Zach's book.
- I've never met him.
- I'm unfamiliar with his effects.

However, I'm well familiar with Sean Fields, and if he says Zach's efforts are worth review, that's good enough for me. Zach may not have the 10 years of experience, nor may he have performed in any of the cities you mentioned. But there are a number of younger magicians who don't have that experience, who can certainly teach me and others a heck of a lot. (And others, like Vernon, weren't exactly known for their frequent performing outside of a small circle.)

Moreover, I just finished reading a thread about Harry Lorayne's OOTU, which is a variant on Paul Curry's OOTW. Well, that's a rehash, to be sure...but it's powerful all by itself (and I do it all the time). My point is that there's a lot of excellent stuff out there which is a re-hash on something else, and in its own way, an improvement over the original.

Your end opinion is fair; I'd ask that you reconsider your logic leading up to it. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: montz (Jan 30, 2004 02:49AM)
On 2004-01-29 20:39, wmhegbli wrote:
Is there any original material that you have performed for 10 yrs in front of a paying public.

All I see is other peoples material that you have rehashed.

Please tell me where you have performed in Las Vegas, Alantic City, Chicago, LA. If you are a student how could you be a full time professional.

I only buy material from proven sources. :thumbsdown:

Exactly the kind of comment that stops real creators wanting to release anything.

You only buy material from proven sources?

Proven Sources? If everyone gets there material from the same proven sources, Everyone's act is going to look mighty similar.

And all you see is other peoples material rehashed?

I'm sure Zach would appriecate having the sources for these in print, so he can put in the appropriate credits. And out of interest, what exactly was the last TOTALLY original effect you bought?

Because mine was where you slow down a raindrop, from a shower, and leave it hanging in midair.

Unless your criticism is contructive, there seems very little place for it in a forum of reviews.

In my opinion.

Message: Posted by: Lord Of The Horses (Jan 30, 2004 05:59AM)
I can only echo Sean Fields comments...

I've just skimmed through the book for now but I've immediately found some gems...

All I can say for now is that the book is well thought of and I like it.

And, for the people buying only from professionals with 10 years experience (why 10 and not 15 or 20?), you are free to not buy this book. YOUR LOSS!

Also, if Zach received very good comments about his routines by some professionals (with more than 10 years of experience in the field!) then, by your logic, this book is clearly a GOOD BOOK!

Paolo Cavalli
Message: Posted by: Larry Davidson (Jan 30, 2004 06:47AM)
On 2004-01-30 03:49, montz wrote:
"...And out of interest, what exactly was the last TOTALLY original effect you bought?

Because mine was where you slow down a raindrop, from a shower, and leave it hanging in midair...."

I have a method for doing that, but it only works if it's 32 degrees Fahrenheit or colder in the bathroom. :baby: Didn't Marlo have a variation that worked at 0 degrees Celsius or lower?

Most magic that's created is derivative, and that in itself doesn't make it bad.

Message: Posted by: Zach Allen (Jan 30, 2004 05:02PM)
Thanks for all the responses...I just wanted to say that it is perfectly fine for wmhegbli (William) to have the opinion that he does. However, as Steve pointed out, I wish that you would use better logic in coming to that opinion. Yes, I understand that some of the conclusions that he came to were based on the assumption that most new or unknown magicians put out bad magic.

I understand that things like that happen from time to time. However, I don't feel that this is the case for me. I'm not going to sit at my computer chair and tell all of you that my ebook is the greatest thing to come along in the magic world since the TT. I tried to list the effects as openly and without hype as possible. I prefer to let people read my book, and then offer comments on it. In the end, it all comes down to your judgement, but I wish you would pick better reasons than were listed above.

Ok, I just had to get that out of my system and I apologize once again for the mini-rant. I just couldn't stop thinking about it all day. That's enough of that subject.

As for Ignis Fatuus, thanks for all of the comments. I look forward to reading more reviews/comments on the book.


Just re-read your post...I'm not quite familiar with Marlo's version, perhaps you could list a source for it? :bg:

My method is pretty simple; in fact, all you need to do is deliver millions of pounds of iron filling into the atmosphere via your local space shuttle. Once that is accomplished, just hold a weak magnet out while it is raining. However, care must be taken not to attract ALL of the rain. Another alternate method is to train a fly, and then stick the fly inside a tiny soap bubble that poses as a raindrop. The rest should be apparent.

(Luckily, the real method is one actually obtainable by mere mortals ;) )

Message: Posted by: Larry Davidson (Jan 30, 2004 07:54PM)
On 2004-01-30 18:06, Zach Allen wrote:
Just re-read your post...I'm not quite familiar with Marlo's version, perhaps you could list a source for it? :bg:

It's in an underground manuscript entitled "Watered Down Marlo."
Message: Posted by: Zach Allen (Jan 30, 2004 10:40PM)
Excellent; I'll be adding that to my library immediately. Thanks!


I forgot to mention the two other tricks that come with the e-book. These are the two that I posted in the Secret Sessions forum, but I realize may not have been read by all. So, here they are...

SCISP - Signed Card in Spectator's Pocket - this is a way to load a spectator's card into their own pocket, without going near them at any time. Uses no stooges and no assistants, etc.

Slo-Mo - this is a slow-motion card change.

Thanks for all the support!

Message: Posted by: Menetekel (Feb 12, 2004 06:06AM)
This book of Zach Allen is really great!

I especially liked two effects and I'm already re-working one to fit my needs!

I tell you there are some GEMS inside this book! BUY IT!
Message: Posted by: Zach Allen (Feb 15, 2004 11:17AM)
Thanks for the support, guys...it makes all the hard work worth it when I can give back in a small way what magic has given to me.

So...I'm thinking of putting some of this material out on more of a mass scale, i.e. commercially distributed. What do you guys think would work better, DVD form or manuscript form? Maybe both...let me know. Thanks!

Message: Posted by: Euan (Feb 15, 2004 02:19PM)
How about a manuscript with a dvd included featuring a macromedia type databook with text alongside performance clips etc?
Message: Posted by: Zach Allen (Feb 15, 2004 02:25PM)
Hmmm...not a bad idea, Euan. That way those who prefer to learn from books can do that, and those who prefer to learn from DVDs can do that as well. Something to take into consideration for sure...

Message: Posted by: kaos (Feb 27, 2004 05:04AM)
After reading this review I decided to buy this manuscript and it really is quite cool.
at first glances some of the ideas seem ludicrus but there all actually doable.
I would recomend this to anyone. Well worth the money and some really nice ideas.
Message: Posted by: Zach Allen (Feb 27, 2004 08:13AM)
Hi everyone..just an update. My temporary website is available at



Message: Posted by: Lord Of The Horses (Feb 27, 2004 01:34PM)
I already said it and I say it again... IGNIS FATUUS is one of the latest e-books I've read and I can recommend it to everyone.

Some clever ideas and some gems in there!


P.S: Click this link for a full review of the book...

Message: Posted by: Zach Allen (Mar 13, 2004 11:47AM)
Hey everyone....just an update on things.

I have shot a brief demo video for some of the effects in the book. I'm just attempting to figure out the best way to upload it so that people will be able to view it. Once I figure that out, I'll post here again.

For those of you who order the e-book from me from this point forward, you will receive an additional two routines, which will be described right now.

1) The magician turns his back, or leaves the room, or goes on a vacation to Hawaii. Your choice. The spectator is given a deck of cards to mix up completely and totally. The magician has the spectator concentrate on several cards (and yes, all the cards are different) and proceeds to read the mind of the spectator, divining all of the cards that he is looking at.

2) This is simply another one of the countless variations on the sandwhich routine, but there are a few subtle convincers added to make the routine very clean and open.

On a third note, I am currently in the process of putting a DVD together of these effects and several additional ones. All of you who purchase the ebook from me will get a free copy of the DVD (aside from the cost of postage) as a way of saying thanks for the support. All of you who already have bought the ebook, the offer applies to you as well, so don't worry. The DVD should be out by May at the latest.

For those of you who have purchased the ebook, have you tried out any of the routines yet? I'm curious to see how they are working for you.

That's about it for now...I'll post again when the video is up and running. Thanks!


Well, since I'm still in the midst of trying to deal with web-hosting issues, I've decided to host the video for the moment at http://www.sleightgeek.com.

You must register to view the video, but I don't really think it is all that much of a hassle to do. I've posted the direct link to the thread;


for those of you who are already signed in to sleightgeek, just click on it and it should work. If it doesn't, just go to


and the video is located in the "Video Sharing - Polished" section, under the title Ignis Fatuus.

Any questions about it, ask away.

Message: Posted by: Zach Allen (Nov 1, 2004 05:49PM)
Just to let you know...this is now available in a hard copy format. Until the end of this week, there will be no charge for the printing and shipping costs. After that, the price will go up. The same goes for all of my other available e-books.


Message: Posted by: zallen (Sep 22, 2006 09:00PM)
Hey all,

Just a quick note to let you know that after being off the market for a while, this can now be ordered from the link in my signature/profile.


Message: Posted by: tropicalpenguin (Sep 22, 2006 10:25PM)

In my older days, I remember reading about all of these in Secret Sessions and BEGGING Zach to put this stuff out. Great, great stuff, can't wait to see it

Message: Posted by: pablovaldes (Sep 23, 2006 04:25PM)
On 2004-01-29 20:39, wmhegbli wrote:
Is there any original material that you have performed for 10 yrs in front of a paying public.

All I see is other peoples material that you have rehashed.

Please tell me where you have performed in Las Vegas, Alantic City, Chicago, LA. If you are a student how could you be a full time professional.

I only buy material from proven sources.


I am sorry, I only listen to opinions from people who have won a Novel Prize
Message: Posted by: The Mac (Oct 6, 2006 04:59PM)
You mean nobel ?
Message: Posted by: pablovaldes (Oct 6, 2006 05:59PM)
NOBEL!! that´s correct.
Message: Posted by: harishjose (Oct 6, 2006 06:20PM)
On 2006-09-23 17:25, pablovaldes wrote:
On 2004-01-29 20:39, wmhegbli wrote:
Is there any original material that you have performed for 10 yrs in front of a paying public.

All I see is other peoples material that you have rehashed.

Please tell me where you have performed in Las Vegas, Alantic City, Chicago, LA. If you are a student how could you be a full time professional.

I only buy material from proven sources.


I am sorry, I only listen to opinions from people who have won a Novel Prize

It took more than two years for you to say that???
Message: Posted by: pablovaldes (Oct 7, 2006 05:00PM)
Not only that, when finally I did, it was with a mistake. So why don´t we just forget it even happened.



P.S. That was the date I saw the post, and I of course didn´t notice from when this thread was, my mistake, but I really was upset by wmhegbli´s post. Maybe two years from now someone will be harsh on my post again. LOL
Message: Posted by: The Mac (Oct 7, 2006 05:35PM)
Lol..the Café is getting stranger everyday