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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Bizarre Magic & Premodern India - Book, Prop, & Resource Recommendations (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Ananda
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Jambudvipa
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Hello All! I'm a newcomer to magic and I'm interested in combining magic with cosmic storytelling (I'm thinking of Eugene Burger's restored thread with Hindu destruction and recreation of the cosmos as I write this). Does anyone have any specific reading suggestions (including specific books by Burger) or other resource suggestions?

In case you've come across something in the genre, I am particularly interested in patter and resources relating to the myths and supposed magic powers of the Buddhist monks and yogis of India. I'm looking for stories and props that look like they 'belong' in premodern India, so modern cards and coins (and a number of common props) are largely out. I'd welcome suggestions on where to find convincing ways to do things like:

* Realistic snake turns into a rope
* Levitating in the lotus (cross-legged) position
* Materialization of objects
* Passing through solid objects through solid objects
* Period looking props (Fire through arm? Lota Urn? Others?)
* etc.

I wonder if any Western magicians developed this kind of thing in the 60's / 70's when the West was newly fascinated by the mystique of the culture of India.

Note: I don't want cheesey looking props and am willing to pay extra for quality.

Thanks,
-Ananda
"All phenomena are like a magically conjured illusion, like a mirage, like the moon reflected in water, like empty space, like an echo, like a dream, like a shadow, like an image in a mirror." - Nagarjuna
drwilson
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Instead of adapting Western magic to stories and props from India, I'd recommend looking into authentic Indian magic. Resources would include:

Swami/Mantra (Sam Dalal, available from Kaufman)
Net of Magic by Lee Siegal
Jadoo by John A. Keel
Sorcerer's Apprentice by Tahir Shah

Several authentic Indian feats are described in Greater Magic and other old books. Authentic Hindoo Jadoo feats include:

wet/dry sand (not the American version with brightly colored sand and clear/black/clear water)
white sand to colored sand
heart stop
growth of mango tree from seed
Chinese sticks (yes, really)
diving duck
torn and restored shawl (borrowed)
Cups and Balls (Indian style)
production of flower scents from newly-washed bare hands

There is a rich vein here. Enjoy your work!

Yours,

Paul
Gotama
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Paul gave you some good resources, although it is Lee Siegel not Siegal. Lee is a professor at the University of Hawaii (where I studied with him in the late 1970s and early 1980s). You might want to contact him as he also performs magic. As he has made several trips to India and was the guide for Penn and Teller on their trip filming magic in India, Egypt, and China, he may be of assistance.

As for Buddhist magic, you may also be able to draw inspiration from the Jataka tales and the book, Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists. You may also want to look at Alexandria David-Neel's works, in particular Magic and Mystery in Tibet. While these books may be of a more religious nature, the stories and myths should give you plenty of ideas to work with to adapt modern effects to make them Buddhist in nature.

I also remember an old Harry Blackstone, Sr. trick involving a book and a statute of the Buddha. I don't remember what book it was in, but it may have been his Secrets of Magic.

If I run across any other material, I will try to let you know.
I asked the boy beneath the pines.
He said, "The master's gone alone herb picking,
somewhere on the mount,
cloud hidden,
whereabouts unknown."
(Chin Tao, 777-841, trans. by Alan Watts)
mOzerian
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I second "Net of Magic" by lee siegal....it's a facinating read...
scaress
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doesn't answer your question, but this is pretty interesting.


Penn & Teller went to India seeking street performers. I was shocked at what they found. no actual methods though, sorry.


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000A59......mp;n=130

also, I've never had the guts to try ostridge trick (where you bury your head in the ground), but the method is pretty intuitive. you can find plenty of pictures if you do a google search.
The Curator
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Oriental Conjuring and Magic - Will Ayling.
Gotama
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Lee Siegel was the guide for Penn and Teller during their trip to India that I referenced above and that Scaress just mentioned. On the Indian portion, Lee led them to the Magicians' area of the city.
I asked the boy beneath the pines.
He said, "The master's gone alone herb picking,
somewhere on the mount,
cloud hidden,
whereabouts unknown."
(Chin Tao, 777-841, trans. by Alan Watts)
Bill Ligon
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Eddie Joseph(I think)had a small book about Indian Magic years back. It might be available somewhere. >The Boy's Book of Magic< by Hereward Carrington, published in 1920 (!) has a chapter on "Hindu magic," which was later published separately as a small book. It is worthwhile if you can find it.

Bill
Author of THE HOLY ART: Bizarre Magick From Naljorpa's Cave. NOW IN HARDCOVER! VIEW: <BR>www.lulu.com/content/1399405 ORDER: http://stores.lulu.com/naljorpa
<BR>A TASSEL ON THE LUNATIC FRINGE
Ananda
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Jambudvipa
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Wow, thank you all for your thoughtful posts! I'm not sure whether it's appropriate to pursue these things in the forum or through private messages. For now I'll try it publicly in the form so others can benefit. Here are a few comments and questions.

1) Dr. Wilson, thanks for your suggestions. I've ordered Net of Magic. I read a short book description of Swami/Mantra and I'm wondering if the techniques actually come from India. Regarding the Hindoo Jadoo feats, does anyone have specific recommendations and specific references?

2) Gotama, thank you for your suggestions. I emailed Lee Siegel after reading more about him -- he seems like a very interesting fellow! Can anyone confirm the location of and describe the effect of the Blackstone "book and buddha" trick?

3) mOzerian, thank you for the second on "Net of Magic" -- I've ordered it and look forward to reading it.

4) scaress, thank you for pointing to the Penn and Teller video -- I've ordered it and look forward to watching it.

5) The Curator, thank you for the book recommendation. Does anyone know where I can find a copy of Oriental Conjuring and Magic?

6) Bill Ligon, thank you for the book recommendation. Can anyone recommend some good sources for finding these older magic books?

Many thanks,
-Ananda.
"All phenomena are like a magically conjured illusion, like a mirage, like the moon reflected in water, like empty space, like an echo, like a dream, like a shadow, like an image in a mirror." - Nagarjuna
Gotama
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Ananda,

I see you share the same name as the Buddha's cousin and personal aide.

I looked in my copy of Blackstone's Secrets of Magic. The Buddha and book trick is not in this book. I know that it is one of my old books and I can even see it in my mind, but I would need to check more. I have not looked at that trick since the mid-1960s. PM me and I will give you some more details.
I asked the boy beneath the pines.
He said, "The master's gone alone herb picking,
somewhere on the mount,
cloud hidden,
whereabouts unknown."
(Chin Tao, 777-841, trans. by Alan Watts)
Bill Ligon
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Gotama and Ananda,

TASHI DELEK

I think that perhaps the effect you are looking for is "Ho Chang, The Benevolent" in John Mulholland's Book of Magic, page 200. The statue is not the Buddha in Mulholland's presentation, but a god or saint of Luck: Ho Chang in China, or Hotei in Japan. He is also known in India. I hope this helps.

Naljorpa
Author of THE HOLY ART: Bizarre Magick From Naljorpa's Cave. NOW IN HARDCOVER! VIEW: <BR>www.lulu.com/content/1399405 ORDER: http://stores.lulu.com/naljorpa
<BR>A TASSEL ON THE LUNATIC FRINGE
Gotama
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Naljorpa,

You are right, it was in Mulholland's Book on Magic. You are also correct that it is Ho Chang, or what is popularly referred to as the Laughing Buddha (who is based on a Chinese Buddhist monk that was known for his humor among many other things). He would be more correctly identified as a Bodhisattva than as a Buddha. The effect, however, could be done with a statue of the Buddha (or any other figure).

Nlajorpa - one of these days we need to meet and talk about these things. I know that I would find it interesting.
I asked the boy beneath the pines.
He said, "The master's gone alone herb picking,
somewhere on the mount,
cloud hidden,
whereabouts unknown."
(Chin Tao, 777-841, trans. by Alan Watts)
Bill Ligon
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Gotama, I would find it interesting to talk, too. Yes, you could use a statue of the Buddha or other figure (which makes me think of something Egyptian... or how about a Hopi Katchina figure, for something unusual...) My only concern would be stepping on some religious toes!.

Somewhere on my shelves I have a book called "Jadoo" by John Keel (yeah, the UFO guy), which, as I remember, does not explain the workings of Indian effects, but describes a large number of them. Naturally, I can't find the book right now, although I stumble over it when looking for something else!

Nal
Author of THE HOLY ART: Bizarre Magick From Naljorpa's Cave. NOW IN HARDCOVER! VIEW: <BR>www.lulu.com/content/1399405 ORDER: http://stores.lulu.com/naljorpa
<BR>A TASSEL ON THE LUNATIC FRINGE
Bill Fienning
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Swami/Mantra can be a source for magical ideas. However, for the more dangerous effects, such as eating glass, you must have instruction from an expert. Not all of the explanations are complete or accurate
Bill Fienning

"It's More than Tricks"
Gotama
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The Problem with the a Kachina figure is the fragility of the figures and, as you indicated, the stepping on some toes. The Buddha or some other figure (even a Kachina) doll could be used if you were illustrating a religious story or culture myth. That is why I recommended looking at the Jataka tales and the Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists books. Another source for Tibetan Buddhism and Bon might be Waddell's books on Tibetan Buddhism and Lhasa (from information gathered during Younghusband's expedition to Lhasa in 1904-05).

BTW, a kachina doll of Kokopelli, the trickester, would be appropriate, don't you think?
I asked the boy beneath the pines.
He said, "The master's gone alone herb picking,
somewhere on the mount,
cloud hidden,
whereabouts unknown."
(Chin Tao, 777-841, trans. by Alan Watts)
Bill Ligon
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I have Waddell's book on Tibetan Buddhism (but not the Lhasa book -- something I have been meaning to order). Even considering the time it was written, Waddell manages to misunderstand everything about the religion, but he is a terrific source for material culture and other things.

I think Jataka tales and other stories would be excellent sources.

Also, Kokopelli would be great! I have a Kachina that I managed to knock over and break the basket on his back, so I know how fragile they are.

Nal
Author of THE HOLY ART: Bizarre Magick From Naljorpa's Cave. NOW IN HARDCOVER! VIEW: <BR>www.lulu.com/content/1399405 ORDER: http://stores.lulu.com/naljorpa
<BR>A TASSEL ON THE LUNATIC FRINGE
Gede Nibo
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Man, just get yourself a TURBAN, a nice RUG, a nice set of BEADS, and big hoop earing, and do the coin matrix Smile with some rupees...

**not being rascist, I'm Indian too Smile
Gotama
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Nal, Yes Waddell is wrong most of the time. He does have some interesting descriptions of items, especially in his Lhasa book (although everything is presented through his Christian perspective). It was interesting, however, to compare what he and others (such as David-Neel)wrote about Tibet and Lhasa to what I actually saw when I was there. Of course, They were there about 100 years before I was, but it was interesting in many ways.

Gede,

Ananda was looking at premodern Indian items, especially related to Buddhism. As a result, my suugestions have been for items that may reflect that concept. The turban goes a fair distance into India's past, but the wouldn't it be cool to do the coin matrix using ancient Indian coins? What about the Jataka tale were the Buddha walks on water (at least several hundred years before the story about Jesus). Wouldn't that story make an interesting effect for either a levitation or some floating object? There is a vast underused storehouse of ideas to use from all Asian culture.
I asked the boy beneath the pines.
He said, "The master's gone alone herb picking,
somewhere on the mount,
cloud hidden,
whereabouts unknown."
(Chin Tao, 777-841, trans. by Alan Watts)
Bill Ligon
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Gotama, you have been to Tibet? How envious I am!

David-Neel's books I read and re-read from time to time. I find the tulpa incident particularly memorable.

Nal
Author of THE HOLY ART: Bizarre Magick From Naljorpa's Cave. NOW IN HARDCOVER! VIEW: <BR>www.lulu.com/content/1399405 ORDER: http://stores.lulu.com/naljorpa
<BR>A TASSEL ON THE LUNATIC FRINGE
Gotama
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I was there just over two years ago. I would like to go back and to visit some other areas of the country. The destruction of temples was very widespread. Many of the places that Waddell and David-Neel saw either do not exist anymore or are only a shadow of what they were.

I first read David-Neel's books about thirty-five some years ago. I once in a while use her Secret Oral Teachings and My Journal to Lhasa when I am teaching Eastern Religions. If you want to read an interesting book (althouh it is now about 10-15 years out-of-date, try the Hotel on the Roof of the World by Alec Le Sueur. He was the first manager of a western Hotel in Lhasa. A very funny look at a land most people misunderstand.
I asked the boy beneath the pines.
He said, "The master's gone alone herb picking,
somewhere on the mount,
cloud hidden,
whereabouts unknown."
(Chin Tao, 777-841, trans. by Alan Watts)
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