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Profile of Moonlightshadow
Let's face two things :

1) Voodoo ashes is a real strong effect...
2) but it has been exposed over and over and is in nearly every beginners book.

So, my question is twofold : do you still use it ? And are the reactions still great ?
In my case, I can answer two times "yes", but due to the over-exposure I'm sometimes reluctant to use it.

Opinions and experiences are welcome Smile
Ross W
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I use it socially a lot. If someone knows it and blabs, then no big deal. It's a good trick!
Personally, I wouldn't do it professionally I don't think, for the same reasons I wouldn't do vanishing silk in a TT at paid gigs. TOo many people know it.
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lou serrano
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I've done it many times in my restaurant work and have actually booked shows as a result of performing this one trick. It's a great trick and always gets great reactions. It's very rare that I run across someone that knows the secret.

One thing to keep in mind is that everybody doesn't know what we know. The way in which we perform also has a lot to do with the success or failure of our magic performance.

All of the classics have been exposed to death. Cups and Balls, Linking Rings. Sponge Balls, etc. have all been exposed and are in almost every beginner magic set on the market, yet these same tricks are a staple in the acts of many top notch professionals.

When I was a kid, I had a set of Linking Rings and used to perform it regularly. Then I saw Doug Henning perform the Linking Rings on television and witnessed "real" magic, and my first thought was, "Oh, these aren't the same rings I have. They must be different." I had no idea how he did what he did. It was all in his technique and the way in which he presented it. I believe the same is true of the Voodoo Ashes.

Just my 2¢,

Lou Serrano
Pete Biro
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A great 2-cents worth Lou.
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Profile of stijnhommes
Pretty much everything has been exposed somewhere if you look hard enough.
But the key thing to remember is that most audience members won't bother to search for it and even TV specials don't reach everyone. Make it a good performance and even an exposed trick can amaze.

Lou made a good point about the linking rings, I felt exactly the same after seeing a magician levitate himself to pull the hoop across his floating assistent without any suspicious turns. It still amazes me to this day...
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Mike Super has an entire routine included with this. It's quite good.

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Profile of Hansel
Voodoo Ashes Kills! My problem it the mess with the ashes and the secret stuff... BUT its gem that in right place and right moment would be a miracle. Checks Wayne Houchin " Stigmata " would be a new century Ashes on the arm!!!
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Leland Stone
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Yeah, this bit was a lot more convenient when there were more smokers...

I don't use this one professionally unless there are ashtrays nearby, simply because of the mess (both on me and the spec). I used to carry a little pot of ashes with me (oy, what a mess) and had some patter about either: 1) Ashes from a fire I saw lit on St John's Eve in Saint Louis Cemetery #1, collected during a tour of Nawlins, or 2) Dirt from in front of The Haunted Mansion (depending on performance setting). It kills.

But I've been busted on it, too. Once when someone saw the Masked Moron the night before, once when someone prematurely opened their hand.

Don't worry too much about what's in books...nobody reads anymore. If it's not on YouTube or the Masked Moron, it's not on most lay peoples' minds.

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Profile of abc
You could also use other substances. I do this quite often in the pool hall and just use chalk. Even people who have seen it with ashes don't really make the connection that it is pretty much the exact same effect.
lou serrano
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I never use ashes. I took a tip from Eugene Burger and use charcoal colored eye shadow. I carry it in my pocket and I'm ready to go.

Lou Serrano
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Profile of gkfreed
I believe Greg Wilson published the effect with Lipstick. Great idea!
Dennis Loomis
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Josh Jay published the idea of using the chalk block from a pool cue.

I never liked using cigarette ash... just too messy and in today's world, even when there's an ash tray around (almost impossible to find in public in California) I would not want to do an effect with cigarette ash especially since it ends up on the spectator's palm.

But, a pool chalk block is very easy to carry.

Thanks, Josh. Great thinking.

Dennis Loomis
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Bill Palmer
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On 2009-06-25 01:14, lou serrano wrote:
I never use ashes. I took a tip from Eugene Burger and use charcoal colored eye shadow. I carry it in my pocket and I'm ready to go.

Lou Serrano

Me, too! I was on a show about Bizarre magic with Eugene back about 1994. He taught this routine at the convention. I asked him about using it, and he said "go right ahead." I used it at the Texas Renaissance Festival for the next seven years. It's also a great banquet piece.

You don't need cigarette or cigar ashes to do this. Burger's idea takes care of that problem. I've made a few changes in the routine to adapt it to my own personality and performing conditions. Done right, the spectators don't connect the Burger idea with the old ashes trick.
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Dennis Loomis
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Two things:
First, Thanks to Bill Palmer for mentioning Eugene Burger's idea of using Eye shadow.

Second, I should have mentioned that while Josh Jay published the idea of the Pool Cue Chalk, it was originally conceived by Jay Sankey.

Do you guys that do this often carry little packets of wipes so the spectator can clean their hand at the end? Seems to me like a considerate thing to do.

Dennis Loomis
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Bob Johnston
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Regarding Over Exposure..

Lou Serrano’s post covers this thread very well.
I used to worry a lot about exposure (as it would affect me in getting away with an illusion.) Then I realized how very few people really know what the “secret” is
What you can do to offset the person that blabs “I know how you did that.”

Case in point:
When I was demonstrating magic and working behind the counter in a magic shop, Chris Capehart came into the shop. He saw me talking to a mother and kid about Linking Rings, and after they left he told me a story.

He was doing a show for families with kids. He did his linking rings routine (one of the best around) and at the end of the routine a kid got up and shouted “I know how you did that, there is an opening in one of the rings.” At the time, this would have been upsetting to/for me. Here is what the wonderful Chris Capehart did:

Chris said “O, you mean this opening” (as he showed the break in the ring) “that’s just there for beginners, I never use it or think about it.” He then said “look, I will cover it up with my tightly closed hand, I can’t even get to it” as he then did a standard Crash Link right in front of the kids face, and at the end, he slowly opened his hand to show that the opening never left his closed hand. The kid (Chris says) just looked back and forth between Chris and the rings and sat down.

I suspect, even if the kid knew how all the other tricks that Chris was going to do, he would have stayed in his seat with his mouth shut.

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Profile of Melies
In case anyone stumbles across this old thread, I wanted to mention a discovery I made today (though the method as old as the hills).

After reading Eugene Burger's "Mastering the Art of Magic" recently I ordered some black eyeshadow online (Burger recommended eyeshadow, as Lou mentions above). But it was a special kind that came in dust form, not cake form, and it was a mess! So today I discovered that if I burn a piece of cork, it works marvelously--the black stuff actually *is* ash, but it doesn't move or flake off because it's attached to the non-burnt part of the cork. What I did was this: I cut about 1/4 inch of cork in cross-section, then trimmed that a bit so that it would fit snuggly into a thimble. Then I burned the top part of the cork and wedged it into the thimble--and I was all set. (Or mostly: I put the thimble into a slightly larger cylindrical container, then put that into the change pocket of my jeans.)

What's great about using cork, other than the fact that it's practically free, sitting around the house, and a non-messy form of ash, is that you can hide it practically anywhere: I tried using a little duct tape to attach it to the underseam of my jacket, etc.
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Profile of sleightskullduggery
I would also check out Paul Wilson's lipstick routine as well as Wayne Houchin's Stigmata. I really like both but use Stigmata a bit more, but I try not to over do it. Both are similar but between all your options you should be able to mix and match ideas. Have fun!
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