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New user
Woodbridge, Virginia
7 Posts

Profile of Doriann
Over the past few months of meeting a lot of magicians, and adapting to this whole new language it seems they use when talking to one another, I've come across a couple words that I was wondering if anyone could help me out with?

-Stooge(s) (I've heard this term used a lot in reference to levitations, and pick pocketing)


-Zombie (in reference to some stage illusion)

These are just some that I hear often.
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Regular user
Centennial, CO
174 Posts

Profile of deerbourne
Stooge: Also known as a confidant or confederate. The stooge is a secret assistant to the effect. To the audience they appear to be one of them.

Svengali: A type of gimmicked deck.

Zombie: A beautiful effect where (traditionally) a silver sphere moves on top of and behind a drape held between the magicians hands. An internet search will net you several video clips.

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Inner circle
South African in Taiwan
1081 Posts

Profile of abc
The stooge is The Key to the effect (someone that assists in the execution or the effect). It doesn't have to be someone you arranged with before. There is a thing such as instant stooging but not many people use it.

Svengali Short cards

Zombi - see above post
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Special user
Snohomish, Washington
529 Posts

Profile of irossall
Stooge: There are 3 of them. (actualy about 5)

Svengali: I think he was a Swami. <sp>

Zombie: A strong drink made of White Rum, Dark Rum, Pinapple Juice, Orange Juice and topped of with a little 151 Rum.

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Regular user
Leeds, England
121 Posts

Profile of liam-j-gilbert
As already mentioned a stooge is a seemingly innocent member of the audience used in the excecution of the trick... there is nothing to say that the stooge must be aware that he is doing something which helps in this manner.

Svengali was actually a man who came up with afew magic principals, his most famous however, and probably where you have heard his name is in his gimmicked deck, obviously I cannot divulge the secret of the deck in this forum.

Deerbourne's answer about the zombie is spot on.
www.liamgilbert.co.uk -- for info, booking or queries on Liam Gilbert
Clifford the Red
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Inner circle
LA, California
1935 Posts

Profile of Clifford the Red
Some people dislike the use of stooges because they feel it isn't "honest magic". An oxymoron if I've ever heard one.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
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Inner circle
South African in Taiwan
1081 Posts

Profile of abc
It takes a lot more skill to instant stooge (not pre arranged stooge) than to arrange before hand but honestly we are just here to entertain so the use of stooges is perfectly fine in my opinion.
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New user
76 Posts

Profile of Woofledust
As I see it, nearly every time you use a stooge you are exposing a magic effect, at least to the confederate. Of course, to some that's not a problem I guess.

T. A. Waters has an excellent entry on this in his "Encylopedia of Magic and Magicians". To paraphrase just a small part, he says there are few effects that cannot be performed as well without confederates as with them. Also, an effect that can only be performed with stooges makes that fact self-evident. He quotes Al Koran as stating, "With stooges anybody can do it. That's not magic."

And then there is an ethical argument that the performer is breaking a trust with the audience.

To be fair, Waters also acknowledges that there are and were many performers, including Ted Annemann who insist that the "effect is the thing".

I don't use them and I am bothered when viewing an effect by others where it is obvious they used them, but that's just me.
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