Posts Tagged ‘beliefs’

“In 1340 the black death arrived on the shores of Italy and quickly spread across Europe.  By the time the plague was done a third of the world population was dead. when somebody would show symptoms of having the dreaded disease they were ushered into a room in the house and locked in, nobody ever left those rooms alive. It is believed that the souls in those rooms attached their spirits to the keys that locked them in.  A great many of these keys still exist, obviously this is one”

At least that is what I told the ladies in the antique store as the skeleton key I was buying rolled over in the open palm of my outstretched hand.

haunted key photo (003)

My wife and I were wandering through an antique mall just before it was closing.  In the back of the store I found a bunch of skeleton keys less than five dollars each.  One of my favorite effects from my magic days is a little something called the, Haunted Key.  A skeleton key is laid across my palm and all on its own it slowly turns as if it is in a lock.  It is an incredibly haunting effect that always gets a great response. The effect does not work with any skeleton key so once you know the secret you just have to keep trying them until you find one that does.  I always buy the keys when I find them because I am always losing them.

When we walked up to the cash there was one other customer in the shop.  I handed the cashier my prize. My wife pipes up,  “Aren’t you going to show them why you are buying that key?”  The cashier fell right in and said, “Yes, why are you buying this key?”

“Because it is haunted” I said offhandedly. Both the cashier and the other woman froze.  “I’ll show you” I took the key laid it on my palm and we all watched as the key ever so slowly turned in my hand.  After the very loud momentarily silence that followed the cashier asked, “Do all keys do that?”

“No, only the haunted ones”

“I want to test my keys at home, can you show me how you held it?”

I repeated the effect and again both watched intently.  “Are you serious? Is it really haunted?”

I didn’t even get a chance to reply as the other customer did that for me.  She said, “I think he is very serious” at which point I couldn’t help myself.  I had to bring home the effect and opened my mouth,

“In 1340 the black death landed on the shores….”

Both women bought the story hook line and sinker.   On the drive home I said to my wife, “I probably should have told them I am a magician and it was a trick”

“No” my wife instantly responded, “It is not your job, they can believe what they wish” and we laughed all the way home.

In 1974 my father opened up Perfect Magic.  42 years later that shop still exits both brick and mortar and on the web with my parents at the helm.  Why not pay them a visit at PerfectMagic.com and if you want the Haunted Key which they still carry, tell them Brian sent you.

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The more I write about the trials and tribulation about life in the magic store, the more I like it, and slowly the memories are coming back. Not all are about the magic and probably every retailer has such stories. I claim no exclusivity of the strange retail experiences.  I do have to be careful as not to take stories away from my mother’s blog, However I am more than willing to share.

For the end of this post to make sense you also have to understand that I am Jewish.  Keep reading it should make sense.

The shop in Vancouver was located in a strip mall, up a flight of stairs.  Really if you were not looking for it, you would never find it.  I had Bobbie Looney one of the most talented people I’ve ever met paint up a sandwich board which was placed on the walkway so people could find me.  

So, I am minding my own business when this old lady, complete with bonnet and cane walks into the shop.  And she really had to work to get up the few steps she probably should have been in a wheelchair.  In any case she came in with a purpose!

“So” she makes the statement, “This is a magic store?”

“Why yes it is. Are you interested in magic, or perhaps know somebody who is?”

“What sort of magic do you sell here?”

“Oh quite the variety…(getting that feeling that something isn’t kosher) all for entertainment, like David Copperfield, you know, card tricks, coin tricks, tricks with rope all kinds really. Here let me show you something you might find amusing”

“OH NO YOU DON”T!  Magic is the hand of the DEVIL!”


“Not this kind, there is no ‘higher power’ doing the tricks we just make things happen by sleight of hand, by showing and telling you one thing, but secretly doing another, here I can show you its…”

“No, it is the hand of the devil. THE DEVIL I’m telling you”

Okay I know its best not to argue just nod and smile and grin stupidly but sometimes, I’m just not programmed that way.

“No, no it is not, it is just sleight of han…”

“That’s what he would have you believe…(she nods knowingly) but you can repent, and I will pray for you”

“Thank you very much, but really it is not necessary, after all I am one of the chosen ones”

And with that she was gone.  Best trick ever! I vanished the closed minded. Top that Mr. Copperfield!

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