Book Forewords

By foreword writer

Bob Neale
Brother Shadow
Eugene Burger
Karl Bartoni
Larry White 1
Larry White 2
Leslie Melville
Max Howard
Peter Marucci
Phil Willmarth
Professor Rem, PhSc
Rolando Santos
Ronald Dayton
Stefan Dardik
Tom Craven
Walt Anthony


By book







Larry White
Stoughton, Massachusetts 2008


A single spotlight illuminated the man holding a small box. He stood alone on the bare stage. He was a magician, but he wore plain clothes and the box he held was plain brown cardboard. As he spoke we had a peek inside the box although he did not deliberately show it empty. He uttered no magic words, but the words he did utter were magical.

He told a story of the love a young child had for a teacher. The year was coming to a close and children were bringing gifts for their teacher. One child, from a very poor family, brought the gift of an empty cardboard box. The child explained that the box was not empty but during the year he had been throwing kisses into it and now it was full of his kisses for his teacher…

I had a tear in my eye. I looked toward my wife and tears were streaming down her face. I looked around the audience and saw tears on every face.

The storyteller then slowly broke into a smile, tipped the box forward once again to show it now contained a quantity of Hershey Chocolate Kisses, which he tossed out to the audience. Now there was applause. Genuine, heartfelt applause.

I had just experienced the power a master storyteller holds over an audience. This was not a common magician presenting a series of puzzles. His goal was not to garner applause or laughter. His goal was to reach deep within the human spirit and touch emotions most magicians choose to ignore.

The storyteller was Ed Solomon. This was the first time I had ever seen him perform. His story touched me so deeply it instantly came to my mind when he asked me to write this Foreword.

I have seen hundreds of magicians perform in my lifetime. Only a handful are memorable. In my work with magic magazines -- as a Ghost Editor for Tannen’s Magic Manuscript and as Magic Editor for M-U-M -- I have read thousands of magic routines. Few are memorable. Then, somewhere along life’s road I discovered a new breed of magicians who strive to reach into the very depths of human emotions and trigger deep-seated memories, worries, concerns and joys. Their stories, rather than tricks, were their tools. Their stories were their sentences and a trick or two their punctuation.

I fell in love with this “new magic.” It was “theater.” It required the skills of acting and speaking. It required an understanding of human psychology. It required scripting, timing and self-training.

I was relatively new to storytelling magic when I saw Ed Solomon on that stage with his box of kisses. Ed was the one who tipped me over the edge and spilled me into this wonderful world of Storytelling Magic. Ed did far more that day than bring a tear to my eye. As I looked around seeing every member of the audience reacting emotionally in a way I had never seen a magic show audience react I knew I had just witnessed real magic. Rather than creating make-believe magic with silk handkerchiefs and strange looking apparatus, Ed created real magic with the minds and memories of each of us in the audience.

Not surprisingly, Ed and I have become close friends since that box of kisses. When I encounter something precious I cling to it. Ed has shared dozens of his stories with me and each one brings forth some emotion –-sadness, laughter, fear, compassion, hate, love – with just a touch of a magic trick to bring forth curiosity, wonder and, of course, mystery.

When David Goodsell, Editor of M-U-M, and I as his Magic Editor, retired from the magazine we were both hooked on Storytelling and Bizarre magic so we decided to publish our own modest, six issues a year, ORACLE MAGIC MAGAZINE which would feature Mentalism, Bizarre Magic, Spirit Theater and Storytelling magic. We needed excellent material so it would attract excellent magicians. The first person we invited to contribute was Ed Solomon. Ed not only agreed to “contribute something” he began to send us so many excellent routines we had trouble selecting “the best.” They were all “the best!

I created an “Ed Solomon” file on my computer and added to it weekly (sometimes daily) as Ed continued to share his stories with our subscribers. His output is astounding. His creativity is boundless. Ed has an uncanny ability to seek out a touching story and put a magic twist to it or find an odd object at a flea market and create a story around it. He has a firm foundation in magic-shop magic and has read most of the magic books. This, coupled with a marvelous memory allows him to blend his two loves … storytelling and magic … seamlessly together and this is what he performs and this is what he willingly shares through his writings.

I doubt ORACLE will last long enough to publish all of his contributions. This is not to say ORACLE is about to vanish, but simply because Ed continues to send us new routines we will never be able to catch up. Therefore I was absolutely delighted when Ed informed me that he planned on publishing many of his routines that have appeared in ORACLE or still rest in my file. This material should be shared with magicians other than our subscribers.

I was even more delighted when Ed asked me to write this Foreword for that book. It gives me the opportunity to tell him how influential he has been to showing us how magic can be a true art. It also gives me the opportunity to tell you to keep your eyes and mind open as read the following pages. You are about to enter the world of a master storyteller and he may just change your world forever.


Phil Willmarth
Executive Editor, Linking Ring Magazine
Official Publication of The International Brotherhood of Magicians


I am honored and delighted to write the foreword to this latest collection of Magic presentations by Ed Solomon. Ed has published eight books of presentations to date: Egyptian Magic, Magic by the Seat of Your Pants, Something Strange Within, Sound FX, Strange Offerings, Tales Worth Telling, The Backdoor Key of Solomon, The Mission of the Mage, and donated three books of The Chronicles of DeNomolos for monthly publication in his "Storytelling Is Magic" column in The Linking Ring. Add his award-winning One-Man Parade in the October, 2003 Linking Ring, and the presentations in this book, and they total over 300 story presentations for Magic. Wow, and most of us have trouble coming up with one original presentation!

Ed is a gentleman and a gentle man. A musician and retired music teacher, he has a sensitivity to feelings that music may have helped develop. Whatever the reason, these presentations, varied as they are, all bring much needed emotional impact to their audiences. Indeed, more than a few can be simply stories told without the need for any magic accompaniment.

In my own writings, I have said several times that all magicians should do some mentalism since mentalism, even mental magic, is fundamentally presentation rather than skilled physical technique. Given Ed's magnificent contribution to our Art, I can now say "all magicians who talk in their performances could well include one storytelling presentation in each performance."

Many of us who have been in magic a long time believe that perhaps the major factor that has worked to prevent magic from being considered the art form it can be is the lack of emotional content. Far too much magic is done without any reason for doing it, other than simply to show what the magician can do. No wonder so many spectators view magic simply as a puzzle to be solved and are not thrilled if they can't.

Pick out one of the twenty presentations in this book and work it up for performance. Try it out in a show for laypeople (non-magicians) and pay attention both to the reactions as you do it and after the show. My guess is that you will quickly add one or more others, and you'll feel as indebted to Ed Solomon as I do.



Eugene Burger
Chicago 2005



When we stop for a moment and ask ourselves what it means to be human, we find, I think, that the telling of stories is certainly an essential dimension of the human enterprise.

Not only telling stories but also listening to them -- and remembering them. Story telling began, no doubt, with the creation of language. And so it is not surprising that we have stories that tell us who we are and where we came from and where we are going. Some of our stories are cultural. They are shared by many other people. Other stories that we tell are intensely personal: they are our stories.

During the last half of the 19th century, people began to realize that there were other people on this planet who told their own, very different stories. Sometimes these stories had surprising similarities to stories that we tell, but other times what struck us was that these stories were shockingly different. The second half of the 20th century has shown us the political and social problems that have resulted from our attempting to come to grips with the stories that other people tell. And then we realize that, for them, we are the other people!

Because of the centrality of stories to our lives as human lives, it isn’t difficult to believe that magicians have been telling stories with their magic from the earliest of times.

The linking of magic routines and stories is a delicate business. In all honesty, there is usually too much emphasis on the story to the detriment of the magic or too much emphasis on the magic so that the story becomes trite and unnecessary. A happy marriage is never easy to realize. It takes a great deal of work.

Enter my friend, Ed Solomon. Ed has been telling stories for decades and working to connect them meaningfully to magic routines. This manuscript is his latest contribution. The first thing that you may notice is the very wide range of stories that Ed brings us. There are stories about ghosts and spirits, vampires, Chinese wizards, dying children, strange science, the Mexican Day of the Dead, Poe and the Tell-Tale Heart to mention just a few.

My personal three favorite stories are “God and the Spider” (Number 5), “Murder” (Number 10) and “Mirror Magic” (Number 9) which Ed explains is “a guided study of facial formation, and real or imagined personality assessment.” The best part of this technique is that the sitter tells the performer what they see and the performer tells the sitter what it means. This could be great fun at a party.

I am tempted to say that this book is a “work in progress” – but only if you understand that in the very best sense. This is not really a book filled with completely finished presentations and stories. Rather, it is a book designed to stimulate us, the readers, to strike out in our own new directions and, in the process, to sail into uncharted waters. Since we are all so individual – if not idiosyncratic – in our interests and choices, perhaps you will find different pieces of magic to go with some of these stories. Or perhaps the stories themselves will suggest new and different variations. But this is how we grow. And it is also the way the art of magic grows.

Enjoy this voyage into the world of story telling!



Max Howard
Atlanta, Georgia
May, 2005


I would like to say that there is something for everyone in this book but that it not true. This material is only for performers who love language, intelligent stories, deep feeling, charming props, simple methods, stunning effects and powerful entertainment -- for lay people.

Unfortunately, these criteria will automatically exclude a large percentage of English speaking magicians.

For the rest, however, this book will bring delight to the spirit, knowledge to the mind and excitement to the imagination as readers begin to contemplate how the power of its little mysteries might be realized in their own hands. It is material, which is fun to think about, satisfying to perform and captivating to experience.

From the drama of "Ashes of Roses" to the sure-to-be controversial "Wild Things," from the sweet and touching "Christmas Is for Love" to the clever and stunning "Trials, Tribulations and Treasure," this is an astonishing array of stories which can connect us to our audiences and our audiences to themselves. Enjoy and appreciate.

This is powerful theatre.



Brother Shadow


If you are reading this, you already know what a special person Ed is, but just in case this is the first book of his you have, I’m going to tell you anyway. Ed Solomon is a master creator and teller of stories. That is reason enough to read this book. I have had the privilege of seeing him perform many times. I have heard him tell stories at magic groups without any magic to accompany them, except the magic of his voice and storytelling. He can make you smile or make you cry. He will always touch emotions, and that is real magic. Ask anyone who was at the Charles Cameron Memorial Gathering in Edinburgh 2003, or at the ICBM gathering in Conn. what they thought of Ed’s performance, but be ready for a long answer with a lot of raves, all good.

Ed is generous to a fault, always willing to share and to teach. He is also a skilled and imaginative craftsman whose props alone can bring wonder.

When creating a routine around a story that needs (I hesitate to say this) a ‘trick’, he keeps the methodology simple so he can concentrate on his performance, an ideal I heartily agree with. Keep it simple!

I’ve shared a room with Ed at conventions and we talked through the night about how magic should be performed. It is a lot more than stringing a bunch of tricks together. That type of performance leaves the audience wondering how they were done.

With Ed you get a feeling of real wonder and it is magical. If you care about your craft, that is what you should always aim for. If I seem to be putting Ed on a pedestal, I am, he deserves it. There are few with as much knowledge and understanding as Ed, that are willing to share it, and I feel privileged to be able to call him a friend.

You are holding in your hands a book that you should treasure and keep handy anytime you are looking to create a routine to perform. Don’t do yourself a disservice and just skim through this book, Ed had a lot to teach you, Take your time, study it, he has given you a marvelous gift, don’t waste it.



Professor Rem, PhSc
phenomenologist, Socialist
August 2005


Many of us first learned of the craftsmanship and storytelling skills of Ed Solomon through the Dragonskull web site. As a result of his wonderful book, Egyptian Magic, I began an e-mail correspondence that resulted in our meeting for the first time at ICBM, the Inner Circle of Bizarre Magic convention. We met again at the IBM convention in Cleveland. At every meeting, his creative genius, generosity and playful sense of humor came through. You are about to experience all of these, and more.

As his many fans have come to expect, DeNomolos presents stories with weird and compelling plots. Crystal goblets, pearls, skulls, a smiling Buddha, breadsticks, body parts and Tribbles await your inspection. Unlike his many other books, there is much more of Ed Solomon the craftsman here. Haunted keys, wands, his grandmother, a looking glass and a discussion of TITHAOITP are among the thoughts that Ed shares with you. Some of the items used are one-of-a-kind but the presentations will encourage you to search your local shops and garage sales.

Although I cannot prove it, I believe that foreword originally meant forewarned. Ed Solomon is a Texan so no exaggerations are possible. This is marvelous material to get your creative juices flowing. Ed, and DeNomolos, will show the way.

As Alexander McCall Smith wrote: A wisp of sulfur surrounds his ideas...

Have a wonder full day.



Ronald Dayton
a.k.a. KOTAH
August 7,2004


The role of 'Storyteller,' is, and has always been, a position of responsibility. Storytellers were mankind's first historians when you stop to think about it. Before the printed word, spoken accounts of events were handed down from generation to generation. The tales served as a living record of past events. They were how the next generation learned.

Think of all the ways a story may be told. It need not be verbal. Stories are sometimes told in the form of dance, or by wall paintings Neanderthal to Egyptian hieroglyphics. The caveman's picture story was often used as magic to bring success in the next hunt. Egyptian hieroglyphics were strongly tied to magic as well. The Shaman/medicine man's story dance is powerful magic too.

It seems magic, faith, and story telling, are inextricably entwined. Perhaps this is the very reason the mantle of storyteller has been passed on to the Mage.

Who better qualified than a mystic to breathe life into a tale, to bring a sense of wonder to touch the emotions of our soul? He understands the magic of the fable and the parable. There is undeniable honesty revealed in the guise of his deception. By suspending belief, the doors to reality are opened. Allowing us to walk through and experience each tale’s impact on us as an individual.

Our very lives are a compilation of diverse, sometimes strange, or wonderful stories. The magic begins at birth and the mystery upon our death

Somewhere in between these two plateaus, the story of our life is written. We are the sum part of all knowledge and things experienced. It is the way we perceive what we see and hear that allows us to see the magic.

DeNomolos has crafted tales involving Zen and other world religions. As a Mage, by natural progression, he has moved on to creating bizarre gospel magic, but not with a hell fire and brimstone approach. His tales are tempered with humor, truth, and compassion with one goal. After the magic tricks have faded from memory; the story and the emotions it touched within you remain. Like the tents of the circus have been struck, the smell of the popcorn and the taste of cotton candy still linger in your mind.

DeNomolos is a masterful storyteller. I marvel at his creativity, and the skill displayed in the props this artisan constructs. I am proud to be numbered among his friends, and pleased to have been asked to write this foreword. The two most flattering terms I can think of to describe him are; Friend and Storyteller

With DeNomolos the mission of the mage, is indeed, mission accomplished!



Bob Neale
Magician, Author, Theologian,
Free-lance writer, Inventor,
Professor of Psychiatry and
Paper folder extraordinaire.



When Ed asked me to write something about creativity, I recalled what Steve Allen replied to an interviewer who asked him how he managed to do so many creative things: “I never asked myself that question. It would be like asking how my hair grows. The mystery of creativity is just that: It is a mystery, and particularly mysterious to me about myself.” (Elber, The Associated Press, November 1, 2000)

This is a wise response, although not very creative, so I will say something more than "DeNomolos would not have needed to ask me."

Introducing a trick in Life, Death and Other Card Tricks, I mentioned browsing through The Readers Digest and happening on a joke that struck my fancy. It occurred to me that I could purchase a single issue of the magazine, read every section of it, and be inspired to generate many presentations for tricks. More to my taste would be presentations inspired by The New York Times or The New Yorker. Of course, People and Fortune might equally inspire others. What would your magazine of choice be and what presentations might you be likely to create?

Of course, this challenge avoids an issue. If we are reduced to hunting for inspiration to create presentations, aren’t we actually quite out of touch with ourselves and the inexhaustible spring of inspiration that flows forth from our own life experiences? Is magic such a severely compartmentalized element of our lives?

In theory, everything is an ingredient for the creation of a trick. In fact, we are limited because we are not open to so many things. The more varied the interests we pursue, the more we explore outside our habitual areas of concern, and the more we confess our own problems in being human, the more we prime the pump for a creative response. My different interests shape my creations in magic. My tricks are responses, consciously or not, to problems I face. On the surface, the trick may be a bit of verbal nonsense, sentimental fluff (what I term "warm-fuzzy-yuck"), a dirty joke, or a weird and whimsical theological notion, but it is serving some personal concern.

Perhaps we are unacquainted with making up things and assume that we cannot do so. For me, it is fun to make up things. But that is misleading. There is a harsh drive to be creative. It often rules over other needs and other people. And it is never satisfied with past achievements. Clearly, I assume that I can make up things and will continue to do so.

Do you care about stories or themes for magical effects but assume that you cannot create them? You can. I learned that I could by requiring it of others.

Imagine that we are in a small group. I hand out writing implements and require us to spend no more than twenty minutes writing a story about God, love, war, politics, death, or whatever our group selects. We all do so and then we read our stories aloud. We are surprised and pleased both by the fact that we have created and by what we have created. I spent years playing this way with a variety of people and know that, under conditions of such benevolently authoritarian leadership, people will create stories of powerful meaning.

Do you really care about stories or themes for effects? Then just be your own kindly dictator. Set aside a half hour to select a topic for your solitary workshop and write down the tale or theme that springs into being. If nothing comes to mind, just start writing and it will appear. If you doubt this, try it, being sure at the end to read aloud what you have written.

The tricks are not so important at the beginning. First get a notebook with some of your own tales and ideas. The tricks will come to mind all too easily. Most of us know a vast number of tricks that can be called into play. What we lack is any conception of why the tricks might be of interest to ourselves, and others, in the first place, the stories and themes. Magic is done best in the service of something other than itself. Get the horse back before the cart.



Larry White
Magic Editor M-U-M Magazine
Society of American Magicians
April 2003


Alone in a room at night a book falls

          ...You jump!

Taps are played on a bugle

          ... You cry

In a quiet elevator a stomach gurgles

          ...You smile!

Fingernails run down a blackboard

          ...Your hair stands on end!!


Some 40 years ago while employed in the Education Department of Boston’s Museum of Science I had the uncanny opportunity to sit alone inside a “Soundless” chamber at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This was a small cubicle that was triply insulated with soundproofing material that, once the door was closed, allowed absolutely no external sounds to be heard. The experience was frightening. Oh, I heard sounds in that room... creepy sounds made by my own body’s sounds, thank goodness, we ordinarily do not hear. My heartbeat, my breathing, peristalsis moving food through my digestive tract, and even the sounds of my eyes blinking. Sounds none of us really want to hear. That day I came to appreciate the importance and affect even the simplest of sounds can have on our human experience.

Sounds have the "power" to reach our emotions. All of them. The jokester leads a victim to sit on a "Whoopee Cushion" which gives off a "fart" sound and everyone laughs. A baby lets out a cry in the nighttime and her parents awake instantly in fear. The wife of a fallen soldier sobs on TV and, without a word being said, tears come to our eyes. A magician misdirects his audience with a tap of his wand on the table.

All are evidence of the power of sounds. Simple, but powerful, sounds. Words, of course, are sounds, but many sounds are not words. These are the sounds you will encounter in the marvelous book you are holding.

Here's an example of a powerful non-word sound ---

A few years back I devised a “seance” titled “A Visit With Lizzie,” which is conducted at the actual house where the infamous axe murders of Lizzie’s father and stepmother took place. It is performed by professional actors. Our lead female actor, Michelle, is not a magician but she understands good theater. She added one "sound" to my script which has an amazing effect on the audience. The lights go out... "Lizzie" (played by Michelle) "enters the room" and speaks in a gentle voice... then an “unexpected entity” appears and Lizzie lets out one of the most blood curdling screams I have ever heard. This single non-word sound “a scream” brings terror in the darkness and remains THE part of the seance most remembered by our audiences.

One single sound amid lots of words! Story telling magicians can touch emotional cores with one carefully placed SINGLE SOUND. That is what this book is all about.

Here is a science lesson to further illustrate this point:

In elementary school we are taught we have five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste.

Later we learn these are the BASIC senses. Humans posses many more. We “sense” when we are sick. We “sense” where our body is spatially. We “sense” what others think of us. And probably we “sense” things that are in fact “extra-sensory.“ I might also believe that our brains "sense" how to react to the sounds we hear and herein lies the secret weapon for the story telling magician..

The five basic senses we learned in first grade are our most important. That is why we learn them first.

If these basic senses are our most important then we are wise incorporating as many as possible in any routine. In importance, hearing is second only to sight, which indicates that sounds are a logical “route” to reach human emotions. Unfortunately, the only sounds most magicians use are the sound of their own words. Their "patter." This book is not about the lines in a script that are spoken, although there are wonderful scripts here with words that do draw forth a variety of emotions. The lesson here is not about them, it is about including a sudden, unexpected, emotion-evoking sound at a dramatic point during the spoken words of the story. As an explanation point, so to speak. And, sometimes, as you will read, ARE the story.

Sure, many excellent “story tellers” rely solely on their voice to draw out emotions. To evoke sadness they speak in somber tones, to evoke happiness they speak with a twinkle in their eye. This is the skill of the actor. However, there are many sounds our voices cannot adequately reproduce: The happy RING of a doorbell as guests arrive, the sad TOLLING of church bells, the CREAK of a mysterious door being opened, the SHUFFLE of footsteps on a stairway, the THUNKS of dirt being shoveled on a coffin. These require sound effects, which happily are easy to provide using inexpensive small recorders.

Once recorded these sounds wait ready to startle or delight when they "appear" in the story.

Ed Solomon, retired teacher of music, and his cranky alter ego, DeNomolos, know the effect/affect sounds can have on an audience. In this book, together, they offer us perfected examples of their years of experimenting with including the unexpected sound of a siren, a ticking of a clock, the hoot of an owl, or even no sound at all... deathly silence, in their presentations.

So grow on the wisdom of Solomon and DeNomolos' years of research. Steal their knowledge that they offer here. In the pages that follow you will find 20 magical “stories” that incorporate sounds. In many the sound is the ONLY “magical” thing that happens. Do not be put off by this. One sound can put you "one notch" above the usual storyteller/magician. Mini-sound recorders cost only a few dollars, and with one you can include “mysterious sounds” in practically any routine. Add this one higher dimension to your stories and you add a big touch of magic. Other storytellers will hear of you and seek your secret.

Don't tell them. Keep the secret. The right sounds, carefully inserted at the right moment, WILL "blow" the minds of your audience. BOOM!

With that in mind I leave you with the magician's most powerful sound... SHHHHHHH!





What I know about Ed Solomon and his alter ego DeNomolos is not vast, surely, but I can sum it up easily enough in a message I recently sent him: “Ed, you're a master of the craft; that's all there is to it.”

That’s what I wrote to Ed Solomon after having read “Tales Worth Telling”, his latest work.

And it pretty much sums up the work you’re holding in your hot little hands. This is Ed at his playful, ominous, risqué, touching, joking, and entertaining best.

One look at the range of stories here shows you the man is as sharp – no, sharper – than most of us still cutting our teeth on this unbelievably difficult and unbelievably wonderful form of magic: spirits of deceased loved ones make themselves known in lovely – and loving – ways; Order and Chaos worm their ways through doppelgangers; pizza ingredients behave in the strangest ways when an uncle performs for his nephews; spam touting “male enhancers” get examined a bit too closely; a dead poet predicts a very personal future; an angel talks through dreams, shedding more than a little light into one man’s life; the eerie power of myth is seen courtesy of a certain ferryman and a certain river; a religious discussion gets a bit out of hand; a young boy’s faith reaches a surgeon’s heart and visa versa; a little boy’s love for his infant sister becomes a song of miracles and life…
Ed is a master of storytelling; that’s for sure.

The magic? What of the magic? You can’t have storytelling magic without magic? Of course you can’t, and here once again comes Ed.

You’ll find no finger-flinging here, no reverse out faros, no spider vanishes, no half-passes while standing on your head gargling peanut butter for misdirection. Don’t worry about your Erdnase or Bobo; things are simple in Ed’s world. A few standard store items, a set of Buddha papers, a drawer box, a pack of tarot cards, a few boxes here and there to carry things… these are the tools Ed prefers to use to accompany his stories, wringing out the impact from the simplest of things.

Ed is a master of magic; that’s for sure.

Combining the two is what Ed Solomon is all about, and he mixes and matches with a single goal in mind: move the audience. If he’s after tears, he gets tears, and the magic solidifies the emotion in the spectator’s mind; if he wants laughs, he get laughs and the magic makes the giggles stick; if he’s going for groans, brother, he gets them and the magic makes those groans louder. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what storytelling magic is about?
Sure it is.

Ed Solomon is a master of the craft; that’s all there is to it.
“Tales worth telling,” Ed writes in his introduction, “are hard to find.” Actually, they’re quite simple to find: Ed put them all in this book so we can enjoy them, marvel at them, and revel in them. We can take these stories and make them our own.
And so can our audiences.



Karl Bartoni
Blackpool, Lancashire, England
September 2006
Coordinator and facilitator for the Charles Cameron Memorial Gathering and the keeper of the keys to the Dragonskull website.


The writings of Ed Solomon have given me great pleasure to read for many years now and still continue to do so. I KNOW that I am not on my own in this and like many others, I have learned a lot from him. He is not just a prolific writer of stories but a master in creating and telling them. Everything is honed to perfection for his performances and only then, it seems, we get the pleasure of his knowledge and experience by him sharing this in print with us.

Ed Solomon is a great teacher too, not only in how to perform and tell stories but how to go about making the props, if any are required for a particular story. Because of his fine illustrations and explanations on prop building, those far less gifted than him are shown how they too can make a unique and magical looking prop.

Ed gives his audience a sense of real wonderment, which is magical. It is what our Craft is all about, not just a collection of tricks leaving people thinking how he did them. If a ‘trick’ is needed in one of Ed’s stories, you can be sure it won’t involve any finger flinging or convoluted system. He teaches us to ‘keep it simple’ so that we can concentrate on the story and telling it WELL.

Ed is also gifted at telling a story without any magic at all but…what a story! He has a vast array of such stories and with the magic of his voice he can make an audience smile, laugh, cry or feel spiritually uplifted. I had the pleasure of seeing Ed tell one of these in a show at the Charles Cameron Memorial Gathering in Edinburgh 2003, on that occasion it was a tear jerker story about a little boy and a new fawn. I can tell you that there was a lump in everyone’s throat if not a tear in their eyes. To be able to invoke such emotions in a room full of magicians is truly a ‘Story Teller’ at his best.

Ed is a master of his crafts and we should cherish the gift of his knowledge, which he wants to share with us. He has provided us with many books now, and each one should be considered a treasure. This latest one is no exception.

This book is a collection of wonderful stories and effects, each with their own different theme and there is something for everyone to enjoy. Stories involving Tarot cards, Arthurian legend, ring no ring bell, coins, gem stones, rope, a mini violin and much more can be found inside it’s pages. I am confident that you will derive great pleasure from reading the contents and even more if you perform one or more of the items. Don’t deprive yourself by ‘speed reading’ through the pages, savor each story fully before moving onto the next one and then treasure the gift to us of Ed Solomon.



Rolando Santos
July 2006
Personal Journal of Rolando Santos, AIMC


Archmage Mitos Odnalor and I were on the back patio overlooking the lake at the Sanctum Sancti in the Texas hill country. We were discussing the abundance, but sometimes disappointing quality of magic writings for the bizarrist available today.

As he gave me a margarita on the rocks, blended using his family’s secret recipe, Mitos said, “ Being a prolific writer doesn’t mean the writer is a good writer or that the quality of the writing is any good. Often the opposite is true, desktop publishing has given even the rankest amateur the ability to put forth useless nonsense, uninspired stories that are intellectually barren points of views and uninteresting plots. If only more authors could be like Ed Solomon…but then as the Assistant Editor of The Linking Ring, you know that don’t you?”

Mitos was right, I have been reading and editing Ed Solomon’s column for several years and reading his submissions to the Shadow Digest for even longer. It a joy to see his ability take a single prop and create real magic with it, while putting up with the often irascible main character Denomolos.

Few people realize that not counting some essays, the complete works of Denomolos, (presentations for the storyteller,) totals 290 presentations. Book One has 536 pages without the pictures. Book Two has 556 pages without the pictures. Three additional books, with about 75 presentations total, went to The Linking Ring to feed the column. In all, Ed has written 1092, pages without forewords, disclaimers, or table of contents. That is a lot of bizarre magic for anybody.

“Mitos brought out a large manuscript and said “Ed was kind enough to send me a manuscript for the archives of his latest book, ’13…Bonus Pages’. Another fine mix of magic, philosophy and theater combined with evocative presentations that expand the moment of magic into an extended magical experience.”

As he thumbed through the book he said, “Fireman’s Story is an example of how the magic is not in a prop, but in the mood you create with the story. Cauldron of Fire is an interesting way of tapping into a person’s inner self as is the Paradox of the Pendulum. The Story of the Four Candle is a philosophy lesson in the trappings of mystery.”

I asked Mitos if he knew that Ed not only builds all the props, but performs each and every story. Two my favorites are The Thimble Story--- where else would you find Brad Pitt, Mel Gibson, and Curley from the Three Stooges dealing with an Old Mother Hubbard. And Master ChoZin tells the tale of the Two Boxes--- one of gold and one of black. A short, entertaining life lesson.

Mitos picked up the pitcher of margaritas to refill my glass. “Book 13 has a bit of everything and a lot of solid storytelling. As we say here in San Antonio---Bien Hecho! Well Done!”



Peter Marucci


It’s a privilege and an honor to be asked to write the foreword to Ed Solomon’s latest book.

Ed has long been known, in the relatively small world of bizarre performers, as a great performer, a consummate prop maker, and an elegant storyteller. In his monthly column in the Linking Ring, he has an even wider audience for his brilliant material.

And “brilliant” is not a word that I use lightly.

I have pulled routines and plot lines from past Solomon books; and again in this one, the stories are great just the way they are.

In fact, on first reading this book, I was doing magnolias and a Christmas rose within a short time.

To take a book, tape, or DVD and come away with ONE routine that you will use regularly is no mean feat. To come away with TWO is almost unheard of. Make that three. The family tree story is sheer brilliance.

And yet, of all of these, I find myself making changes – not for the sake of making changes – but, rather, to personalize these pieces even more.

And that’s the whole point of storytelling: personalizing the material.

So enjoy this book; I know you will, though, and I know your audiences will, too.




Tom Craven


To those of you who are storytellers (and I am not), I envy your journey through these pages. There is plenty of material for you to draw from, even if all of it doesn’t fit your style, or your personality. DeNomolos has given you many effects using quaint, yet mostly recognizable, and unique props. You will notice the attention to detail regarding the use of waxes, polishes, and other items to make the props seem antique and authentic.

In reading these effects, even for a non-storyteller as myself, I marvel at the depth in which each story is constructed. There are fabulous patter lines to be gleaned for your performances. Many will not use the patter verbatim (quite a task to memorize it all), but it’s all there for you to customize for yourself. I would caution however, that the furnished patter makes each effect mysterious and authentic, and to change it too much would be a mistake.

DeNomolos certainly has a different kind of “Mental Gymnastics” to be able to verbalize as he does. The words are strange, almost hypnotic in nature, yet very natural sounding to the spectators.

Having spent many hours at conventions with DeNomolos, I can certainly attest to the fact that his routines are not only workable, but also “works of art.” Much thought has been given to even the minutest detail.

So read on and enjoy whoever you are, as this tome is destined to become a classic. I’d even go so far as to say that it would serve as another “bible of sorts” for the audience for whom it is intended.



Leslie Melville
April 2008


In November 2007, Duncan Williamson died.

Duncan was a Scottish traditional 'traveler' storyteller and over the last thirty years, perhaps the most powerful influence in the revival of Oral Storytelling in the United Kingdom.

Aided by Linda, his American, second wife, he had several books published. He would record the stories on tape and she transcribed them for publication. Duncan traveled extensively throughout the U.K. and Europe, performing at storytelling festivals and gatherings. Ten years ago, he was invited to the U.S. to tell his traditional tales at the Jonesborough National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee. I knew Duncan personally and like many in Britain, have told his stories and benefited from his influence. In storytelling terms, Duncan Williamson truly was a national treasure.

In a recent U.K. magazine article, leading English storyteller Amy Douglas wrote a moving tribute to Duncan and in it, she included one of his own tales. I sent the article to Ed because I thought he would be interested in knowing about Duncan and I also felt that he would enjoy the story around which Amy weaved her tribute. I suggested that the tale nicely complemented the stories in his book of “Grandfather Tales."

Ed obviously thought so too and asked me to re-write the piece for inclusion by way of a foreword to his book. To be asked to make a contribution to a work of Ed Solomon's is indeed an honor and I am delighted so to do.

However I must remind you that the story you are about to read is Duncan Williamson's tale as interpreted by Amy Douglas, the girl that he 'mentored' and who often described him as her 'third grandfather'! My role is merely that of someone privileged to have shared stories with both Duncan and Ed, both supreme masters at their craft; and to bring a sample of the creation of one to the excellent work of the other. Had they met, I know they would have been great friends.

The concluding paragraph following the story is by Amy Douglas.
They are the words with which she closes her tribute. I have left them exactly as she wrote them.

The rest of the material in this book is of course by Ed Solomon. is stories are inspiring as always. The tricks are simple and effective. It is my sincere pleasure to commend this work to you.


…There was once an old man who lived in a little hut in the forest. His daughter lived in the village at the edge of the forest. Every Saturday his little granddaughter would skip along the path to his house bringing the sunlight and a basket of baking from her mother.

The old man would always leave the hut untidy for her to clean. The girl would come into the hut, put the basket down on the table, shake her head at the state of things, put on the little apron that hung on the back of the door and set about cleaning and tidying everything. By the time her grandfather came whistling through the door with a bundle of firewood, all would be pick and span and lunch would be waiting on the table.

When they had eaten, the old man would sweep his granddaughter up into his lap and tell her stories of when her mother was little, sing songs, play games and they would laugh together until dusk drew near and he would walk her back to the village.

One day, the little girl arrived at the hut as usual, but just as she was tying on her apron, there was a knock at the door. She opened it and there stood a pale stranger, skin stretched thin under the hood of a long dark cloak.

“My grandfather ’s not here, can I help?”

“Oh. Will you tell him that Death came to call and I ’ll be back to visit him tonight.”

When the old man came whistling down the path to his hut, he opened the door to find the hut all in a mess, the fire gone out and his little granddaughter sobbing her heart out.

“Oh Grandfather, Death came by and he says he is going to visit you tonight and I won ’t see you any more and I can ’t bear it!”

The old man swept her up in his arms, held her tight and dried her tears. “My darling, if it ’s my time, it ’s my time. There is no life without death – no children, no change, and no room for anything new. You have got your whole life ahead of you, your mother to watch over you and I’ll be with you as long as you remember my stories.

Hand in hand the old man walked his granddaughter to the village and then headed home. He lit the fire and thought, “Well, there ’s no point in dying hungry ”. He put a pot of soup on to cook and a loaf of bread in the oven. A little after nightfall, there came a knock at the door and there he was Death himself.

The old man invited him in and the two of them sat by the fire. “Something smells good ”, said Death. “I’ve a bit of soup and bread on – have we time to eat?”

“Of course.”

The two sat and talked and ate and the old man had almost forgotten the reason for his visit, then Death pulled himself to his feet and said, "Well, old friend, it’s time I was on my way.” The old man sighed and got up to put on his hat and coat. Death looked at him. "Where are you going at this time of night?”

“I thought I was coming with you.”

“Oh, no. There ’s an old lady in the village, racked with pain and I have come to end her suffering. I knew that I would find a welcome in your home while I waited for her. I will come for you one day, but it will be a good while yet. And now, when I come, you will greet me as a friend…"

…Duncan had been visited by Death several times; once given diphtheria-tainted apples by a spiteful townswoman, saved from drowning by a ‘Selkie,’ as well as losing his first wife. When Death came for him in November, Duncan had his bags packed and was ready. It is those of us who are left behind who feel unread. We can only take comfort in remembering his own words – “I will still be with you for as long as you remember my stories.”




Walt Anthony
Spellbinder Entertainment
San Francisco, CA
July 2008


When writing a “Forward” to a book that has been in print almost half-a-dozen years— does it become a “Backward” instead? Now offering a Forward this superb book, “Egyptian Magic” I am in a way looking backwards with 20/20 hindsight, to my first reactions when initially reading this tome.

I found many reasons to be delighted with this book, the first book of Mr. Solomon’s I ever purchased.

First, Ed Solomon is a gifted thinker, storyteller, writer, and craftsperson, who is able to take the loose “stuff” floating around in his imagination, somehow collate those thoughts, bring them to life on the page, and then manifest in three-dimensional terms, the props and equipment necessary for a magical performance.

Second, constantly looking over Ed’s shoulder is his brilliant alter-ego, DeNomolos. This DeNomolos is alternately wise and petulant, gentle and crusty, a man who’s darker moods are offset with bright flashes of enthusiasm, and a thoughtful Mage who seems to know a whole lot more about a whole range of things than Ed by himself does. Thus the critical eye of DeNomolos adds an editorial tone and rich character to these magical creations.

Third, in all of Storytelling Magic and Bizarre Magick, there are very few tales and effects which revolve around the themes of ancient Egypt, and the kings, gods, rituals, and romance we associate with this mystical Land of the Pharaohs. Ed and DeNomolos, as twins living in the same head, have brought forth a treasure trove worthy of Tutankhamen, each piece spiced with the exotic flavors of Egyptian history and myth.

Forth, even if the reader were not going to re-create and perform any of the stories with their related props, it is a fascinating and educational journey to discover and follow the path laid out wherein a traditional or classic magic “trick” is cloaked in a new tale, accompanied by exotic props, and is thus transformed into something fresh, original, and purely “magical” in nature. Traversing the creative highways-and-byways of Ed’s thinking is time profitably spent and exciting reading.

Fifth, as one is inspired by the hand-crafted artifacts pictured in “Egyptian Magic” and touched by the stories recounted in the book, it would be possible to create an entire evening’s entertainment from just this one volume— and an evening of true entertainment unlike any your audiences will have experienced previously. Or you could just pick a handful of the pieces to perform, or you could mix-and-match a few effects with creations of your own.

So, to summarize, the book is inspiring to read, beautiful to experience, educational on several levels, and a case study in how to create and present themed magic, in the context of a believable persona to perform under.

My first reading of “Egyptian Magic” presented all these possibilities to me, and repeated visits kept me motivated to re-think and re-invest in my magic. I hope you’ll be as pleased as I, as you turn the page, and meet DeNomolos himself and share in his tales of magical wonder.




The Mystery that is DeNomolos
By Stefan Dardik


When I first heard of DeNomolos, it was the rumour of a strange and eerie wizard out of Aegypt. Rumour hath it that arcane and impossible artifacts, hoary with age were his to command. Demons, imps, spirits, the living dead and more - all were his to command. Then strange things began to happen. Milk would go sour, mothers breasts went dry and babes a’ crying fer it. Fish stopped a’ biting at the water holes, some of the livestock sickened and died - a curse was on the land. Some thought to lay the blame on this mighty and mysterious wizard fer the problems that were happening. Then Brother Solomon told the locals that he, being familiar with various kinds of supernatural dangers and evils, would confront the wizard in his tower.

The night was dark and it was storming, the tower was lit by +intermittent lightning. Brother Solomon was armed with holy water, a cross and various counter spells and binding spells. Brother Solomon went in but we are not sure what came out.

DeNomolos was gone from the tower after that night. Brother Solomon would not speak of that dreaded night to anyone. Some say that Solomon was never the same after that night and some reported seeing DeNomolos reflected in mirrors instead of Brother Solomon. Some say that mirrors can reflect the soul, so rumours began that Brother Solomon and DeNomolos had become one or perhaps even worse! Perhaps it was DeNomolos in body or spirit and that the true Brother Solomon had lost that night in the tower.

The original Solomon was a binder of demons that were his to command. Who had bound whom? -On that dark night in the tower. Wait! He comes now. I am watching the mirrors as he moves up the hall. They reflect a different figure than that which is moving down the hall! I picked up an odd shaped bottle of holy water that was at hand in hope of possible protection.

Ai-ee Sub Nirguth DeNomolos Nal Fagn Ryleah

Do not call up any ye can not put down, lest they be greater than ye and put ye down!

Then I woke up. It had seemed so real. I shivered as I saw in my hand the odd shaped bottle of holy water. I hastened to the bathroom to look in a mirror fearful of what I might behold.

The End?

Would you know more? Read on…

This was written as a short amusing diversion. I went with a few English spelled words as Lovecraft preferred such as rumour instead of rumor. I used an old fashioned Aegypt instead of Egypt, again like Lovecraft might have done. I threw in a few colorful old American fer's instead of - for. This was meant as a mildly amusing tale or dream about the master mage DeNomolos. The truth of the dream may or may not be revealed with time or perhaps another dream?

Pax, Stefan