Editor, ORACLE MAGIC MAGAZINE
Stoughton, Massachusetts 2008
FOREWORD – THE FIRST COLLECTION
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
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.
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Executive Editor, Linking Ring Magazine
Official Publication of The International Brotherhood of Magicians
FOREWORD - EXPLORING REALITY
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
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.
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FOREWORD - POTPOURRI
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!
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FOREWORD - FURTHER PRESENTATIONS
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.
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FOREWORD - MAGIC BY THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS
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
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.
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Professor Rem, PhSc
FORWARD - MISCELLANEOUS
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,
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.
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FOREWORD - MISSION OF THE MAGE
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
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
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
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!
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Magician, Author, Theologian,
Free-lance writer, Inventor,
Professor of Psychiatry and
Paper folder extraordinaire.
FOREWORD - SOMETHING STRANGE WITHIN
GET THE HORSE BACK BEFORE THE CART
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
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.
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Magic Editor M-U-M Magazine
Society of American Magicians
FOREWORD - SOUND FX
Alone in a room at night a book falls
Taps are played on a bugle
... You cry
In a quiet elevator a stomach gurgles
Fingernails run down a blackboard
...Your hair stands on
BEHOLD THE POWER OF A SOUND!
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...
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FOREWORD - TALES WORTH TELLING
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
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.
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Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Coordinator and facilitator for the Charles Cameron Memorial Gathering
and the keeper of the keys to the Dragonskull website.
FOREWORD - LATER PRESENTATIONS
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.
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Personal Journal of Rolando Santos, AIMC
FOREWORD - BONUS PAGES
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
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
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!”
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FOREWORD - THE SECOND COLLECTION
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
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
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FOREWORD - THE THIRD COLLECTION
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
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.
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FORWARD - THE GRANDFATHER STORIES
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
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
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?”
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
…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.”
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San Francisco, CA
FORWARD - EGYPTIAN MAGIC
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
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
FOREWORD - THE BACKDOOR KEY OF SOLOMON
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
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.
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?
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