Shin Lim Performing on Penn And Teller’s Fool Us: The Greatest Performance I’ve Ever Witnessed

Penn & Teller, Performance

If you haven’t seen this performance before, you’re in for a real treat.

Close what you’re doing, raise the volume, and watch Shin Lim’s amazing card magic that he performed on Penn and Teller’s TV show, Fool Us.

Card magic is usually pretty bland these days. Everybody knows what everybody is doing.

New magicians pop onto the scene and offer slight twists in old tricks and sleights of hand, but nothing is really new. They’re just “twists.”

Then… there are those like Shin Lim who kind of created his own category of card magic.

Trust me… you’ve never seen anything like this.

This is what people are saying after watching this performance:

shin lim comment

Yes, you will be able to catch some of the things he does. Some of his sleight of hands are pretty visible to people who are proficient in cardistry.

But some of them…. are unexplainable.

No products found.

Who is Shin Lim?

A very creative and talented card magician would be an understatement.

He’s the reigning FISM World Champion in Close up Card Magic and won numerous other awards for close up card magic.

Honestly, I have no idea how he performed some of these moves unless he invented a new piece of technology that none of us know about.

This is not a revealing video. I’m not even going to try to explain how he pulled off some of these moves.

But he does reveal a lot of them himself through his online shop.

I went through every single one of his products, to be honest, and I still can’t explain some of these moves.

The one I’m most curious about is how he changed the card inside the plastic bag just by waving it.

The two cards are clearly signed by the participants.

But this is getting slightly off track, as I’m sure you have no idea what I’m talking about yet.

Watch the full performance

Perfect execution

The way he choreographed all of his moves along with the music is impressive.

I particularly loved the Interstellar theme song in the second part.

I don’t think anybody’s been able to figure out every move in his routine yet. But everything is so graceful and so masterful that it really doesn’t matter.

And yes, he fooled Penn and Teller.

Self Hypnosis: 15 Powerful Self Hypnosis Techniques You Can Try

Career, Performance

Self hypnosis is a great way to improve your life and make long-lasting changes. The best part about self hypnosis is that you can do it on your own, for cheap or for free. You do not need a hypnotist to stand over you any time you want the benefits of a hypnotherapy session. You can do it for yourself.

What Exactly is Self Hypnosis?

Self hypnosis is a technique of putting yourself in a trance state, so you can make positive suggestions to yourself. It might sound difficult to put yourself into a trance, but it is actually not as hard as it sounds. As human beings, we all go in and out of mild trances during the day. As you fall asleep at night, you are also going into a light trance state.

The human brain operates on brain waves, and the normal “waking” brain waves are called beta waves. The next level down are alpha waves, followed by theta waves and then delta waves. Beta waves are the fastest waves out of these four, with delta waves being the slowest. (In case you are wondering, brain waves are not ordered from fastest to slowest by the Greek alphabet letters but rather the order in which the brain waves were discovered.) To take yourself down into a trance state, you want to come out of beta into alpha and ideally down into theta. You don’t want to go all the way down to delta or you will fall asleep.

The Many Benefits of Self Hypnosis

Self hypnosis has many benefits to the body and mind. The most obvious benefits are the changes you might be able to make in your life due to the positive suggestions your subconscious mind is incorporating.

Other benefits include improved sleep, more balanced hormones, and reduced stress.

What is the Difference Between Self Hypnosis and Meditation?

In both self hypnosis and meditation, you are taking yourself into a mild trance state, and optimally your brain will be producing theta waves once you are there.

The main difference is that you would not use “positive suggestions” in meditation, although that may also be semantics to a certain extent. Certainly, for thousands of years, yogis and gurus have used mantras as a way to reprogram the mind towards more positive thoughts.

Also, both meditation and self hypnosis can incorporate guided visualization to increase the power of the trance.

When to Do Self Hypnosis

Sometimes, the hardest part of engaging in self hypnosis is getting started. It will work best if you set aside some time each day for your self hypnosis practice. Put it on your calendar.

You can also perform your self hypnosis in bed as you are about to fall asleep. You will likely fall asleep during your self hypnosis session, but that’s OK.

You at least won’t be tossing and turning as you try to fall asleep, agonizing over the little insults of the day, if you are doing self hypnosis before bedtime.

15 Tips and Techniques You Can Try with Self Hypnosis

The basics of self hypnosis are simple in theory but sometimes difficult in practice. Here are some self hypnosis tips and techniques you can try:

1. Use a Self Hypnosis Audio

If you are having a hard time hypnotizing yourself, then use a self hypnosis audio to get you into the trance state for you. There are tons of different types of hypnosis audios you can listen to for free on YouTube or purchase for at reasonable prices.

self hypnosis tips

Most self hypnosis audios are marketed simply as “hypnosis” audios.” These are basically where a professional hypnotist records the audio and you can listen to it whenever you want. It is considered self hypnosis since you are by yourself and not working directly with the hypnotherapist.

You can find audios from professional hypnotists such as Dick Sutphen or Rick Collingwood on a variety of topics from growing old to getting over hay fever or allergies.

2. Make Your Own Self Hypnosis Audio

If you can’t find a hypnosis audio with the suggestions you want, you can make your own. You can often find hypnosis scripts online that you can modify for your own use. Record yourself (or have a friend record it for you) and use this for your self hypnosis audio.

self hypnosis tips

Make sure your suggestions are positive and in the present tense. You can use a directive style “You are getting better and better” or an affirmation style “I am getting better and better.”

3. Focus on Your Breath

self hypnosis tips

Take a tip from yoga: Focus on your breathing. Use long slow deep inhales and even slower exhales. Count your in breath and your out breath. This can help your mind calm down and put you into a trance state quickly and effectively.

4. Write Down Your Hypnotic Suggestions

self hypnosis tips

Get clear o what your hypnotic suggestions are going to be before you start your session. Keep them next to you. Don’t be worried about “cheating.” If you need to, during your self hypnosis session, take a peek at your hypnotic suggestions and then repeat them in your mind as you close your eyes again.

5. Memorize Your Hypnotic Suggestions

self hypnosis tips

Memorizing your hypnotic suggestions is the next step – and it will also embed those suggestions even more into your subconscious mind.

6. Watch Hypnosis Gurus on YouTube

self hypnosis tips

Watching a hypnosis guru on YouTube, especially one using conversational hypnosis, can help you learn how suggestions work. It can also put you in a light trance state to start your self hypnosis session.

7. Take Classes in Meditation

self hypnosis tips

By learning to meditate, you will learn how to get into a trance state fairly quickly. From there, it is an easy thing to add some positive suggestions to your “meditation.”

8. Practice Slow or Gentle Yoga

self hypnosis tips

The entire purpose of yoga asana was originally to settle the body down so it could sit for lengthy periods of meditation. By practicing yoga – the slow and gentle kind, not the hyped up Western workout yoga – you will be well prepared for self hypnosis and meditation.

9. Listen to Binaural Beats Audios While Doing Self Hypnosis

self hypnosis tips

Binaural beats audios are audios designed to take your brain waves down into a different state for the purposes of meditation and trance. You will want to use binaural beats that take the brain into the theta wave state. Many are on YouTube and are free. Use headphones for the best effect.

10. Put on Nature Sounds While Hypnotizing Yourself

self hypnosis tips

The natural sounds of birds, gentle rain, ocean waves, or crickets at night can help relax the mind and body and support you going into a trance state.

11. Try Self EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

self hypnosis tips

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a technique from psychology that involves moving the eyes to the right and left while processing an issue or trauma. You can perform self EMDR by using audio or video that moves from one side of the brain to the other. Or you can just move your eyes from side to side during self hypnosis – see what happens!

12. Incorporate EFT Before Your Self Hypnosis Session

self hypnosis tips

EFT stands for “Emotional Freedom Techniques” and it is an easy-to-learn form of acupressure that involves tapping on meridian (energy) points while focusing on an issue. Using EFT at the start of your self hypnosis session will make it that much easier to go into trance and improve its effectiveness.

13. Use Your Imagination to Visualize

self hypnosis tips

Visualization is a powerful way to reprogram the mind. Use visualization during your self hypnosis to imagine a better life for yourself. See yourself healthy, happy, and well. Or, just see yourself in relaxing environments: on a pleasant beach or relaxing at a sunny campsite.

14. Have a Mantra to Use

self hypnosis tips

Not sure what to do during your self hypnosis session? Use a mantra. You can select a traditional mantra to use, such as Om Mane Padme Hum, or come up with your own mantra in English (or your native language), such as “I am peaceful and relaxed.” Return to it any time your mind drifts during self hypnosis.

15. Practice, Practice, Practice

self hypnosis tips

The absolute best way to get better at self hypnosis is to do it daily. You can even do it a few times per day in short spurts. Keep it at consistently for best results. You may also find that initially, it may be harder to practice, but you get better as you go along. Perhaps you start off with a guided hypnosis audio but soon are able to go off on your own. Keep it up!

Self Hypnosis Is for Everyone

Self hypnosis is a highly safe and effective way to use the power of your subconscious mind to make positive changes in your life.

Jay Sankey: Get To Know The Close-up Magician, Stand-up Comedian, And Author

Career, Performance
Jay Sankey

 Jay Sankey is a Canadian close-up magician, stand-up comedian, and author, best known for his creation of magic effects. He’s an old timer in the business, having been center stage since the mid-1980s and his success in magic hasn’t slowed.

However there’s dark truth to his quote, “As wonderful as it is, not everyone likes magic. Try to only share your magic with people who enjoy it.”

Jay Sankey has met some rough patches, like most magicians, as well as his fair share of conflicts. However through the challenges, his magic has shone through and is considered to this day, one of the most original thinkers in the magic world.

He’s also one of the finest magic teachers still practicing today.

This talent didn’t just magically happen overnight, however.

Jay’s gift was evident from a young age. For his 11th birthday, Jay was given a magic toy set that he loved and gave him the inspiration he needed to kickstart his long, windy road to magic stardom.

By the age of 18, Jay was traveling the world lecturing about sleight of hand magic to both amateur magician and professionals.

Look at it this way: while most of us were beginning to study our passions in university, he was teaching his. That didn’t deter him from entering university, though. He still made time to graduate from the University of Toronto where he enjoyed studying psychology, philosophy and film.

This passion and early experience have led Jay Sankey to perform in front of some impressive audiences. We’re talking private parties, banquets and corporate functions for Coca Cola. Honda, Panasonic, Club Med and McDonalds.

On top of these hot dogs, he’s also worked as a consultant for some of the world’s most famous names in the magic industry such as Criss Angel, David Blaine and David Copperfield.

How’s that for a bio?

Jay Sankey in Stand-Up Comedy

As a stand-up comedian, Jay has performed in comedy clubs and numerous festivals for years.

You may have heard of one of them: Just for Laughs comedy festival.

On top of this, Jay has owned one-man shows such as Contents Under Pressure and Borrowed Breath.

Contents Under Pressure was such a hit, it was produced later on for television by Sleeping Giant Productions and aired on Bravo.

Jay Sankey combines his comedic streak with his love of writing through his book, Zen and the Art of the Monologue along with another book that’s considered to be a staple in the comedy community, Zen and the Art of Stand-Up Comedy.

This is one characteristic that really makes Jay stand out from the rest as a unique individual in the magic world: his writing and performing of comedy.

Jay Sankey wearing three eyeglasses

Why would this make him stand out in magic?

He knows how to perform in front of people, how to get them going, and how to keep them at his every word. He’s headlined comedy clubs in Canada, England, and the US, appearing on CBC and CTV shows, defining his presence in the comedy world.

But we’re here for the magic, right?

Let’s take a look at some of Jay Sankey’s magician products and tutorials that will hopefully define his true stance in the magician community as one of the best.

Jay Sankey Products

Jay has spent basically his entire life perfecting his art of magic and cardistry. With all this wisdom and talent, it’s only fair that he shares the knowledge with other admirers and aspiring magicians.

We’ve laid out the best products Jay Sankey has provided as a way to help you spearhead the industry by learning tips and tricks from one of the world’s greatest.

Shape Shifter

Shape Shifter by Jay Sankey

This transforms something you always carry into incredibly powerful magical tools.

Get a spectator to hold onto your ring. While they concentrate, they can feel the ring becoming warm in their hand until they discover they have made the solid ring bend into your specific thought of shape.

Jay Sankey offers his expert handling and absolutely everything you need to perform this magical close-up and interactive performance.

This package comes with DVD and gimmicks and can be found at the Magic Shop

This DVD helps you learn the secrets to Jay’s entertaining version of the original “Professor’s Nightmare”.

This is how it goes:

Three magicians have their own magic wand and clearly, each magician is convinced that their magic wand is far more superior than anyone else's.

The ending scene makes for a shocking surprise where all three ropes mold together to form the world’s longest magical wand. You can use the rope wands for props throughout any show.

This DVD also includes a bonus crash course for entertaining kids, providing useful advice for any situation you may have.

COIL by Jay Sankey - Trick by Sankey Magic
  • Recommended for ages 13 and above.
  • Great GIFT for the magic hobbyist or professional
  • Shipping Weight: 0.35 lbs

You can perform Jay Sankey’s Soil for an awesome opening act and wear the bent nail for the remainder of your show.

Including a full-length DVD, this trick shows how the nail can be closely examined throughout the entire sequence of bends.

Make the nail bend in the spectator’s hands!

Coil is adaptable for all styles and performances and can be reset in seconds.

It also looks awesome, even in short sleeves.

Camouflage (DVD & Gimmicks) by Jay Sankey - Trick
  • Recommended for ages 13 and above.
  • Great GIFT for the magic hobbyist or professional
  • Shipping Weight: 0.35 lbs

This trick includes a secret gimmick that enables the magician to perform seemingly impossible penetrations, fusions, revelations, and amazingly, a levitation.

The gimmick also works with any type of playing cards you may own.

Some of the tricks you’ll find in this package are: Aperture, 51Gone, and Collapsible.

  • Aperture – you’ll learn how to slowly push a pencil through a deck of cards, yet causing no destruction or harm to the cards at all.
  • 51Gone – teaches you how to make a deck of cards disappear from inside a card case, leaving a single card in its place.
  • Collapsible – is created by fusing two halves of a deck together into a single, solid pack.
Hypervisual (With Cards) by Jay Sankey by Sankey Magic
  • Recommended for ages 13 and above.
  • Great GIFT for the magic hobbyist or professional
  • Shipping Weight: 0.4 lbs

This project showcases an amazing collection of Bicycle brand cards, all designed to instill a shocking illusion for audiences to remember for years.

It includes card magic that people can see and touch and many of the effects can be handed out to the audience for examination.

Hypervisual is a powerful collection of card magic, and the most amazing collection Jay Sankey has released. As he says, “Seeing really is believing.”

This package also includes over two hours of mental and magic effects. Some of these effects include: Locomotion, In Case of Emergency, Shift, Sleeping Beauties, Terra Unfirma, Uberchange, Out of Control.

  • Locomotion – involves a selected card being pushed over the surface of another card.
  • In Case of Emergency – involves a prediction being written on the card case, undergoing an amazing transformation. The case is handed out to the audience for examination.
  • Shift – is the black design on a selected card being mysteriously shifted 45 degrees. It then magically shifts back into place.
  • Sleeping Beauties – this includes two faces on the Queen of Diamonds suddenly falling asleep. The card can be handed out to the audience for proof that the Queen’s eyes really do shut.
  • Terra Unfirma – transforms a pretend hold in the card into a real one.
  • Uberchange – changes a card even though a sticker initiated by the spectator has been stuck to its face.
  • Out of Control – includes an amazing 3 climax mental routine that must be seen to be believed.

You can learn all of these crazy card changes by Jay through extreme detail and insight that he provides personally.

In this set, you can learn how to get card breaks, how to make the best out of card changes, and how to incorporate spectator initials and signature into card work.

In this package, you’ll also see Kay discussing the uses of time lapses and the power of bucking cards and confidence, along with the secrets of speed and unbroken rhythms.

As a bonus, Jay Sankey also provides a number of changes and tricks that people believe to be some of his most valuable sleights of all time.

22 Blows to the Head

22 blows book

The amazing secrets offered in 22 Blows to the Head include 22 original psychic tricks with spoons, coins, business cards, hole punches, handkerchiefs, matchbooks, newspaper, dollar bills, pay envelopes and of course, playing cards.

Jay Sankey creates each trick to make your audience believe that you actually possess psychic powers.

However, there’s nothing difficult about it!

Some of the tricks you’ll find include: Homicide, Laying on of Hands, Simply Divine, Formal Affair, Symbolic, Divided Attention, Confession, Reenactment and Serial Killer.

All of these tricks use the simple props in order to convince your audience of your psychic powers. You can become a mind reader or a fortune teller, along with a bunch of other magical traits that only the special and divine hold.

You can purchase this set on Sankey Magic.

anytime anywhere

Take on the amazing collection of 34 impromptu effects including incredible routines that require absolutely no set-up of any kind, while using objects borrowed from your audience or passersby.

This includes mind-bending magic and mental tricks, no matter what your skill level is.

Out of the 34 magic tricks you’ll learn, here are some of our favorites:

  • Past, Present, Future – teaches you how to read someone’s mind three times without the need of preshow work or set ups.
  • Seed Money – can help you change two pennies into two dimes. After that, you’ll change both dimes in two half dollars.
  • The Wager – helps you learn how to secretly predict the date on a borrowed coin – 100% free choice.
  • Pawnbroker – allows you to take a borrowed coin and finger ring to change their places three times.
  • Heavy Metal Vanish – will help you develop a powerful impromptu vanish by helping you study the shape and weight of common designs such as cars and houses

On top of these, you’ll also learn Jay Sankey’s Change in Direction, Soft Spot, Hypothesis Production, Heat of the Moment, Inside Out, and Anywhere Wands.

What People Say About Jay Sankey

Jay has one of the largest followings in the world of magic and still maintains a sense of freshness and ingenuity after many years of stardom.

His groups of followers and fans don’t follow him for any reason. He has been influencing magicians for years and continues to come out with new creations that amaze and inspire.

From magazines to professional magicians, everyone has something to say about this incredible magician and his ground-breaking abilities to blow audiences’ minds.

However, there are a few people who aren’t fans of Jay Sankey and who have even gone to the extent of creating hate groups dedicated to him.

While there are perks to the life of a famous magician with thousands of fans, there’s always going to be some people who don’t due to slip-ups or mere personal preferences.

What We Think About Jay Sankey

Jay’s history is undeniably impressive.

From his magic feats to his many faces of stage presence, he has gained a following of loyal fans and admirers that surpasses many other magicians’.

This is mainly due to a special combination of skill and creativity. Not only does he continue to trick people into believing the unbelievable, but he does it with unique and unpredictable methods that only a brilliant mind can conjure.

Our say on his products?

If you’re into props and some of the best magic skills of our time, Jay Sankey’s products are an awesome investment.

Not only will you be continually entertained, but you’ll be learning from one of the best magicians in the industry who will undoubtedly inspire you to think like a creative genius.

Piff The Magic Dragon: Know The Man Behind The Magical Costume


The Magic of Piff the Magic Dragon

Piff the Magic Dragon logo

As the audience cheered to welcome the next act on stage, their applause gave way to laughter as the contestant appeared from behind the red curtain.

Donning a green, red, and gold dragon costume, the man swung a red briefcase as he pottered out to the center of the stage, puffing his cheeks with a look of mild boredom, unfazed by the rapturous crowds.

The judging panel exchanged befuddled expressions, watching as the man in the dragon suit casually flipped out a stand from his red case, propping it up to reveal the word “Piff” on the side.

America’s Got Talent provides a stage for some wild and wacky acts, allowing them to reach global audiences every year. Many flop, and vanish into anonymity immediately, never to be seen again.

But some stand out a little more than others.

This was to be one of the latter, much to the surprise of many people.

Piff’s Stint at America’s Got Talent

Piff the Magic Dragon with his dog

Waiting for everyone to settle into their seats, the man stood by the microphone, nonchalantly shaking one hand in a faux-gangster fashion, drawing giggles from the crowd.

As the judges greeted him, the man responded with a thick London accent and deadpan delivery.

“My name’s Piff the Magic Dragon. You might have heard of my older brother…. Steve.”

Breaking the ice, Piff soon had the audience and judges laughing, revealing he had a choice between America’s Got Talent and Game of Thrones, opting for the former because he wasn’t ready to die yet.

Soon, Piff enlisted the help of judge Heidi Klum, ushering her on to the stage to be his assistant.

Piffles in Treasure Chest

While magicians are a dime a dozen, the trick that Piff played out was one that had everyone raising their eyebrows.

After making an initial prediction with a larger card, which he put face down on his red case, Piff then held a deck of cards out for Heidi, requesting she picked one.

With a quick choice and signature, Heidi marked the King of Hearts. Piff then revealed his prediction to be the Seven of Spades.


Perhaps not.

A Flawless Execution of Comedic Magic

After first telling the audience that it wasn’t his fault, and that Heidi was wrong, Piff then cued some music and set to work on transforming the King of Hearts before everyone’s eyes.

With a few folds and quick fingers, he revealed the Seven of Spades, complete with Heidi’s signature at the top.

Flabbergasted, the audience responded with a standing ovation.

Finishing off, Piff tried to charge Heidi $12 for the card, before strolling down to the judge’s table to hear their feedback, while casually munching on a banana.

According to Piff,” Dragons love snacks”.

Magicians come and go on talent shows like this, and many of them deliver tricks and performances that we’ve grown tired of, or surely witnessed some version of before.

This was different. This was fresh – and funny.

This was Piff the Magic Dragon.

Flight of the Dragon

Drawing comparisons to Larry David and Jack Dee, Piff has gone from strength to strength on the back of his success in America’s Got Talent.

The modern-day obsession with social media and video content has helped his brand massively, and his YouTube channel has racked up well over 100 million views.

His lovable sidekick is Mr. Piffles, The World’s Only Magic Performing Chihuahua™, who regularly joins Piff on stage dressed in a matching dragon suit. Together, they have conquered the world, selling out shows in iconic venues such as the O2, Sydney Opera House, and Shakespeare’s Globe.

Mr. Piffles, The World’s Only Magic Performing Chihuahua

His lovable sidekick is Mr. Piffles, The World’s Only Magic Performing Chihuahua™, who regularly joins Piff on stage dressed in a matching dragon suit. Together, they have conquered the world, selling out shows in iconic venues such as the O2, Sydney Opera House, and Shakespeare’s Globe.

Tours of the UK, Australia, Canada, and the US followed, before Piff and his pooch settled in Las Vegas, becoming residents in the Flamingo Hotel and Casino.

In an age when magicians don’t quite stand out like they did a generation ago, Piff will turn heads everywhere he goes.

As the New York Times so succinctly put it, "How are you going to top a guy in a dragon suit?"

Life Before Piff the Magic Dragon

John van der Put was born on June 9th, 1980. Hailing from the United Kingdom, he grew up in southeast London.

Unlike many other magicians, van der Put was not obsessed with magic from an especially young age. He found his inspiration in his teenage years, after watching the television show, Stuff the White Rabbit, starring Jerry Sadowitz.  Once he turned 18, van der Put joined The Magic Circle, becoming one of their youngest ever members.

College and an IT Career

John van der Put

His parents weren’t completely sold on the idea of their son becoming a magician, and so, at their behest, the young van der Put enrolled at college to study a degree in Computer Science. He graduated thereafter, and pursued a career in IT.

Magic took a backseat for a couple of years, until he was struck down with pancreatitis. Taking time to reassess his life, he quit IT and decided to chase his dreams. He started learning performance methods at the Central School of Speech and Drama.

Return to Magic

Together with several others, he founded a theatrical cabaret company, ‘Standnotamazed’, fulfilling the role of artistic director. They enjoyed some success, winning a few awards that acknowledged their writing and production abilities.

From there, Van der Put worked hard to elevate his status as a professional magician, taking roles on cruise ships, in restaurants, and plenty of corporate gigs including PR stunts, product launches, and tradeshows.

However, it wasn’t until he went to a party with some friends that his best idea came to him.

With a little luck, a star was born.

How the Magic Dragon Was Born

Turning up to a house party as the only person in costume could prove to be embarrassing for some people. In 2008, when van der Put arrived dressed up in a dragon costume, he discovered he was one of a kind.

With everyone else having a laugh at his expense, he became grumpier throughout the night, retorting with self-deprecating jokes and deadpan humor. However, this was no act. Not yet. Van der Put was basically being himself, fulfilling his reputation as someone with a “resting grumpy face.”

When a friend suggested he use this skit in his act, the idea took hold.

He wouldn’t just use it in his act.

This would become his act.

Making a play on the famous song, “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” van der Put created a new stage persona for himself, one that would take his career to the fame he longed for.

Accompanied by his pet chihuahua, Mr. Piffles, van der Put steadily grew a reputation on smaller circuits.

Piff the Magic Dragon and Mr. Piffles

The Early Road to Magical Success

Making his debut at the Free Fringe Festival in 2009, he soon became a regular, propelling forward from a record-breaking night. It was to be a big year for him, as he scooped the Best Comedy Show award at Buxton Fringe Festival, as well as seeing his cabaret company win an award for the production, Love and Other Magic Tricks.

The popular comedy entertainment show Penn & Teller: Fool Us began in 2011, and during the first season, Piff was invited on to perform. His act was the same phased transformation of a signed card that he would later use on America’s Got Talent. However, the experienced magicians Penn and Teller weren’t so easily fooled.

Despite figuring it out, they were impressed with the performance, as were the crowd, making the showing another success for Piff. Penn and Teller even voted Piff as their favorite act of the whole season, lauding him as a “stunningly good magician".

Channel 5 featured the act on TV's 50 Greatest Magic Tricks, and a magician from the Ukraine then copied the act on a Russian talent show the following year.

In 2012, Piff was nominated at the inaugural event of the Time Out and Soho Theatre Cabaret Awards show, before joining Mumford & Sons on tour. During a nationwide tour of the UK, he was their support act, and even found his way onto the cover of the band’s award-winning album, Babel.

This move helped him become the most famous UK magician.

Big things were coming.

Lighting up Las Vegas and Global Fame

His tour of Australia had perked the interest of headhunters, who snapped him up for a club in The Cosmopolitan, called Rose. Rabbit. Lie.

And so in 2014, Piff moved to Sin City.

Joining many other performance acts on the Las Vegas strip, he took his shot at the big time, grabbing the opportunity with both hands.

The Spiegelworld Vegas Nocturne show boosted his reputation in Vegas. Later that year, he opened shows at The Venetian. Settling in quickly, Piff became a regular fixture in Vegas, making it his home.

Piff the magic dragon and mr. piffles

When the chance to appear on season 10 of America's Got Talent came around, it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

His audition with Heidi helped Piff get through to the next stage – the Judge Cuts round. There, he introduced the world to Mr. Piffles, before pulling a signed card from a sealed can of dog-food.

Special guest judge Neil Patrick Harris was blown away, using the Golden Buzzer to fast-track Piff to the quarterfinal stage.

In the final eight, Piff stepped up his game from card tricks, bringing a big show to the stage and inviting judge Howie Mandel up in front of the audience. With four hanging boxes overhead, Piff announced that Mr. Piffles was inside one of the boxes, and that Howie would need to save the little dog by guessing correctly.

One by one, each box was chosen and destroyed. The first was stamped on by a female assistant, the second box smashed open by a baseball bat and the third dropped into a woodchipper.

To the relief of Howie and the audience, Mr. Piffles was found alive and well in the one remaining box. The act earned Piff and Mr. Piffles safe passage through to the semi-finals, where some more card magic earned them a spot in the Final.

In the final, the poor suffering dog was fired from a cannon, and Piff pulled a card from a walnut. Unfortunately, this time it was not enough to win on the night, but it mattered not, as Piff the Magic Dragon had cemented his place in the history of the show.

Since then, he has returned to make guest performances on subsequent seasons of America’s Got Talent. Meanwhile, his Vegas career has continued to flourish.

Other Magic Acts by Piff

Aside from his main gig as Piff the Magic Dragon, Van der Put has found work as a magic consultant to Penn and Teller, the famous double act who took a shine to him in his 2013 appearance on their TV show.

He has also worked for a number of theatre companies, with notable works including Faust and The Drowned Man, with immersive theatre company Punchdrunk, and his association with Theatre-Rites for the production Mojo.

Piff and Mr. Piffles

This enabled him to play a great venues such as the Salzburg Festival, The Barbican Theatre, and New York's New Victory Theatre.

Van der Put has collected several major accolades, including:

  • British Ring - Close-up Magician of the Year - 2008
  • The Magic Circle - Close-up Magician of the Year – 2011
  • Stage Magician of the Year -  2012
  • Carlton Award – 2013
  • The Magic Circle – Welcomed Piff into their Inner Ring with Gold Star - 2013

The Man Behind the Magic

Many people may wonder just how long an act like this can continue for. How long can a grown man in a dragon costume make a living for himself?

Piff the Magic Dragon has been playing on stages since 2008, rising to stardom, to securing a regular gig at the Flamingo in Vegas, and wowing global audiences in huge venues, week after week for over a decade.

It’s fair to say that life is pretty good for John van der Put right now. It’s certainly a far cry from the dull days of IT work in London.

While the touring can take its toll, the 37-year-old shows little signs of slowing down.

In a 2017 interview with ABQ Journal, he remarked, “Before, I was just a grumpy guy,” he says. “Now, I’m a grumpy dragon.”

As far as magic dragons go, it’s never been as real as Piff the Magic Dragon.

Tommy Wonder: Everything About His Magic And Where To Find Them

Career, Performance

Spotlight: The Magic of Tommy Wonder

Tommy Wonder

The man from Amsterdam took the stage. Nobody knew who this magician was, even less knew what he would do.

As he was introduced as Jos Bema, a name that did little to wow the audience, the murmurs in the crowd faded into the shadows as anticipation took over.

He wasn’t on the stage for long, but then, he didn’t need to be.

Within just about ten minutes, the mysterious man performed three routines, each more brilliant than the next.

And as he finished, the crowd rose to their feet in unison, delivering a rousing ovation worthy of the world’s best magicians.

Sometime after, that man changed his name to Tommy Wonder.

From there, everyone in the industry knew his name, as he went on to become legendary, reaching global recognition as one of the greatest magicians of his time before his passing in the early 21st century.

With an extensive repertoire that was not only his own original work, he forged a reputation for groundbreaking performances, both as a stage magician and also in close-up performances.

Tommy wonder playing magic tricks with fire

The 3 Pillars of Magic

He even went on to write a popular book, The Books of Wonderwhich comprised two volumes and was published in 1996 to much acclaim by fellow magicians and fans.

Tommy was many things, but more than most, he was an artistic genius. Among his highly-advanced skillset were, what he coined as, “the three pillars of magic:”

The books of wonder by Tommy Wonder

  • sleight-of-hand technique
  • mechanical craftsmanship
  • psychological aspects of conjuring

A perfectionist who was highly focused on his personal ideals about what magic was, Tommy grew a fanbase that loved to watch him at work.

So much so, in fact, that at the inaugural 31 Faces North conference in Toronto, Tommy was invited to be the guest of honor.

During a little performance, he stopped on stage, pausing to confirm whether he should be doing magic or simply giving a lecture. He asked the crowd if they wanted him to explain what he is doing.

Without hesitation, the audience, which was full of elite magicians and accomplished intellectuals protested together – “No! Don’t explain anything! Just keep performing!”

Nobody wanted the secrets. They just wanted to enjoy the experience.

All they needed was the magic of Tommy Wonder.

From Holland to Hollywood

Born in the Netherlands on November 29th, 1953, Jacobus Maria Bemelman took up an interest in magic in his early years. The young Dutch boy studied at an esteemed Performance Academy in The Hague, a city on the Western coast of his homeland.

There, he was immersed in acting, singing, and dancing – all of which he studied for three years, finding comfort and confidence on the stage.

After his time at the academy, he then went on tour for two years with De Haagsche Comedie, before breaking away to chase his dream of being a stage magician.

Going through several stage names, Bemelman settled on Tommy Wonder, a moniker which would soon be recognized throughout the wider magician community.

The Dutch master performed around the globe, taking stages from Las Vegas to Monte Carlo, and also rising to make several appearances on television.

At the age of 26, he grabbed the runner-up prize in the World Championships of Magic, and 9 years later, in 1988, he came second again.

Rising high amongst his peers, Tommy was honored to receive Performer Fellowship Award in 1998 from the Academy of Magical Arts in Hollywood. The following year, the World Magic Awards proclaimed him as the Best Sleight of Hand Performer.

Highly respected for creating his own repertoire, The Books of Wonder he published in 1996 became highly acclaimed, giving the world unique insights into the brilliance of this magician’s mind.

Aside from the books, his works are widely available on multiple websites, retailing at bargain prices.

The Best Magic of Tommy Wonder

Tommy Wonder is a highly-respected magician, with the awards and accolade he received during his lifetime serving testament to his abilities.

Here are some of his most well-known and loved works:​​​

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If you were to only watch one DVD of this magician, then make it this one.

Packed inside a running time of just over 80 minutes, this broadcast-quality production is loaded with some of the very best gems from Tommy Wonder.

In this performance, you’ll find a number of great tricks, including:

  • Cards to Card Case – A humorous and insightful lesson that will have you hooked, as Tommy teaches you just what the key aspects are that make up true Magical Impact.
  • Torn & Restored Card – With only one card, Tommy highlights how important it is to close the distance between yourself and the audience.
  • Lighter to Matches – It isn’t easy to approach people who aren’t ready for your magic. Some people can have their guard up, with preconceived notions or past experiences throwing up a barrier to your attempts to entertain. This is a perfect ice-breaker, allowing you to make big first impression.
  • The Ring, the Watch & Wallet – One of Tommy’s best acts, this showstopper will leave people scratching their heads in amazement. His delivery and storytelling are the perfect accompaniment to this incredible vanishing act. Tommy used this to great effect throughout his career, fooling many elite magicians. Placing all three items into the same envelope, he then uses a different method to make each item vanish. This unique and brilliant methodology makes this trick a true masterpiece.
  • The Signed Card to Box – Another classic from Tommy Wonder, this includes two other signature moves, the Ambitious Card and Tommy’s revolutionary Two-Second Card Fold. Watching this will help you gain insights into timing as well as how to divert attention using your gaze.
  • Squeeze – Taking a standard-sized deck and sliding it into a tiny card box seems tricky, if not, impossible. Tommy will show you how to do it in full view of your audience, leaving them amazed. Going further, he shows how to do a deck switch, taking viewers through a crash course in psychology, misdirection, timing, and presentation.
  • Shrinking Fan of Cards – With an age-old method, Tommy makes cards shrink, getting smaller and smaller before your very eyes.
L&L Publishing Tommy Wonder at British Close-Up Magic Symposium - DVD
  • Recommended for ages 13 and above.
  • Great GIFT for the magic hobbyist or professional
  • Shipping Weight: 0.35 lbs

When one of the greatest magical thinkers on the planet was invited to the British Close-Up Magic Symposium, it was bound to be a special occasion. This DVD was shot with two high-quality broadcast cameras, giving a close-up view of his most fantastic illusions.

Check it out to marvel at the following acts:

  • Thanks to Paul Harris – This Paul Harris classic gets an elegant rendition, as Tommy shows the torn card before restoring it to the awe of the audience.
  • Lighter to Matchbox – Have you ever saw a lighter transform into a box of matches? Try this one at the bar with your friends.
  • The Shrinking Box – Two different versions of this trick, showing you how to use the shrinking card case.
  • Ambitious Card Routine – An effective method of this routine, where the marked card finishes inside a little box on the table.
  • 2-Second Card Fold – Watching Tommy perform this rapid fold is mesmerizing. Learn how to do it for yourself now!
  • Deck Switch – It may be easy to perform, but it packs a mental punch to stun viewers.
The Books of Wonder
  • Hardcover Book
  • Wonder, Tommy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Comprising two volumes, Tommy Wonder’s manifesto on the art of magic delves deep into theater and psychology, offering an insight into the workings of his wonderful mind.

With a variety of essays, routines, and tricks, Tommy lays down the blueprint for aspiring magicians to follow, whether they are interested in close-up, stage performance, or walk-arounds.

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You don’t need to have been in magic long to know who Tommy Wonder was. While you may be too young to have had the good fortune of seeing the man in a live performance, you can still learn some great lessons from him in the Visions of Wonder series.

This is possibly the most comprehensive collection of footage that exists of arguably the best magician of our generation. Any upcoming magician with big ambitions should snap this one up.

With a variety performance of cabaret, stage and close-up, you can get a solid grasp on his style and presentation, seeing just how good it is in all genres.

Learning these incredible tricks might be your primary reason for watching, however, you should also take note of his commanding and captivating performance and presentation.

Furthermore, Tommy gives us the inside scoop on how he came up with his incredible, original illusions and acts, detailing how they came to be the masterpieces we see on stage. Not only will they astound and inspire, but some explanations will leave you laughing with joy because of just how ingenious they are.

If you want to see the most fantastic wild card routine ever, look no further than Tommy’s performance of “The Tamed Card.”

By the end of this set, you’ll have taken course in magic from one of the best ever, allowing you to become a better magician.

Comparison Table

Tommy Wonder’s Two Cup Routine

This routine is a well-known one, and there’s hardly a magician alive who hasn’t got a version of their own. Unlike the rest, however, this routine is viewed by many as one of the greatest cup and ball routines of all-time.

With a simple method and structure, Tommy utilizes great misdirection and more to fool his audience, leaving them helpless to do little more than smile.

Unfortunately, this DVD footage is far from perfect, with grainy quality and poor subtitle programming taking somewhat from the show.

The Death of a Great Magician

To the shock and dismay of the magician’s world and his fans, Tommy Wonder died in June 2006, after a short battle with lung cancer, aged just 52.

Gone at such a young age, Tommy surely had many more years at the top, but unfortunately, we weren’t lucky enough to see any more from the marvelous man.

Shortly after his passing, in August 2006, Tommy was posthumously honored with the Theory & Philosophy Award, which was presented in Stockholm, at the FISM World Championships of Magic.

Tommy Wonder stood tall among his peers, ahead of his time in more ways than one. Just like a chess Grand Master, the Dutch wizard was many moves ahead of everyone else. Every move of every trick, every performance on every stage, he had planned and practiced the routines to perfection.

This artistic genius combined skill and elegance with masterful performance abilities, leaving you believing it was truly magic.

Our Take on the Magic of Tommy Wonder

He may be gone, but his magic is still alive and well.

Unfortunately, some of the products available online aren’t of the best quality in regard to visual production or audio quality.

While that’s a bit of a shame, it’s no reason to overlook Tommy Wonder. That would be a serious mistake for any fan of magic or aspiring magician.

This man died early, leaving a hole behind, as well as a fantastic legacy that continues to inspire and awe people years after his passing.

His vast repertoire of original creations and diverse range of acts demonstrate the passion and dedication Tommy Wonder had for the art of magic. He was nothing short of a genius and is one that we can all learn from. Even if you have only a mild interest in magic, his performances will engage and entertain you like few other magicians can.

Get your hands on a copy of Wonderized to start off. You’ll not regret it.