Joseph Ovette: The Magician They Couldn’t Hang

Italian American author and professional magician Joseph Ovette aka Great Ovette is the magician they couldn’t hang.

To be exact, back in the thirties, one of Ovette’s well known daring hanging illusion act was billed as “The Man They Couldn’t Hang”.

He did it by swinging 20 feet in the air from a rope about his throat.

Joseph Ovette Hanged For Publicity

This stunning hanging performance at Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada on 17 September, 1937.

Ovette stated that he carried out the hanging experiment to prove that he could outdo the repertoire of a man who caught bullets from a gun.

It was reported in The Ottawa Journal, the act was so realistic that two women in the crowd fainted.

It was featured on page seven, in the Chicago Sunday Tribune, September 26, 1937.

It was titled “Hanged For Publicity”.

Joseph Ovette rope hanging act

Here is another source of the same newspaper article.

You can see clearer pictures of Joseph Ovette performing the hanging stunt from here and here.

Joe Ovette was considered the foremost exponent of “escape” feats since the heyday of the Harry Houdini.

On 19 August, 1939, Ovette allowed himself to be handcuffed and tightly sealed in a packing case and thrown into the Niagara River.

After 92 seconds, he escaped from the sealed case and from the river without any injury.

In 1947, Great Ovette published a booklet called “Miraculous Hindu Feats”.

Miraculous Hindu Feats Joseph Ovette

In this old manuscript, you can find dangerous acts which include needle jabbing, branding oneself with a hot iron, putting fingers in hot lead, drinking acid, pulse control, “Fangs of Lucifer”, “The Trap Trick” and many more daring unusual effects.

You can find these daring stunts over here.


RELATED:

truth about indian magic howard thurston

Here is an article titled “The Truth About Indian Magic” written by magician Howard Thurston, published in the Popular Mechanics April 1927.

For those of you who are into bizarre magic or carnival sideshow, you might want to get these free books.

Hindu Magic An Expose Of The Tricks Of The Yogis And Fakirs Of India

Hindu Magic: An Expose Of The Tricks Of The Yogis And Fakirs Of India By Hereward Carrington
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

Swami Mantra Sam Dalal

Swami And Mantra By Sam Dalal
Click on this: Link

Secrets Of The Sideshows Joe Nickell

Secrets Of The Sideshows By Joe Nickell
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The magician they could not hang Joseph Ovette aka “The Great Ovette” was also an author of “Trickery Tricks”, “Advanced Magic”, “Practical Telepathy”, “Publicity Miracles” and “Tricks And Illusionettes”, etc.

Joseph Ovette the magician they couldn't hang

At the age of twelve, the young Joseph Ovette was mesmerized by the French magician Alexander Herrmann aka Herrmann The Great show.

Joseph Ovette: The Magician They Couldn’t Hang

From that moment, Joseph Ovette determined to become a magician.

For the next five years, Ovette bought books to study and practice.

At the age of seventeen, he was ready to perform a full hour’s show.

It was in Panama, Magical Ovette started to perform as a Chinese conjurer, under the name “Lung Tchang Yuen”.

the magician they couldn't hang Magical Ovette

Incidentally, the other popular western magicians who used oriental stage names were William Ellsworth Robinson as “Chung Ling Soo“, David Bamberg as “Fu Manchu” and Lauro Cecconi as “Ching Lau Lauro” and “Professor Ching”.

Ovette also used the stage name “Marjah” when performing mind-reading acts.

lung tchang yuen marjah Ovette

Free Joseph Ovette Books PDF

Here are four free books by Joseph Ovette, the magician they couldn’t hang:

Advanced Magic Joseph Ovette

Advanced Magic: Magical Ovette
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4

Bargain Magic Joseph Ovette

Bargain Magic By Magical Ovette
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

Silk Creations Joseph Ovette

Silk Creations By Joseph Ovette
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

Tricks & Illusionettes Joseph Ovette

Great Ovette’s Tricks And Illusionettes
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

Yogi Power Joseph Ovette

One mental magic trick which The Great Ovette marketed it as “Yogi Power” (not his original idea) is found in stage hypnotist and magician Ormond McGill’s book, as “Thought Discernment” on page 11.

Psychic Magic Volume 1 Ormond McGill

Psychic Magic Volume One By Ormond McGill
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

The Buddha Whispers

Another mind-reading effect by Joseph Ovette is called “The Buddha Whispers”.

It is published in “Corinda’s, Thirteen Steps To Mentalism” as “The Whispering Buddha” under Part Two: Lip Reading, on pages 37-38.

It uses lip reading skill to perform this trick, which I think it is almost an impossible feat.

If you are into stage mentalism, you should get this free book.

13 Steps To Mentalism Corinda

Corinda’s Thirteen Steps to Mentalism By Tony Corinda
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5

By the way, there is a supplement booklet to the above title.

Supplement To The 13 Steps To Mentalism

Supplement To The 13 Steps Of Mentalism By Tony Corinda
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

Many years later, mentalist Docc Hilford together Ludwig Hanemann aka Punx with came out with a better and workable method called “The Whispering Buddha”.

whispering buddha Docc Hilford

It uses a Buddha statue together with a velvet bag and special billet papers.

The secret of this trick is similar to Docc Hilford’s 2006 “Cellular Mitosis”, without the cellphone.

Check out the free book “Cellular Mitosis” below.

cellular mitosis docc hilford

Cellular Mitosis By Docc Hilford
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

Interestingly, there is another mind-reading effect by Joe Ovette with the same name: “The Buddha Whispers”.

It is also performed with a Buddha statue.

But this self-working trick “Thin-A-Card” effect, uses 24 playing cards and four glasses.

You can find this “The Buddha Whispers” effect in “Encyclopedia Of Card Tricks” by Jean Hugard on page 388.

Encyclopedia Of Card Tricks Jean Hugard


READ ALSO: Here are more free Jean Hugard books online.


Blindfold Acts

The magician they couldn’t hang, Joseph Ovette was also known for his amazing act of driving a car blindfolded through the streets of Ottawa, Canada.


RELATED: Here are three free sources how to go about performing blindfold as a publicity stunt or part of your conjuring act.

Sealed Vision X-Ray Eye Act Will Dexter

Sealed Vision By Will Dexter
Click on this: Link

Blindfolds & X-Ray Eyes, Step Five In Corinda’s “Thirteen Steps To Mentalism”
Click any of these: Link 1, Link 2


These seemingly dangerous acts can be found in Ovette’s 1928 book “Publicity Miracles” aka “Mah-Jah’s Publicity Miracles“.

This 185-page book is jam-packed with a big list of amazing effects and publicity-generating stunts.

Besides death-defying street illusions, one-man mind-reading act, and blindfold drive, it also included the routine and method of Supreme Thought Projection act by stage mentalist Claude Alexander Conlin aka “Alexander:The Man Who Knows“.

Alexander Crystal Seer

Alexander is also known as Alexander the Crystal Seer, as he often used a crystal ball as a prop to do his reading.

Ovette Master Move/Kelly Bottom Placement

Joseph Ovette is said to developed the popular “The Ovette Master Move” aka “Kelly Bottom Placement“.

It is a cunning card sleight where you secretly place a chosen card on the bottom of the deck.

Here is a video clip showing you how to do the “Ovette Master Move” or “Kelly Bottom Placement“.

Here is a list of free sources where you can find card tricks using the Ovette Master Move, and other versions of it.

ONE:
You can find out the multiple uses of the versatile Kelly Bottom Placement, both to control selected cards and secretly transfer them to hidden locations in Tarbell Course In Magic Volume 3.

It is found in Lesson 39: Fundamental Card Sleights, on pages 184-187.

Note: I could not locate any free copy of Tarbell Course In Magic Volume 3 in English.

But there is a free Spanish version of Tarbell Course In Magic Volume 3 (Tarbell Curso De Magia Volumen III).

But the part of Kelly Bottom Placement in the Spanish translation is listed in Lesson 40 (Lección 40: Técnica Cartomágica Fundamental), on pages 217-220.

Tarbell Curso De Magia Volume 3

Tarbell Curso De Magia Volumen III
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

TWO:
You can find this Ovette Move used in Dai Vernon’s “Ultimate Secrets Of Card Magic“, Chapter 22: Card Placement, on pages 107-109.

Dai Vernon's Ultimate Secrets Of Card Magic Lewis Gangon

Dai Vernon’s Ultimate Secrets Of Card Magic Compiled And Photographed By Lewis Ganson
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

THREE:
The move is described in “The Collected Works Of Alex Elmsley Volume One By Stephen Minch“, Chapter Five: Twisted Classics, All Back With Aces, on pages 261-262; The effect is found in “Infinity: Round Trip” on pages 269-270)

The Collected Works Of Alex Elmsley Stephen Minch

The Collected Works Of Alex Elmsley Volume One By Stephen Minch
Click to any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

FOUR:
This card sleight is found in the book “Card Control” by Arthur Buckley, as “The Glide Shift” in Chapter One: Sleights, on pages 93-94.

Card Control Practical Methods And Forty Original Card Experiments

Card Control: Practical Methods And Forty Original Card Experiments By Arthur H. Buckley
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

FIVE:
The card from the middle controlled to the bottom of the deck trick is billed as “The Elliott Control” in Chapter 5: Card Tricks That Require Some Skill on pages 122-125.

The Best In Magic Bruce Elliott

The Best In Magic By Bruce Elliott
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

SIX:
You can find two effects from the book “Expert Card Technique: Close-Up Table Magic“, which are similar to Kelly Bottom Placement move.

The first one is just for you to learn how to tip over the cards.

You can find this similar move in Chapter 8: Change, The Tip-Over Change, on page 80.

The second effect is called “The Card Through The Magazine“, Chapter 8: Discoveries, on pages 227-228.

Expert Card Techniques Close Up Table Magic Jean Hugard & Frederick Braue

Expert Card Technique: Close-Up Table Magic By Jean Hugard & Frederick Braue
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

SEVEN:
This secret move is also used step 9 of the effect called “The Trick Deck” by Edward Marlo, magician who specialized in card magic .

The Kelly Bottom Placement is mentioned on page 173.

The Cardician Edward Marlo

The Cardician By Edward Marlo
Click on this: Link

EIGHT:
You can find this card sleight in “The Complete Walton Vol. 1“, Chapter 8: Sleights, “The Ovette/Kelly Placement on pages 209-210.

The Complete Walton Volume 1 Roy Walton

The Complete Walton Volume 1 By Roy Walton
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4

NINE:
This Ovette/Kelly Move is also mentioned in “Easy Multiple Convincing Controls” from the book “The Card Magic Of Edward Marlo” on pages 59-60.

The Card Magic Of Edward Marlo

The Card Magic Of Edward Marlo
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

TEN:
Ovette Master Move is also used in Peter Duffie’s ByPass card trick; a discovery of two chosen cards, with one appearing in your pocket.

This trick is originally published in his book “Card Addict” called “Magical Mixture“. You can find it in this book below:

Kelly Ovette Move

The Best Of Peter Duffie Vol. 6: Selected Revelations
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

ELEVEN:
It is also found in another Peter Duffie’s book for the “The Universal Base” trick.

Cards By All Means Peter Duffie

Cards By All Means By Peter Duffie
Click on this: Link

TWELVE:
Again Kelly/Ovette Move is used in the effect called “Magic Cards” by Dominic Twose found in another Peter Duffie’s book below:

Ovette Kelly Move Card Trick

England UpClose Compiled And Edited By Peter Duffie
Click on this: Link

THIRTEEN:
This move is used by Dennis Loomis in his “The DeLo Cut” published on page 26 in MUM Magazine.

Ovette-Kelly Bottom Placement trick

Magic Unity Might: The Society Of American Magicians, August 2011
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

FOURTEEN:
Ovette-Kelly Bottom Placement is found in “Pocker Face-To-Face” trick by Jerry Kent Hartman on page 148.

Ovette-Kelly Bottom Placement

Card Dodgery By J. K. Hartman
Click on this: Link

FIFTEEN:
It is also used in tricks which include: “Catch And Carry“, “Cache And Carry“, “Step Right Up“, “Pile Up“, “Show And Foretell” and “Au Matchurel” in another Jerry Kent Hartman’s book.

Card Dupery J K Hartman

Card Dupery By J. K. Hartman
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

SIXTEEN:
Harry Lorayne uses it in “Criss-Cross” trick in this book on page 21.

My Favorite Card Tricks Harry Lorayne

My Favorite Card Tricks By Harry Lorayne
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SEVENTEEN:
Ovette Master Move is used in trick “Case In Point” by Paul Gertner in Harry Lorayne’s Apocalypse Vol. 4 181 on page 442.

Volume 1-5 Harry Lorayne Apocalypse

Apocalypse Vol. 1-5 January 1978 Through December 1982
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EIGHTEEN:
It is mentioned in the Harry Lorayne’s book below, in “Main Attraction” by Stephen Minch on page 465.

Best Of Friends Volume 2 Harry Lorayne

Best Of Friends Vol. 2 By Harry Lorayne
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4


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