The Magician They Couldn’t Hang: Joseph Ovette

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.

This stunning hanging performance 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.

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

In this old manuscript, you can find dangerous acts which include needle jabbing, branding oneself with a hot iron, drinking acid, pulse control and many more feats.

You can find some of the daring stunts over here.


Related:

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

Swami And Mantra By Sam Dalal
Click on and of these: Link 1, Link 2

Side-Show And Animal Tricks By Hereward Carrington
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

Side-Show Tricks Explained By Hereward Carrington
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2


The magician they couldn’t hang Joseph Ovette was an author and professional magician.

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.


Related: Free Books by Alexander Herrmann and also publications about him.

Herrmann’s Book of Magic Black Art Fully Exposed
Click on this: Link

Herrmann’s Wizards’ Manual; A Practical Treatise On Coin Tricks, Card Tricks, Sleight-of-Hand, Illusions, Black Art, Mind Reading, Spirit Mediumship, Ventriloquism, Etc.
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

Herrmann The Magician His Life; His Secrets By H. J. Burlingame
Click on this: Link

A History Of The Art Of Magic: Containing Anecdotes, Explanation Of Tricks And A Sketch Of The Life Of Alexander Herrmann By T. T. Timayenis
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3


The Magician They Couldn’t Hang

From that moment, 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 conjuror, 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

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 Discerment” on page 11.

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 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.

Corinda’s Thirteen Steps to Mentalism
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 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 By Docc Hilford
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

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 “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.


Related: Here are more free Jean Hugard books online.


For those who like to find out more versions of “Think-A-Card” effect, check out information from here and here.

In fact, there are a few variations of this trick:

Howard Albright’s version is called “Perfect Card Divination“.

It is found in his 1948 booklet “Super Psychic Mental Effects” and also in Chapter XII, Mysteries Of A Prearranged Ordinary Pack Of Cards in Jean Hugard’s “Encyclopedia Of Card Tricks“.

Charles Jordan’s version is called “Demon’s Divination“, is found in “Charles Best Card Tricks“, under “More Stacked-Deck Tricks” on page 174.

Charles Jordan’s Best Card Tricks By Karl Fulves
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4

Another variation is “Zen Poker” by Philip T. Goldstein (better known as Max Maven) found in his book “Thequal” (Lisp Series Part 2) on page 2.

Thequal By Philip T. Goldstein
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

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


Related: There is a 16-page booklet by Al Mann which featured blindfold drive ideas by magician and mind‐reader Joseph Dunninger.

Publicity Secrets: Dunninger’s Mystic Series Mns. “C” By Al Mann
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4

Just like Harry Houdini, Joseph Dunninger aka “Amazing Dunninger” is known for exposing mediums as frauds.

Here is an article from 1941 issue of Life Magazine, “Spiritualism: A Psychic Investigator Exposes Mediums’ Frauds“.

Free Books By Joseph Dunninger:

100 Classic Houdini Tricks You Can Do
Click on this: Link

Inside The Medium’s Cabinet
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2


Both of 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.


Related: Here are two free books by Alexander which you can download and keep them for yourself.

Crystal Gazing: Lessons And Instructions In Silent Influence With The Crystal
Click on this: Link

Alexander’s Book Of Mystery
Click on this: Link


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“.

Canadian magic inventor Stewart James mentioned that he was able to describe the Master Move in fourteen lines, which Joe Ovette took forty-nine lines to say the same thing.

You can find this line in his 2007 book “The Essential Stewart James” on page 99.

The Essential Stewart James
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4

This prolific inventor of magic tricks Stewart James made use of this secret Ovette Move in many of his card tricks.

You might like to check out Stewart James booklet with three “self-working” card miracles: Swastricka, Memo-Graphia and “The All-Clear” Card Transformation.

Jamesosophy Number 1 By Stewart James
Click on this: Link

By the way, Stewart James is known for his
miniature spirit cabinet routine called “Sefalaljia“.

It uses ropes and rings link, a large nail bends, a ball rolls out of the cabinet as if moved by the spirits, and objects move about and invert in mysterious ways.

sefalaljia spirit cabinet

Sefalaljia” in included in Stewart James’ book “The Essential Stewart James” from page 31 to 37.

You can also find this baffling effect in Theodore Annemann‘s book.

Practical Mental Magic By Theodore Annemann
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5

This is the site specially dedicated to Sefalalji by Tabby Crabb (aka Tabman).

Here is a list free books 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 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 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 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 By Arthur H. Buckley
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

FIVE:
This is another variation similar to Kelly/Ovette Move called “Final Control” by Bruce Elliot.

It is found in “Card Conspiracy Volume 1“, Chapter 2: Concealed Allerton Control, on pages 15-16.

Card Conspiracy Volume 1 By Peter Duffie & Robin Robertson
Click on this: Link

Note: For those who do not understand Mandarin (Chinese language):

To continue scrolling the pages, you need to click on the THIRD row of the Chinese text, as shown below.

It will continue to download the pages.

Card Conspiracy Vol. 1

SEVEN:
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 By Bruce Elliott
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

EIGHT:
This version is called “No-Clutch Bottom Placement” found in Jon Racherbaumer’s book “Card Finesse Vol. 1” under Control-Craft on pages 134-137.

Card Finesse Vol. 1 By Jon Racherbaumer
Click on this: Link

NINE:
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 Technique: Close-Up Table Magic By Jean Hugard & Frederick Braue
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

TEN:
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 By Edward Marlo
Click on this: Link

ELEVEN:
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 By Roy Walton
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4

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

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

THIRTEEN:
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“.

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

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

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

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

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


Related:
Here are three great free books by Peter Duffie which you might like to get them as well.

Duffie’s Card Compulsion
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

Effortless Card Tricks
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

Cards In Principle
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2


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

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


Related: Old Issue of MUM magazines

M-U-M Volume 4 (February 1916 to May 1920)
Click on this: Link

M-U-M Volume 5 To 8 (June 1916 to May 1919)
Click on this: Link


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

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

SEVENTEEN:
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 By J. K. Hartman
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

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

My Favorite Card Tricks By Harry Lorayne
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2

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

Apocalypse Vol. 1-5 January 1978 Through December 1982
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

TWENTY:
It is mentioned in another Harry Lorayne’s book, in “Main Attraction” by Stephen Minch on page 465.

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


Related:
For beginners who like to learn some card sleights, maybe you would like to check out this free book.

Sleight Of Hand With Cards By Michael Pascoe

Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2


Free Joseph Ovette Books PDF

Let’s check out these four free books by the magician they couldn’t hang, Joseph Ovette.

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

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

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

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

Disclaimer: I do not own all the free 52 books as mentioned here.

They are copyrighted to their respective owners. All content cited here is derived from their respective sources.