James Merlin About

Before I continue I should point out that I am Sparticus! Sorry, I mean I am James Merlin! It is my stage name where I perform magic and mind-reading with a paid audience, either around the tables at a restaurant, or on stage.

You can read more of my escapades on the official James Merlin site.

Intellectual Property in magic

Earlier this year I, as James Merlin, presented a lecture on the role (or lack thereof) of IP in magic, at the Bacon conference. You can watch it here:

The Magic Code

Magic is a secretive art. And one I'm slowly becoming more practised in. As a little light relief one day, I created "The Magic Code". It works in a similar vein to the geek code, as symbols let you describe your magical persuasions in a simple, succinct, form.

Learn The Magic Code!


  • Denis Behr - a site noted for its conjuring archive.
  • My Lovely Assistant - many reviews
  • Newspaper Generator - Generate realistic looking newspaper headlines (and copius other stuff)
  • Dummies Book Generator - I used this to mock a cover for a "sawing ladies in half" book
  • Playing Card Brushes for Adobe PhotoShop - I've not used them, since I use GIMP, but they have been regarded some my fellow peers.
  • The XMission Magic Challenges - Seemingly impossible magic challenges, proposed and solved by the community. Some appear to be tipping methods of commercial effects, but still some clever thinking in places.
  • Finger excersies - For prestigitators, and those trying to stave off arthitis.
  • More finger exercises
  • Playing card images - Copyright free, LGPL-licensed, images for making your own playing cards. I used them in my Compumental effect
  • TaroTutor - This page displays a simple, randomly-generated, three-card tarot spread, in conjunction with a brief description of a querent (the person for whom a reading is conducted) and a topic of interest.

Sleight of Mind

Of the area in magic where a computer is actually an asset is probably in the area of memory. Here, therefore, are a few useful resources in that field.

The Memorized Deck

Magic Squares

Cube Roots

He gets bonus points for naming his page after an old computer game.

Day of the week

I only ever do this for the current year, but these tools help you practise for any year.



While I enjoy talking with the assistants in bricks-and-morter establishments, I don't often get the chance. The benefits of selecting the right effect for my abilities, the camaradie, and the joy it involves is often outweighed by the travel to get there, the kids looking for secrets, the prices (yes, sorry, but it's true!), and occasional lack of willingness to discuss things openly make it a road less travelled. So for reference to myself, and an aid to agorophonics everywhere, here are the places I've used (at least once) in the past. They all have their good and bad points, so no endoresment or otherwise should be inferred.
No one has paid me to say anything about any of these shops. If you'd like to however...