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$3,726
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128
backers
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Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Nov 22 2013
$3,726
pledged of $12,000pledged of $12,000 goal
128
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Nov 22 2013

About

Shackled Harry Houdini ace of spades and "gaff" card for escape artist magic tricks.
Shackled Harry Houdini ace of spades and "gaff" card for escape artist magic tricks.

The Deck

Features of the HOUDINI Magic Séance Deck:

  • Hand illustrated in turn-of-the-century style
  • Unique fortune telling text and spirit board séance graphics on each card
  • Houdini escape artist "gaff" card for disappearing card tricks
  • Cartomancy instruction card
  • Magic finish on Bicycle card stock
  • Custom tuck box and seal
  • Manufactured in the USA by the United States Playing Card Company
  • Optionally available as a limited edition "Stripper" deck version for card magic
Diamonds: H.P. Lovecraft, Mina Crandon, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Diamonds: H.P. Lovecraft, Mina Crandon, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Each deck comes packed with the standard fifty-two playing cards in four suits, two Jokers, a special "gaff" ace of spades and an additional card with basic instructions for using the deck in cartomancy.

Clubs: Arthur Ford, Bess Houdini, Hardeen.
Clubs: Arthur Ford, Bess Houdini, Hardeen.

Each card has four unique fortune telling phrases printed on the top and bottom, as well as a spirit board plachette (commonly known as a Ouija board pointer) in the top right corner pointing to a phrase, letter or numeral.  The cards may be shuffled and fanned out, or drawn from the deck by a medium to read messages from the spirits (or a skilled magician).

Spades: Sax Rohmer, Adelaide Herrmann, Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin.
Spades: Sax Rohmer, Adelaide Herrmann, Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin.
Hearts: J. Gordon Whitehead, Cecilia Weiss, Houdini
Hearts: J. Gordon Whitehead, Cecilia Weiss, Houdini
Card back design and Buster Keaton joker.
Card back design and Buster Keaton joker.

"Magic Finish" refers to the embossed texture of the playing cards.  This is also know as Air-Cushion, Linoid, Linen, or Cambric finish, and favorably affects the handling of the cards in dealing, cardistry or magic tricks. The deck will be printed in the U.S.A. on Bicycle stock paper by the United States Playing Card Company.

Tuck box design.
Tuck box design.

Stripper Deck Version

The basic HOUDINI Magic Séance Cards deck is a standard sized poker deck.  During this Kickstarter ONLY we will also be offering a "Stripper" deck version as well.  A Stripper deck, also known as a Tapered Deck, Wizard's Deck, or Biseauté Deck, has been reshaped slightly to form an almost imperceptible taper.  This taper allows a magician to perform many additional card tricks.  

Using the Stripper deck in combination with the unique fortune telling phrases on each card will allow magicians to cut to specific cards or arrange the cards on the fly to manipulate the spirit board reading.  The special escape artist "gaff" card in each deck can also be incorporated.  Creativity opens up the possibilities for numerous routines!  

The Stripper deck's availability will be limited to this project ONLY.  They are prepared at the factory by the USPCC and cello wrapped and sealed as with all normal decks.  The Stripper deck version is available at it's own reward level, or you may add as many as you wish as an "Add On" to your current pledge.  

Add Ons

Don't see a reward level that quite fits?  You can tailor your pledge to the project by adding on any quantity of the following:

  • HOUDINI Magic Séance Deck  $11 each additional ($20 international)
  • Limited Edition Stripper Deck  $16 each additional ($25 international)
  • Brick of 12 Decks  $120 each additional ($145 international)
  • Uncut Sheet  $50 each additional ($75 international) 

The Story

Playing cards have been used for divination purposes almost since their inception centuries ago, from the Tarot and Lenormand decks to more recent "Rameses", "Gypsy Witch", or "Romany" fortune telling cards.  The HOUDINI Magic Séance Deck is inspired by this tradition.

Harry Houdini - The King of Cards
Harry Houdini - The King of Cards

Harry Houdini, apart from being one of the finest and most beloved magicians and escape artists, was also a tireless crusader against fraudulent mystics of the turn-of-the-century Spiritualism movement.  He found the presentation of deceptive tricks such as spirit photography and séances as true contact with the spirit world to be very distasteful, routinely debunking mediums such as Mina "Margery" Crandon.   

Why a HOUDINI Magic Séance Cards deck then?  To continue to promote the heritage of Houdini's skepticism.  The court cards in this deck are drawn from friends, enemies, relatives and associates of Houdini during his life... and "afterlife".  Please check the "Updates" above, as we will be telling the story of each face card over the coming weeks, their relationships and how they related to Houdini and the Spiritualism movement.

Ars Felix

Ars Felix is a design firm based in San Francisco, California.  This is our first Kickstarter project, but it has been gestating for a few years.  We hope to present many more game, toy and book projects in the coming years!

All the artwork for this deck was hand drawn in pen and ink on acid-free paper and illustration board.  We felt the turn-of-the-century theme deserved to be handled in a complementary style.

The original drawings are all available as reward levels for interested backers.  

To follow the story and progress of this project, or to stay informed of future projects, please follow us on twitter @arsfelix:

   

Risks and challenges

Since this is our first Kickstarter project, we are committed to keeping the reward levels simple and realistic fulfillment a priority. This is also our first project working with the United States Playing Card Company, but their quality and professionalism is world renown. There have already been a number of other Kickstarter projects with Bicycle decks printed by USPCC.

The artwork for ALL the cards, tuck box and seal is already 100% completed. Setbacks may arise if image editing is required for the printing process, or in the event of shipping delays. We feel that our expected delivery date gives ample leeway in the event of unforeseen delays and we will provide weekly updates to backers until the decks ship!

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    H.P. Lovecraft playing card original ink drawing + TWO decks

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    Buster Keaton playing card original ink drawing + TWO decks

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    Theo Hardeen playing card original ink drawing + TWO decks

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    Harry Houdini shackled ace of spades playing card original ink drawing + TWO decks

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    Harry Houdini magic séance deck cover original ink drawing + TWO decks

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Funding period

- (36 days)