Monthly Archives: September 2013

Vampire Hunters! Magnetized Holy Water!

Magnetized Holy Water


In case the alarmists about the Zombie Apocalypse are dead wrong, and instead of Zombies, we have to fight for the survival of the human species against Vampires, you may need “Pop Haydn’s Magnetized Holy Water for Vampire Hunters”
This is water from a pure source that has been spiritually blessed by an ordained minister of an actual faith for a nominal charge and magnetized in Pop Haydn’s powerful electrical devices. It is much more powerful than ordinary Holy Water.

Less than one teaspoon needed per vampire.

Guaranteed effective or money back.


School for Scoundrels, our 18th Year!


School for Scoundrels, 2012
Photo by Billy Baque


Pop Haydn and Chef Anton will be teaching their eight-hour course on street scams at the Magic Castle again this November. This course has been taught every year at the Magic Castle since 1996.

The course covers the history, psychology, moves, ruses and application to magic of the three major street scams–Fast and Loose, Three-Card Monte, and the Shell Game–hands on instruction from two experts.

This class is open to anyone over 21, whether they are members of the Magic Castle or not.

We have had historians, magicians, police officers, lawyers and many others take the course over these many years.

It is a great class for steampunk writers and characters, as these games are easy ways to make local money when in a different culture or time period.

No prior knowledge or skill is required. All necessary props will be available for the students during class, and can be purchased from School for Scoundrels.

We have complete notes available in print and DVD.

The course is taught on four consecutive Sunday nights, and a second class is offered on Monday nights, beginning on Sunday, Nov 3rd, and Monday, Nov 4th. The course is taught at the Magic Castle in Hollywood in the Classroom which is next to our library.

It is $160 per person for the class, to be paid at the first class.

We accept up to fifteen people in each class.

If you would like to register, e-mail Nancy Magill at

Three-Card Monte in Spanish

The School for Scoundrels has just made a deal with Dani DaOrtiz to have my book on Three Card Monte published in Spanish. “The School for Scoundrels Notes on Three-Card Monte” is the most thorough book on this scam, including its history, psychology, moves and ruses and application to magic.
I am very excited!


Reviews of the book here:

Talk Like a Pirate Day!

It is September 19th, Talk Like a Pirate Day!


Dread Pirate Pop

Talk Like a Pirate, ya lubber, or Shove Off!


International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

From Tim Collier:

Ah, well. Designing pirates for work, and sketched this out as a possible flag for the undead pirate, Razig.

The term “Jolly Roger” is actually from the French, “Jolie Rouge,” or “pretty red (flag)”. At the dawn of the Golden Age of Piracy, there weren’t any skull-and-crossbones banners, so pirates generally flew a solid red flag — the flag for “No Quarter” — no mercy asked, none granted. After a while, captains began to customize their happy red flags with skulls, hourglasses, bleeding hearts, swords, severed heads… Edward Teach (Blackbeard) went so far as to fly a flag depicting himself and Death drinking a toast. And most of the flags, for the sake of visibility, became black. Tadaaah! :ahoy:
This image, although free to use as a wallpaper, is ©2006 Tim Collier. There are shirts and stuff here, and I might even see about printing up some real flags soon… :boogie: So please be kind and respect the copyright, OK? Thankee!

Dread Captain Bartholomew Roberts


Captain Bartholomew Roberts


The son of George Roberts of Little Newcastle, Wales, John Roberts was born May 17, 1682. Going to sea at 13, Roberts appears to have worked in the merchant service until 1719. For some reason during this time Roberts changed his name from John to Bartholomew. In 1718, Roberts served as a mate of a sloop trading around Barbados. The following year he signed on as third mate of the London-owed slaver Princess. Serving under Captain Abraham Plumb, Roberts traveled to Anomabu, Ghana in 1719. While off the coast of Africa, Princess was captured by the pirate vessels Royal Rover and Royal James led by Howell Davis.

Bartholomew Roberts – Pirate Career:

Coming aboard Princess, Davis forced several of Plumb’s men, including Roberts to join his crew. A reluctant recruit, Roberts soon found favor when Davis learned that he was a skilled navigator. A fellow Welshman, Davis frequently conversed with Roberts in Welsh which allowed them to speak without the rest of the crew comprehending their discussion. After several weeks of cruising, Royal James had to be abandoned due to worm damage. Steering for Isle of Princes, Davis entered the harbor flying British colors. While repairing the ship, Davis began planning to capture the Portuguese governor.

Inviting the governor to dine aboard Royal Rover, Davis was in turn asked to the fort for a drink prior to the meal. Having discovered Davis’ true identity, the Portuguese planned an ambush. As Davis’ boat neared, they opened fire killing the pirate captain. Fleeing the harbor, the crew ofRoyal Rover was forced to elect a new captain. Though he had only been aboard for six weeks, Roberts was selected by the men to take command. Returning to the Isle of Princes after dark, Roberts and his men looted the town and killed the majority of the male population.

Though he had initially been an unwilling pirate, Roberts took to his new role as captain feeling that it was “Better being a commander than a common man.” After capturing two ships, Royal Rover put into Anamboe for provisions. While in port, Roberts had his crew vote on the destination of their next voyage. Selecting Brazil, they crossed the Atlantic and anchored at Ferdinando to refit the ship. With this work completed, they spent nine fruitless weeks searching for shipping. Shortly before abandoning the hunt and moving north to the West Indies, Roberts located a fleet of 42 Portuguese merchant ships.

Entering Todos os Santos’ Bay, Roberts captured one of the ships. Confronting its captain, he forced the man to point out the richest ship in the merchant fleet. Moving swiftly, Roberts’ men swarmed aboard the indicated vessel and seized over 40,000 gold moidors as well as jewelry and other valuables. Departing the bay, they sailed north to Devil’s Island to enjoy their loot. Several weeks later, Robert captured a sloop off the River Surinam. Shortly thereafter a brigantine was sighted. Eager for more plunder, Roberts and 40 men took the sloop to pursue it.

While they were gone, Roberts’ subordinate, Walter Kennedy, and the rest of the crew sailed away with Rover and the treasure taken off Brazil. Irate, Roberts’ drew up new, strict articles to govern his crew and made the men swear to them on a Bible. Renaming the sloop Fortune they proceeded to attack shipping around Barbados. In response to his actions, the merchants on the island fitted out two ships to seek and capture the pirates. On February 26, 1720, they found and engaged Roberts and a pirate sloop captained by Montigny la Palisse. While Roberts turned to fight, la Palisse fled.

In the ensuing battle, Fortune was badly damaged and 20 of Roberts’ men were killed. Able to escape, he sailed for Dominica for repairs, evading pirate hunters from Martinique en route. Swearing vengeance on both islands, Roberts turned north and sailed to Newfoundland. After raiding the port of Ferryland, he entered the harbor of Trepassey and captured 22 ships. Commandeering a brig to replace his sloop, Roberts armed it with 16 guns and renamed it Fortune. Departing in June 1720, he quickly captured ten French ships and took one of them for his fleet. Naming it Good Fortune he armed it with 26 guns.

Returning to the Caribbean, Roberts put into Carriacou to careen Good Fortune. When this was completed he renamed the ship Royal Fortune and moved to attack St. Kitts. Entering Basse Terra Roads, he quickly captured all of the shipping in the harbor. After a brief stay on St. Bartholomew, Roberts’ fleet began attacking shipping off St. Lucia and took 15 ships in three days. Among the prisoners was James Skyrme who became one of Roberts’ captains. Through the spring of 1721, Roberts’ and his men effectively stopped trade in the Windward Islands.

Bartholomew Roberts – Final Days:

After capturing and hanging the governor of Martinique in April 1721, Roberts set course for West Africa. On April 20, Thomas Anstis, the captain of Good Fortune, left Roberts during the night and returned to the West Indies. Pressing on, Roberts arrived at the Cape Verde Islands where he was forced to abandon Royal Fortune due to heavy leaking. Transferring to the sloop Sea King, he renamed the vessel Royal Fortune. Making landfall off Guinea in early June, Roberts quickly captured two French ships which he added to his fleet as Ranger andLittle Ranger.

Operating off Sierra Leone later that summer, Roberts captured the British frigate Onslow. Taking possession, he made it his flagship with the name Royal Fortune. Following several months of successful plundering, Roberts attacked and occupied the port of Ouidah taking ten ships in the process. Moving to Cape Lopez, Roberts took time to careen and repair his ships. While there, the pirates were spotted by HMS Swallow, commanded by Captain Chaloner Ogle. Believing Swallow to be a merchant ship, Roberts sent James Skyrme and Ranger in pursuit. Leading the pirate vessel out of sight of Cape Lopez, Ogle turned and opened fire. Quickly defeating Skyrme, Ogle turned and set course for Cape Lopez.

Seeing Swallow approach on February 10, Roberts believed it to be Ranger returning from the hunt. Rallying his men, many of whom were drunk after capturing a ship the day before, Roberts sailed out in Royal Fortune to meet Ogle. Roberts plan was to pass Swallow and then fight in open water where escape would be easier. As the ships passed, Swallow opened fire.Royal Fortune‘s helmsman then erred allowing the British ship to unleash a second broadside. At that moment, Roberts was struck in the neck by grape shot and killed. His men managed to bury him at sea before being forced to surrender. Believed to have captured over 470 ships, Bartholomew Robert was one of the most successful pirates of all time. His death helped bring a close to the “Golden Age of Piracy.”

taken from:


Pop Haydn in the Parlor of Prestidigitation

I will be performing the early shows in the Parlor of Prestidigitation at the Magic Castle in Hollywood all this week, beginning tonight. I have twice won performer of the year in this room.

Here is some video of a previous performance:

19th Century Spanish Pirate Benito de Soto

Benito De Soto

Benito De Soto

“Benito Soto Aboal (April 22, 1805, Pontevedra – January 25, 1830, Gibraltar) was a Galician pirate, and captain of the Burla Negra (“Black Joke”).

“Benito de Soto was the most notorious of the last generation of pirates to plunder shipping in the Atlantic, one of those arising from the ending of the Napoleonic Wars.

“De Soto served on an Argentinian slave ship before leading a mutiny off the coast of Angola in 1827. When 18 of the crew declined to participate they were cast adrift off in an open boat.

“Having renamed the vessel the Burla Negra, de Soto crossed the Atlantic, where he sold stolen cargo of slaves in the Caribbean, and then sailed south, attacking English, American, Spanish and Portuguese ships along the South American coast. From 1830 the Burla Negra also ventured eastwards into the Atlantic to intercept vessels returning from India and the Far East.

“He proved to be one of the most bloodthirsty pirates of any age, murdering crews who fell into his hands and sinking their ships.
The most infamous episode in de Soto’s career came on 19 February 1828, when the Burla Negra happened upon the Morning Star en route from Ceylon to England. After killing some of the passengers and crew with cannon fire, de Soto murdered the captain and took possession of the ship.

“Many of the captured crew were killed, while women passengers were raped before being locked in the hold with the rest of the survivors. De Soto then scuttled the ship, thinking to leave no evidence of the attack, but the imprisoned survivors managed to escape and prevent the Morning Star from sinking until a passing merchant vessel rescued them the following day.

“De Soto’s crimes caught up with him after the Burla Negra struck a reef and was wrecked off Cadiz. He and his men headed for Gibraltar, but they were recognized and taken for trial. De Soto was hanged. His head was then stuck on a pike as a warning to others.”



More info here:


Black Caesar — African pirate, one of Blackbeard’s men


“Black Caesar (died 1718) was an 18th-century African pirate. For nearly a decade, he raided shipping from the Florida Keys and later served as one of Captain Blackbeard’s chief lieutenants aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge. He was one of the surviving members of Blackbeard’s crew following his death at the hands of Lieutenant Robert Maynard in 1718.

Caesar’s Rock, one of three islands located north of Key Largo, is the present-day site of his original headquarters and named in his honor.
Black Caesar, according to traditional accounts, was a prominent African tribal war chieftain. Widely known for his “huge size, immense strength, and keen intelligence”, he evaded capture from many different slave traders. Caesar was finally captured when he and twenty of his warriors were lured onto a ship by a slave trader.

“Showing him a watch, the trader promised to show him and his warriors more objects which were “too heavy and too numerous to bring on shore” if they came aboard his ship. He enticed them to stay with food, musical instruments, silk scarves and jewels, however he had his men raise anchor and slowly sail away. When Caesar discovered what was happening, he and his men attempted to charge their captors but were driven back by the well-armed sailors using swords and pistols.

“Although it took a considerable length of time for him and his warriors to accept their captivity, he was eventually befriended by a sailor who was the only man Black Caesar would accept food and water from.

“As they neared the coast of Florida, the sudden appearance of a hurricane threatened to destroy the ship on the Florida Reefs.

“Recognizing the ship’s imminent destruction, the sailor snuck below decks and freed Caesar. The two then forced the captain and crew into a corner, most likely at gunpoint, and boarded one of the longboats with ammunition and other supplies. The wind and waves pushed them to shore where they waited out the storm, apparently the only survivors of the doomed ship.

“They soon began using the lifeboat to lure passing ships which stopped to give assistance. While posing as shipwrecked sailors, they would sail out to the vessel offering to take them aboard. Once they were close to the vessel, they brought out their guns and demanded supplies and ammunition, threatening to sink the ship if they were refused. He and the sailor continued this ploy for a number of years and amassed a sizable amount of treasure which was buried on Elliott Key. However, he and the sailor had a falling out over a young woman the mate had brought back from one of the ships they had looted. Fighting over her, Caesar killed his longtime friend in a duel and took the woman for his own.

“He began taking on more pirates over time and soon was able to attack ships on the open sea. He and his crew were often able to avoid capture by running into Caesar Creek and other inlets between Elliot and Old Rhodes Key and onto the mangrove islands. Using a metal ring embedded in a rock, they ran a strong rope through the ring, heel the boat over, and hide their boat in the water until the patrol ship or some other danger went away. They might also lower the mast and sink the ship in shallow water, later cutting the rope or pumping out the water to raise the boat and continue raiding. It is thought that he and his men buried 26 bars of silver on the island, although no treasure has ever been recovered from the island.

“He apparently had a harem on his island, having at least 100 women seized from passing ships, as well as a prison camp which he kept prisoners in stone huts hoping to ransom them. When leaving the island to go on raids, he left no provisions for these prisoners and many eventually starved to death. A few children reportedly escaped captivity, subsisting on berries and shellfish, and formed their own language and customs. This society of lost children give rise to native superstition that the island is haunted.

“During the early 18th century, Caesar left Biscayne Bay to join Blackbeard in raiding American shipping in the Mid-Atlantic serving as a lieutenant on his flagship Queen Anne’s Revenge. In 1718, after Blackbeard’s death battling with Lieutenant Robert Maynard at Ocracoke Island, he attempted to set off the powder magazine as per Blackbeard’s instructions. However, Caesar was stopped by one of the captives who tackled him as prepared to light a trail of gunpowder leading to the magazine. He struggled with the man below decks until several of Maynard’s sailors were able to restrain him. Taken prisoner by Virginian colonial authorities, he was convicted of piracy and hanged in Williamsburg, Virginia.”

–illustration from

Pirate Bloopers

September 19th be gaining on us…Here are some bloopers from Pirates of the Caribbean.

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