Ross Bertram: Master Magician


Magic and Methods of Ross Bertram was also one of the first magic books that I acquired.

I did not realize at the time the sophisticated level of the magic. Shortly after I obtained the book, I also obtained part-time employment at Morrissey Magic in Toronto. To promote the book in the magic community, Ross agreed to do a book signing at the magic shop. 

The shop was packed and most people expected Ross to perform. I approached him and, with notebook in hand, asked him targeted questions about the techniques used in various routines in the book.

One effect, Revolutionary Card Change, seemed impossible to perform. It was so angle sensitive. Ross borrowed a pack and stripped out a card, really two, for the change. He started to perform the effect completely surrounded. I couldn’t understand what he was doing.  Everybody would be able see the technique. Just as he started to pivot the card for the change he appeared to notice that he was surrounded. In the most accommodating manner, he advised those on his side that they might want to move around to the front otherwise there would be nothing for them to see. Everyone shifted because they believed that he was telling them the truth. The bad angled disappeared. 


He performed the change, slowly and mysteriously. It drew gasps. He elicited a second guffaw when he let the card—really two—tumble from his fingertips to the floor. The cards did not separate. (He had a technique for keeping them together.) I walked over to the cards, picked them up as one card, and returned them to the deck. He gave me a wink. We connected.

I pulled out my notepad with questions. He was surprised that such a young person was so thoroughly conversant with his book. He took me in the back room of the shop, leaving others stranded in the main showroom, and answered every one of my questions in great detail. He also performed Five-Zero-Five for me, his version of the vanish and recovery of five cards. I was flabbergasted. 

Ross Bertram Performs Five Zero Five

We emerged from the backroom after forty-five minutes, the assembled throng having waited patiently. Ross thanked them for coming and then bolted for the door. 

A short time later, I was invited to the IBIDEM Event, an invitation only gathering of prominent magicians held at Niagara-On-The-Lake, orchestrated by P. Howard Lyons and Bob Weill.  P. Howard Lyons, who had also taken a liking to me, invited me to attend. 

He also made Ross Bertram my roommate. Howard knew that one has to broker knowledge.  Ross invited me to visit him at his home in Toronto. I would visit Ross almost every Saturday, hours at a time, for over six years. It changed my life and, I imagine, his.