The Elusive Illusive

By Ben Daggers
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The Elusive Illusive

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The Elusive Illusive - magic
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To be an interesting magician, you must first be an interested magician. Driven by his endless curiosity, Ben Daggers has traveled across the globe seeking inspiration from both inside and outside of magic. After carefully nurturing simple ideas into full-grown routines, he is finally setting some of his most cherished creations free with The Elusive Illusive.

As Pit Hartling wrote in the foreword, Ben’s magic is pure and simple. He has spent years refining it in front of real audiences in both his private work, as well as his weekly show with Ponta the Smith and Takeshi Taniguchi. The result is magic that is clear in plot, direct in method, strong in effect, and, most importantly, playful and engaging in presentation.

“Ben is clever, practical and charming; and his magic has the same attributes as its multi-talented creator.” Guy Hollingworth

In The Elusive Illusive Ben shares the most remarkable effects he’s managed to trap, train and refine over the years. Across the 218 pages of this gorgeous hardcover book, you’ll find more than 10 professional showpieces that are as entertaining as they are magical. They are accompanied by three thought-provoking essays and several original techniques, including his highly-acclaimed “Drop Shuffle” which is one of the most deceptive full-deck false shuffles we’ve ever seen.

Ben gives you a front-row seat to the routines, techniques, and theory that comprise his professional work. It’s a fascinating blend of pure magic effects and theatrical multi-phase performance phases for both close-up and parlor work in both formal and informal settings. Some use cards, some use coins. Some are difficult, some are not.

Any fans of strong, creative and entertaining, and inspiring magic will want to read The Elusive Illusive by Ben Daggers.

"Buy this book, then lock yourself in a room for a few weeks and give it the time it deserves. The magic, the writing, the thinking... WOW! I love it.” Paul Gertner

"What a wonderful book! What a wonderful magician!!! I will do some of his routines for sure!” Hector Mancha

"Beware, there is more to Ben Daggers than meet the eye. Like him, his magic is at first sight sweet, funny, honest, humble and charming, and then you begin to realise, little by little how clever, thought out and strong it is. Magic that needs your time and study to profit by all the details involved. Under its light cover, The Elusive Illusive is a very deep book." Pierric

"Many people know I love magic books, but over time, I've become more and more selective. ‘The Elusive Illusive' is one of those I love having in my collection, among my exquisite selection of best contemporary magicians." Javi Benitez

"This is not just a book of tricks. This is a window into the world of Ben Daggers. A world full of details, depth, and personality. I’ve seen Ben perform some of the wonders inside these pages, and they are simply magic.” Luis Olmedo

Contents of The Elusive Illusive


A unique gambling-themed routine in which you demonstrate your otherworldly ability to shuffle a deck and deal the four Aces with one hand while blindfolded. As you deal two poker hands, the first three cards to your spectator are Aces. But, you fail to find the fourth one. You then reveal in a shocking surprise that it’s because you’ve managed to deal it to yourself as part of an even stronger hand—a royal flush. All those hours practicing the one-handed shuffle finally go to good use as “Tribute” transforms the move from a mere fancy flourish into a pivotal component of an exciting routine.

Soft Centre

From a spectator-shuffled deck, a freely-selected card is lost in the pack before being dealt from the center. You then extract its mate in the same fashion before finally dealing every card of the same color from the center in a dazzling display of skill.

Triumph for Two

A deck that has been shuffled face up into face down by the audience is divided in half between you and a helper. You both then race to see who can sort the cards the fastest. Unfortunately, they never stood a chance because yours is instantly fixed while theirs remains a mess. That is until a surprise ending where they somehow replicate your feat and magically make all their cards face the same way.

Invisible Sleeves

Three coins pass from one hand to the other in the cleanest way possible, all with the apparent help of an invisible jacket.

Hands Off ACAAN

Multiple audience members help you mix a deck before it is isolated in a wine glass and a card and number are named. You then let the spectators remove this amount of cards themselves, eventually revealing that the chosen card is at the chosen number.

Ben Daggers’ Drop Shuffle

A perfectly choreographed and casual full-deck shuffle that genuinely looks and feels as if the deck is being legitimately shuffled. It’s one of the most convincing complete deck false shuffles you’ll ever see and is surprisingly easy to do.

One Track Mind

A member of your audience is revealed to be a shuffle-tracking master that successfully finds a named four-of-a-kind from a shuffled deck.

Mirror, Mirror

An engaging routine that elevates the “Do As I Do” plot into a memorable piece of magical theater that can play for audiences of any size.

OPOD (Outjogged Pushoff Double)

A natural, tension-free double turnover that eliminates the need for a get-ready or to hold a break. The relaxed movement creates an extremely convincing illusion of a single card. This is destined to become the double lift of choice for many readers of this book


An exciting routine in which you showcase how a magician could use their unique skills to cheat at a card table. You hide cards invisibly in the palm of your hand and demonstrate how you can quickly glimpse any card. The routine culminates with a stunning kicker where, as a tongue-in-cheek exposé of card marking, you make the backs of every card change color.

Uncommon Sense

A zany, slightly over-the-top routine in which you demonstrate how you can use all five of your senses to perform incredible feats of skill and magic. Thanks to some unorthodox props, your spectator is then able to replicate them.

Illusion of Control

A selected card is controlled in just one shuffle to a spectator’s desired location in the deck. You then control the cards of the same value in a similar fashion to any named position in the deck. Finally, the whole deck, which was undeniably mixed up just a moment prior, is shown to have returned to perfect order.

Babel Coins

A beautiful piece of coin magic wrapped up in an amusing and fascinating tale. Special elixirs from various countries allow you to unlock your ability to visually transform coins into a different currency.


Also included are three insightful and practical essays regarding the importance of thinking like a layperson, Ben’s thoughts on the classic force, and a compelling look at how sometimes the best inspiration can be hiding in your old material.

218 Pages | Linen Hardcover | Color Photographs

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Customer reviews for The Elusive Illusive



It goes without saying that, production-wise, this is another beautiful offering from Vanishing Inc.

Of course, it's what's inside that truly counts, and The Elusive Illusive - the debut book release by Ben Daggers - far from disappoints.

I didn't know of Daggers at all before this book, and I'm so happy I do now. The Elusive Illusive exemplifies his thoughtful approach to card magic and coin magic, some of which is perfect for casual situations and some that's built for a more formalized stand-up or parlour setting. Classic plots are anchored to beautiful new premises - the playful Babel Coins, for instance - while offering up fluid structure and a lovely economy in performance. The fooling Lennart Green-esque Drop Shuffle is an easy standout, but there's plenty of other material in here to study and be inspired by. If you love sleight of hand card and coin magic, this is the book for you.

VI Monthly


There's nothing I can say about this Book that literally everyone else hasn't already said. But I do feel it's my responsibility to offer my honest scoreing to a book/product. So I won't bore you with my long-winded repeat of other people. There is a lot of good work in here, well written, and heck even if the only thing you get from this book is to learn his Drop Shuffle. Then it's well worth it. Also, that shuffle is easy and a killer. Highly deceptive.

5/5 - worth its price for sure.



It really is an excellent book, especially considering that it's not being marketed heavily within our magic community.

The description of each trick is concise and leaves no stone unturned. The essays are refreshing and to the point. Regardless of your skill level, you should be able to take away something valuable.

In terms of materials, it's not something you should be copying word for word or action for action. The effects are personal to Ben, although they are easy to adapt. There are only two or three tricks that are truly unique to Ben's performance style, and it would be strange to replicate those effects. However, I can see myself performing around 70% of the items by adapting them to my own personality.

Some effects that excited me:
Soft Center - I can already do a decent strike second, this goes straight into my future repertoire, plus I learn a new cull from this book.

Invisible sleeve - Great take on Ponta the Smith Wing silver, even better with an unique presentation wrap around it.

Hands Off ACAAN - I'm familiar with the core technique and the version that inspires it. It's great to see a new take on this plot.

Drop Shuffle - No need to say more.

Mirror Mirror - Great effect with novelty, remind me of the trick from Allan Zola Kronzek.

I'm still digesting the materials but can't wait to dive into rest of the book.
Once again, what a pleasantly surprising little book.



I needed a pick me up. Something to bring me back into the magic world. And I am so glad this was the book I chose to do it with.

Ben is a very well-studied, well-versed magician, and it shows in his writing and his magic. It's the kind of book that you can pick up anything of value from, whether you're just starting out or have been in the game for years. The Drop Shuffle and his thoughts on the Classic Force are worth price of admission alone.

Stop reading this. Buy it.

VI Monthly


This book is an object lesson in good magic writing. The descriptions are thorough, explaining what to do as well as how and why to do it. He has managed to be both clear and detailed without being long-winded. He anticipates questions and the material is thoroughly sourced. As I first read through the book picking up nuggets along the way, it occurred to me that the lessons taught here in writing could NEVER be handled as well in a video. Best of all, although Daggers describes HIS handling of each effect, he manages to be inspiring rather than prescriptive.

I had never heard of Ben Daggers until ordering this book. If he is as good a magician as he is a teacher, he is in the vanguard of today's finest performers.



For magicians and collectors, this book is an excellent addition to your library. The contents of this tome are effects from Ben Daggers repertoire.

The format of each chapter is he provides a summary of the effect, the method's overview, set-up (If any) then he explains the method. However, this where the similarities end. The author writes as if he's actually talking with you. In addition to his explanations, there are clear and crisp color photographs further detailing his tutorials. Interspersed with his effects are essays of whys and how's of what he does and his Point of Views which are brutally (but not harshly) honest.

Reading each chapter gave me the distinct feeling most of these effects are for those with advanced intermediate (and above) skills. Just to name a few examples, a one-handed cut and shuffle, culling, second dealing, his version and thoughts on the classic force, and much more. My favorite chapter is on the Drop Shuffle. A series of combined discrete moves to create the illusion of mixing a deck.

As an aside, which the description of this Vanishing Inc. produced book does not provide, is the approximate overall dimensions of this excellently produced book is 6.25" X 8.5"

Highly recommended.



As with all books produced by VI, the quality is immaculate. The materials within the book is very personal to Ben, and it might not be suitable for everyone. One of my main takeaways from the book is learning how Ben structures a routine. For example, Babel Coins - he took wild coin to become more of a showpiece with the introduction of elixirs. The drop shuffle has a lot of potential too, if you put in the practice to make it look as good as Ben.



Read the book cover to cover. It's a really good book. There are a few effects that attracted my attention and there is a lot to learn here. Some of the effects require quite a lot of skill. Not really a book for a beginner. The production value of the book is fantastic including the photos. All in all I can recommend it.



I have no doubt Ben Daggers is an incredible magician and he wrote an excellent book. Unfortunately I didn’t find much in terms of material I will use. Not because the effects aren’t good, but for the fact the material was too personal to him and his style (not so much mine), uses ancillary props, or that I simply already had my ways of accomplishing the effects described in the book. I was excited to learn the drop shuffle, but being how convoluted the move is, I found it nearly impossible to follow in text and ended up learning it by watching a demo in slow motion. In terms of usable material, Illusion of Control was the saving grace for me. A beautiful routine and sort of an abbreviated version of Hollingsworth’s Gambling Routine.
Other than that it is a nice looking, well written quick read.


Community questions about The Elusive Illusive

Have a question about this product? It's possible others do too. Ask here and other Vanishing Inc. Magic customers will be able to respond with assistance! Alternatively, email us and we can help too.

  • Olivier asks: This looks very promising. What would be the skills level required, do you think ?

    • 1. Paul answers: I don’t own the book, but the following is written in the description above: “Some use cards, some use coins. Some are difficult, some are not.” Perhaps someone else can give you more detail.
    • 2. Luke answers: If you can do a perfect faro, a second deal and a basic card cull I’d say you’re good. This book is excellent!!
    Post an answer to this question
  • Cory asks: Do all routines require a table?

    • 1. Daniel answers: It's Ben here, I'm very happy to answer any and all questions about the book. While most of the routines are for table work, "Technicolour" is a totally in-the-hands colour-changing deck routine perfect for walkaround, and "One Track Mind" is a stand-up piece that can work both in both close-up and parlour settings. The essay on the Classic Force also has a few routines and ideas that don't require a table.
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  • Jeff asks: What Size is This Book? It looks quite small like maybe 7 x 10” (254 x 178 mm)? Aside from price, why do a lot of magicians go to all of the trouble to create an amazing Hardcover book but then make it the smallest size? A hardcover book that is 8.5x11" is what people plunk down money for. I have purchased many hardcover magic books that look amazing and when it arrives, it is a complete let down, a 300 page, 7" x 10" book - good luck laying that flat on a table.

    • 1. Cory answers: It is way more portable and perhaps some may prefer that
    • 2. Cory answers: This book looks beautiful by the way
    • 3. Mathieu answers: This book is the exact same format as Andi Gladwin's The boy who cried magic".
    Post an answer to this question
  • Cory asks: Will any video footage be available? I would really love to see the pieces performed.

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: There's no video footage with this project.
  • Cory asks: Why is penguin magic offering this book cheaper?

    • 1. Morris answers: Not sure where you see the number, but mine shows penguin is slightly expensive compares to vanishing inc.
    • 2. Cory answers: Yea someone changed it, was listed at $40 before
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