Skip to content

White Star - By Jim Critchlow



 White Star: 'They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose, Nor spake, nor moved their eyes; It had been strange, even in a dream, To have seen those dead men rise.'- Coleridge, ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'

White Star

A Perfect Separation of the Living from the Dead

The performer is seated at a table opposite two volunteers. The performer places a small article in front of each person, such as an old coin and an old fountain pen (these are to act as ‘markers').

The performer now takes out from his wallet, a small packet of old photographs which he quickly thumbs through as he mentions to the volunteers that they may recognise some of these as they have appeared in books or programs about the Titanic as they were all passengers on that ill-fated liner. The packet is squared and turning to the first volunteer, the performer says that he is going to show him/her the photographs one at a time and if they feel somehow drawn to some, they should tell him and they will be placed in front of them and their 'marker'.

The performer shows the photographs, one by one to the volunteers, who either decide to take one and place it on the pile forming in front of them or reject it. The rejected photographs forming a discard pile in the centre of the table.

'Look at this young lady please, what emotions do you think she is feeling....'

When all the photographs have been chosen to be kept or rejected, the performer brings attention to the discard pile. Thumbing through the photographs the performer starts talking about specific photos (the person's name etc) stressing how absolutely any of the photos could have been retained by the volunteers.

The performer explains that what they have both just done as part of an experiment. He also explains that he has found that the best results only occur when nothing is explained beforehand and that the results are always different (quite true to a point).

The performer then states that the old coin was taken from one of the bodies found in the wreckage of the Titanic and the fountain pen was used by a clerk to write out the list of all the survivors. The person with the coin is asked to turn their photographs over and in doing so they see each photograph has printed on its back, the name of the person, a few details about them and that they DIED! The spectator holding the fountain pen turns their photographs over and sees similar details but all their photographs have SURVIVED printed on them! The discarded pile is turned over and shown that there is a complete mix, in no sequence of both the DIED and SURVIVED photographs!

After the initial amazement, the spectators may ask how this was possible to which the performer replies, "As I said, it was an experiment. The fact is I can't explain it! It seems to be just another mystery surrounding the Titanic".

At this point, the performer can sit back and relax as the volunteers spend the next half hour or so looking at all the photographs and reading the details on the backs. Onlookers too will want to read the backs and quite often a chat session about the Titanic takes place.

If you only want to perform one effect in an evening, this is it. If you want to finish an evening on a high note, this is it.



Comes complete with 28 high quality professionally produced cards and a detailed, photo-illustrated 21 page book teaching you the full routine, presentation and tips and techniques to make this effect a reputation maker.



No Sleight of Hand Required!

The cards are completely ungimmicked, and fully examinable!

Instantly resets to perform again!

The cards REALLY are completely mixed up and shuffled by the spectators. The performer does not change the order of the cards AT ALL once the spectator has mixed them, or after the spectators have chosen the cards they want to keep!

No switched or swapped cards or packets. The spectators decide if they want to keep the cards or discard them and that's FINAL. The performer does not need to do any sneaky switches or adjustments to the cards the spectators have chosen!


Jim Critchlow goes into great detail about the creation of White Star, the history and origins of the methods used and the psychology that can be applied to the effect to not only surprise and amaze the spectators but to leave a lasting psychological impression on them long after the performance.


Additional Routines Included:

White Star Revisited - An alternative handling for the effect created with the help of Karl Bartoni

Beyond White Star - A version of White Star using a regular deck of genuinely shuffled playing cards with additional endings from Karl Bartoni and with a borrowed shuffled deck!

Beyond White Star (second version) - Perform White Star with a borrowed shuffled deck!



'I like this a lot. A very good approach. The presentation and photos make for a compelling effect. - Peter Duffie


'Perfect rational, perfect atmosphere, perfect results... Bravo Mr Critchlow' - Michael Stanton


'Ohh... this is spooky!  I'm lovin it! - James Kenner


The blurb is 100% accurate.

No gimmicks.
Beautifully produced pictures with full biographical details on the back.
Great and all-improved method
Everything is completely examinable

You get 28 cards and 21-page booklet with the original routine and 4 additional routines.

Jim has pondered and cogitated for many years and come up with a wonderfully ingenious method for this effect. But beyond the method (which is both straightforward and devious), you get a great set of collector-style photos and a true story in which to couch your effect.

I could see this is a classic example of a Chelman-Esque 'Hauntique' with associated props one would have found on the Titanic.

I had a private event on Tuesday night with some after-dinner entertainment and I used White Star as my closer. I did about 25 minutes of material that gradually got more implausible and then performed White Star.

I used an English penny from 1899 and a gold and ruby ring from 1910 as 'markers' for my participants, I used a couple that had been going out for over a year and made a lot of that fact to explain that this particular demonstration would be most successful with a couple.

I chose the man for the 'died' and the woman for the 'survived'. The beauty of this routine is that for most of it they have no real idea what is going on and are intrigued with the props and the premise. The guests were fascinated with the pictures and at times chipped in facts and details about the Titanic, so it really did become a group effort. The final sets of revelations can be done in a really nice slow fashion as you show each photograph and how they have been amazingly separated. You can finish by picking up the pace a bit to increase the sense of the impossibility of the feat.

You then are left with a table full of totally examinable props. Lovely!

Superb product and well worth the expenditure. - Dr Todd Landman

 'I wanted to mention this effect, as I had a little gig very recently and performed this for the first time to a real-life human being.

Now, I don't do walk around/strolling/stage work, I just do close-up, and I usually appear when people have cracked open the wine after a

I used this - and adding my own touch, I lit two candles and had the main lights switched off. I had 8 people around me, we discussed how we have all just felt something about strangers, just by the look of their faces we sometimes make massive assumptions about that person - whether we like or dislike them..that kind of thing.

We can sometimes pick up on things, just by looking at people.

Now, the guy who hired me was an ex-navy guy and I used him for the effect, I just told him to look at each photo, and any of those faces gave him some kind of thought or sensation..then he was to separate them from the rest...

Anyway, those candles..they were scented...(sea breeze)...

When he'd finished I then mentioned that he'd been handling photos of people who had been on the Titanic...and ran through a couple from the discarded pile.

It was at that point, those candles kicked in a little, and he was looking at me strangely and saying "I really have no idea how, but I can really smell the sea now you've started to talk about all this..."

Everyone started to agree...

Then when I revealed (I feel revealing the dead group first is best to end on a positive) the dead everything went silent...and just by sheer luck one of the candles fizzled...which brought a couple of expletives out and nervous laughter...

and then the ones who survived...the guy laughed and smiled, and he said "that's so's brought a tear to my eye if I'm honest..." and he had a couple of dewy eyes when I looked...

I left it all there for 10 minutes and let everyone have a drink - I did in fact finish on a fun piece of psychometry to leave on a fun note and it was getting late...but as I was leaving the guy told me that he's usually quite a stiff upper lipped sort, and wouldn't of dared shed a tear normally, but he said he was glad he did, and it just brought back fond memories of all his old navy friends - they all meet up every 3 months for drinks and a chat...he said he can't wait to tell them about what we did.

Anyway, thought I'd share something I found a little touching, and also to say that I think White Star is a great bit of business...very clean, good quality photos and the best bit for me is that it's all very hands-off for you performing it.

You do, in fact, get a few other handlings with this, some for playing cards, and no doubt you can easily adapt this, for a multitude of other dressings.

I was also very pleased that the sea breeze candles worked out too.

As it doesn't use Mr Curry's method, there's a lot to be said for replacements, and it credits/influences/cites Derren Brown and Paul Curry regardless.

Strong effect, historically wrapped, good quality props... - Abraxus REVIEW (The Magic Cafe)


REVIEW FROM JAMIE D. GRANT - (Magic Friday Review)

White Star might be my favourite effect of the year! No kidding. I started off the Friday crowd with "Card On Head" and then utterly destroyed them with White Star. It went so well, that instead of saying, "I killed them!" when tricks go well, I might start saying, "I White Starred them!"! It really went that well.

I would start off, as per the instructions, of just having them sort out the photos and then would go into my presentation, which was thus:

"Okay, so these are actually pictures of people from the Titanic. My wife and I were at that flea market that they have over on Main Street, you know the one?"

-I let people talk about the flea market (Every city has one).

"Yeah well, they're themed every week. Like one week's "war artefacts" and another week's "nostalgia". Well this weeks' theme was "crap" apparently. You should have seen the junk! However, there was this guy whose great grandfather, or his great, great grandfather, I can't remember which, had apparently been on the Titanic and had survived. Anyway, he became obsessed with the Titanic and started collecting photographs, and wrote things on the back and so on."

-Millisecond pause

"You know, I had no idea that people survived on the Titanic. I don't know why, I just didn't know that."

-Someone would ask at this point if I hadn't seen the movie.

"Lol, I know. I just thought that they all died. Like this guy here.."

-I would start sorting, sifting, mixing through the photos in my hand.

"Mr John Borebank. He died..."

-I would show them the back, where it says, "DIED"

"But some people actually lived. Like..."

-Sorting, sifting, mixing

"...Mr Frederic Spedden. He Lived."

-I would show them the back where it said "SURVIVED"

"So my question to you is this. Who decided who lived and who died on the Titanic?"

-I would start showing more from my hand.

"Was it Fate?... Was it Luck?... or... was it the hands..."

-I would point at the participants

"...of a Higher Power? Please turn over your photos."

-At this point people began to seriously freak out. Seriously freak out. A perfect effect. People would then begin talking about the Titanic and such. This would be the only trick you would have to do all night if you went out to dinner or went to someone's house. I loved it, as did they.

Best Lines:

-I was silent at this point, lol.

"HOW did I do THAT?!"
-The fact that she said "I" and not "You" was ideal.

Angry Bob Rating:

For those of you reading this article for the first time, Angry Bob is a co-worker who has an understanding of some magic because his uncle was a magician. Angry Bob knows that TT's exist, for example, but he has no desire to become a magician himself. He also has an anger management problem that can be experienced first-hand if he can't figure out how a trick is done. A high rating means he has no idea.

"Hunh...You're a total dou&**^%&&.
-He then walked away. 5/5.

My Rating:

10/10. Any time you can fill an entire night with a story and discussion because of one single effect, you have to take notice. That's all I need to say about that.


"Here's a brilliant effect with a powerful and spooky theme...the kind of effect that I am always looking for. It's an engaging effect with a powerful theme that snares spectators and gets them emotionally involved. This one rocks the boat. "
Wayne Kawamoto, Magic & Illusion 


"...if you can see yourself doing this trick as its'll have yourself what might become a signature piece. "
Gordon Meyer, MyLovelyAssistant 

"...a well thought through oil and water effect...Highly recommended. 5 out of 5 stars."
Lucian J, Magic Boutique (Singapore) 


"All in all, White Star is a great effect that I found well worth the asking price."
Payne Fifield, M-U-M Magazine