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Modern Magic

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by Professor Hoffmann
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Modern Magic by Professor Hoffmann

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Every generation a magician comes along, whose intention is to record magic in an encyclopedic fashion. Professor Hoffmann was the first in recorded history to attempt such a feat with his trilogy Modern Magic, More Magic, and Later Magic. Certainly many magic books have been published before him, mostly copying from each other. But none reaches the depth and breadth of Prof. Hoffmann's work. The material in these three books records the state of the art of magic in the late 19th century. Today we know more tricks and we have also refined our techniques and methods. But it is astounding how much was already known at that time. Reading carefully you will discover several clever methods which have been forgotten or have fallen out of fashion with todays popular magicians. If you really want to fool your magic friends the next time, read this book and perform one of its many not so well known secrets.

This book was rated one of the ten basic books for a working library of conjuring by H. Adrian Smith, historian, collector and owner of the largest private magic library in his time. Other books in this top 10 list are

1st edition, 1876, Routledge; 1st US edition, 1882, Routledge; reprinted many times by various publishers; 563 pages.

Table of Contents


  1. Introductory Observations
  2. The Magic Wand
  3. The Magician's Table
  4. The Magician's Dress
  5. Profondes
  6. Pochettes
  7. "Loading" Pockets
  8. The Cards
  9. To "Make the Pass"
  10. To "Force" a Card
  11. To Make a "False Shuffle"
  12. To "Palm" a Card
  13. To "Ruffle" the Cards
  14. To "Change" a Card
  15. To Get Sight of a Drawn Card
  16. To "Slip" a Card
  17. To "Draw Back" a Card
  18. To "Turn Over" the Pack
  19. To Spring the Cards from one Hand to the Other
  20. To Throw a Card
  21. The "Bridge"
  22. Simple Modes of Discovering a Given Card
  23. Various Modes of Disclosing a Discovered Card
  24. To Make a Card Vanish from the Pack, and be found in a Person's Pocket
  25. To place the Four Kings in different parts of the Pack, and to bring them together by a simple Cut
  26. The Four Kings being placed under the Hand of one Person, and the Four Sevens under the Hand of Another, to make them Change Places at Command
  27. Four Packets of Cards having been formed face downwards on the Table, to discover the Total Value of the Undermost Cards
  28. To Name all the Cards of the Pack in Succession
  29. The Cards being Cut, to tell whether the Number Cut is Odd or Even
  30. The Whist Trick. To deal yourself all the Trumps (see also page 119)
  31. To allow a Person to think of a Card, and to make that Card appear at such Number in the Pack as another Person shall Name
  32. The Cards revealed by the Looking-glass
  33. To Guess Four Cards thought of by Different Persons
  34. The Pairs Re-paired
  35. The Magic Triplets
  36. Another Mode of Discovering a Card thought of
  37. To Guess, by the aid of a Passage of Poetry or Prose, such one of Sixteen Cards as, in your Absence, has been Touched or Selected by the Company
  38. To Detect, without Confederacy, which of Four Cards has been Turned Round in your Absence
  39. To Arrange Twelve Cards in Rows in such a manner that they will Count Four in every Direction
  40. To Place the Aces and Court Cards in Four Rows, in such a manner that neither Horizontally nor Perpendicularly shall there be in either Row two Cards alike, either in Suit or Value
  41. The Congress of Court Cards
  42. The "Long Card"
  43. Biseaute or Tapering Cards
    Tricks Performed by the Aid of a Long Card, or biseaute Pack:
  44. A Card having been Chosen and Returned, and the Pack Shuffled, to produce the Chosen Card instantly in various ways
  45. To Cut at the Chosen Card
  46. To Let all the Cards fall, save the One Chosen
  47. To Pick out the Card, the Pack being placed in a Person's Pocket
  48. To Fling the Pack in the Air, and Catch the Chosen Card
  49. To Change a Card drawn hap-hazard to the Chosen Card
  50. To Divide the Pack into several Packets on the Table, allowing the Company to stop you at any Moment, and to cause the Top Card of the Heap last made to Change into the Chosen Card
  51. To Teach the Company a Trick which they Learn without Difficulty; then to allow them to Succeed or cause them to Fail at your Pleasure
  52. To Distinguish the Court Cards by Touch
  53. To Name any Number of Cards in Succession without Seeing Them
  54. To Make Four Cards change from Eights to Twos, from Black to Red, etc.
  55. A Card having been Drawn and Returned, and the Pack Shuffled, to make it Appear at such Number as the Company choose
  56. The same Trick with several Cards, and by a Different Method
  57. The "Three Card" Trick
  58. To Nail a Chosen Card to the Wall
  59. The Inseparable Sevens
  60. The Inseparable Aces
  61. Having placed the Four Aces in different positions in the Pack, to make the two Black change places with the two Red ones, and finally to bring all Four together in the Middle of the Pack
  62. A Card having been thought of, to make such Card Vanish from the Pack, and be Discovered wherever the Performer pleases
  63. To cause a Number of Cards to Multiply invisibly in a Person's keeping
  64. The Pack being divided into two Portions, placed in the keeping of two different Persons, to make Three Cards pass invisibly from the One to the Other
  65. To allow several Persons each to draw a Card, and the Pack having been Shuffled, to make another Card drawn haphazard change successively into each of those first chosen
  66. To make Four Aces change to Four Kings, and Four Kings to Four Aces
  67. Having made Four Packets of Cards with an Ace at the bottom of each, to bring all Four Aces into whichever Packet the Company may choose
  68. To Change the Four Aces, held tightly by a Person, into Four Indifferent Cards
  69. The Shower of Aces
  70. Several Persons having each drawn Two Cards, which have been Returned and Shuffled, to make each Couple appear in Succession, one at the top and the other at the bottom of the Pack
  71. To make Two Cards, each firmly held by a different Person, change places
  72. To change Four Cards, drawn haphazard, and placed on the Table, into Cards of the same Value as a Single Card subsequently chosen by one of the Spectators
  73. Two Heaps of Cards, unequal in Number, being placed upon the Table, to predict beforehand which of the two the Company will choose
  74. A Row of Cards being placed Face Downwards on the Table, to indicate, by turning up one of them, how many of such Cards have during your absence been transferred from one end of the Row to the other
  75. Several Cards having been freely chosen by the Company, Returned and Shuffled, and the Pack placed in a Person's Pocket, to make such Person draw out one by one the chosen Cards
  76. The Cards having been freely Shuffled, and cut into three or four Heaps, to name the top Card of each Heap
  77. To allow a Person secretly to think of a Card, and, dividing the Pack into three Heaps, to cause the Card thought of to appear in whichever Heap the Company may choose
  78. To allow a Person secretly to think of a Card, and, even before such Card is named, to select it from the Pack, and place it singly upon the Table
  79. A Card having been secretly thought of by one of the Audience, to place two Indifferent Cards upon the Table, and to change such one of them as the Audience may select into the Card thought of
  80. A Card having been Drawn and Returned, and the Pack shuffled, to divide the Pack into several Heaps on the Table, and to cause the Drawn Card to appear in such Heap as the Company may choose
  81. To change a Drawn Card into the Portraits of several of the Company in succession
  82. A Card having been Drawn and Returned, and the Pack shuffled, to place on the Table six Rows of six Cards each, and to discover the chosen Card by a throw of the Dice
  83. A Card having been withdrawn and replaced, to call it from the Pack, and to make it come to you of its own accord
  84. Mode of Preparing specially adhesive Wax for Conjuring Purposes
  85. The Whist Trick. (Improved Method.) To deal yourself all the Trumps, the three other Players holding the usual mixed Hands
  86. The Magic Sword. A Card being drawn and replaced, and the Pack flung in the Air, to catch the chosen Card on the point of the Sword
  87. The Rising Cards. Several Cards having been drawn, returned, and shuffled, to make them rise spontaneously from the Pack
  88. The Jumping Cards. Two or three Cards having been drawn, returned, and shuffled, to make them jump out of the Pack
  89. To make a Card stand upright by itself on the Table
  90. "Changing" Card-boxes, and Tricks performed with them
  91. The Mechanical Card-box
  92. The "Card and Bird Box"
  93. The Card Tripod
  94. The "Torn Card"
  95. Mechanical Changing Cards
  96. Palming
  97. Passes
  98. Changes
  99. A Quarter being spun upon the Table, to tell blindfold whether it falls head or tail upwards
  100. Odd or Even, or the Mysterious Addition
  101. To change a Quarter into a Penny, back again, and then to pass the same invisibly into the Pocket of the Owner
  102. To make a marked Quarter and Penny, wrapped in separate Handkerchiefs, change places at Command
  103. To make two marked Coins, wrapped in separate Handkerchiefs, come together in one of them
  104. To pull Four Quarters or Half-crowns through a Handkerchief
  105. To pass a marked Quarter (or Half-crown) into the Centre of two Oranges in succession
  106. The Flying Money. To make a Coin pass invisibly from the one Hand to the other, and finally through the Table
  107. To rub One Sixpence into Three
  108. The Multiplication of Money
  109. To Make a Marked Sixpence vanish from a Handkerchief, and be found in the Centre of an Apple or Orange previously examined
  110. The Travelling Counters
  111. The Wandering Sixpence
  112. The Heads and Tails Trick
  113. The Magic Cover and Vanishing Halfpence
  114. The Animated Coin, which answers Questions, etc.
    Appliances for Vanishing Money
  115. The Vanishing Halfpenny Box
  116. The Rattle Box
  117. The Pepper-box
  118. The Brass Money-box
  119. The Brass Box, known as the "Plug-box"
  120. The Handkerchief for Vanishing Money
  121. The Demon Handkerchief
  122. The Davenport Cabinet
    Appliances for Re-producing Vanished Money
  123. The Nest of Boxes
  124. The Ball of Berlin Wool
  125. The Glass Goblet and Cover
  126. The Glass without Cover
  127. The Miraculous Casket
  128. The Half-Crown or Quarter Wand
  129. The Shower of Money
  130. The Vanishing Plate, or Salver
  131. The "Changing" Plate
  132. The Tray of Proteus
  133. To indicate on the Dial of a Watch the Hour secretly thought of by any of the Company
  134. To Bend a Borrowed Watch Backwards and Forwards
  135. The Watch-mortar and the Magic Pistol
  136. The "Snuff-box Vase"
  137. The "Watch Box"
  138. The "Watch Target"
  139. The Mesmerised Watch. (To Make any Watch a Repeater)
  140. The Flying Ring
  141. To Pass a Ring from the one Hand to either Finger of the other Hand
  142. To Pass a Ring through a Pocket-handkerchief
  143. To Pass a Ring through the Table
  144. To Pass a Ring invisibly upon the Middle of a Wooden Wand, the Ends being held by two of the Spectators
  145. The Magic Ball and Rings
  146. To Pass a Borrowed Ring into an Egg
  147. The Magic Rose
  148. Introductory Remarks
  149. The Handkerchief that cannot be Tied in a Knot
  150. The Handkerchief that will not Burn
  151. The Vanishing Knots
  152. To Exchange a borrowed Handkerchief for a Substitute
  153. The Locked and Corded Box, and the Washerwoman's Bottle
  154. The Reversibel Canister
  155. The Burning Globe
  156. The Transformed Handkerchief
  157. The Handkerchief cut up, burnt, and finally found in a Candle
  158. The Shower of Sweets
  159. The Feathers from an Empty Handkerchief
  160. The Flying Plume
  161. The Magic Laundry
  162. The Egg and the Handkerchief
  163. The "Hand-Box," for Vanishing a Handkerchief

  1. To Arrange a Row of Dominoes face downwards on the Table, and on returning to the Room to turn up a Domino whose points shall indicate how many have been moved in your absence
  2. To Allow any Person in your absence to arrange the Dominoes in a Row, face downwards, and on your return to name blindfold, or without entering the Room, the end numbers of the Row
  3. To Change, invisibly, the Numbers shown on either Face of a Pair of Dice
  4. To Name, without seeing them, the Points of a Pair of Dice
  5. Introductory Remarks
    Principles of Sleight-of-hand applicable to Ball Tricks
  6. To Palm the Ball
  7. To Reproduce the Palmed Ball at the End of the Fingers
  8. To Secretly Introduce the Palmed Ball under the Cup
  9. To Simulate the Action of Placing a Ball under a Cup
  10. To Produce a Ball from the Wand
  11. To Return a Ball into the Wand
  12. To Pass one Cup through Another
  13. Burlesque Address to the Spectators
  14. Pass I. Having Placed a Ball under each Cup, to draw it out again without Lifting the Cup
  15. Pass II. To make a Ball Travel invisibly from Cup to Cup
  16. Pass III. Having placed a Ball under each of the end Cups, to make them pass seccessively under the Middle Cup
  17. Pass IV. Having placed two Balls under the Middle Cup, to make them pass under the two Outer Ones
  18. Pass V. To pass three Balls in succession under One Cup
  19. Pass VI. To place three Balls one after the other upon the top of one of the Cups, and to make them fall through the Cup on to the Table
  20. Pass VII. To pass three Balls in succession upwards through the Table into one of the Cups
  21. Pass VIII. To pass two Balls in succession from one Cup to another without touching them
  22. Pass IX. To make three Balls in succession pass under the Middel Cup
  23. Pass X. The "Multiplication" Pass
  24. Pass XI. To Transform the Small Balls to Larger Ones
  25. Pass XII. To again Transform the Balls to still Larger Ones
    Further principles of Sleight-of-hand applicable to Ball Tricks
  26. To Palm a large Ball
  27. To Vanish a Large Ball with the aid of the Table
  28. The Ball Box
  29. The Red-and-Black-Ball Vases
  30. Morison's Pill-box
  31. The Ball which changes to a Rose
  32. The Obedient Ball
  33. The Cannon-balls in the Hat
  34. Multiplying Balls
  35. The "Hundred Goblets" from a Hat
  36. A Dozen Babies from a Hat
  37. The Magic Reticules
  38. The Drums from the Hat
  39. The Birdcages from the Hat
  40. The Cake (or Pudding) in the Hat
  41. The Welsh Rabbit
  42. The Cut String Restored
  43. My Grandmother's Necklace
  44. The "Bonus Genius," or Vanishing Doll
  45. The Dancing Sailor
  46. The Bottle Imps
  47. The Vanishing Gloves
  48. The Egg Bag
  49. To Produce Eggs from a Person's Mouth
  50. The Pillars of Solomon, and the Magic Bradawi
  51. The Magic Coffers
  52. The Bran and Orange Trick
  53. The Rice and Orange Trick
  54. The Magic Whistle
  55. The Magic Mill
    Pieces of Apparatus of General Utility
  56. The Drawer-Box
  57. The Dissecting Drawer-Box
  58. The Changing Card-Drawer
  59. Changing Caddies
  60. The Magic Vase and Caddy
  61. The Cover, to pick up and replace any Article
  62. The Changing Cover
  63. The Changing Ladle
  64. The Cone, or Skittle
  65. The Cone and Bouquet
  66. The Flying Glass of Water
  67. The Bowls of Water and Bowls of Fire produced from a Shawl
  68. The Bowl of Ink changed to clear Water, with Gold Fish swimming in it
  69. The Inexhaustible Bottle
  70. The Bottle and Ribbons
  71. The New Pyramids of Egypt, or Wine and Water Trick
  72. The Mysterious Funnel
  73. The Box of Bran transformed to a Bottle of Wine
  74. The Bran Bottle
  75. The Bran Glass
  76. To Fire Borrowed Rings from a Pistol, and make them Pass into a Goblet Filled with Bran and covered with a Handkerchief, the Bran disappearing, and being found elsewhere
  77. The Domino-Box (sometimes called the Glove-Box)
  78. The Coffee Trick
  79. The Inexhaustible Box
  80. The Japanese Inexhaustible Boxes
  81. The Feast of Lanterns
  82. The Butterfly Trick
  83. The Wizard's Omelet
  84. The Rose in the Glass Vase
  85. The Chinese Rings
  86. The Charmed Bullet
  87. The Birth of Flowers
  88. The Mysterious Salver
  89. The Vanishing Die
  90. The Die Dissolving in a Pocket Handkerchief
  91. The Die and Orange
  92. The Vanishing Canary Bird and Cage
  93. The Crystal Balls
  94. The Flags of all Nations
  95. The Umbrella Trick
  96. The "Passe-Passe" Trick
  97. The Tables in use in Stage Tricks
  98. The "Plain" Trap
  99. The "Wrist" or "Pressure" Trap
  100. The "Rabbit" or "Dove" Trap
  101. "Changing" Traps
  102. The "Money" Trap
  103. "Pistons" (for working mechanical apparatus)
  104. "Bellows" Tables
  105. The Rabbit Trick
  106. The Fairy Star
  107. The Card Bouquet
  108. The Demon's Head
  109. The Magic Picture Frame
  110. The Flying Watches and the Broken Plate
  111. The Magic Picture and the Chosen Cards
  112. The Magic Portfolio
  113. The Glove Column
  114. The Vanishing Pocket-handkerchief, found in a Candle
  115. The Sphinx
  116. The Cabinet of Proteus
  117. The Indian Basket Trick
  118. Electrical Tricks
  119. The Light and Heavy Chest
  120. Spirit-Rapping
  121. The Magic Bell
  122. The Crystal Cash Box
  123. The Magic Drum
  124. The Aerial Suspension
  125. Hints as to Working up Tricks
  126. Arrangement of Programme
  127. Stage Arrangements
  128. Parting Counsels

  129. Introductory
  130. Kempelen's Speaking Figure
  131. Its Construction
  132. Houdin
  133. His Talking Figure
  134. The Magic Harlequin and its Construction
  135. The Magic Clock
  136. The Performing Clown
  137. The Cook of the Palais Royal
  138. The Orange and Rose Trees
  139. Electric Bell and Drum
  140. Suspension in the Air
  141. Theodin
  142. Robin and Anderson
  143. The Magic Windmill
  144. Anderson's Old Man
  145. Col. Stodare's Living Head
  146. Pepper and Tobin
  147. Proteus; or, We're Here and Not Here
  148. Fatima
  149. Automaton of Messrs. Maskelyne and Cooke
  150. Psycho and its Imitators
  151. Zoe
  152. Fanfare
  153. Taking a Man to Pieces
  154. The Living Marionettes
  155. Clairvoyance, or Second Sight
  156. The Clairvoyance of the Superstitious Ages and the Clairvoyance of the Day
  157. Questions and Answers
  158. The Reading of Concealed Writing
  159. The Addition of Unseen Figures
  160. Spiritualism
  161. Mediums and their Pretences
  162. Their Tests
  163. Various Tying Tests
  164. The Sealed Accordion
  165. Floating in the Air
  166. Floating Tambourines, Guitars, etc.
  167. The Spiritual Musical Box
  168. Writing on the Ceiling
  169. Invisible Writing
  170. The Floating Table, etc.
  171. Parlor Magic
  172. A Surprise
  173. Indian Sand Trick
  174. The "Q" Trick
  175. The Bleeding Thumb
  176. The Marked Florin in Oranges
  177. The Chinese Pictures
  178. Bautier's Great Ink-and-Water Trick
  179. Carrying Fire in the Hands

word count: 210249 which is equivalent to 840 standard pages of text
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