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Theory, Articles & Reviews

Theory is too often neglected. As the saying goes "The most practical thing is a good theory," you should be well grounded in magic's theory. We offer a wide variety of titles from the classics Our Magic, The Art of Magic and Fitzkee's trilogy, to modern articles by some of the most respected and outspoken teachers like Jamy Ian Swiss and Michael Close. You might also want to browse our Marketing category which offers a lot of advice on how to present yourself in a professional manner.

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Joseph Jastrow

Psychological Notes Upon Sleight-of-Hand Experts by Joseph JastrowJastrow wondered if the pursuit of sleight-of-hand conjuring develops any special motor or mental powers. He invited Alexander Hermann and Harry Kellar and put them through a range of tests comparing them to average folks. In this article you will find out how these two giants of conjuring compare to the average.

From the introduction:

Having recently enjoyed visits at my Psychological Laboratory from Messrs. Hermann and Kellar, the widely-known prestidigitators, I put together the results of the series of tests to which they kindly submitted. As the time at my disposal for these tests was limited,...
2020 / 3 / 26
$3.00

£2.48
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₹207.60
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R$11.55
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Norman Triplett

The Psychology of Conjuring Deceptions by Norman TriplettThis study identifies deep lying instincts and impulses of the psychic life are the basic elements in conjuring. Its aim is to show the psychological reasons of deception of a magic effect. It also provides an extensive classification of magic tricks.

Contents:

  1. Origin of Conjuring.
  2. Classification and Typical Examples of Modern Conjuring Tricks.
  3. The Training of the Conjurer.
  4. Psychological Justification of the Rules and Practices of the Conjurer, treated under
    1. Attention
    2. Perception
    3. Suggestion and Association
    4. Suggestion and the Law of Economy
  5. Sociological and Pedagogical Observations. ...
2020 / 3 / 24
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Alfred Binet

Psychology of Prestidigitation by Alfred BinetThis article makes an effort to analyze the different processes by which sleight-of-hand illusions are produced in the mind of spectators. Different causes are identified by studying various illusions and observing performing magicians in the lab.

1st edition 1894, 17 pages; PDF 15 pages.

2020 / 3 / 19
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William B. Rugh

A Comparison of the Gravatt and Hugard Encyclopedias of Card Magic by William B. RughThis work compares the contents of Jean Hugard's Encyclopedia of Card Tricks, Encyclopedia of Self-Working Card Tricks, and The Second Encyclopedia of Card Tricks by Glenn G. Gravatt, to see which effects and discussions were kept, altered, or deleted by Hugard. It will also identify those effects added by Hugard.

1st edition 2020, PDF 19 pages.

2020 / 3 / 17
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Brian T. Lees

Magic Backup by Brian T. LeesMagicians are exposed to all kinds of magic. Illusions, card, coin, close-up, and other types of magic pass through our hands/eyes almost on a daily basis. There is no way a magician can remember them all. But with a good backup system, bringing them back into your performance can be easy as read/follow instructions.
  • Preface
  • What is backup and purpose?
  • Where do I start?
  • Time to input information
  • Cross reference sheets
  • Keep it up
  • Wrapping it up

1st edition 2020, PDF 16 pages.

2020 / 3 / 11
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Max Dessoir

The Psychology of Legerdemain by Max DessoirThis is an interesting analysis of how a magic trick works in terms of psychological processes. A better understanding of the underlying science does help the performing magician.

1st edition 1893, PDF 21 pages.

2020 / 3 / 6
$3.00

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Joseph Jastrow

The Psychology of Deception by Joseph JastrowJastrow explains the various types of deception and discusses in particular how conjurers as well as spirit mediums make use of them.

1st edition 1888, PDF 10 pages.

2020 / 3 / 6
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Maurice Fogel

Fogelism: An Attitude to Life by Maurice FogelThe famous British mentalist, Maurice Fogel, leveraged his success as performer to branch out into the self-help category, by writing this book. He writes:
There is no strange mysticism about Fogelism; it is simply a mental attitude towards life which, I have found, achieves unsuspected results. It is the logical training of one's mind so that it sizes up the approach to a problem and tackles it rationally, instead of allowing the magnitude of that problem to overwhelm.
  • Foreword
  • The Mind Is Lazy
  • Controlled By Subconscious
  • Secret Of Hypnotism
  • Learn To Relax
  • Power Of Suggestion ...
2020 / 2 / 11
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Maurice Fogel

The Fortune Formula: Fogel's Top Secrets No. 2 by Maurice FogelIn this second manuscript in Fogel's Top Secrets series, he explains his system of how to develop a new routine, what he calls "The Fogel Formula". It is a system of how to structure and proceed with your training and development towards a particular goal. Fogel is using his success system for things he wants to achieve in general not just magic.

Fogel demonstrates how his formula operates by applying it to a question he often received after his shows: "Can you tell fortunes?" To address this frequent question he developed a particular routine involving a zodiac chart. The chart, the routine,...

2020 / 2 / 11
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£6.61
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₹553.60
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Brian T. Lees

Performance Close by Brian T. LeesThe close of your performance is your last chance to make a lasting impression on your audience. It should bring the audience to the peak of excitement, energize them and leave them talking about your magic. This text identifies the goals of the close. It provides examples and suggestions to help you develop a strong, effective close. Future performances often depend on the posture you leave your audience. Pull out all the stops, use all your tools to make your close one to be remembered.
  • Basic Show Composition
  • The Build Up
  • Close Goals
  • Tools for The Close
  • Sample Closes
  • Document
  • Wrapping...
2020 / 1 / 6
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Mark Lewis

The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Lewis by Mark LewisIt's witty and it's full of wisdom. These are the ramblings of Mark Lewis on Internet forums. Irreverent and funny at times and full of deep thinking about magic and mentalism at other times.

Many incredible anecdotes of his varied life as a fortune teller, magician and hypnotist. In addition to this are techniques described on how to pitch svengali decks, how to do psychic readings, and most important of all how to do magic with showmanship and verve.

Included is a video clip of his legendary svengali deck routine which he has performed all over the world thousands of times plus tips...

2019 / 12 / 24
$15.00

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₹1038.00
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Brian T. Lees

Performance Opening by Brian T. LeesThe two most important elements of a performance are the opening and close. The opening sets the environment for the audience to be entertained. The close is the magician's last chance to leave a lasting impression on the audience. To be effective, the opening must meet specific goals. This text identifies them and provides ideas, samples and recommendations to help the magician attain them.
  • Show Structure
  • Primary Opening Goals
  • Types of Opening
  • Opener Planning
  • Sample Openings
  • Document
  • Wrapping It Up
1st edition 2019, PDF 18 pages.
2019 / 12 / 15
$10.00

£8.27
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₹692.00
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R$38.50
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Mihwonkuoy Refizul

The Book Without Words by Mihwonkuoy Refizul

The real secrets on how to become the greatest magician in the world. Dedicated to the discerning conjurors, the cheaters, the liars, and all other lost souls - whatever age, who want to impress, manipulate, and magish other people for profit, fun, or just entertainment.

Included is a very clever and creative book test, for all of you who require a strong effect to justify the purchase.

The truth is delivered as a satire, which makes it a fun read, but at the same time delivers a profoundly deep and true message.

  • About the Author
  • Part One
    • Introduction
    • The Basic Principles
    • The...
2019 / 10 / 10
$6.66

£5.50
€6.30
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AUD$11.26
₹460.87
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JP¥735.21
R$25.64
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Hermann Pallme

Entertaining by Magic by Hermann PallmeNot a trick in the ebook, but contains more real information on how to entertain with magic than you can get by reading a hundred others. Gives details so frequently neglected. Invaluable to any magician, for not only must one know how to do tricks, but he must also understand how to make his tricks entertaining.
  • Preface
  • Hermann Pallme
  • Foreword
  • CHAPTER I. History Of Magic
  • CHAPTER II. The Literature Of Magic
  • CHAPTER III. Educational Value Of Magic
  • CHAPTER IV. Magic As A Profession
  • CHAPTER V. The Study And Practice Of Magic
  • CHAPTER VI. Concerning Deportment
  • CHAPTER VII. The Dramatic...
2019 / 9 / 22
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Dariel Fitzkee

Misdirection for Magicians by Dariel FitzkeeThis is an early version of what would eventually become Magic by Misdirection.

A detailed analytical treatment of the principles and methods. Explores the psychological basis and its adaptation to the performance of magic. Many detailed ruses included covering the entire field. How to develop misdirection to fit all situations. What it is and how it works. The first concrete work on a subject that is common to all effects and all performers.

  • ALDEBERONTICITISFICIFORMLO, ALSO ABRACADABRA
  • SHEPHERD'S GLASS TRICK
  • "OH, I DIDN'T WANT YOU TO LOOK AT IT!"
  • THE LEVITATION
  • MISDIRECTION
  • THE INGREDIENTS OF MISDIRECTION ...
2019 / 9 / 9
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Don Bursell

The Creative Mind by Don BursellWith 1000s of magic routines available, why do many magician's perform the same routines, without any change, modification or effort to make those routines unique?

The Creative Mind is simply Don Bursell's ideas for creating new routines, brainstorming new variations, and keeping track of those ideas.

The 2nd half are tricks that Don has created over the years, and based on advice from Jon Racherbaumer, wrote them down so as not to forget them. One of them, Headmover, has been an odd signature piece of Don's programs for over 20 years. Another routine, The Needles, is Don's solution to the East Indian...

2019 / 9 / 3
$15.00

£12.40
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₹1038.00
CN¥103.20
JP¥1655.88
R$57.75
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Brian T. Lees

Professional Show Development by Brian T. LeesYou do not have to hire a director, choreographer and technical designer to produce your own professional show. This ebook covers the environment, building your outline of magic, using music, and developing your show. Learn how to fine tune your performance through rehearsal, problem area recognition and the flow from opening to your finale. A high-quality professional production is within your grasp using a lot of materials you may already own.
  1. Set the stage
    • Backdrop
    • Sound, P/A System
    • Music
    • Lights
    • Working tables, etc.
    • Transporting
    • Cases, boxes, bags trunks and carts.
  2. Show components ...
2019 / 7 / 21
$60.00

£49.59
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C$86.69
AUD$101.41
₹4152.00
CN¥412.80
JP¥6623.52
R$231.00
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Sidney W. Clarke & Adolphe Blind

The Bibliography of Conjuring - and kindred deceptions by Sidney W. Clarke & Adolphe BlindThis bibliography collects about 2000 works that deal with tricks and illusions, and with the varied deceptions that are usually presented as part of a conjuring entertainment, including automata, chapeaugraphy, chemical and electrical tricks, escaping, fire handling, gamblers' tricks, hand-shadows, juggling, lightning sketches, optical illusions, pseudo-spiritualistic manifestations, second sight, thought reading, thought transference and ventriloquism. The list includes languages other than English in particular German and French books. Excluded are books on the so-called occult arts, but...
2019 / 6 / 1
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Sam Sharpe

Magic Artistry by Sam SharpeSam Sharpe reprinted three of his books under one title called Magic Artistry.
2019 / 3 / 23
$25.00

£20.66
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AUD$42.25
₹1730.00
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Sam Sharpe

Good Conjuring by Sam Sharpe
  • Part One: Good Conjuring
    • The Objects Used
    • Misdirection
    • Construction
    • Characterisation
    • Technical Mastery
    • Dramatic Ability
    • Manner
    • Speed Of Presentation
    • Style
    • Magic-Artist Versus Showman
    • Summary
  • Part Two: Poems In Illusion
    • Catching The Post
    • Card Bubbles
    • Love: The Magician
    • The Two Jewels
    • Reflected Thoughts
    • Citizens Of The World
    • The World’s Pearl
    • Poor Yorick!
    • Alice In Conjureland

1st edition 1936, 40 pages; 1st digital edition 2019, 39 pages.

2019 / 3 / 23
$10.00

£8.27
€9.45
C$14.45
AUD$16.90
₹692.00
CN¥68.80
JP¥1103.92
R$38.50
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