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John Albert Briggs

(Sheffield, England: 17th November 1884 - 4th August 1969)

Magician in Sheffield since age 18. Edited The Conjurer there 1910-11. Moved to Australia in 1913. Dealer in Alexandria, NSW, as Austral Magical Company 1920-33, thence under own name 1934-69. Pro performer as "Albert Russell" (1920), "Merbak" (1922 and 1938), "The Great Chandu" (1938), and "Rajah Singh" (1938). Founding member and 1st President of Australian Magic Circle 1923 and Australian Magicians' Club 1944. A notoriously contentious man.

Edited Magic Mirror 1921, The Conjurer (Australia) 1922-38, Magic in Australia 1924-25 (4 issues), and Box and Dice 1946-53? (22+ issues). Wrote Stage Magic, Dinkum Magic (1928), Magical Revelations (1941), and Practical Magic (1946). Tricks in Magic (1910) and Linking Ring (Mar 1971 "Parade").

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John Albert Briggs
Magical Revelations by John Albert Briggs

Excerpt from the introduction by Herbert Holmes:

When I read the MSS. of this volume I did not imagine there could be so many good things left to divulge, and I am sure readers will agree with me that the title of the book is well chosen.

I have personally seen Merbak perform many of the tricks described in this book, and so completely mystifying were they, that the simple explanations are indeed a revelation. In commending the volume to the magical fraternity, I do so in the hope that it will be the forerunner of many others from his pen. For, Merbak's knowledge of Magic is so extensive,...

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