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Published before 1800 in Magic & Conjuring

The practice of magic is very old. Some say it is the second oldest profession. It is amazing to see that many of the principles and methods used today have been known for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. Careful reading of these ebooks will uncover some lost gems and hidden miracles.

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Henry Dean
Hocus Pocus or the whole art of legerdemain in perfection by Henry Dean

Describes classics such as the cups and balls, gypsy thread, ball vase, and various popular card and coin tricks still performed today. Learn how to make a shiner from a coin and a drop of water or beer, how to make a double-faced coin, how to eat fire, and other tricks and stunts. A book like this reminds us how old magic really is. We think that the latest and 'newest' trick being hyped and hawked online is indeed new, when in fact it is far from new and often is based on ideas and methods hundreds of years old.

Clearly, Henry Dean was a magic dealer because several times he advertises...

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Giuseppe Pinetti & Philip Breslaw & Gustavus Katterfelto
The Conjuror's Repository by Giuseppe Pinetti & Philip Breslaw & Gustavus Katterfelto

The Conjurer's Repository or the Whole Art and Mystery of Magic Displayed by the following celebrated characters; Pinetti, Katterfelto, Barrett, Breslaw, Silbley, Lane &c

This is a compilation of tricks lifted from other conjuring books. William Bradford writes in his review in Genii:

It contains general magic, mostly of the close-up variety, a lot of mathematical mental magic, a lot of chemical effects, one trick called "How to show the Hen and Egg Bag, and out of an empty Bag to bring above an hundred eggs, and afterwards a live Hen", and even some pages on calculating probabilities...

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Henri Decremps
The Conjurer Unmasked by Henri Decremps

Being a clear and full explanation of all the surprizing performances exhibited as well in this kingdom as on the continent by the most eminent and dexterous professors of slight of hand: together with the tricks of the divining rod, automaton chess-player, speaking figure, artificial serpents, mechanical birds, automaton flute player, vaulting figure, magical table, perpetual motion, etc.

This is a translation of La Magie Blanche Dévoilée by Henri Decremps which was meant to expose the tricks of Pinetti. The 3rd edition of this translation, on which this digital edition is based, has additions by Thomas Denton and others. ...

★★★★★ $10
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A Connoisseur
Annals of Gaming by A Connoisseur

The intentionally unassuming grey cover, designed to match the dull-sounding title, suggests a dry emotionless record of events is likely held within. However, this humble exterior belies the valuable secrets hidden within its pages. Annals of Gaming was an article series published over four years, between 1772 and 1775; its sole intention was to expose the sharpers, hustlers, and cheats, by detailing their methods of defrauding the unwary. Now, for the first time, every article in the original series has been retyped in full and published in a single volume of over 200 pages. This work covers over...

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Samuel Rand
The Art of Jugling or Legerdemain by Samuel Rand

In this special digital edition this early book on conjuring is formatted such that each double page shows on the left hand page a scan of the original, and on the right hand page a transcription to regular text. This makes this ebook not only fully searchable, but also much easier to read, because the font of the original requires some getting used to. It is therefore best viewed with two pages side by side. (In AdobeReader you select it with View Page Display Two Page View.)

A good number of the effects described are taken from Reginald Scot's famous The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584). Exceptions to this rule are the use of gaffed...

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Philip Breslaw
Breslaw's Last Legacy by Philip Breslaw

This early work from 1784 deals with a number of interesting subjects including conjuring, fortune telling, riddles, paradoxes, funny stories, math tricks, chemistry, electricity and other science tricks.

  • CHAP. I. The AIR BALLOON described, and how to make one, as has lately been done in France and England
    • To make Inflammable Air
  • CHAP. II. Many clever Tricks, and pleasant Fancies, in the Art of Legerdemain
    • To cause Mirth, and make Sport with Quick-silver
    • Another Trick with Quick-silver
    • To make a Six-pence seem to fall through a Table
    • The Visible Invisible ...
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Dick Merryman
Round about our Coal-Fire or Christmas Entertainments by Dick Merryman

Most interesting for magicians is that the book contained a chapter on magic history, which covers mainly past magicians.

1st edition 1730, PDF 59 pages.

★★★★★ $3
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Johann Christian Wiegleb & Gottfried Erich Rosenthal
Die Natürliche Magie: Band 7 by Johann Christian Wiegleb & Gottfried Erich Rosenthal

Das mehrbändige Werk, Die Natürliche Magie wurde von Johann Christian Wiegleb zusammengetragen und von Gottfried Erich Rosenthal fortgesetzt und umgearbeitet. Dieses Ebuch ist eine Reproduktion des 7. Bandes und beschreibt allerhand belustigende und nützliche Kunststücke gegliedert in diverse Sparten wie zum Beispiel Optische, Magnetische, Elektrische, Mechanische, Rechen und Mathematik, Kartenkunst, usw. Die elf Kupferstiche am Ende sind wunderschön.

(Dieses PDF EBuch wurde mit einer speziellen Software bearbeitet damit die alte Fraktur Schrift in einen durchsuchbaren Text umgewandelt...

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Sean McWeeney
Cups and Balls in 18th Century France by Sean McWeeney

English translations of the seminal 18th century French works on Cups & Balls by Ozanam and Guyot, respectively, with editorial commentary and explanatory notes by the editor, Sean McWeeney. Ozanam and Guyot are to be credited with the first full-length "blow-by-blow" detailed explanations in any language of the oldest sleight-of-hand trick in all of magic - the Cups & Balls (complete with illustrations from the original texts). Translations by Jane Poveromo.

1st edition 2012, 71 pages.

★★★★★ $15
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Stephen Forrester
Annotated Discovery of Witchcraft by Stephen Forrester

A lucid commentary on the first printed English conjuring text; showing the development of magic tricks from 1584 up to the present day. Written by a magician for magic historians and magicians interested in the beginnings of their art. Including many unpublished references to Reginald Scot with quotations and illustrations from most of the early English books with conjuring from 1584 up to 1784.

The text will show Scot's influence on his contemporaries along with witchcraft beliefs before and after the Discovery of Witchcraft was published. With definitions of old English words in the text, a bibliography of...

★★★★ $30
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John Wilkins
Mercury: Or the Secret and Swift Messenger by John Wilkins

"Showing how a man may with privacy and speed communicate his thoughts to a friend at any distance."

This is one of the first published works on cryptography, secret inks, signalling and secret codes - methods later used in thought reading acts. It is therefore not only of interest to cryptographers and historians of cryptography, but also to people who study silent codes and other related methods in mentalism.

[Toole-Stott 731]

[Please note that this is not a simple scan of an old book. This old book has been typed in and digitized with the utmost care, using an appropriate font with the correct glyphs to make this look exactly as the original. Literally hundreds of hours have been spent to restore and digitize this wonderful work. This sets a new standard for the preservation of very old books.]

1st edition 1641; 2nd edition 1694; PDF based on 2nd edition, 192 pages....

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Hocus Pocus Junior by unknown

This book includes detailed work on the "Cups and Balls," and the first version of the "Stack of Pence" (i.e., "Stack of Quarters"). It is probably the first English book written from the viewpoint of a performing magician. Any serious magician should read this book, not to learn a lot of new tricks, but to realize how much has been known for a long time. This book is part of our history. I understand that $60 or more for a paper reprint is hard to justify, but now for a few bucks there should be no excuse to not read this wonderful little treasure.

1st edition, 1634; 52 pages.

  1. The Epistle...
★★★★★ $7
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Giuseppe Pinetti
Physical Amusements and Diverting Experiments by Giuseppe Pinetti

This is a wonderful and extremely rare book. If you could find this book at all somewhere to purchase, you would need to put down around $5000. But it is not just its rarity which is so fascinating, it is its contents. This is a great magic book. Many outstanding tricks are taught. I found new routines and new principles I haven't seen and read anywhere else - and I consider myself as fairly well read in magic. I love this book. It is highly recommended.

It describes how to change the color of a rose. How to shoot a bird and bring it back to life. How to drown a fly for 24 hours and bring...

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Reginald Scot
The Discoverie of Witchcraft by Reginald Scot

Reginald Scot intended his Discoverie of Witchcraft as a sensible argument disputing the existence of witches. It also features a small section on magic. The magic section starts with Booke 13 and Chapter 22. You will find rich full accounts of charges against witches, witch trials and practice of the black arts. Further, interviews with convicted witches, excerpts from inquisition, astrology, alchemy, charms, the names of demons, angels and other "words of power", spells, rituals, sabbats, biblical and Egyptian magic, and more. The Discoverie remains a much quoted primary source for those interested...

★★★ $9
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Displaying 1 to 14 (of 14 products)