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Diary of a Madman

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 12 July, 2022)

Diary of a MadmanJeff Stone IS a madman. Let there be no mistake about that. Only a madman would dream such dreams as his. Only one lost to reality would take random thoughts, undreamed dreams, and manipulate them into words and sentences on paper, then to present them as feats of the supernatural which he presents as harmless. So harmless.

You think this mad? First he gives a deck of cards to Alice. (Is he dreaming of the madness of Wonderland or the Land Behind the Looking Glass?) "Alice" looks through the deck, choosing a card, then cuts, shuffles, cuts and shuffles again, and you suddenly reveal which card she only thought of!! Why would you think him mad?

Then - or perhaps much later - he flatters a child, drawing a simple drawing to represent the child. He suggests that she is in disguise - indeed, that the youngster is a superhero and that he will prove this by revealing her secret identity. He drapes a cloth over the drawing and holds it tight to the table. The drawing begins to fly into the air, struggling to escape from the cloth!! As the cloth is pulled away, we see that he HAS revealed her secret identity, in costume, flying about the drawing of her civilian identity.

Madness! That there are at least six further demonstrations of shattering what we know to be real! And yet further ideas that, if worked out in one's own mind, can lead a person to an experiment in possibility, of the most successful man trapped in that possible reality where Life itself offered no further challenges. You may find a page from his diary, in which he lost his reason in an attempt to find some law of change, some rule of physics, which would cause him to win, and win, and win again.

These are the scrambled thoughts, disguised as several "magic tricks," which make up that page and more - from a Diary of a Madman.

22 Thumb Tip Handling Positions

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 14 April, 2022)

22 Thumb Tip Handling PositionsI only THOUGHT I knew thumb tips.

I didn't know how to practice and rehearse while walking with my walker. I didn't know I COULD practice while using my walker, much less do it invisibly. I didn't know I could rehearse while riding in a bumpy bus or crowded car. I didn't know I could paint a thumb tip bright blue and it would still be invisible.

I didn't know how to make sure several thumb and finger tips could be pocketed and be loaded without sight and always load properly aligned with my real fingers.

I didn't know things could be done with tips far beyond vanishing and producing cloths, sponges, and things which fit into the tip.

I do now, thanks to the clear, clean instruction via text AND video by Hal McClamma. And I plan to know more and do more.

Sometimes, it's not what you don't know. It's what you don't know you don't know.

793.8: Where is The Magic?

reviewed by Chet Cox
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 08 September, 2021)

793.8: Where is The Magic?Not often enough do we see a book which includes a little history, a little biography, a lot of thought, and a LOT of magic - both "tricks" and performance technique.

Interlude: Jeffro is a good friend whom I've met exactly once and I've even given him money. If you knew how good his material is, you would throw money at him too! This is as close to the beginning of my review that I'll put my Statement of Conflicts of Interest, just because I'm contrary.

You may wonder why you should throw $29.95 at him for a book without a color cover or even paper. The answer is in the title, which is a question - maybe THE question for anyone who would pursue this vocation and hobby. Jeff asks - and answers - that question with every effect, with every musing, and on every page. He makes you wonder about it, and shows you the wonder of it. The magic is good. Really good. Read the listing of effects up there in the description (pause, as you scroll upward and re-read the description) and tell me that you aren't intrigued. This guy finds magic in everyday life - I now carry a receipt from Wal-Mart which almost reads minds because of Jeff. I've carried a Topit most of my life and didn't even know it. Because of this book, I look at everyday boring things and see the magic inherent in them. Even in relationships.

First he makes you wonder "Where is the Magic" - then he guides you to see the wonder of magic. As Walt Disney said, sometimes it's fun to do the impossible. This book will help your brain get used to thinking that way.

Fire Lantern

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 14 April, 2021)

Fire LanternYour own acting ability + presentation will be what makes this work. The description is meticulously accurate: You burn a paper, the flame & ash float up to the ceiling - if you have any draft, it looks pretty eerie. No message can effectively be written on the paper - it wouldn't survive anyway. You will have to use a special type of paper, which Brick tells you under what name it's sold - and I've seen it in most supermarkets. (Does anyone know of a "grocery" anymore?) You'll want to throw away the guts and keep the wrappers. At least I shall, because I don't touch the stuff.

It's not much of an effect for a ten-spot, but the nugget of a plot for your presentation is well worth the $10.

The Fine Art of Magic, 2nd Edition

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 30 January, 2020)

The Fine Art of Magic, 2nd EditionWe’d heard about George Kaplan and about his Fine Art of Magic* for a very long time. Never thought we’d see a copy we could afford, and I wasn’t sure it deserved its reputation. So few things do. This is one of those happy exceptions - It actually exceeds my expectations. Frankly, I find it as fun to read as Greater Magic - maybe more so. You ever try to run a search on that humongous book? Not so easy when it’s not digitized.

Kaplan seems unduly modest in his Foreword, not seeming to realize how this isn’t just another magic trick book, but a well-written book about how to perform magic. The whole project starts out on the right foot with this opening: “A good trick, properly executed, is as individual a work of art as a fine painting, and, like every work of art, is a reflection of the skills of the artist. Gone is the day when magicians sought merely to ‘fool’ their audiences. The present-day performer aims both to mystify and entertain.”

That last sentence may have been true in 1948, but a casual walk today at a magic convention or through You(too?)Tube belies the statement. Or worse, the guy performing to the public who ruins, ruins, ruins the reputation of magicians and ensures that THAT particular customer will never ever hire a magician again. Because we desperately need a lot of new magicians, real magicians, who know how to perform and entertain, who know that humans have a sense of wonder and want that itch scratched.

Yes, we need more books (BOOKS!) such as Kaplan’s Fine Art of Magic, Tarbell’s lessons, and the Amateur Magician’s Handbook**. And not only do we have them in our libraries (and in our Lybrary) but in a second edition which has been gently and respectfully seconded editionated by Warren Kaps. It’s not that the original text was wanting - it was, after all, edited and evidently written, by Jean Hugard from the work, research, and drafts of Kaplan. So there are no egos to bruise here, but there are tender feelings of the living generations of magicians and authors who want to see credits, historical origins, and possible methods which just didn’t exist in the 1940s.

See how many of today’s hot new tricks (many available as download videos for more than the price of this PDF) you find within this book. The immortal Denny Haney and I once went through his showroom and tried to find something which didn’t come out of Tarbell. We could have done much the same with this book. Because, I do not tire of repeating this, you have a choice of learning methods of tricks or learning how to perform magic.

Buy this book. Study. Practice. Your audiences will thank you.


* Please excuse me for “fixing” the title. As past librarians and editors know, leaving the article “the” at the front of a title absolutely wrecks the ability to alphabetize anything with a title.

** Yes, here’s an exception to the aforementioned rule. Thank goodness I don’t need to alphabetize herein.

The Cardsharp and his Book

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 30 November, 2016)

The Cardsharp and his BookThe description is wrong in one place, right at the end. Dr Chris' Hunt for Erdnase began a LOT earlier than 2015. Why 2015 became the year that a full "scientific detective" search was truly possible, is the start of this story.

The evidence is compelling. There are no conclusions based on "this cannot be coincidence." Perhaps it needed the sort of training of a scientist with no agenda. The way the data came together, and the pathways taken, including the fascinating dead ends, makes this the detective mystery of the year. Or, if you are a magician, of any year.

Introduction to Coin Magic

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 05 August, 2016)

Introduction to Coin MagicThis may be a classic example of "That's too simple to fool anyone" - but it does. It will fool your own self as you watch yourself practice.

The best part of the lessons is probably the lesson you learn almost unconsciously: you learn to enjoy practicing, and you see real improvement as you consistently practice.

It's not knuckle-busting - but it IS darned good magic.

Personal Secrets

reviewed by Chet Cox
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 19 November, 2015)

Personal SecretsLong ago, I picked this up from Harry - in physical form. You already know that Harry Lorayne is an international treasure, and we're VERY lucky to have this available for a mere $5. There are at least four different, fairly easy effects in here that you can't wait to learn and perform. There is at least one which, even though I've read it and know how it's "done," fooled me when Richard O. presented it to my wife & me. This isn't "card magic." This is magic that happens to use cards.

*jeep! and God Bless!

Gems of Mental Magic

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 17 April, 2015)

Gems of Mental MagicOne of the richest mine of mental magic/mentalism, still in use. Copperfield's Graffiti Wall? The principle is in here.

By focusing on principles instead of doing your thinking for you, it opens up the possibilities of making YOUR version of any effect being different from anyone else's - and uniquely your own.


reviewed by Grandpa Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 24 May, 2014)

JinxOh my goodness! You haven't bought this yet? Annemann practically invented the principles of mentalism and collected the most powerful and SIMPLE card magic. All in a magazine/newsletter that didn't last nearly long enough.

At least three books (two on card magic; one on mentalism) were drawn from the material herein. Yet you may just find Annemann's editorials the most valuable material - I certainly have. And you'll be drawing from this stock for years yet.

It's this simple: You want to be a mentalist? Buy and study the Jinx. You want to have a zillion card effects at hand that won't break your hands but will stupefy your audiences? For fifteen bucks, you have the strongest effects yet - and the principles upon which almost all mentalism has been built.

On Thin Air: Levitation

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 27 September, 2013)

On Thin Air: LevitationA marvelous levitation that really looks good in photos and probably looks just as good in real life. It undoubtedly would work, and there are a number of different handlings which are possible.

The biggest problem is that you'll need to own a machine shop or have a friend who does! Although you could pay a machinist or carpenter to do much of the work, the fact remains that this gimmick should only be built by someone with the skill for careful work and safety. The description on the buyer's pages should have stated such, even if it would scare many buyers away.

The instructions and presentation(s) are explained well. A trained person would have no difficulty in making this. Mr Noble does have some spelling and terminology problems, but nothing which will slow you down.

If you have the skill and follow safety procedures, this might just be the best self-levitation on the market. You literally can perform this close up to your audience. Angles are minor - but there are some. Rehearsal is imperative; this is not something for the idly curious. This is performance magic at its best.

With the description modified in the blurb, to let one know this requires certain skills and equipment, and with a good proofreading and editing, I'd have no hesitation in giving this a full five points. As it is, it loses only one point for its flaws - because the actual method is very, very good.


reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 15 July, 2012)

FundamentalsMy only complaint is that the rating system here at only goes up to "good." This should be rated "outstanding" at the very least.

There are only two books you NEED to read to become a good mentalist. This is one of them. Add Osterlind's "the Principles of Mentalism" to Cassidy's "Fundamentals" and you have available to you the best advice gleaned from the best experience of two lifetimes.

If I had to pick just ONE to start with, it would be "Fundamentals." (But don't cheat yourself. Get both.)

Within these pages, Bob recommends a different book for those who want to really learn to perform mentalism well. He's wrong, but it wasn't his fault. "Fundamentals" hadn't been published yet - and "Fundamentals" is the first book you want.

Best of luck finding a mentalism book BETTER than this one.

Blackstone Magic Comics

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 15 July, 2012)

Blackstone Magic ComicsThe art was pretty darned good, and the scripts weren't bad either - ranging from VERY exciting to fairly entertaining. Gibson was one of those writers who was always strong on plot and mood - and with Blackstone, he had the best of all of his fanboy skills in play.

Walter Gibson loved magic. Can't ask for a better protagonist for mysteries starring a magician than Blackstone. - check Walter Gibson loved mysteries. The guy who created the character we know as The Shadow brings that same strong scripting here.

Walter Gibson loved comics. He may have disparaged them from time to time - the pay sucked mop water, and comics were generally frowned upon, especially from the late 1940s through the 1950s. But he never wrote down to his readers, and always gave us his best.

Whether comics, magic books, magic magazines, or pulp adventures, no one has done it better than Walter Gibson. And the many comics that he wrote of Blackstone were among his best!

The Sphinx

reviewed by Chet Cox
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 15 March, 2012)

The SphinxThere should be a higher rating than 5 stars, because the rating code at the bottom of this page (the one on which I'm typing; not the one which you're reading) says that 5 stars means merely "good." This set is much, much more than "good." It is, according to your needs:

- an invaluable history of magic,

- the strongest collection of powerful effects from the greatest magicians who lived,

- completely and utterly searchable; you want background on Thurston? You've got it! Want a LOT of versions of any specific favorite of yours? It's instantly findable!

- the backgrounds, the photos of the great masters, the programs, the reviews of books and effects which are again new, and the ability to watch as someone is noted as a newcomer - and eventually becomes a master wizard by our time!

- John Mullholland, the MagiCIAn (Look it up)

When you get these disks, guard them well - let nothing happen to them. Because they are well worth far more than the asking price of $499 - there is information herein which would be otherwise lost to the ages.

HIGHLY recommended.

The Color Change: the arcane art of transfiguration with playing cards

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 11 August, 2011)

The Color Change: the arcane art of transfiguration with playing cardsThis is to color changes (a misnomer) as the Big Book of Rising Cards is to the Rising Card theme. There is simply no better book or video, and the scope of the book is fantastic.

The New Conjurors' Magazine: Volume 1 (Feb 1945 - Jan 1946)

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 14 December, 2010)

The New Conjurors' Magazine: Volume 1 (Feb 1945 - Jan 1946)The greatest writers in magic got together and appeared in one magazine - and this is it! One cannot begin to list and describe the advice, the history, and the effects that Gibson showcased within this magazine in just one year. From the controversial Houdini attack on Robert-Houdin to secrets and advice of and from Hardeen, Blackstone, Cardini, and others of whom you just might have heard. 703 pages of the best in magic, reviews of magic, reviews of books and performances, history (including history-as-it-was-happening), and much - MUCH more! As soon as I finish reading and using all this material, I'm getting the next volume. And the next!

The Big Book of Rising Cards

reviewed by Chet Cox
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 25 November, 2010)

The Big Book of Rising CardsAs said, this is one beautiful book! Delightsome for browsing, meticulous research, or for finding that one specific way to perform the Rising Card(s) under specific conditions. The detail is remarkable and if it seems repetitive at times, it's because there are so MANY methods discussed. Highly recommended!

*jeep! --Grandpa Chet

The Art of Deception

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 25 November, 2010)

The Art of DeceptionWhat a beautiful book! I could (and have) spend/spent an evening just looking at the wonderful posters, woodcuts, and drawings. The text isn't as in-depth as I would like, but there's enough to encourage the reader to research deeper. Like a great magic act, this book leaves its audience wanting more - and I would be very excited if there were a sequel, or something which expands at least two of the chapters. (The chapters on posters and comics.)

*jeep! --Grandpa Chet

Out of this World

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 23 November, 2010)

Out of this WorldLet's see...

Probably the Greatest Card Trick in the World -- Check!

Possibly the Greatest Mentalism Effect in the World -- Check!

Only $4.00 for more than $100,000 worth of use you'll get out of it -- Check.

Tell Them You Saw Dante

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 23 November, 2010)

Tell Them You Saw DanteOne of the most charming audioplays in existence, and a tour de force for Andrews, it leaves one with a feeling of actually having attended a few Dante shows. It also leaves one with a hunger for more Dante! This is a one-man play with wings!

Chan Canasta

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 23 November, 2010)

Chan Canasta"A remarkable man" is how he's often described, and it fits. This audio documentary/biography is almost as entertaining as a Canasta show. With only voice, Canasta's powerful presentation and audience manipulation comes through. If this doesn't improve your own performance, if this doesn't inspire you to use creative (and controlled) boldness, you need to listen to it again. And again.

Priced a bit higher than other audio files, it is still one of the best values in magic.

The Amateur Magician's Handbook

reviewed by Grandpa Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Monday 02 August, 2010)

The Amateur Magician's HandbookThe BEST single magic book written, bar none. Its only competition is any volume from Tarbell's Course -- and I'd recommend the full Tarbell Course before any one volume.

This will not only take a person from beginner to professional, but will improve the act of any professional who studies it. Bob Cassidy calls it the best introduction to mentalism, and I daresay one could say that about any of the genres the book covers.

Don't forget to pick up the book ABOUT June Mussey (Hays) -- his real life was just as magical as his wizardry.

We need a rating better than "Good" for this book.

Magic in the Modern Manner

reviewed by Grandpa Chet Cox
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Monday 02 August, 2010)

Magic in the Modern MannerOne of the Lost Classics - we have to thank Chris for saving this! Meyer is all but forgotten, but his work is literally immortal. This includes what is probably the ULTIMATE bullet catch -- chilling and terrifying in all aspects, for performer as well as audience and shooter.

I could go through this book, throw a dart, and hit a classic. This man, who helped make the Jinx's and Annemann's reputation, deserves to be well-known to any mentalist or wannabe mentalist.

Al Mann on Mentalism

reviewed by Grandpa Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Monday 02 August, 2010)

Al Mann on MentalismFor thirty bucks, you get detailed descriptions of one of the most impossible headline prediction effects (which, by itself, sold for more than $30 a couple of years ago), plus other prediction methods, PLUS other mentalism effects which were and are ahead of their time.

And that's not even the best part of these audio files!

Al had so much to say, so MUCH good advice for the performer and creator, that it's amazing it didn't take the entire day to relate. His conversational style makes this a pleasant listen, and you WILL want to listen more than once -- at least once, you'll want to take copious notes.

This is VERY underpriced.

200 More Tricks You Can Do

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Monday 02 August, 2010)

200 More Tricks You Can DoThis is the review I wrote for the first volume (200 Tricks You Can Do); it applies just as much to this sequel. The one improvement for which I would hope, would for these two books to be translated to PDF so I could carry them in my Kindle-for-iPod.

(ahem! the aforementioned review)--

Don't dismiss this as "just for beginners," though it is very good for beginners. Don't be surprised if you find many effects which are being performed by the big stars, or which are being sold as "new" magic today! I gave up counting the number of these effects which I use in public speaking and home teaching. That's not even counting the card magic or cigarette tricks!

Be sure to pick up the companion volume!

200 Tricks You Can Do

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Monday 02 August, 2010)

200 Tricks You Can DoDon't dismiss this as "just for beginners," though it is very good for beginners. Don't be surprised if you find many effects which are being performed by the big stars, or which are being sold as "new" magic today! I gave up counting the number of these effects which I use in public speaking and home teaching. That's not even counting the card magic or cigarette tricks!

Be sure to pick up the companion volume!

Nu Way Out Of This World

reviewed by Grandpa Chet (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 30 October, 2008)

Nu Way Out Of This WorldEXCELLENT version of Out of This World! I've heard about it for years, but it's hard to find.

Correction: It WAS hard to find. And it was worth the wait.

Tarbell Course

reviewed by Grandpa Chet
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 17 October, 2008)

Tarbell CourseNot only do I agree with previous reviewers, I think this - the original course - would be a better course of study than the hardback books. True, there is more in eight volumes of hardbacks - but they do not have the careful linear learning that the original course had - and still has. That is, everything builds on what precedes it. This course will start you off either teaching you the basics or correcting any bad habits you have. It entirely depends on where you are in your current knowledge and skill. And then it builds - and builds - and builds.

Lest you think this course is only for beginners, let it be noted that the great Fu Manchu (David Bamberg), disappointed by magic and not wanting to imitate his father, was about to quit magic when Dr Tarbell sent him a copy of this very course. David studied the course lesson by lesson, and built up an act from the early lessons. From there, he built up a larger act from the later lessons. Eventually, he received backing to put on a full illusion stage show -- and he built that stage show from lessons in this course. And he never forgot the lessons on showmanship, acting, publicity, advertising (He would later speak of how he took Dr Tarbell's samples and used them almost verbatim!), and audience direction that he learned from this course.

He had one of the most successful acts to date, and his name was synonymous with entertainment in South America.

Thirty-nine bucks? Each lesson is more valuable than almost every single item in the catalog. But even if one undervalued each lesson at $10.00 apiece, you would get something like $700.00 worth of working material from this course.


The MagiCIAn: John Mulholland's Secret CIA Life

reviewed by Grandpa Chet
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 03 October, 2008)

The MagiCIAn: John Mulholland's Secret CIA LifeJohn Mulholland marked the field of magic with a stamp that perhaps changed much of history. Yet even though he edited the Sphinx (the longest-running magic periodical and the most influential of its time), was friends with the greatest names in magic, and influenced them and many others -- his name just isn't that well known outside our little circle. Even within our subculture, how many of us know just who John Mulholland is?

There have been ugly accusations that he may have helped kill a scientist in the 1950s.

There have been rumors about his moral and immoral activities.

There have even been accusations that he did not write the many articles and books with his by-line.

There is even at least one generation who has no idea who he is.

Ben Robinson spent almost as many years researching this, the first biography of John Mulholland, as Mulholland spent editing the Sphinx. He interviewed key personnel and uncovered many previously classified documents -- thank goodness for the Freedom of Information Act!! And from the zillions of jigsaw puzzle pieces he discovered, he put together a fascinating document which is compelling reading.

The CIA in the title of MagiCIAn refers to Mulholland's work for the newly-formed CIA. You'll have to read the book to learn just what that was, but it well blends the profession of magician with that of intelligence agent. When there was serious research into possible defense uses of ESP, mind control, and remote viewing; anything could - and did - happen.

Magicians will enjoy this. Mentalists will find much to learn herein, and will catch subtleties which might be lost on others. Soldiers and military historians will find this to be exciting reading.

I've been all the above, and I loved this book!

Three Cheers for the Underrated

reviewed by Grandpa Chet
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 23 August, 2008)

Three Cheers for the UnderratedIt doesn't quite come together as a BOOK, per se. As a volume which collects, explains, and tutors three effects, it's quite effective. The three effects might even blend together well enough to make a full show, but you'll surely want to personalize them.

The first effect, "Three Questions," is simple to personalize. Luke's detailed presentation example proves that presentation is everything - it's extremely personal, entirely Luke, and really sneaky in gathering the information. Work hard to adapt this to yourself and you'll have an eerie show-stopping effect that creeps up on your guests and will have them thinking about it throughout the rest of the night. It doesn't just "reveal zodiac signs," it reveals something of the personality of the person - and it can become intimately spooky. Again, work on your personal presentation. It's worth the effort.

"Phobias Anagram" is another spooky effect, where you'll tell entire groups their specific phobias. It's extremely powerful in practice. More importantly, it's an example, and is used to teach you, of something Luke calls "the Invisible Selection Range." Let's just say that it's Luke's way of turning the anagram branching on its head. A key sentence in his article is "An invisible restriction would be a selection from a field that seems completely open but in fact is not." For those who have ears...

By the way, all the above is included as one of the "three cheers." In short, you are getting two effects and a theory/principle for the price of one effect. Not bad!

The next effect is "the Ultimate Add a Number." I normally dislike titling anything as "Ultimate," since that indicates there will never, ever, ever be anything to add to or improve the item. This piece may have something to its title though. The numbers involved actually MEAN something. Any good mentalist will tell you that when you bring in things which have personal meanings, the audience's emotional involvement goes way, way up. The methods (yes, methodS) are deviously clever, and the whole thing doesn't even seem to whisper a hint of "magic trick."

And then there's "Strength." For those who think that this book is overpriced, I challenge them to use "Strength" as close-up or walkaround and NOT be able to use it to get repeated bookings. Imagine Jean Robert-Houdin's "Light and Heavy Chest" - but with a deck of cards. Some clients can lift the deck; others cannot. Some can take the cards out of the box; others cannot. You should have no trouble convincing them that this has nothing to do with the box, and everything to do with your ability to influence them. In short, you can become a veritable Svengali or Rasputin.

This is not a book for the casual reader. If someone studies this and uses these effects for actual work, the book is well priced and a good value.

A Magical Upbringing: Collected Letters and Articles from June Barrows Mussey

reviewed by Grandpa Chet
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 21 August, 2008)

A Magical Upbringing: Collected Letters and Articles from June Barrows MusseyCall it a labor of love to a book. And this is the book which reflects the man who begat the book we love. June Barrows Mussey was an even deeper man, a better magician, a better "understander" of people than we even suspected. Look behind the curtain and learn of the man who you knew as "Henry Hay." Not only will you find his life and his attitude fascinating, you'll find he teaches you, once again, how to become better at magic, entertaining, and at being a person.

Samuel Cox Hooker and his Rising Cards

reviewed by Grandpa Chet
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Monday 26 May, 2008)

Samuel Cox Hooker and his Rising CardsIt's more than just "Let's find out how this works." If you're looking for an exposure book, this isn't it. What we have is a study into how a person creates, and perhaps we'll improve our own creative abilities along the way. And S. C. Hooker turns out to be a fascinating man! I hope Chris continues to receive and ferret out more data about this fellow, and that future updates of this book reflect that. And there WILL be future updates of this book. It reads, feels, and tastes like an ongoing project -- something that I'll tune in every few months.

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