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

reviewed by Ben Robinson
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 23 August, 2008)

A Magical Upbringing: Collected Letters and Articles from June Barrows MusseyI truly enjoyed A Magical Upbringing June Barrows Mussey because it answered many questions I had about the author of The Amateur Magician's Handbook, by far and away my favorite magic book of all. It produces an anecdotal history of firsthand meetings with such personalities as John Mulholland and T. Nelson Downs (among many others). We learn that Mulholland, during the Depression, was "not stirred from his house for less than a hundred dollars" and that T. Nelson Downs could second deal with one hand!

As well, Mussey himself comes across as a purveyor of many languages as he directs the reader in several reproduced articles to proper diction and elocution. The man toured as a child and attended college early and wrote one of the seminal texts of the 20th century. He was considered an authority, and was respected from a very early age. While there is still much more that can be known about this enigmatic Renaissance Man, this book will surely quench the thirst of the hungry acolytes who stand in awe of his work.

The man, his work, his performance and his writing stand tall above the internet age...a purer magic, where magic began and has the most power.


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.


Under Cover

reviewed by Andrew Ripley
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 20 August, 2008)

Under CoverI like this alot. With alot of magic advertising you don't know what you're going to end up with but with this trick the advertising is true. Its easy to learn and easy to do. I don't smoke alot but can adapt this to a deck of cards easy. The secret is clever and invisible. The instruction is clear and easy to follow and I had it down after one reading. I think what I like most is its their quarter under the cellophane and they can open it themselves. A real good trick for not much money. Five of five stars. I highly recommend this.


Practical Hypnotism

reviewed by Adam
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 11 June, 2008)

Practical HypnotismThis ebook is great so far, I haven't read all of it yet but what I have learned so far has worked.


Three Chinese Rings Teach-In

reviewed by Derek Heron
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 05 June, 2008)

Three Chinese Rings Teach-In26 years ago (at the tender age of 17yrs), when Supreme Magic was at it's height, I bought this Teach-In. Using the moves found inside I put together a 3 ring routine that helped me win the title of Scotland's Young Magician of the Year. This teaches ALL the basic moves and a few very clever ones too. The text is accompanied by numerous photographs and everything is explained in great detail. At $9 it's fantastic value. Nice to see this classic is still available.


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.


Cartomancy Overnight

reviewed by Charles Affholter (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 17 May, 2008)

Cartomancy OvernightHaving been a card reader for many years and having read hundreds of books and ebooks on the subject, from both "shuteyes" and open, I feel qualified to offer a review on this manuscript. While it isn't terrible, i.e. it does give you information on cartomancy, it is vastly over-priced. I do not make the statement lightly.

1. "The Vascal System", by Gene Nielsen, a manuscript on the same subject is three times longer than this manuscript. Gene, who has been reading cards longer than Alexandre has been alive, gives an easy system of card meanings, a very effective spread, and forty years worth of advice on using the information. At only $25, The Vascal System sets the bar very high. By comparison, Cartomancy Overnight is worth about $5.

2. A website, easily googled, provides much more practical information than this ebook (with a system that is equally easy to use), and doesn't cost a red cent.

It should also be noted that the memory system provided is eerily similar to one taught by Stuart Cumberland on his tarot video. Odd...

The bottom line, this is a waste of money. Chris runs a wonderful business, with ordinarily wonderful products at good prices; I do not hold him responsible for this drivel.


On Mental Calculation

reviewed by
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Monday 12 May, 2008)

On Mental CalculationThis is a transcript of a speech given by the author about the methods he used to rapidly perform arithmetic without the aid of pencil and paper, or calculator. Note that I call it a 'speech' NOT a 'lecture'. The author rambles on and on about the subject, while imparting very little useful information per page. The book is not annotated in any way, save for writing out the arithmetic the author mentions. Finding a particular topic is a good way to waste your time. There is no outline, no table of contents, and the text seems almost designed to prevent easy navigation. I am positive that you could learn the authors methods from this work, but the effort of extracting the information from this text then learning it could be better spent on a book meant specifically to teach these principles, rather than merely talk about them at length.


The Inversion Theory

reviewed by Sean Raf
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 13 April, 2008)

The Inversion TheoryDescription: This is a PDF file conceived by one of our very own forum members David Misner. It offers 5 original inversion plots for you to have a play with. Don't know what an inversion plot is? Let me explain...

What?: So, what's an Inversion Plot? An Inversion Plot is an effect where a card(s) is found reversed in the deck whereas before it was not. There are a number of them out there, most notable Chris Kenner's 'Perversion' found in Totally Out of Control and Aaron Fisher's renowned Revolution #9.

So without further ado let's go straight into looking at the meat.

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Minority: In this, the deck is shuffled and a card selected, memorized and placed out-jogged face down into the spread face down deck. The card is cleanly pushed into the spread amongst the other cards and with no funny moves the deck is spread again to show the card has impossibly reversed itself.

This one is really great, and if you already have an Inversion Routine of your own, is a lovely phase to add in. It's super clean and super easy to do too; like anything however it will take practice to get looking natural and smooth.

The Flip Side: With The Flip Side, the card is chosen and lost in the deck completely. After showing that all the cards in the deck are currently face up, the spread is closed and the magic happens. When the deck is spread again, there is clearly one card face-down that wasn't before... The selected card.

This one is nice, simple and very direct. The deck is cleanly shown before the revealed card, you can cleanly spread each card without worrying about a block-push off or some kind of crazy impromptu rough/smooth principle. There are no funny movements and it looks as clean as it sounds.

Don't Blink: Well this one, I have to say is my favourite. A selected card is left out-jogged face-down in a face-down deck. As the deck is turned face up, the card stays face down... Impossibly, the card has inversed itself whilst trapped in the deck AND out-jogged.

As I've said, this one is my favourite. I love the kind of tricks that have that kind of "Wait... What?!" double take kind of feel to them. With this you get just that, it just seems like there's no explanation for it at all because it happens THAT fast.

Wrong Turn: This one I believe is by our very own forum moderator RebelAce69 (AKA Cody Cowan Lust). A card is selected and lost in the deck, the magician--with the proudest face he can muster--turns over the top card revealing it to be... The wrong card. Well, something had to go wrong, and as it happens it has! The spectators card has reversed itself in the deck!

Well, this one is really cool, again another great phase to add to an existing routine... Even an ambitious card if you like, the inversion plot is really versatile. This, for me is probably the hardest in the PDF to do, but if you can get it down smooth and easy you have a winner on your hands.

Flip Reverse It (FRI): In FRI the spectators card is left out-jogged face-down in the face-down deck. There's no question that it is indeed their card in fact it can be signed on both sides. As the magician goes to show the card or with a shake of the deck, the card visually and with no cover turns face-up. The deck is immediately spread to show it is still in the center and you are left clean as a whistle.

The reason I've been able to go on about this one more is because it's my own contribution to the PDF. I won't make any comments on this as that would bias, but I will say that it can have that "Wait... What?!" feel to it if you get it cool. One more thing to note is that in the PDF it states that the trick is a simplified version of an Earnest Earick routine, it's not - It does however utilise a slight variation of one of his moves; just to clear that up.

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Teaching: The teaching in the PDF is really cool, simple and tells you everything you need to know - no fat. You also have some crystal clear pictures that show you what you should be doing from your point of view which is really helpful.

Other Thoughts: The price, at $12 for five inversion routines is in my opinion a really decent price; only £6 for the Brits.

Just an extra note on my FRI routine, I have a simpler version which I had after the PDF had been made so if you eventually get the PDF and want to know my simpler version feel free to drop me a PM with proof of purchase and I'll get back to you!

All in all, this is a really cool PDF and if you're unfamiliar with Inversion Routines it's a great place to start and try and come up with your own complete routine.

Cheers, - Sean


The Inversion Theory

reviewed by Mikey Mejia
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 13 April, 2008)

The Inversion Theoryomg this is awesome! great concepts, great pictures, great PDF! And that mikey mejia guy, wow what a genius! lol

good job david!


Bits and Bytes

reviewed by Derek Renfro (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 29 March, 2008)

Bits and BytesI purchased this ebook some time ago and thought I had posted a review. So here it is. I found this ebook to be full of wonderful little surprises. While there are some effects which one might use "as is", I found the greatest value of this work to be the inspiration to create your own effects and presentations. There are plenty of tricks out there but precious few works which are open ended enough to allow one to create his own. If you are looking for inspiration, as well as some creative thinking, I very much recommend this item.


Between Two Minds

reviewed by McAig
Rating: ★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 09 March, 2008)

Between Two MindsA nice range of contents, from close-up card tricks to stage effects, roughly half and half card tricks and mentalist effects. That is the plus and the minus of the ebook, the plus being that it covers a fair amount of interesting ground, from 'work' you can use to key every card in the deck so you can identify the card a spectator has removed without even looking through the pack (along with a number of tricks you can do using this method), to a simple code that you and a partner could use in mindreading, to a good newspaper prediction. The minus may be that if your interest is more specific, then you may find only a couple of items of interest.

I found it an enjoyable read.


Polaroid Memories

reviewed by McAig
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 07 March, 2008)

Polaroid MemoriesThis is really good, very good value for the price. In a relatively short document, there are a couple of very strong and very simple tricks, which are easy to learn, require no difficult sleights but will allow you to appear to have memorised a whole deck more or less instantly. I thought these were terrific. There is also a more difficult trick, and a nice CAAN effect (kind of Any Card-ish) which again is straightforward, although a little misdirection has to be pulled off at one critical point, but hey, that's half the basis of magic.

Very nice ideas, a hit in my opinion.


Psy-Connect Deck

reviewed by McAig
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 07 March, 2008)

Psy-Connect DeckYou'd be best to have an idea of Max Maven's "Mind's Eye Deck" in advance of reading this, as the best part of the text gives thoughts on how to present this kind of effect strongly, rather than detailing the way to make up the deck. Maven's "Videomind 1" dvd gives the basics. (Daniel Young refers to the Maven deck in the notes, so this is not intended as a criticism of a lack of crediting). Overall it didn't really grab my attention in the way one of Daniel Young's other items did. It would make an interesting chapter in a book, but perhaps isn't strong enough to stand as a single item, in my opinion.


"Almost" Impromptu Vanishing Car

reviewed by Larry Burner (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 13 February, 2008)

"Almost" Impromptu Vanishing CarDo not buy this trick! Not even worth the time to download. I was very disappointed there are many more tricks here to purchase try one of those but this one is a complete rip off.


Money and Sovereignty as Expressed in Gold Coinage

reviewed by Bert Britton
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 08 February, 2008)

Money and Sovereignty as Expressed in Gold CoinageReading an e-book will probably come as a new experience for many, as it did for me. I approached the prospect with some trepidation fearing the loss of a comfortable feeling one gets from curling up with a book in hand, and perhaps a warm fireplace and glass of Port. Sitting in front of a cold computer screen seems an unlikely exchange for that relaxing old easy chair.

Yet the new experience was not nearly as taxing as I had anticipated. Navigating through the well-constructed pages of this book was easy and pleasant. It is possible to get an overview of the contents by scrolling ahead or using an index that allows one to jump immediately to any section of the book. That feature is also a handy tool for flipping back and forth to re-read or compare various parts of the text. It was no chore to turn pages in the usual fashion by a simple mouse click.

The page layout, formatting and quality of illustrations is also far better than I had anticipated. It is equal to any finely published book and a pleasure to use. The technology of this type of book construction has developed into a form that makes even a confirmed bibliophile take notice of what may well be the future of book publishing.

Douglas Mudd, the principle author of "Money and Sovereignty as Expressed in Gold Coinage", is a well-known numismatist who has a decided flair for history, and understand how the two studies blend together to make interesting stories. His work was also enhanced with suggestions from Michael Fagin. The substance of this book is easy to follow because it is arranged chronologically to cover a representative group of different cultures with stories that shows how the designs on their coins are a meaningful expression of their art, religion, economic status and growth. All are elements that reflect the candid nature of their society and status in a way that other documents often fail to demonstrate.

The opening chapter discusses The Origins of Money, and is an excellent condensation of how the world began using this ubiquitous tool. A clear explanation is given about how the use of money was developed not as a unique experiment, but almost simultaneously in three quite separate regions of the world. One could only ask that a few more illustrations were added to this section to show the diversity of these interesting early monetary items to supplement their brief word descriptions. An expansion of this chapter would set the stage for showing how the development of coins as money and propaganda tools spread throughout the world.

A chapter called The Future of Money is perhaps the most significant part of this study. It is well worth reading and rereading. It is particularly significant in light of today's world economic troubles. In this dissertation is a lucid account of how the creation of 'money' through credit causes inflation and eventual chaos. It foretells exactly the problems that are now facing nations around the globe. Will commerce somehow flourish using credit cards instead of coins as currency? Probably not if as this study shows circulating coins continue in their role as a reflection of national ideals and standards.

The balance of this book is taken up with short essays on selected coins from various cultures, with comments on the historical aspects of how a nation's sovereignty is often shown through their coinage. Each of the coins in the text is beautifully illustrated with enlarged full-color actual pictures of some of the rarest and finest known specimens. The book adequately fulfills its promise of covering such pieces, but leaves one wishing that more coins could be included to demonstrate that many other pieces in silver and even copper served the same role, and were more widely dispersed to spread their stories.

The items covered in this work seem all too limited to show the broad extent of how coinage expresses national pride. A scant 27 items are examined and explained. Even so, the reader will finish with a fresh outlook about the designs on coins, and will likely have a new appreciation for, and interpretation of, the images seen on coins in everyday commerce as well as those from around the world and of all ages.


The Amateur Magician's Handbook

reviewed by Chris Walden
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Monday 28 January, 2008)

The Amateur Magician's HandbookThis book was what led me from the juvenile section to the grown-up book section in my library as a kid. It was incredibly tough trying to learn sleight of hand with few pictures (by today's standards) and a whole lot of narrative.

Yet between these covers was a world of magic that I had never imagined. It went far beyond the "make at home" approach I had seen and showed me the full range of sleight-of-hand, mind reading and stage illusions. It not only talked about doing tricks but told stories about what it was like to be a magician and to be around magicians. It taught about the work required to do this stuff right and made it clear that it was not something that would happen in an afternoon.

I read and reread that book. When I found a paperback version I snagged it. I finally got a hardback version which I treasure. Now it's here in beautiful, portable, searchable electronic form. It is not the best book for learning any particular branch of the art. But it is a perfect book for acquainting someone with the idea of magic as an art form and the rich palette it provides.

Own it. Read it. Grow from it.


Kolor Killer

reviewed by Andrew Loh
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 26 January, 2008)

Kolor KillerI went through Peter's "Kolor Killers" and tried out the routine. I would like to say that this is an excellent routine and another excellent approach to Roy Walton's Oil and Queens plot. I really love the ending climax and each of the phases. The reason is because the nature of this routine itself I can see will fry the spectators many times in the process with the great impact. A well-constructed routine.

To be honest, the first time I watched Peter's performance at his site, firstly I thought and I told myself "I think Peter is going to separate the colors of the cards and I am sure at the end, he will produce the Queens." - But I am wrong, he produced the Kings, Queens and the big excitement for me is, the Queens have the cross at the back of the cards! And another bonus is that, the "cross" patter fits in nicely with the climax. I think this routine is flexible too, you can change your patter to suit your preference.

Perhaps instead you use red-backed cards, you may use blue backed as a substitution and at the end, perhaps you change your patter to the "Queens turn angry" and at the end, you produce the red-backed Queens. Anything is possible.

Another question I asked myself "Hey, so, what happened to those spot cards then?" This is where my curiosity comes in, and I am surprised that the method is simple.

Perhaps you would like to check out Peter's "Laughing Queens" in his 7 ebook, another great version too.

Perhaps I am a little biased as I favor Walton's Oil and Queens plot. As you can see, when I watch a magic show or clip, I always put my position as a layman perspective and based on my thoughts, I am sure this routine would play very well to laymen.

Highly recommended!


The Amateur Magician's Handbook

reviewed by Larry Brodahl
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 23 January, 2008)

The Amateur Magician's HandbookOne of the absolute best books ever written. It concerns itself not only with how the tricks are done, but why. It talks about when apparatus is better than sleight of hand, and when it's not. Some of the coin work seems supremely complicated, but every book should leave you with something further to learn. This book covers about every basic sleight imaginable, along with many prop items. The updated chapter on close up stuff is also very nice.


The Magic of Tyler

reviewed by
Rating: ★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 23 January, 2008)

The Magic of TylerI have to say, this is one of the worst purchases that I have made. I almost went for Mr. Tyler's more expensive book, and am VERY glad that I did not. $20 for this book was way too much as it is.

The book is packed with minor adaptations to existing effects and the rest are poorly thought out routines.

Mr. Tyler's writing style, or lack there of, is a MAJOR issue with the format of this book. Not one of the routines are clearly defined. Instead you are often reading into the method and trying to decipher the actual effect, all while trying to understand his rambling explanations.

A couple of times he prefaces the instructions by explaining that it will be hard to put the effect into words, but I feel this is just do to his writing style and could very well have been explained easily.

To top it off, while trying to sift through the explanations, you are left either to imagine what the heck he is talking about or just give up on it all together, because Mr. Tyler chose to not to add any photos or drawings to the mix.

Also his Pyramid Deck Switch is a essentially Tommy Wonder's deck switch, without credit to Mr. Wonder.

Tyler repeatedly quotes Sankey and utilizes moves credited to Sankey (which really go back further), which leads me to believe that he is fairly new to the magic world although he claims otherwise.

My advise is to spend your money some place else.


The Royal Road to Card Magic

reviewed by Robin Z
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 20 January, 2008)

The Royal Road to Card MagicA classic in magic!

I can't accurately express how important this book is for a card magician. This book will teach all of the basic techniques for cards. This includes False Shuffles, Double Lifts, Hindu Shuffles, The Pass and many more. Along with the techniques you will find tricks that use the handling you have just learned.

If you really take the time to learn all of the techniques, as well as some of the tricks you will be better than most amateur card magicians.


Ambi-ga-box

reviewed by Feras Kh.
Rating: ★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 10 January, 2008)

Ambi-ga-boxA small booklet, from an unknown author. Yet, this routine is actually very good, even though it might be confusing to read, its so simple.

The routine is done with a borrowed deck, with a normal box (provided in a reasonable condition ). Here's the routine:

2 cards are selected and signed, card A is returned to the deck, card B is returned. Card B is shown to be on top 3 times, then its placed inside the box *to prevent it from getting on top of the deck*. Suddenly, it penetrates the box. The box is shown empty, then is given to the spectator to shake it above the deck, she hears a sound, she checks the box and sure enough Card A is inside (this is the first and only appearance of card A in the routine).

The description was excellent until I reached the box section. There are photos that sure help, and once you understand how it works you'll have a nice routine. By the way no way a routine for beginners. Other than the box sleights (which some I never seen before, and some I did), you need to know the pass (its hard to change the move here , injog, tilt and a double turnover and Lift (lifting a double that is).

Angles are issue when it comes to the box section, but its controllable. The routine plays well for the spectators, provided that you have the patter for it. Since no patter is given.

Overall, I use this routine here and there. The last phase does get amazing reactions, and you could use it in other effects. If its 20$, I would say *get away*, for 4$, then its a very good buy. Just don't have lunch for a day.


Laboratory Conditions

reviewed by E M
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 09 January, 2008)

Laboratory ConditionsA straightforward, simple idea, easy to do the mechanics and all done using easily available materials. The selling of the idea is up to you, but then that's kind of the point of mentalism, isn't it? I like this and I'm glad I bought it.


Blueprints

reviewed by Andreas Danetzki (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 19 December, 2007)

BlueprintsVery good stuff! The ego-slip alone is worth every penny!


Another Vaudeville Magic Act

reviewed by Paul Budd (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 17 November, 2007)

Another Vaudeville Magic ActPlease note: if you like Vaudevillian-style patter (and I do), you'll LOVE this book!!

At only 25 pages, it's more of a pamphlet really, and please be aware: you really only get about 3 "tricks" within the book (and not much explanation of those at that).....they're common effects, well documented in magic literature (you'll probably already know them). What you get, really is the VERBATIM patter of a (roughly) 16-minute Vaudevillian magic act, clearly outlined with instructions for: A. How to set the stage before your performance B. Orchestra cues (and comedic bits of how you might interact with the orchestra conductor) C. All the "walk here - stand there" blocking notes you might ever need for this act.

I love Vaudeville and this drips with that certain "style". The cost is reasonable. Get it only to help you remember how important self-depracating asides can be when you want your audience to laugh during your act. A great investment and will be treasured addition to my magic library.

Displaying 1307 to 1331 (of 1406 reviews)
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