I am an avid reader of books, all types of books, but not since Harry Potter or The Da Vinci Code have I been so engrossed in a book that I could not put it down. A new book called The MagiCIAn: John Mulholland's Secret Life by Ben Robinson was just released and I have to tell you, it's one of the best books on a magician's life I have ever read. This is so good I even gave it to my wife to read, and she could not put it down. (I should have bought two copies!).
This is not just a book somebody spent time researching over the internet, this is a a book the author spent over thirty years piecing together and investigating, and it really shows. If I ever wanted to hire a person to write my life story, Mr. Robinson would be the man!!
There is so much to learn from this book, I had no idea Houdini's relationship with John or that he lived so close to him growing up - I can only imagine the thrill. The whole CIA aspect was also news to me, and again, absolutely enthralling. The inside knowledge the author has shared with the readers is truly outstanding. Mr. Robinson's writing is extremely intelligent and a joy to read. He captures the essence of a story that many people had heard about, but really not to the depth that the author knows. The fact that the author was bequeathed a private CIA file by Maurine Christopher in 1997 is an amazing story unto itself. Here is a book that will capture the imagination of magicians and lay people alike.
EXCELLENT 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.
Last night I asked Chris if he had this manuscript.
His answer speaks for itself: "I have this manuscript but it was not yet converted. But since it was only two pages I did it overnight and uploaded it. You can now get it."
Great work. Great guy.
You have brought John Mulholland back to life for a new generation and given him the recognition he so rightly deserves. Your book is packed with facts and after reading it one cannot help but totally admire Mulholland. He emerges as grand and wonderful man who was a true scholar of magic. I gained new insights on Mulholland from your book.
Not 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 Lybrary.com 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.
This ebook described a very entertaining psychological effect. Even though the methods are far from new -- but who cares, it's what you do with it. The author has re-arranged these methods into a thrilling 3 stage psychological routine. I like the climax but altered it by combining Doug Segal's BBTLS method to create an even bigger "wow" factor and involve the audience.
John 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!
[This review was published in M-U-M, October 2008. Reproduced with permission of the Society of American Magicians.]
Gold from Hay
There are probably many who will scan this review topic and ask, "Who is J. Barrows Mussey?" and that is the reason Chris Wasshuber published this ebook. In his Introduction, Wasshuber notes that if you are a middle-aged American magician (or in my case, an elderly...) you will probably know part of the answer if one substitutes his pseudonym "Henry Hay." Mussey, as Hay, wrote a small number of magic books for beginners, two of which are arguably minor classics, Learn Magic (1947) and The Amateur Magician's Handbook (1950), the latter being the largest and best known. They are splendid introductory texts, as they concentrate on the important aspects of routining, presentation, and the like, rather than just showing the beginner how tricks are done. Mussey had a flair for getting across sophisticated principles to the beginner in a clear and simple manner. The books remain as fresh today, as they were when published.
Mussey's life was unconventional, to say the least. Born in 1910, he was a prodigy, graduating from high school at 14, and when he was but 13 — his mother not wanting him to enter college at this tender age — he began a tour of the eastern and mid-western United States clad in Persian costume and performing magic. His mother booked this tour by having family friends in various cities set up shows for him, saying, "He will learn self-reliance" from his travels. Mussey traveled alone, by train, and even in the palmy days of the 1920s it was a rather unusual, not to mention risky, experience for a kid — no matter how mature and intelligent. The highlight of the trip was two days spent at the home of his hero T. Nelson Downs, in Iowa. The following year, both alone and accompanied by his mother, he toured Europe and the Far East, and then entered Haverford College. After college, he went into the publishing business and, in 1950, availing himself of his linguistic abilities, he emigrated to Germany where he became an advertising consultant and American correspondent for Advertising Age. Mussey died in Germany in 1985.
It was Wasshuber's decision to republish The Amateur Magician's Handbook as an ebook for $25 that generated this book, explaining who Mussey was. This is done not by a biographical narrative, rather by means of 18 letters, 19 articles, 10 tricks, and two complete coin routines, all by or about Mussey. One cannot say that this is a biography of Mussey per se, but the material is most interesting and goes a long way toward sketching his fascinating life.
In point of criticism, one might say that a bit of editing wouldn't have hurt the project. Mussey's mother's letters, for example, are of great interest but contain much extraneous material. Because the articles have been gathered from many sources, and written at various times, there is repetition. The leaps from one topic to another may prove annoying to some readers. On the other hand, there is a great deal of interesting material here, and it's handy to have it gathered in one place.
The book is illustrated with photos and line drawings, and is available separately at $15, or if the Handbook is purchased with it, $30 for both. I read it with interest and pleasure.
[Please note that the stars given below were not provided by Jim Alfredson but were added by the Lybrary.com staff.]
Alright guys... I just spent my last night to go through the materials in this ebook. I would like to say the materials are quite excellent. I personally will use 7 effects in my repertoire. The materials contain within the ebook are some impromptu, others need some preparation to setup or gimmick to make the effect possible.
All in all, I really like the materials in this very ebook and most of them are not difficult to do. Some of them immediately added in my repertoire.
Allow me provide you the breakdown or list of effects that really interest me:
- The Go-Between - I really like the nature of this effect as I find it's quick and quite entertaining. While I was reading this effect, this effect reminds me of David Solomon's Kissing Cousin. - What I am trying to say I really love the mates miraculously vanish and sandwich the selection in the centre of the deck.
- Trans-Collection - I would say this effect is excellent and I really love this. I am not going to elaborate on this effect further but what I can say it's excellent. For those of you who loves the selections vanish kind of routine and ends with the collectors-genre, you will love this one. I first time read this effect in Duffie's Card Compulsions.
- Bullet Proof - I find that this effect is very entertaining especially to laymen. I did perform this effect to my girlfriend, and she was shocked in amazement.
There you are, the above effects which I stated I find that there are interesting to perform and worth of your investment. There are other effects which I haven't stated above doesn't mean that there are not my favourites. - I will post my further thoughts if I find there are other effects which worth mentioning when I try out the effects to my peers.
Best Wishes Andrew Loh
As a mentalist I bought all three Leo Boudreau books in the past. I had to buy another set of three books because I wore the covers off and they fell apart from using them all the time. I still use this material today.
In psimatrika I made my own symbol cards and alphabet decks. In spirited pasteboards I learned a LOT about card stacks. In skullduggery I learned more about cards and also booktests.
The material may look a bit complicated, but after a bit of persistance and understanding you will understand Leo Boudreaus material.
If you want impossible looking effects without gimmacked material for the most part, BUY these books.
David W. Burmeister Mentalist Nashville TN
It 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.
I 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.
Call 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.
I 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.
This ebook is great so far, I haven't read all of it yet but what I have learned so far has worked.
26 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.
It'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.
Having 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.
This 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.
Description: 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.
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.
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
omg this is awesome! great concepts, great pictures, great PDF! And that mikey mejia guy, wow what a genius! lol
good job david!
A 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.
This 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.
You'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.
Do 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.