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The Life and Mysteries of the Celebrated Dr. Q

by Claude Alexander Conlin
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The Life and Mysteries of the Celebrated Dr. Q by Claude Alexander Conlin

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The "Dr. Q Book" was the first all-revealing book of professional mentalism. No less an authority than Robert A. Nelson claimed this book to be the greatest and most authoritative book ever written on the subject of stage and private mindreading.

Sadly, the book has been out of print for several years. But no longer. We're happy to announce that a newly revised fourth edition of this classic text is now available. Throughout the book, you'll learn not only techniques and subtlety to obtain the very innermost thoughts of the spectator, but also humorous stories and hard-earned lessons from Dr. "Q", revealed by C. Alexander ("The Man Who Knows").

While the majority of the contents are devoted to psychic entertainments, there are also several illusions, stage magic effects, and escapes revealed. Thus, "The Dr. Q Book" (The Life and Mysteries of the Celebrated Dr. "Q") belongs on the bookshelf of every conjurer, no matter what his or her specialty.

Paul Fleming wrote:

This book covers a lot of ground, extending from card magic to stage illusions - from the Si Stebbins prearranged deck, one of the best-known conjuring principles, to the marvelous Kellar Levitation, one of magic's most closely guarded secrets, which will continue to remain a mystery to many who read Dr. Q's explanation. However, though Mr. Alexander touches upon many fields of magic, he is clearly less interested in "conjuring as conjuring" than in pseudo-mental, pseudo-spiritualistic, and other types of apparently supernormal feats.

There are, to begin with, some fifty pages of explanations of "mental phenomena" of two general classes. The first consists of the performer (who is seated on the stage) reading and answering, sometimes with the use of a crystal, questions that have been written by members of the audience. The author explains many procedures which enable the performer's assistants to learn what questions have been written, and describes devices (such as the speaking tube, the wired telephone, and the induction telephone) for communicating this information to the performer while he is in view of the audience. Additional means explained here for acquainting the performer with the gist of the written questions include the metal ball (a mechanical substitute for the crystal), the prepared pedestal on which an ordinary crystal rests), various fakes that may be held concealed in the hand, and other bits of apparatus.

The second type of mental test dealt with in some detail is thought-transference or Second-sight, in which the performer takes his position in the audience and apparently sends mental impressions to a blindfolded lady "medium" who is stationed on the stage. Mr. Alexander explains two methods of performing this feat which make use of telephonic communications one of them employing also an assistant), another method based on a "speaking code," and a third which employs a "silent code." The effect produced is similar to that with which Kellar, Zanzig, Rouclere, Floyd, Mercedes, and other well-known performers bewildered their audiences for years and years.

Prominent among the "spirit manifestations" explained by the author are slate-writing tests. In one of these a stack of ten slates is used, in a second the slates are held by a spectator, in a third two slates are bolted together, in a fourth the message is produced under the guise of "automatic writing" - and there are others. Additional spiritualistic demonstrations found here are Materialization; Table-rapping; The Trumpet Seance, A Spirit Cabinet with bell and tambourine tests (and finally the materialization of a human being), and The Spirit Paintings.

Perhaps a third of the book consists of tricks and illusions that are unrelated to mental or spiritualistic work. There are, among other things, The Hindoo Needle Trick, The Human Magnet, The Duck Vanish, Sawing a Woman in Two, The Kellar Levitation, The Asrah Levitation, The Great Mail Bag Escape, The Packing Case Mystery, The Challenge Handcuff ct, and perhaps a half-dozen feats of less importance.

Some of these mysteries are explained in great detail (as, for example, The Spirit Paintings in ten pages), but some are so sketchily handled that, though the broad secret is exposed, the information given will not always enable the reader to add a particular feat to his repertoire. The material is, on the whole, poorly arranged - a fault which the present publisher has attempted to remedy but without notable success, for the writing is at times so rambling that a logical grouping of material could be attained only through extensive rewriting. However, the book contains much of real interest and practical value to magicians who are willing to wade through a lot of discursive writing. There are, also, a number of takes of curious incidents avowedly experienced by "the celebrated Dr. Q" - tales which many a reader will be likely to accept only with mental reservations.

Physically, this edition is a definite improvement on the original printing, which was published in 1921 and has not been available for some years. The contents, though slightly rearranged, appear otherwise to be almost unchanged, but the publisher has adopted a new and better format, with larger type and a substantial increase in the number of pages, which now total 165. The book is well printed on coated paper (which, unfortunately, is of two shades) and is attractively bound in black cloth with gold-stamping on both front cover and spine. It will doubtless be received with great satisfaction by magicians who have long been seeking the very scarce first edition.

Partial contents:

  • Advertising Scheme
  • Anna Eva Faye Act
  • Asrah Illusion
  • Automatic Writing
  • Challenge Handcuff Act
  • Clairvoyancy and Clairaudience
  • Slate Writing
  • Crystal Gazing
  • Trumpet Seance
  • Questions and Answers
  • Mail Bag Escape
  • Master Mind Act
  • Materialization
  • Mental Projection
  • Modern Seership
  • Table Taps
  • Packing Box Escape
  • Producing a Spook
  • Sealed Letter Reading
  • Selected Slates
  • Spirit Paintings
  • Trance Clairvoyancy
  • Talking Tea Kettle
  • Telepathy
  • Levitation
  • The Office Switch
  • Whispering Buddha
  • and many others
Also revealed is the original and complete Zancig verbal and silent Mindreading Code. This is a top-notch two-person mental telepathy act, that requires no additional expense whatsoever. An easy to learn code that carried its inventor to the heights of his profession. This one item alone is worth the price of the entire ebook.

Original copies of this informative book sell for upwards of $100 on the used market. The effects themselves were often sold individually, too. For example, Thayer sold one effect in the book for $225 (the equivalent of more than $3,340 today)! Now you can get the complete, corrected 4th edition, with over fifty effects, secrets and professional advice, for about the price of a fast food lunch.

Are you a Nelson collector? This book was listed as Nos. 272 and 1231 in the Nelson Enterprises catalog.

"A must-own volume for either the mentalist or magician." - T. J. Crawford

"Fascinating reading for, in addition to what may be termed the 'meat', many anecdotes concerning the experiences of Dr. Q and others are woven into the text in interesting fashion." - J. G. Thompson, Jr.

"I recommend it highly for the wealth of information it contains. Should be in every magical library." - John Braun

"Essential. Treasured by those who want knowledge." - Lloyd E. Jones

"The best all around book on the subject. Nelson has done the new generation of mentalists a great service in reprinting this." - Julien J. Proskauer

1st edition 1946, PDF 158 pages.
word count: 56945 which is equivalent to 227 standard pages of text

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