This is not one of the major works on magic. It is not, for example, in the same class as Expert Card Technique by the same authors, or Modern Magic Manual by Mr. Hugard himself - two books which, by the way, we shall examine in detail in later reviews. Nevertheless, Miracle Methods is worthy of a place in every magical library. It is rumored that one of our foremost card experts gains many of his remarkable effects by using a stripper deck, and an examination of this little book will convince the reader that the performer who scorns this useful "mechanical" pack is missing some of the best things in card magic.
The authors attribute the current unpopularity of the stripper deck among professional magicians largely to the inferior quality of the "strippers" that have been available on the market. Quite logically, their first step is to tell exactly how the reader may make a satisfactory stripper deck for himself. Their next task is to teach in detail the "mechanics" of handling a prepared pack of this kind. The magician who has thought that a stripper deck "works itself" will discover here the error of his ways, and perhaps the reason for his lack of success in deceiving spectators with this device. He will learn that there are right and wrong ways of handling a stripper deck and that while the wrong ways lead to almost certain detection, the right ways are so subtle as to be practically undetectable. Once mastered (and, as is so often true in magic, the right way in this instance is no harder to learn than the wrong), the ability to handle the stripper deck properly carries with it the power to perform a whole series of brilliant effects with cards.
Mr. Hugard and his collaborator do not ask the reader to originate these effects for himself. Instead, they devote three-fifths of their book to the presentation of twenty-two feats with a stripper deck which (though we have not the space to describe them) fully justify the authors in their use of the adjectives "unfathomable," "startling," "exciting," "phenomenal," and "bewildering." Among these tricks are, to quote the writers, "certain effects possible with a stripper pack which cannot be obtained by any other means," and others which, while they may be approximated by sleight-of-hand, can be performed either more easily or more convincingly with this prepared pack.
Miracle Methods is a well-written, well-printed booklet of 32 pages, bound in soft boards. It contains information which, if used intelligently, will make the reputation of the amateur magician, and may even add luster to that of many a professional.