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William Draven
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Title: Spirit Theater
Author: Eugene Burger
Publicist: Kaufman & Company
Illistrated, Photographed, and Edited by: Richard Kaufman
Retail Price: $50.00
Reading Difficulty: Easy
Notes: Not only a great introductory to Spirit Theater as a performance art, but also a good primer into the rich history of the spirit medium from the boom of spirit theater in the late 1800's to it's presentation today.
Hard Cover
Over 180 pages of material
Illustrated & Photographed

Eugene Burger tackles the spooky subject of conjuring ghosts for fun, profit, and entertainment with a well thought out, well written book that is a no holds bar on Spirit Theater. Everything you need to know from character, presentation, tricks, and even history is included in this well written primer into the art of Necromancy.

I got an email from someone asking me a question about what Bizarre magic was after they had read one of my reviews. Sure the genre has been talked about before, but it's a type of magic that just doesn't get let out of the basement all that often. However, I must say that when dealing with things that are strange, supernatural, or unusual you will not find a source more dedicated to arming you with the knowledge you need to develop your act and your character, than what you will find with Eugene Burgers book “Spirit Theater”.

First off I have to get this off my chest. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Burger, both as an artist and as an instructor. It's probably not really fair of me to be doing a review on his work, because his standards for instructional material is high enough that I believe anything he would produce would surpass even the most stern of critics expectations. With that regard, choosing to do a review on one of his works is like going after low hanging fruit. However, I do want to get the word out there that I really found this material useful, hence forth the review. With that being said, I hope you enjoy the rest of this review while I enjoy this nice freshly picked juicy red apple.

Spiritual seances have been going on for centuries. People have always had a morbid facination with death, and what happens afterwords. As well they should, simply because even with all of our modern science we are unable to answer the question of if there is life that proceeds death. As with anyone who will ask a question, there will always be someone there ready to provide an answer and that's just what the spirit mediums of the 19th century did. They provided contact with the decieced. “proof” that there was life after death, and like today there were just as many skeptics back then as well. Some of those skeptics were even able to expose some of these fake mediums as frauds, by proving they were accomplishing their effects with the aid of more natural means than they would like you to believe. However, anyway you look at it, people today are just as curious about the supernatural as they were at the turn of the century, and providing them an up close and personal experience with a ghost can be a fun and exciting way to entertain people. Spirit Theater is just the right book to get you started doing just that!
William Draven
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Las Vegas, NV
468 Posts

Profile of William Draven
The book is set up to walk you through the subject of Spirit conjuring from the outside looking in on the subject. This is an element that I love. The book doesn't assume you already know everything about the subject, but it doesn't treat you like your stupid either. It starts you out with what spirit theater is, then gives you a solid history lesson on the subject, before it starts getting into the meat and potatoes of character, presentation, performance, and then leaves you with some final thoughts on investigations, history, and manifestations. One thing I loved about the book is the interviews with Tony Andruzzi, and Max Mavin.

This book isn't chalked full of effects and tricks, but it does have some in it. I'm not going to go into details but I will say it's got some great ideas on impromptu spirit messages, haunted keys, Eugene's Gypsy Thread, a spirit writing effect, and even more exciting than that, a conversation with Eugene on his own séance show “Hauntings”, which provides a nice insight into the professional séance show. All the material Eugene presents is well thought through, scripted, and structured well to fit the theme of the book.

My overall impression of this book was a very good one. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in spirit conjuring. In fact Eugene makes a point in the book about magicians being able to conjure spirits. He says “Don't you think any magician worth his salt ought to be able to conjure up a respectable spirit?” I think armed with the material presented in this book conjuring up a respectable spirit is the least you'll be able to do once you've mastered the concepts and applied them to your show. This has been a GREAT read!

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Readability and Over all Quality.

Product Quality: 8
I think the product is a solid one, and the price isn't too bad for what you get.

Teaching Quality: 9
Eugene doesn't water down any of the material for you, but he doesn't treat you like an idiot either. All the information is well presented, and well taught given the limitations of print and pictures.

Readability: 9
I thought the book was an easy read. There isn't any material in the book that is too complicated, or heady to understand. Even the history section was interesting to read through.

Over All Quality: 9
I wouldn't have expected the quality of this product to be any less, and I wasn't disappointed either! Whether you want this as a resource, or you plan to do some spirit work yourself, either way a copy of this belongs in your library.
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