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ed rhodes
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"Illusionology" by Albert D. Schafer (1915)

This is an odd book for several reasons. First, it's presented as a "found text" of "Albert D. Schafer" who wrote it in 1915. Thus, while historical references are in the book, there won't be any reference to anything that happened after 1915. (One correction, a reference to Chung Ling Soo and his bullet catch is given in the "present tense" with a "publisher's note" added to the page that mentions his death in 1918 and his identity as William Robinson.

The other odd thing about the book is that it's in the "hidden pages" format. Each page has some hidden content to be found by lifting an illustration and reading what's underneath. Some of these pages are "diary entries" by Schafer himself which goes on about the "science" of magic others are instructions for other tricks.

Also, within the pages are pockets which contain props for several magic tricks. As I got this book out of the library, some of the props were missing. But most, cards and dominoes, were actually still there and could be used to perform the tricks.

Halfway through the book you'll find a pop-up box with a representation of "Pepper's Ghost" inside. The version in this copy was torn, but easily repaired.

As the diary entries continue, Schafer enters into a project with someone named William Crookes who claims to have the ability to make people or items vanish and reappear some where else. (Shades of "The Prestige.") He and Crookes make a full sized device called the "Dematerilizer." Crookes falls ill and goes goes back to England leaving Schafer to test the device. The last entry states that he has had success with the Dematerilizer on small animals and will try it out on himself. There's supposed to be a cardboard representation of the Dematerilizer which will vanish and reproduce a coin, unfortunately, it's one of the props that's missing.

The back cover of the book has a smart phone code to scan and get a bonus trick.

All in all, it's a fascinating book to leaf through. Not something for heavy duty study, but a fun read.

"Illusionology" - Albert Schafer (1915) Candlewick Press, 99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144 - ISBN 978-0-7636-5588-4 (US. $19.99/Can $23.00)

(For some reason, doesn't work. But you don't get a missing page error, it comes up with "Could not load file or assemble" page.
"All the world's a stage, but the play is badly cast!" - Oscar Wilde
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