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Philemon Vanderbeck
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Mine arrived today. I'll be poring through its pages over the week and let you know what I think by the next.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
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That would be great Philemon. Many thanks, Luc.
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Profile of Mad0hatter
For those interested here is the text copied from Joe Diamonds Facebook post on the bizarre group.

Read this through the night & into the morning. Some thoughts...

I was honestly disappointed that most of the essays & writings actually by Eugene were already previously published in various magazines & online resources. Less "From Beyond" and more "From Before"

The explanations of actually unpublished routines were lacking, sometimes there's no method explanation, but 8 script versions. For "The Last Dream" it's literally just a transcript of his performance on the L&L tapes. No explanation, just the script. For the pieces that do contain methods, I found myself constantly re-reading methods because some key elements were comically glossed over. The explanations are also over crediting different sources, which makes the lack of actual method description even more glaring.

There's a lot of filler in the book, oddly composed of sections and chapters describing the book you are currently reading. This seemed more appropriate for a magazine. Plus several effects were/are previously published as stand alone products. (Shotglass Surprise, The Paper Hat, The Spot Card)

All that said, the parts actually written by Eugene, published or unpublished, are a delight to read as always. There's always insight to be learned from his words. Strangely, the transcript of his lecture on a piece of apparatus magic is probably worth the price of the entire book.

The price tag is a bit high, considering how little of it it truly unpublished, but overall it makes a worthy companion to Eugene's other works, despite its flaws.
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FYI - for the explanation of 'The Last Dream', it can be found in 'The Magic Mirror' by Robert E.Neale with David Parr.
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Profile of DocBenWiz
Thanks for the honest review Madohatter and speaking to the relevant issues for those of us balancing budgets of something supposedly "new" (unpublished works) versus our already fairly complete collection of works!
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"Pay no attention to that strange man behind the curtain" (it's only "Doc Benjamin from the Amazing Wizardelia Wagon")
Philemon Vanderbeck
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I spent this morning reading through the entirety of "From Beyond," and while Mr. Diamond is essentially correct in his assessment of this tome, I feel that he misses a few major points.

While it is true that the vast majority of the essays were published previously in other works, Dr. Hass has done us all the favor of compiling them into one volume for easy access. I, for one, have no desire to hunt down the dozens of magazines (and other sources) in which Mr. Burger graciously shared his wisdom.

Then there is the matter of methods. For me, the value of any book of magic is not in the tricks themselves, but rather the philosophy that goes into creating presentations for those tricks. If the description of a method is lacking, it is because the item is still commercially sold, or else, the reader will need to experiment in modifying the handling to suit their particular performance style. I really didn't have any problem understanding the methods. And I would hope that the first impulse of the reader would not to decide to perform a given trick that appears in the book. I have no desire to see other performers begin presenting Eugene's work. As it is, the book contains means to access video performances of Eugene presenting many of the effects, and I can already sense that certain purchasers are memorizing Eugene's carefully crafted words so they can become a living pastiche of the unique Mr. Burger. Instead, I am grateful that much of Eugene's performance has been recorded for posterity, to be enjoyed, technical flaws and all, by future students who did not have the benefit of attending a lecture from the great thinker.

For exactly that reason, the inclusion of eight different versions of a script developed by Eugene is a profound insight to how a wordsmith crafts his performance; taking a rough draft and polishing it to perfect brevity. Every word uttered by Eugene has been carefully rehearsed and honed. I can only wish more magicians took the time to script their shows; I detest those who adamantly refuse to do so, with the excuse that they need to "be in the moment" (or some such nonsense), not realizing that a script does not preclude an ad lib when the moment presents itself. But I digress . . .

For Mr. Diamond the chapter on the Okito Visible Block Penetration (at least, I think that that was what he was referring to) was "worth the price of the entire book," ironically followed immediately by "The price tag is a bit high." For me, however, the chapter that made the entire book worthwhile was the one regarding a haunted bell, which has caused me to consider purchasing yet another prop for my séance show. I suspect each reader will find something different that will inspire them, as is the nature of all good books. Is $80 really too much for a 200-page book? I've spent far more for a single prop that I've used only once and now sits retired in the back of my magic closet. I can safely say that I've gained at least eight different "inspirations," which means they cost me $10 each; a bargain considering the source. I've attended lectures by established professionals that cost me far more, and I left with only one good idea (and I was happy).

And I'm pleased to learn a great secret contained within this book, one that I'm not sure that I should reveal in a semi-public forum, but I eagerly await the moment that it is revealed to the rest of the world. And mark my words, I shall be first in line to take advantage of it when it does.

Finally, in closing, allow me to share this brief excerpt spoken by Eugene from the opening interview in the foreword:

". . . a strange fact about internet opinions, venues, and chat rooms: the anonymity of them allows the three-day novice to have as much voice, bandwidth, and apparent authority as someone like Jeff McBride or Max Maven. That is simply preposterous, isn't it? This fact alone makes chat rooms and online forums a dangerous place to be, at least if you want to be an excellent performer. Of course, if you want friendship, that is fine. But if you want to be a better magician, then my voice coming to magicians 'from beyond' says turn off the computer!"

And with that thought in mind, I wonder what other final secrets are to be gained from elsewhere.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
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