When I was a kid, I believed magicians could actually perform magic – what they exhibited weren’t tricks, but legitimate supernatural powers, and I longed to know their secrets. Houdini was one of my heroes, almost mythical. And when Scholastic Books would occasionally offer a privileged peek into the world of Magic, I would jump at the chance every time. Sadly, I was always disappointed in what they revealed. These were simple tricks for simple minds – slight of hand and misdirection. They were holding out on me, or they themselves just didn’t know the *real* secrets. Of course, I eventually I realized people like David Copperfield and Doug Henning really were just frauds, talented frauds, but shysters nonetheless, to use a term my German grandmother favored. They weren’t cutting anyone in half. They weren’t levitating. And the only thing they ever made disappear was my wonder in magic. Doug Henning’s “Spirits of Illusion” and “Wonder Whims” can get bent.
But I digress. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah. Scholastic Books on Magic. I found this TAB book at a garage sale last weekend. TAB was Scholastic’s “Teenage Age Book” club. From 1955, it’s “Spooky Magic” and a selection of their better tricks. Maybe you can use them at your Halloween party.
The old "Lemon Juice Invisible Ink" trick
The "Floating Body" is neither a body nor does it float. Discuss amongst yourselves.