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Featured image, a poster for magician Howard Thurston

In 'Spectacle of Illusion,' it doesn't stop being magic just because you've found out how it was done

Featured image, a poster produced around 1915 for magician Howard Thurston's traveling magic act, is reproduced from The Spectacle of Illusion, experimental psychologist Dr. Matthew L. Tompkins' study of the psychological underpinnings that make magic, illusions and paranormal events possible in the human mind. A former professional magician, Tompkins somehow manages to discuss historical tricks and techniques of deception without giving any important trade secrets away. He concludes, "just because something is a trick or an illusion, does not mean it cannot be wonderful. A sense of wonder and a satisfying mechanistic explanation do not need to be mutually exclusive. Tricks can—and do—evoke extraordinary experiences, and clearer, truer comprehension of the natural mechanisms underpinning these can be beautiful, even when they are relatively simple. To paraphrase the writer Terry Pratchett: it doesn't stop being magic just because you've found out how it was done."

The Spectacle of Illusion

The Spectacle of Illusion

Hbk, 7 x 9.5 in. / 224 pgs / 165 color / 370 b&w.

$35.00  free shipping

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