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Dave Shepherd on Magic and the Written Word

One of the most common questions I hear after a magical performance is perhaps the most predictable:

"How did you do that?"

Of course, I can't tell, because to tell the secrets would spoil the work of the imagination--both mine and the audience's--that created the magical effect.

However, I am also a teacher, and one thing I want to do is to empower potential learners. So I am always willing to share a very important secret. Indeed, I believe this is the most important secret in magic.

It's written in a book somewhere.

Magic is an art that documents its secrets carefully. The literature of magic in the English language goes back to 1584, when Sir Reginald Scot wrote The Discoverie of Witchcraft. This book, still read by magicians today, explained through words and pictures how the street magicians of London performed their feats of seeming impossibility.

So to learn the secrets of magic, one need only be willing to read. Of course, access to the secrets is only the first step. The next steps involve careful reading and re-reading, creative thought, practice and performance.

Now let me try to guide you, gentle Website Visitor, to some written resources I consider important for a magician to read.


Are you a dabbler?

If you are just dipping your big toe into the chilly magical waters, click here for some beginners' books.

Are you a serious beginner?

If you know a little bit about magic and want to dig deeper into serious illusion and sleight-of-hand, click here for some classic magical texts.

Would you like electronic access to magic literature?

For access to a wealth of classic magic books in a universally browsable electronic format, click here for classic magic in electronic form (eBooks).



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