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Coming to a Magick Lounge near you on Wednesday 11 September is a lecture by Kainoa Harbottle, whose magic breathes new life into the tired phrase “right before your very eyes.” His performances represent his wish to share with others, uncanny experiences — events that bring to life our desires. By making money appear from nowhere, reading people’s minds, and proving that (with the right encouragement) anyone can perform the seemingly impossible, Kainoa endeavors to make magical experiences meaningful to all.

Kainoa was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, and began performing magic after spending a good deal of his youth working with a local drama group (excellent training for any would-be magician!). By high school, he was performing semi-professionally, including weekly tablehopping at Curtis Kam’s showroom in Waikiki, as well as in restaurants and private shows for both the business sector and the tourist industry.

After attending college in Los Angeles where he was a Junior Member at the Magic Castle, Kainoa headed east, earning a Ph.D. in English from the University of Delaware. His research is on Victorian performance magic and the connections between the works of Professor Hoffmann and John Nevil Maskelyne with the popular literature and periodicals of the period.

Kainoa has written extensively on coin manipulation as well as how to apply practical theatrical techniques to increase the quality of the audience’s experience.

As I’m sure our eager reader knows, The Magick Lounge is at 82 Broad Street, Sheffield, S2 5TG. Doors will open with surprising precision to the cognoscenti and other magicians at 7 o’clock and the lecture will start at 7:30. Don’t forget that admission is free to Sheffield Circle members, £10 for visiting magicians and £5 for juniors. Come and enjoy a fascinating, entertaining and educational uncanny experience.

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Several people have been touch about the Houdini pitch book. To answer the first question, yes it is for sale. It’s not mine, unfortunately, but I have examined it and can put you in touch with the seller.

I posted a scan of the front cover on my last post. Here are a few more scans to give you a better idea of the book. Back cover on the left, inside front cover and first page above right, inside page spread lower right.

Incidentally, a little local interest, one of Houdini’s certificates from “various chiefs of police” (see right hand scan above, lower right) reads:

Chief Constable’s Office,
Sheffield, Jan. 19, 1904.

This is to certify that Mr. Harry Houdini was this day stripped stark naked and locked in the cell which once contained Charles Peace. The cell was searched and triple-locked, But Mr. Houdini released himself and redressed in five minutes, having also opened the iron gate of the corridor.

Charles J. Scott, Commander (R.N.)
Chief Constable, Sheffield,
Witness to the foregoing feat,
George H. Barker, Deputy Chief Constable

Charles Peace? An “infamous murderer”; brief history of his exploits, capture, escape, recapture and execution can be found here.

A few more details of the book:

The book is a soft cover, wire-stitched pitch book entitled Handcuff Tricks Exposed, Illustrated Life and History of Houdini. It was printed by Clegg & Son in 1911 (revised edition).

It has a pictorial yellow wrapper with a bust portrait of Houdini (the “Houdini for President” image) and a reproduced signature. The front cover is worn with minor tears and nicks but it is still attached. The back cover is loose. The last three pages although intact are loose from the staples, the rest are attached.

Overall, considering this paperback is almost 110 years old I feel it has survived in remarkable condition.

The seller has stated, ” I have had this book for many years and it is  only recently that it has surfaced again. I did an amount of research on this particular book and found it to be extremely rare and with a value of around $2000. (That was for bad copies. *) I am open to sensible offers and appreciate this book needs to go to a serious collector.”

* Russell’s note: one copy which went for over $2000 had clear marks of having been folded in half.

Front Cover

I’m offering on behalf of the owner perhaps the rarest of the Houdini pitch books: Handcuff Tricks Exposed: Illustrated Life and History of Houdini, 1911. In good condition for its age; see picture above.

Email me and I’ll put you in touch with the seller who’ll be happy to supply further details.

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In 1992 I was proud to publish Steve Cook‘s first book Point Blank. He’d lectured for The Sheffield Circle and I’d been very impressed by his direct, commercial approach, so I was delighted when he agreed to entrust us with the publication of his first volume of beautifully routined effects.

A modest and self-effacing character, Steve’s reputation at the time was limited to a relatively small group of magicians who had experienced his clear and entertaining approach to magic. Since then, of course, his fame has spread. He has received worldwide acclaim for his effects, such as Symbol, Volition, The Stealth Case, ID, Die-Abolical and many more.

In 2008 I was pleased to help with the editing and design of his book Legend: An Anecdotal Tribute to Ken Brooke, which gave me the opportunity again to appreciate his love for and dedication to the craft of magic and the performers and innovators he respected.

Steve has been a regular visitor to The Magick Lounge over the years, visits which are always keenly anticipated by the ‘Loungers’ who enjoy his entertaining (and mystifying) performances and the wide-reaching magical discussions which follow.

In 2018 Steve approached me to work on the final editing and technical production of Fake Genius. As soon as I received the initial manuscript I knew he had a winner on his hands. I also knew he shared my concern for attention to detail and the highest possible standards in magical publishing. Steve Haresign of Haresign Press was to handle print production; I’ve always been impressed by his work and I was sure that together we could produce a book that the discerning magician would be proud to own.

I believe we have. Fake Genius is now available, and the reviews have been amazing and very gratifying. Copies are now available from Magick.

“Steve Cook IS a genius! WOW! I’m half-way through… I’ll say it again, WOW! I was correct, these are strong, workable effects. Grab this book, it’s going to be a classic.”
Steve Dela

Note that Steve’s book is limited to 500 copies worldwide. It contains twenty real-world worker effects, plus fascinating and invaluable essays, tips and advice on a range of magical topics.

“I rarely read a magic/mentalism book from cover to cover. I can count on one hand how many I have. Until now. Steve Cook may be a ‘Fake Genius’ but his book is full of excellent effects. There is one particular effect, that in my opinion, is worth the price of the book. However, I am not going to tell you what it is. Find out for yourself.” Mike Sullivan

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This Thursday 13 June Michael Kaminskas will be at The Magick Lounge. His lecture will elevate your close-up and parlour magic to the next level with applications that can be adapted to fit any performance situation. It is filled with hidden gems gained through decades of real-world experience. There are no pipe dreams.

​”Watching Michael Kaminskas work is a master class in sleight-of-hand and audience entertainment. Pay attention!” – Shoot Ogawa

​For those of you not familiar with Michael’s work, he is an author, creator, performer and consultant. He regularly works for many Fortune 500 companies weaving magic into their presentations and hospitality suites. In 2012 Michael opened his one man show Imagine which ran completely sold-out for three consecutive years. Michael earned his PhD in magic at the prestigious FFFF invitation only gathering and is a member of the Magic Circle – A.I.M.C. with Silver Star.

“Having had the pleasure to have worked with Michael at the Magic Castle, I can tell you without hesitation that if Michael were to share any of his hard-fought / blood-bought, real world experience, it’s worth your time to drop everything and give him a listen. A true professional.” – Thom Peterson, The Amazing Guy

Since the release of his first instructional book in 1994, Michael has lectured extensively for his peers throughout the world from conventions to various groups and clubs, to the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, California where he has also performed on several occasions.

​”Mike has been a wonderful creative force in magic for many years now with several books, DVD’s, and effects on the market. More than that, the material he releases comes from his extensive repertoire of strolling, formal close-up and parlor magic. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from a top worker.” – Marc DeSouza

He is an inventor and a creator of world-class magic with many instructional books, DVD’s and effects on the market. Known for his impeccable sleight-of-hand and smooth performance style, Michael was dubbed “King of the Cups” by the late Mike Rogers. He has created both new and novel approaches to classic effects as well as being the creator and manufacturer of some of the finest cups and balls sets and chop cups in the world. This is one lecture you will not want to miss!

​”Michael Kaminskas creates secrets with the forbidden knowledge passed on from the masters of the past. With audiences always evolving; so too must their experience. Tap into the mind of a 21st century magician with two centuries of experience.” – Reed McClintock

What will he teach? While Michael has a basic outline for this lecture, it is also the people’s lecture. This is what makes the live learning process so valuable. The ability to ask questions. Quite simply that can’t be done on a DVD or in a download release. Each lecture is bound to be slightly different and based upon what the group wishes to engage in seeing and discussing. With a lifetime of magical knowledge nothing is off the table. While Michael will have some products to sell, THIS IS NOT a dealer dem. Everyone will be able to leave and perform some of the effects straight away.

​”Michael has some killer ideas that I’ve enjoyed for many years! Michael is skillful, creative and a super nice guy. You’re gonna learn some great magic!” – Chad Long

The Magick Lounge is at 82 Broad Street, Sheffield, S2 5TG. Doors will be flung wide on the dot of 7 o’clock-ish and the lecture will start at 7:30. Don’t forget that admission is free for Sheffield Circle members, £10 for visiting magicians and £5 for juniors.

With the massive influx of books over the last few months it’s been quite a struggle keeping our second-hand book list up to date. As soon as we think we’re almost there more books arrive and more books are sold. But I decided it was time to draw a line so at last we’re here… Magick’s biggest ever book list is ready!

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Inside you’ll find 56 packed pages listing books on magic, mentalism and allied crafts, including many rare, out of print and hard to find items. First come, first served as always. Click the picture above to download your copy. Or go to our website.

Please note that we no longer sell second-hand books through Amazon; they are available only direct from us.

On the subject of second-hand magic, we also have a wide range of tricks, props and DVDs. And one day I may get around to listing them. Until then, drop in and check them out. The kettle’s on.

Those of us interested in matters arcane and occult will be familiar with the name of Doctor Jacob Tordoff. When we meet he can usually be relied upon to relate some story of strange and ghostly happenings. How many are strictly true I couldn’t say, but there are times when his eyes betray the wild and haunted look of a man who has looked deep into places more rational souls would avoid or deny.

On his last visit he sat in his familar place on the battered chaise longue (formerly the seat of certain others of his ilk now passed to the great beyond; but that’s another story). As I reverently unscrewed the cap of his personal bottle of 18-year-old Triple Cask Macallan, he pulled from his shabby overcoat a small wooden box, tightly bound with string.

He placed the box before him on the table then paused to watch as I poured three fingers of the fragrant amber liquid into his crystal Lalique nosing and tasting glass. Did I perceive a slight tremor in his hand as he picked up the glass and took a deep, appreciative sniff? Was there a story which troubled him that he needed to tell?

He took a small sip, replaced the glass on the table and picked up the curious box, turning it in his hands for what seemed like several minutes before he apparently made a decision. With shaking fingers he undid the knot in the string and unwound it from the box.

“You’ll have heard stories of the hauntings at Borley Rectory?” he remarked.

“Of course,” I replied, relaxing. I’m afraid I’m something of a sceptic when it comes to Borley Rectory stories. Borley Rectory was a Victorian house that became known (or infamous) as ‘the most haunted house in England’ after being described as such by ‘psychic researcher’ Harry Price. Fascinating as the imaginative, or credulous, Mr Price’s stories are, they are now rejected by serious researchers into such matters.

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Paranormal image taken at Borley Rectory

 

“Ah, but this has nothing to do with illicit monastic relationships and bricked-up nuns,” continued Doctor Tordoff, staring down at the box gripped in his calloused hands. His thumbs pressed down on the box lid as if he were afraid that the contents would somehow burst forth from its confines….

What did the box contain? What was Doctor Tordoff’s story? And why was this seasoned dabbler into arcane thaumaturgy so disturbed by such a seemingly innocuous object? For the answer to this and many other questions, come and see us at Blackpool.