Magiciansand their methods

This book is not about the methods used by magicians, mind-readers, mentalists and the rest of my kind who practise dark, deceptive arts purely for entertainment purposes.

You may have seen stage magicians who seem able to read the minds of complete strangers in the audience - telling them where they were born, their credit card numbers, where they went on holiday and so on. This is a neat enough routine, and I have done it myself more than a few times. There are many entertainers who specialise in similar miracles.

Do these kinds of magic tricks involve psychic ability? No. Stooges and confederates? Not usually, unless the performer is a poor exponent of his craft. So how are they done? Well, you will not find the answers here. After all, if you take away the secrets, you take away the magic, and that is not a fun thing to do.

With very rare exceptions, these stage tricks and mind-reading routines have little or nothing whatsoever to do with cold reading. What magicians do on stage is entertainment. This book is about deception used outside the sphere of entertainment. Please bear this distinction in mind. (See Appendix note 2 for more on this point).

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