Illusions

Every magical effect is really an illusion, but in the magic profession we designate as illusions only the bigger effects in which people are produced, vanished, transformed, or levitated in a mysterious manner.

You have learned a vast number of effects and experiments in the past fifty lessons, and now in the remaining lessons you will learn big illusions.

In presenting illusions to you, I have encountered the problem of selecting only those which are practical for you to perform. I want to teach you those illusions which you can easily build yourself or which you can have built without difficulty.

There are many illusions that I could explain to you, but you would not be able to use them. They are adapted to the uses of the big stage illusionists who work on elaborate principles. They require the expenditure of thousands of dollars on equipment; they require big stage settings and many assistants; they require facilities and expenses for transporting them from place to place.

This course has not been written merely to satisfy the curious, but to provide a system of instruction and training to make you a successful magician. It would be contrary to the purpose of this course, then, merely to give explanations of illusions which you could not use. Take Thurston's Levitation, for instance. Very few, indeed, could afford the thousands of dollars necessary to build it, nor would they have the facilities for presenting it. Therefore, such illusions are not practical for you.

Aside from this, the question of ethics arises. Magicians the world over have entrusted me with the innermost secrets of many of their pet illusions, and I would not think of breaking faith with them. An illusion which a magician has built up as a big feature number associated with himself is really his personal property and I would not feel at liberty to give you his property. You can readily put yourself in the same situation and see what it would mean to you to have your feature numbers put into the hands of others.

There is no need for taking the feature numbers of other magicians, however, for there is plenty of material otherwise to make you a tremendous success as an illusionist. In the following lessons you will find this material, and all you need to do is apply yourself earnestly to learning the principles, to elaborating and adapting the illusions to yourself, and you will have a repertoire that is sure to bring success.

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