It is believed that the present work occupies a unique field in the extensive literature of magic. There are already a large number of treatises on natural magic and legerdemain, but in most of them very little attention has been given to the exposé of stage illusions, which are of great interest as they are so largely based on ingenious applications of scientific principles. Optics, mechanics, sound, and electricity have all been pressed into service by the fin de siècle prestidigitateur. In the present work great attention has been paid to elaborate tricks of this nature, and in many cases the exposés have been obtained from the prestidigitateurs themselves. In the first few chapters many of the best illusions of Robert-Houdin, Dr. Lynn, Professor Pepper, Bautier de Kolta, Heller, Herrmann, Maskelyne and Cooke, and Kellar will be found clearly explained.

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