Is there a "Bible" for stage magic/illusions?

And if so, what would it be?

I’m looking for probably something older, something that most practicing magicians (specifically of the sleight of hand/illusions/misdirection school) would at least recognize, and if possible, one that most of them would approve of.

I know nothing about stage magic and magicians, so I’m totally at a loss here.



Can’t speak for anyone else, but I like the Tarbell Course in Magic.

Another good source is the Rupert Howard Magic Course.

Magic and Showmanship: A Handbook for Conjurers, by Henning Nelms.

Very cool thread.
I’ll be looking at those.

Tarbell is still referred to by magicians every day. That set of books is the magic bible.

A newer, less complete but very fine reference book is Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic from 1988.

Much older are Modern Magic, More Magic and Later Magic by Professor Hoffman from the last quarter of the 19th Century.

There’s Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic, which is very good for slight of had tricks.

Let me guess, the “e” and the “n” are in your coat pocket? :slight_smile:

Nope…what’s this??..they’re behind your ear.

I am not quite sure I know what you mean by a bible in this context, but Modern Magic by Professor Hoffmann might come close in that, in its day, it was considered very important. These days I think there are too many books on magic for any one to stand out all that much, although even when I was a kid people used to say the one you really had to read and master for card magic was The Royal Road to Card Magic by Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue (I tried, but it was too tough for me).

Prof Hoffmann is more about stage illusions, though. I never had his Modern Magic, but I still have a copy of his Magical Titbits, which gives a detailed account of the very famous (in its day) “A Devil of a Hat”, in which the German magician Hartz would begin with an empty top hat and practically bare stage (there were a couple of simple tables to put stuff on, I think) and by the end had absolutely filled the stage with all sorts of stuff pulled out of the hat. Nearly all the stuff was really special made fakes, such as what appeared to be several bottles of wine, but were really (IIRC) metal “shells” painted to look like wine bottles, that could be stacked one within the other.

Thank you all - I need a single volume rather than a set, and I was looking for something that would be older, so I think that the Hoffman is going to be my winner.

Thanks again for all the suggestions!