Very little in magic is new. Some of the best methods, tricks and techniques have their origin in the oldest magic books. Knowing about the origin of an effect or move is important to a magician's education, so these works are worth looking through. Although the language can be archaic, and some effects of their time, there is work on cards, coins, and other items that still remain in the repertoire of magicians today. Each of these classic books contains many secrets, routines and gems of wisdom and are worth your study. Click on the image to download them right now.
The Discoverie of Witchcraft
by Reginald Scot (1584)
This is the first magic book published in English - intended to expose the magic of witches as not real magic, but the result of trickery.
by Professor Hoffmann (1876)
Prof. Hoffman's real name was Angelo Lewis, and this book is an important work in magic history. It details, with illustrations, the techniques of the conjuror at the time.
The Secrets of Stage Conjuring
by Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin (1881)
A sequel to Les Secrets de la Prestidigitation et de la Magie, this important work on stage magic was translated and edited after his death by Prof. Hoffmann.
Sleight of Hand
by Edwin Sachs (1885)
This classic work covers almost every aspect of the magicians art, from cards to clairvoyance. Dai Vernon, known as 'the professor', and one of the greatest magicians of the 20th Century, cites this as an important book.
The Expert at the Card Table
S.W. Erdnase (1902)
This book, often referred to as 'the bible', is one of the most important books on card magic and gambling. The book remains shrouded in mystery. It has been suggested that the author's name was really E.S. Andrews (S.W Erdanse spelled backwards) - but there are various theories as to the authorship, and why his identity was disguised.
The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin
by Harry Houdini (1908)
Having previously been inspired by Robert-Houdin, so much so that he took the stage name 'Houdini', this book is a work of revenge on the great master. He tries to show that most tricks Robert-Houdin were not his invention, however, most of Houdini's allegations are fabricated and do not stand up to closer inspection. That said, the book gives an interesting window into the history of magic, so is worth a read.
Modern Coing Magic
by J.B. Bobo (1910)
This encyclopedia of coin magic is still regarded today as the one of the most important books on the subject.
by Maskelyne & Devant (1911)
Maskelyne and Devant were producers of the legendary magic venue Egyptian Hall on Piccadilly in London.
David Devant was also the first president of the Magic Circle.
At over 500 pages, this tome imparts wisdom from two experienced professionals magicians at the top of their game.
by Professor Hoffmann (1918)
Latest Magic is the last book in Hoffmann’s series “Modern Magic”, “More Magic” and “Later Magic”.
Unlike Modern Magic, however, Hoffmann struggled to get a publisher for this, as most of the contents detail his own creations, rather than explaining the common secrets of the magician at the time.
The Original Tarbell Course in Magic
by Dr. Halan Tarbell (1928)
The Tarbell Course in Magic is regarded by many as the most complete encyclopedia of magic ever written. It has five volumes and over 1000 pages. Magicians return to this again and again for inspiration, and there is pure gold to be discovered within these pages. A magician could make his career from this alone, and still not have performed a quarter of it.
Practical Mental Effects
by Theodore Annemann (1944)
This important book on mind-reading and mentalism has become a classic.
It was later re-published as Practical Mental Magic in the 1980s.
Inner Secrets of Card Magic
by Lewis Ganson (1959)
This is one of several books on Dai Vernon's work, which has left a lasting impression on the magicians of the 20th and 21st centuries.
13 Steps to Mentalism
by Corinda (1961)
This book was originally published as a course of thirteen smaller booklets on mentalism. It is now considered to be the most text on mind-reading since Annemann.