The Spectacle of Illusion: Magic, the paranormal & the complicity of the mind (Hardback)
  • The Spectacle of Illusion: Magic, the paranormal & the complicity of the mind (Hardback)
zoom

The Spectacle of Illusion: Magic, the paranormal & the complicity of the mind (Hardback)

(author)
£19.95
Hardback 224 Pages / Published: 04/04/2019
  • In stock online
  • Free UK delivery

Usually dispatched within 24 hours

  • This item has been added to your basket
Your local Waterstones may have stock of this item. Please check by using Click & Collect
'A spectacular treasury of treats. Page after page of utter joy: I can't tear my eyes away' - Derren Brown

In The Spectacle of Illusion, professional magician-turned experimental psychologist Dr. Matthew L. Tompkins investigates the arts of deception as practised and popularised by mesmerists, magicians and psychics since the early 18th century. Organised thematically within a broadly chronological trajectory, this compelling book explores how illusions perpetuated by magicians and fraudulent mystics can not only deceive our senses but also teach us about the inner workings of our minds. Indeed, modern scientists are increasingly turning to magic tricks to develop new techniques to examine human perception, memory and belief.

Beginning by discussing mesmerism and spiritualism, the book moves on to consider how professional magicians such as John Nevil Maskelyne and Harry Houdini engaged with these movements - particularly how they set out to challenge and debunk paranormal claims. It also relates the interactions between magicians, mystics and scientists over the past 200 years, and reveals how the researchers who attempted to investigate magical and paranormal phenomena were themselves deceived, and what this can teach us about deception.

Highly illustrated throughout with entertaining and bizarre drawings, double-exposure spirit photographs and photographs of spoon-bending from hitherto inaccessible and un-mined archives, including the Wellcome Collection, the Harry Price Library, the Society for Physical Research, and last but not least, the Magic Circle's closely guarded collection, the book also features newly commissioned photography of planchettes, rapping boards, tilting tables, ectoplasm, automata and illusion boxes. Concluding with a modern-day analysis of the science of magic and illusion, analysing surprisingly weird phenomena such as ideomotor action, sleep paralysis, choice blindness and the psychology of misdirection, this unnerving volume highlights how unreliable our minds can be, and how complicit they can be in the perpetuation of illusions.

Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
ISBN: 9780500022429
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 860 g
Dimensions: 240 x 170 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'A spectacular treasury of treats. Page after page of utter joy: I can't tear my eyes away' - Derren Brown
'A remarkable book ... reveals the inner workings of the extraordinary and yet seems to keep all its secrets too. It's wonderful' - Andy Nyman
'What a treasure trove. You can get lost forever in the trance of the fascinating photos and illustrations, but make no mistake - the real gems are in the scholarly text. In providing an elegant and informative history of all things magical, it also conjures the deepest mysteries and puzzles about the human mind. Brilliant' - Professor Kia Nobre, Head of Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford
'A wonderful book that demystifies the mystics, and illuminates the weird history of psychics and their investigators ... I highly recommend this beautifully written and illustrated book to anyone interested in science, magic or who simply enjoys good stories about weird pieces of forgotten history' - Dr. Gustav Kuhn, Reader in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London and Head of the MAGIC Research Lab

You may also be interested in...

Self-working Card Tricks
Added to basket
The Art of Hand Shadows
Added to basket
Houdini & Conan Doyle
Added to basket
Hey Presto!
Added to basket
£5.99
Hardback
Mathematics, Magic and Mystery
Added to basket
The Magic Book
Added to basket
£16.99
Paperback
Modern Coin Magic
Added to basket
£8.99
Paperback
Magic Tricks
Added to basket
£2.50
Paperback
Hiding The Elephant
Added to basket
Magic the Complete Course
Added to basket
Magic
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback
Card Tricks for Beginners
Added to basket
Self-Working Close-Up Card Magic
Added to basket
Self-working Mental Magic
Added to basket
Joshua Jays Amazing Book of Card
Added to basket
£12.99
Mixed media product
The History of Magic
Added to basket

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.