The Miracle Mongers
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Harry Houdini exposes the tricks that astonish folks in this book that he himself authored - This is a book on how common psychology, special effects and trickery can create miracles for audiences.
The author tries to explain that there may be nothing supernatural in magic but only science and illusion.
He refers to miracle mongers are mere mortal men without any supernatural powers but have the knowledge of how to create illusions and wow audiences.
Readers will find interesting tricks and objects used to create illusions. Definitely, a must-read book for magicians and anyone engaged in entertainment business!
I. EVERY MAN SHOULD HAVE A HOME
II. A GRATEFUL CLIENT
III. THE BEAUTY OF TRUTH AND UTILITY
IV. PROFESSIONAL FOLLY
V. BUILDING-SITES AND FOUNDATION-WALLS
VI. GRAVEL-BANKS AND QUAGMIRES
VII. NATURE'S BRICKS ARE BETTER THAN OURS
VIII. THERE IS A SOFT SIDE EVEN TO A STONE WALL
IX. A BROAD HOUSE IS BETTER THAN A HIGH ONE
X. TROUT BROOKS ARE BETTER THAN STREET SEWERS
XI. THE STRENGTH AND DURABILITY OF BRICK
XII. THE WEAKNESS AND SHAM OF BRICKWORK
XIII. SKILL DIGNIFIES THE MOST HUMBLE MATERIAL
XIV. EVERY MAN TO HIS TRADE
XV. THE COMING HOUSE WILL BE FAIR TO SEE AND MADE OF BRICK
XVI. DOMESTIC DISCIPLINE
XVII. GOOD TASTE IS NOT A FOE BUT A FRIEND TO ECONOMY
XVIII. OUR PICTURESQUE ANCESTORS
XIX. THE USE AND THE ABUSE OF WOOD
XX. A SURRENDER AND CHANGE OF BASE
XXI. HOSPITALITY AND SUNLIGHT
XXII. UNPROFESSIONAL SAGACITY
XXIII. STAIRWAYS AND OUTLOOKS
XXIV. IN A MULTITUDE OF COUNSELLORS IS SAFETY
XXV. DOORS AND SLIDING-DOORS, WINDOWS AND BAY-WINDOWS
XXVI. EXPERIENCE KEEPS A DEAR SCHOOL
XXVII. FASHION AND ORNAMENT, HARD WOOD AND PAINT
XXVIII. THOUGHT PROVOKES INQUIRY
XXIX. CONSISTENCY, COMFORT, AND CARPETS
XXX. AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND ARCHITECTURE, POTATOES AND POSTSCRIPTS
XXXI. DOMESTIC-SERVICE REFORM
XXXII. GO TO; LET US BUILD A TOWER
XXXIII. BASEMENTS AND BALCONIES
XXXIV. FOUR ROOMS ENOUGH
XXXV. CONVENIENCES AND CONJECTURES
XXXVI. THE LESSON OF THE ICE-HOUSE
XXXVII. SHINGLES, SUNSHINE, AND FRESH AIR
XXXVIII. WHERE THE DOCTORS DIFFER
XXXIX. HOW TO DO IT
XL. THE BREATH OF LIFE
XLI. ETERNAL VIGILANCE
LII. SAVED BY CONSCIENCE
XLIII. FINAL AND PERSONAL
BY WAY OF APPENDIX
My professional life has been a constant record of disillusion, and many things that seem wonderful to most men are the every-day commonplaces of my business. But I have never been without some seeming marvel to pique my curiosity and challenge my investigation. In this book I have set down some of
the stories of strange folk and unusual performers that I have gathered in many years of such research.
Much has been written about the feats of miracle-mongers, and not a little in the way of explaining them. Chaucer was by no means the first to turn shrewd eyes upon wonder- workers and show the clay feet of these popular idols. And since his time innumerable marvels, held to be supernatural, have been exposed for the tricks they were.
Yet to-day, if a mystifier lack the ingenuity to invent a new and startling stunt, he can safely fall back upon a trick that has been the favorite of pressagents the world over in all ages. He can imitate the Hindoo fakir who, having thrown a rope high into the air, has a boy climb it until he is lost to view.
He can even have the feat photographed. The camera will click; nothing will appear on the developed film; and this, the performer will glibly explain, proves' that the whole company of onlookers was hypnotized! And he can be certain of a very profitable following to defend and advertise him.
So I do not feel that I need to apologize for adding another volume to the shelves of works dealing with the marvels of the miracle- mongers. My business has given me an intimate knowledge of stage illusions, together
with many years of experience among show people of all types.
My familiarity with the former, and what I have learned of the psychology of the latter, has placed me at a certain advantage in uncovering the natural explanation of feats that to the ignorant have seemed supernatural. And even if my readers are too well informed to be interested in my descriptions of the methods of the various performers who have seemed to me worthy of
attention in these pages, I hope they will find some amusement in following the fortunes and misfortunes of all manner of strange folk who once bewildered the wise men of their day.
If I have accomplished that much, I shall feel amply repaid for my labor.
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