The spectacle of illusion : deception, magic and the paranormal / Matthew L. Tompkins.
- New York : Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.,  , ©2019
224 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
- Magic -- Psychological aspects.
Magic tricks -- Psychological aspects.
Magicians -- History.
Parapsychology -- History.
- "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."--Amazon.com.
- Introducing the illusion
Act one: Early mesmeric & spiritualists phenomena
Act two: The master magician
Act three: The physical researchers
Act four: The parapsychological investigators
Act five: The psychology of illusion
Afterword / A. R. Hopwood & Honor Beddard exhibition curators, Smoke & Mirrors.
- Published on the occasion of the exhibition 'Smoke and Mirrors: The psychology of magic' held at Wellcome Collection, London, UK (11th April -15th September 2019).
Includes bibliographical references (pages 219-220) and index.
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