The Spectacle of Illusion

Matthew L. Tompkins

$ 35.00 Sale price

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.

Book Format: Hardcover, 7 x 9.5 in. / 224 pages / 165 color / 370 black and white images

Publishing Date: 4/23/2019

Domestic Shipping:

We provide free domestic US shipping for orders over $50 via USPS Priority (2-5 business days). Express shipping (1-2 business days) is available at checkout for an additional cost. We ship out package Tuesday - Saturday. Orders placed after 3pm will be processed the next day. 

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International shipping is available via DHL Express Worldwide (3-6 business days). 

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There are duty and import taxes that are not included in the total at checkout, are owed by the recipient, and are collected at time of delivery. The taxes are calculated by the customs agency of the destination country, and are beyond our control. You can calculate the costs by contacting your local carrier/customs office.

**If the recipient refuses delivery of their order due to a customs charge, their package will be considered abandoned and disposed of by the shipping carrier and their order will not be eligible for a refund.**

**The customer is responsible for paying for shipping costs for returning any item(s). Shipping costs are non-refundable.**

**Once an order ships and is in transit, it is not possible to cancel the order.**

Refunds & Exchanges:

Refunds and exchanges can be made within 14 days of purchase. Lingerie, books, and SALE items are non-returnable and non-refundable.

The customer is responsible for return shipping charges unless the item is defective, damaged, or incorrect. 

Recycled Packaging:

In an effort to be more environmentally conscious, Chop Suey Club is reusing shipping packaging. ☺

Regular price $ 35.00

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.

Book Format: Hardcover, 7 x 9.5 in. / 224 pages / 165 color / 370 black and white images

Publishing Date: 4/23/2019

Domestic Shipping:

We provide free domestic US shipping for orders over $50 via USPS Priority (2-5 business days). Express shipping (1-2 business days) is available at checkout for an additional cost. We ship out package Tuesday - Saturday. Orders placed after 3pm will be processed the next day. 

International Shipping: 

International shipping is available via DHL Express Worldwide (3-6 business days). 

Customs Policy (PLEASE READ):

There are duty and import taxes that are not included in the total at checkout, are owed by the recipient, and are collected at time of delivery. The taxes are calculated by the customs agency of the destination country, and are beyond our control. You can calculate the costs by contacting your local carrier/customs office.

**If the recipient refuses delivery of their order due to a customs charge, their package will be considered abandoned and disposed of by the shipping carrier and their order will not be eligible for a refund.**

**The customer is responsible for paying for shipping costs for returning any item(s). Shipping costs are non-refundable.**

**Once an order ships and is in transit, it is not possible to cancel the order.**

Refunds & Exchanges:

Refunds and exchanges can be made within 14 days of purchase. Lingerie, books, and SALE items are non-returnable and non-refundable.

The customer is responsible for return shipping charges unless the item is defective, damaged, or incorrect. 

Recycled Packaging:

In an effort to be more environmentally conscious, Chop Suey Club is reusing shipping packaging. ☺