an illustration of a floating head wearing a turban looking down at a skeletal handing holding a crystal orb.

The Spectacle of Illusion: Deception, Magic, and the Paranormal

by Matthew Tompkins Author

In this history of magic, professional magician turned experimental psychologist Matthew Tompkins investigates the various ways that magicians, mesmerists, and psychics have sought to fool audiences and give the impression that they are doing magic. Beginning in the early 18th century, Tompkins follows the evolution of various schools of magic to show us the ways that they seek to fool us, and in doing so, reveals fascinating truths about the operation of the human mind. Why is it that human perception, memory, and belief are such that we can find ourselves seeing and believing things we know to be all but impossible? Tompkins uses science to explain how magic tricks fool our brains, and offers scientists lessons to be borrowed from the tricks these magicians use. An intriguing look at the unreliability of the human mind.