Spooky Tricks by by Rose Wyler, Gerald Ames, Talivaldis Stubis (Illustrator)
Learn the secrets of these dazzling tricks and put on a Halloween show that’s sure to bewitch your friends. You will be able to make cards rise, a girl disappear, and a boy float! (via Goodreads)
I’m always a little tickled when I’m browsing Open Library and I come across a book I owned as a kid. I’m not big on nostalgia, but I’ve spent a lot of time reading throughout my life. Finding an old book that I’m familiar with takes me back like nothing else can. Spooky Tricks was probably purchased through a Scholastic Books flyer. For me, those flyers were as good at the Sear Christmas catalog.
Though it obviously hit my sweet spot for things creepy and magical, Spooky Tricks pretty much marks the beginning and end of my ambitions toward magic. I tried out a few of the tricks to little success. As a kid, I chalked it up to not having supplies. Who has matchboxes lying around? Or stilts with shoes? Or an over abundance of black thread? As an adult, and one who had studies a little about magic, I see things differently.
1.) Most of the tricks in this book are not that good. Or rather, maybe if you’re a kid and you’re showing these tricks once to a particularly sympathetic adult, you might get a good reaction.
2.) I’ve always been disinclined to read directions if you give me illustrations. Which is great when you’re assembling an Ikea bookshelf, but crappy when you’re trying to learn magic.
3.) I’ve always been an overly skeptical person and I’m terrible at being deceptive. Even as a kid, I didn’t buy that anyone would believe these tricks. I certainly knew that *I* couldn’t pull them off. Maybe if I had realized that magic requires a level of showmanship… Nope, I still wouldn’t be able to convincingly lie about where my thumb might be, or whose names I wrote down for the X-ray eyes trick, or whether there is one piece of black thread or two. But none of this means that I dodn’t appreciate it when professionals do magic!
Publishing info, my copy: scanned, Scholastic Inc, 1968
Acquired: Open Library
Penn & Teller (as their 8 year-old selves) with a piece of R.I.P. appropriate magic: