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Finally unearthed … The Little Egypt Book of Ghosts.
Steve Bryant lurks on the dark side of magic. Deep in Little Egypt, in the remote region of southern Illinois where the towns in the mist bear the ancient names of Thebes and Karnak and Cairo, Steve grew up on the drive-in horror movies of the 1950s, on the gothic cartoons of Charles Addams, and on the ghost stories he and his friends used to tell on dark bus rides to high school football games. If a boy such as that grew up to do card tricks, what would he do? Here in 230 haunted pages lie the answers—part home spook shows developed for children and their parents, part ghoulish Halloween extravaganzas developed for adult performance in a seedy river town bar. If you’ve ever wanted to host a séance, put on a midnight ghost show, or haunt a house, you need this macabre compendium of the world’s scariest magic tricks. Be afraid, be very afraid …
A brief look at the contents ...
Introduction: Invitation to a Ghost Show. A review of fifty years on the dark side of magic.
Chapter 1: Haunted Deck. Thirteen scary card tricks. If you have access to the October 2008 issue of MUM, take a sneak peek: one of them appears there.
Chapter 2: Future Shocks. Two spooky approaches to telling fortunes, quite accurately. Be warned: not all futures are rosy.
Chapter 3: Parlor Tricks. Six parlor tricks, including a spirit slate routine that is the eeriest item in this or any book. No card tricks in this chapter.
Chapter 4: Apparitions. Four ghost materializations, a dark "Pseudo Psychometry," and an in-depth look at Nelson's Phantom Ghost Projector.
Chapter 5: Cabarets de la Mort. Two spirit cabinet routines, one "normal" and one titled "The World's Sexiest Spirit Cabinet Routine." Fun to do!
Chapter 6: Grand Illusions. Ten more stand-up items. Guaranteed screams.
Chapter 7: The Others. Sixteen spooky takes on tricks belonging to others. Some you have to go to the original source, some are complete in this book.
Chapter 8: Let's Put on a (Ghost) Show. Sample programs based on the material in the first seven chapters.
Addendum: The Black Arts Book List. A list of recommended reading.
The reviews are in!
[Steve's] Book of Ghosts collects half a lifetime of material that he has created for Hallowe’en parties, haunted houses, spook shows, séances, kids parties, and even adult barroom audiences. What’s remarkable is that for such a colorful and diverse mix of audiences, settings, and contexts, virtually all of it is decidedly entertaining to read – and eminently useful for anyone who shares similar interests. ...
But unlike the often clueless and patronizing norm, Mr. Bryant brings wit, style, and creativity to the task, along with a genuine taste for the occasional outright scare. The book is simply full of terrific ideas, including a spirit bell with a set of clacking teeth; a version of Don Alan’s Ranch Bird with a wonderful prop, courtesy of a Sid Fleischman inspiration; a close-up card stab based on a little-known idea, buried in print, that I’ve always thought brilliant, but that Mr. Bryant has rendered totally workable; ghostly presentations for standards like Wild Card, MacDonald Aces, the Devano Rising Cards, and J.C. Wagner’s Torn & Restored Card; the Brainwave deck (with a smart three-phase routine); Losander’s Floating Table; Glorpy (with one of the best titles in the book), and a routine for the Daylight Séance (that, believe it or not, doesn’t suck). To top it off, Mr. Bryant is also a very capable writer; whether or not you’re able to use much of this material, the book is just plain fun to read. ...
The book is not only handsomely produced but the design itself is delightful and engaging throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed The Little Egypt Book of Ghosts – and despite Mr. Bryant’s generally light-hearted tone and touch, there is at least one piece in here that is likely to scare the bejabbers out of the biggest meanest toughest guy in the room, if you do it right. And what could be more fun than that?
Jamy Ian Swiss, Genii March 2009
Hardbound with Dust Jacket