The Magician's Handbook
Marshall & Brookes, And Dawbarn & Ward, London (1901)
In Collection
Magic tricks
Great Britain  eng
Selbit, P.T.: The Magician's Handbook
©1901 Marshall & Brookes, London, 1st Edition
188 pages

Abebooks Price 290.00

Comments ( The inventor of "sawing a lady in half" has written quite an interesting book. It covers a good range of topics. Particularly the inclusion of fringe fields to magic, such as juggling and black art, makes this book unique. Certainly this is mainly a magic book, so tricks with handkerchiefs, and balls are many to be found as well as several interesting illusions.

Contents: (note: original contents listing was in alphabetical order)

8 The Art of Juggling
9 The Balanced Coins
10 A Marvelous Egg Balance
10 Centre of Gravity
11 Stick Breaking
12 Remarkable Swordsmanship
13 The Balancing Billiard Balls and Cue
15 Blindfold Jugglery
15 Egg Spinning Extraordinary
17 The Spinning Hat
18 An Egg and Stick Balance
18 Ball Spinning
18 The Sword and Coin
19 The Spinning Handkerchief
19 The Whirling Hoop and Glass of Water
20 The Traveling Billiard Balls
21 Novel Hat Manipulation
23 A Complicated Balance
24 The Card Candlestick and Cigar Balance

25 New Miscellaneous Magical Effects
26 New Colour Changes
29 The Great Slate and Photograph Trick
30 New Handkerchief Sleights
32 New Coin Catching
33 The Latest Cigarette Vanish
34 The Enchanted Flag and Ring
35 Ventriloquism
39 New Billiard Ball Production, The
41 The Chinese Bat
42 New Vanishes
44 The Balanced Handkerchief
46 The Cross of the Orient
47 Sword Swallowing
50 Sleights with Match Boxes
52 New Billiard Ball Moves
55 Mahatma's Torn Card Trick
57 Watch It
60 Novel Billiard Ball Manipulation
63 New Watch Trick, A
65 Trooping the Colours

70 Tricks and Illusions
71 Downs, T. Nelson
73 Modern Cigar Manipulation
77 Garland, Maurice
78 Caught by the Finger Tips
78 For the Tambourine Trick
79 New Handkerchief Production
80 The Great Change Trick
81 A New Handkerchief Vanish
83 Macaire, Sid
84 New Century Bottle, Egg, Orange, and Bird Trick
87 Another Man Cut Up To-night
93 Evans, Henry Ridgely
95 Trewey
99 Chung Ling Soo (Wm. E. Robinson)
100 Coin Handkerchief and Ring Trick
102 The Rice Bowls and Mystic Coin
103 The Magic Coin Box, The
104 Gold or Silver
105 Chinese Miser's Dream
105 The Floating Coin
107 Pickering, Rowland N.
108 Photographic Deceptions
116 Thurston, Howard
117 A History of Playing Cards and Their Manipulation
122 Fields, Wm. C.
123 A New Hat and Cigar Effect
125 The Great Cigar Box Trick
128 Valadon, Herr
129 A New Rising Card
131 Useful Accessory
133 From Water to Wine - Then Back Again

135 New Illusions and Black Magic
136 The Mystic Flight
139 The New Half Lady Illusion
142 Oh! Where Am I?
144 Death, Decapitation, and Resurrection
147 The New Vanishing Lady
150 Gravity Defied
152 The Mysterious Production
155 Black Art Up-to-Date

172 Advice to the Reader

Original publisher's green cloth with illustration of magician doing a magic act. pp 188 with 10 pages ads at rear.

Scarce book with good history. Extensive collection of tricks, sleight of hand, magical effects (Parlor and Stage--a LOT of manipulation and skill) , Illusions, including a bit on Chung Ling Soo, Nelson T. Downs, Henry Ridgely Evans, and more. Also section on "New Illusions and Black Magic". Also section on "New Illusions and Black Magic". Profusely illustrated and also a good number of photographs (especially of the magicians). P. T. Selbit (1881-1938) was an important English magician and inventor. He created his name by spelling his real last name backwards. He is noted in history as the first person to perform the sawing a woman in half illusion on stage (in 1921). Between 1902 and 1908, pre-dating the 1920s Egyptian Craze, he performed as Joad Heteb an Egyptian Magician.
Product Details
No. of Pages 188
First Edition Yes
Personal Details
Read It Yes
Location Magic Library (Home) Shelf Top
Condition Very Fine
Owner Bryan-Keith Taylor
P. T. Selbit
From MagicPedia
P. T. Selbit (1881 - 1938) was an English magician and inventor who is credited with being the first person to perform the illusion of sawing a woman in half.

His birth name was Percy Thomas Tibbles and he was born in Hampstead, London. He learned magic at an early age and became a professional illusionist in the early 1900s. He has been reported as working a "pseudo-Egyptian" act under the name Joad Heteb between 1902 and 1908. Later he created the stage name P. T. Selbit by spelling his last name backwards and dropping one of the "B"s.

He was a prolific inventor of illusions. In addition to his famous sawing illusion he is credited with devising Walking through a Wall (1914), Girl/Man without a Middle (1924), Through the Eye of a Needle (1924), The Million Dollar Mystery, Stretching a Girl, and Avoiding the Crush, The Mighty Cheese, Selbit's Blocks and possibly also the Siberian Chain Escape.

Published work
The Magician's Handbook (1901)
Also, from 1905 to 1910, he edited a magic magazine called The Wizard (Selbit), which, under another editor, later became The Magic Wand.

P. T. Selbit
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Contents [hide]
1 Early life and career
2 Sawing through a woman
2.1 Revival
3 Subsequent career and illusions
4 Published work
5 References
6 Further reading

P. T. Selbit (1881 - 1938) was an English magician, inventor and writer who is credited with being the first person to perform the illusion of sawing a woman in half. Among magicians he was know for his inventiveness and entrepreneurial instinct and he is credited with creating a long list of successful stage illusions.

[edit] Early life and career
His birth name was Percy Thomas Tibbles and he was born in Hampstead, London. He developed an interest in magic in his youth, when he was apprenticed to a silversmith. The basement of the silversmith's shop was leased to magician and inventor Charles Morritt who used it to develop new tricks and the young Tibbles would sneak in to study these when Morritt was away. Tibbles began doing a coin and card manipulation act under the stage name P. T. Selbit, which he created by spelling his last name backwards and dropping one of the "B"s. He also used Selbit as a pen name, working as a journalist for a theatrical paper, writing a magic handbook and editing a trade journal for magicians.[1][2]

Between 1902 and 1908, Selbit worked in music halls under the name Joad Heteb. He had deduced audiences wanted something that seemed exotic so he donned greasepaint, robes and a wig to perform as a "pseudo-Egyptian" character. This episode reflects two characteristics that marked much of his magic career: inventive ability and an entrepreneurial desire to keep pulling in audiences with something new. In 1910 Selbit toured with an illusion titled "Spirit Paintings", in which audience members were asked to name an artist and then pictures in the style of that artist mysteriously appeared on illuminated canvases. His next tour featured a trick called "The Mighty Cheese", in which audience members were invited to try to tip over a huge circular model of a cheese, which they found impossible to do.[1]

In 1912 Selbit began working for Maskelyne and Devant, who had come to dominate the business of magic shows in Britain with their productions at the Egyptian Hall and St George's Hall. Selbit's first role with Maskelyne and Devant was to tour music halls and American vaudeville during 1912 and 1913 presenting Devant's "Window of a Haunted House" illusion. In 1914 Selbit introduced the "Walking through a Wall" illusion at St. George's Hall.[1][3]

[edit] Sawing through a woman
There are many versions of the illusion of sawing through a woman or sawing a woman in half as well as other illusions that are based around that theme. There remains a debate as to the exact origins of the idea, with some suggesting there is a record of it from 1809 or that the idea can be traced back to ancient Egypt.[4] Modern magic inventor Jim Steinmeyer has written that a description of the illusion was published by the great French magician Jean Robert-Houdin in 1858, but Robert-Houdin's idea remained just that, a written description of an effect. Selbit is generally recognised as the first magician to perform such a trick on a public stage, which he did at the Finsbury Park Empire theatre in London on 17 January 1921.[5][1] In fact, Selbit had previously performed the illusion in December 1920 before a select audience of promoters and theatrical agents at the St. George's Hall to try to persuade one of them to book him to perform it.[1]

In Selbit's version a female assistant got into a wooden box that was similar in proportion to a coffin but slightly larger. She was secured there by ropes around her wrists, ankles and neck. The box was then closed, obscuring her from view. After the box was placed in a horizontal position, Selbit sawed through the middle of it with a large hand saw. The impression given to the audience was that, because of the restraints and limited room in the box, the assistant's waist must have been in the path of the saw and she would surely have been cut through. Finally the box was opened and the assistant, still with ropes attached, was revealed as unharmed.[1]

The impact of the illusion was immense and Selbit became a box office hit. Jim Steinmeyer attributes the success and influence of the illusion not just to Selbit's inventiveness and but also to his timing. By 1920 the world was tiring of older styles of magic. The changes to the public psyche wrought by the trauma of the First World War together with rapid social and technological change meant the time was right for a new and shocking style of magic. The sawing illusion was pivotal in creating the cliche of the pretty female assistant subjected to torture and mutilation by magicians. Before Selbit, male and female assistants had both been used in illusions. In Victorian times the bulky nature of female clothes often precluded the use of a female assistant in illusions which required a performer to get into a confined space. By 1920, fashions had changed and it became not only acceptable but desirable to have a cast of attractive women displaying shapely limbs. Steinmeyer has noted that, "beyond practical concerns, the image of the woman in peril became a specific fashion in entertainment".[1]

Other magicians rapidly attempted to emulate and improve upon Selbit's trick. Within months, American magician Horace Goldin presented a version in which the assistant's head, hands and feet were seen in full view throughout the trick. Goldin was aggressive in the use of legal measures to try to prevent anyone from competing with him. When Selbit arrived in America to tour with his sawing illusion he found that Goldin had registered many possible titles for the act with the Vaudeville Managers' Protective Agency. Selbit was thus forced to bill his act as "The Divided Woman", which had less dramatic impact than the idea of sawing through a woman. Selbit tried to sue Goldin for stealing his idea but the action failed when it was ruled that Goldin's illusion was sufficiently different.[1]

The sawing illusion went through many developments after Selbit and other performers achieved fame and great commercial success for particular variants. Goldin later produced sawing illusions that dispensed with a covering box and ultimately used a large buzzsaw.[6][4] Another variant, which owed something to Selbit's original, has been attributed to Alan Wakeling. However Selbit retains his place in history as the first to present a sawing trick, and thus as a figure who shaped popular perceptions of stage illusions for decades.

[edit] Revival
In the 1990's, the renowned English magician Paul Daniels performed an hommage to Selbit on his television series Secrets. Describing the origins of the trick, Daniels performs the sawing a woman in half illusion in its original form, in the style of Selbit, also including Selbits development of using panes of glass, giving the effect that the woman also has her head and legs cut off and her body cut in half vertically.

[edit] Subsequent career and illusions
Following his court battles in America, which effectively prevented him achieving the same level of success there as he had in Britain, Selbit returned home in 1922. He turned his attention to developing new illusions in the hope of creating something that would repeat the impact of sawing. He is credited with devising Girl/Man without a Middle (1924), Through the Eye of a Needle (1924), The Million Dollar Mystery, Stretching a Girl, and Avoiding the Crush, Selbit's Blocks and possibly also the Siberian Chain Escape.[3][2] Although some effects were highly ingenious and several were sufficiently successful that they continued to be performed by subsequent generations of magicians, none achieved the fame of sawing.[1]

In 1928 Selbit went to the aid of Morritt, the magician from whom he had surreptitiously learned so much at the start of his career. Morritt had been arrested and charged with "obtaining money under false pretences" as the result of a misunderstanding over the way he was scraping a living from an act titled "Man in a Trance". Selbit and Will Goldston helped to fund Morritt's defence and he was eventually acquitted.[7]

[edit] Published work
Selbit is credited as writing The Magician's Handbook (1901)
Also, from 1905 to 1910, he edited a magic magazine called The Wizard, which, under another editor, later became The Magic Wand.[8][9][10]
[edit] References
^ a b c d e f g h i Steinmeyer, Jim (2003). Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible. William Heinemann/Random House. p. 277-295. ISBN 0434013250.
^ a b "Brief Biographies of Magican Inventors". Retrieved 2007-03-28.
^ a b "Dusty Tomes: A Guide to the History of Magic". Magical Past Times. Retrieved 2007-03-28.
^ a b Brown, Gary R.. "Sawing a Woman in Half". Retrieved 2007-03-29.
^ Venue info from "Violent Magic", episode 6 of the BBC television documentary series Magic first broadcast in 2004
^ "Magic or Conjuring". The History Channel website. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
^ Steinmeyer (2003). Hiding the Elephant. London: William Heinemann. p. 302. ISBN 0434013250.
^ "Publications old and new". Retrieved 2007-03-29.
^ Kalush, William; Sloman, Larry, "Footnotes to Chapter 12: Death Visits the Stage", The Secret Life of Houdini, The Conjuring Arts Research Center,, retrieved 2007-03-29
^ "Digital Magic Wand Magazine on CD-ROM". Misdirections. Retrieved 2007-03-30.
[edit] Further reading
Eric C. Lewis & Peter Warlock, P.T. Selbit: Magical Innovator, Magical Publications (1989), ISBN 0915181193
Jim Steinmeyer, Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear, Carroll & Graf, (reprint August 2004), ISBN 0786714018
Jim Steinmeyer, Art and Artifice: And Other Essays of Illusion, Carroll & Graf, (September 2006), ISBN 0786718064
P. T. Selbit, The Magician's Handbook: a Complete Encyclopedia of the Magic Art, (various editions, including: Marshall & Brookes, 1902; 3rd edition Dawbarn