The Gift of Giving

Dear Friends:
This month our Museletter comes to us from our dear friend, who is so much more than the “administrative assistant” that her title with us would convey. So much of magic is created not by the bigger than life personalities out in front of an audience, but by the wizards behind the curtains, or up in the control booth in a theater. It’s the same  with the McBride Magic & Mystery School. Much of what you all experience as the magic of this community is actually set in motion by various members of our team working out of sight and without enough credit.

Katherine Rettke is responsible for all of those 10-day-out and 30-day-out letters you receive before you arrive for classes at the House of Mystery. She is our registrar for the Magic & Meaning Conference, and she takes on countless other small details that help us provide you with the best experience we can give. It’s a real pleasure to have her write this article for us now, as the most “giving” of our holiday seasons begins.

From Katherine Rettke:

“…I realized a gift could be anything – It didn’t have to have a bow on it, it didn’t have to be money or material things, it didn’t even have to be announced with words.”
George Parker, Gift Magic (Edited by Larry Hass)

I love this time of year, the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. This is the time when I find myself thinking of all the gifts and blessings I have received, as well as all of the ways I can give to others. So many holidays on the calendar involve the giving of gifts. I would like to share with you some of my favorite holiday memories, and how these memories relate to my love of magic.

When I was 14 years old, I moved to a new neighborhood where I didn’t know anyone. For many reasons, those years were not always happy years. I am so thankful that I was welcomed with open arms into a neighbor family shortly after this move. In this family, Santa delivered and decorated a Christmas tree, and wrapped all of the presents after the younger kids had gone to bed on Christmas Eve.

The first year I spent the night at their house on Christmas Eve, none of the teens or adults got any sleep. Instead, we stayed busy and enjoyed each other’s company as quietly as we possibly could, with one ear turned in the direction of the rooms where the little kids were sleeping. The lost sleep was worth it.  As long as I live, I will never forget what it was like that first Christmas with my “second family” to see the expressions on the faces of little kids on Christmas morning when they woke up to a house completely and magically transformed. Just being part of creating such a magical experience gave me one of my all-time favorite holiday memories.

Over the years, the kids in this family grew up and the family grew. Little kids who once slept through the night on Christmas Eve joined the big kids and adults to experience an entirely different tradition. Over the years, traditions evolved. Santa decided somewhere along the way that it wasn’t much fun anymore to stay awake all night, so Santa allowed this family to decorate their own tree earlier in the evening. No matter how much the family traditions changed, that feeling of wonder and magic on Christmas morning never went away.

It has been fun over the years to watch these kids grow up and go from wide-eyed wonder on Christmas morning to creating that same feeling of wonder for their own children.  It wasn’t the actual gifts under the tree that I remember when I think of the gifts of the season, it was the gift of the magical experience.

I had a late start in magic, when I took an adult education class on performing magic at about age 30. I remember at the time thinking that learning magician secrets felt a bit like learning about Christmas magic. There is no way to ever go back to the same feeling of awe and wonder once magician techniques are learned. However, creating that feeling for someone else is even more fun.

I remember back when I first successfully performed a magical effect. There was a look of delight on the face of the person I performed for. I felt like I had just given that person a little gift. The feeling I got from that moment felt so good, that it created in me what has become a life-long love of magic. It has been a long time since I have actually performed magic, but helping behind the scenes gives plenty of opportunity for me to know that I am helping to create a magical experience for someone else.

Those in our community give so many gifts to others through their magic – the gift of time, of expertise, the gift of a magical experience. I invite you to take time to reflect during this holiday season. What are the holidays and traditions you have celebrated in your own life, and what are the feelings of wonder and awe these holidays have inspired in you?   I encourage you to ask yourself how these memories might have had an impact on your own love of magic.

McBride’s Magic Museum

Dear Friends:

Abigail and I have been traveling the world together for more than 30 years! Every time we come home from a long tour we quote the famous words of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz:” There is NO place like home!”

McBride’s Magic Museum

Now you can see why we love to open our home to our friends like you!

Is it like “Cribs” or is it more like “Crypts?” You decide!

The Las Vegas Review Journal did a feature on our magical home in Vegas. You will not believe some of the images they captured! Take the tour by clicking on the video!

You can see the great photos and the entire story by CLICKING HERE.

Student of the Month–Shaun Jay, 1st Place Award Winner

Shaun has trained with the McBride Magic and Mystery School for the past 15 years. He has been seen on ABC, NBC, and the FOX reality show Master Chef.

On November 3rd, 2018, Shaun was awarded 1st Place, with a Perfect Score in All Categories from the Daytona Magic Festival!

With his original sleight of hand manipulation and custom-built props, his time travel themed act was enhanced by his costume as the Boy Wizard from Hogwarts.  He dazzled the judges and wowed the audience.

Shaun said “This was my very first time entering a magic competition and I wanted to ensure that everything was spot on. The original goal was to have an excuse for a creative deadline, but it turned out to be so much more.”

Photo Credit: Sheryl Ann Garrett

“Jeff’s suggestions were fantastic, and he was able to help me transform an idea I had in my head for about 10 years, into an award-winning act!”

                                                 – Shaun Jay, 1st Place Award

Learn more about Shaun by visiting his website:


The greatest magic party & show in Vegas!
all info:

One night only November 15, 2018
3 great shows–many new artists

8pm: Comedy & Variety Show
Your host-TIM WISE
Cecile and Mighty – Music & Magic Medley
Louie Foxx – The MagiComedian
Tim Smallwood – Wizard of Whimsy
Samina – The Enchantress
David Shareef – Mind-bending mystery
Tony Molesworth – The Global Village Idiot!

9pm: Close-up, Strolling and Bar Magic
Jeff McBride – New Close up mysteries
Louie Foxx – Magic with Comedy
Anthony Darkstone – Continental Mental Marvels
Jeffrey Tam – A Modern Man of Mystery

Brian Apollo, Tim Wise, Kent Axell

10pm: The Main Stage Extravaganza!
Your host – JEFF MCBRIDE with the New World Rythmatism Dancers
Mondre – World Class Magic
Jeffrey Tam – A Visitor from the East!
Tony Molesworth – New Vaudeville Vagabond
Cecile and Mighty – Exotic Wonders
Xavier Mortimer – The New Magic Superstar from France

All of the above, PLUS:

Photography by Sheryl Garrett, Bar Magic with Brian Apollo, New World Rythmatism Belly Dancers, Scott Steelfyre & Maggie, Corey Rubino, Taylor Lloyd, and many more surprises and special celebrity guests.

Let us help you plan your Las Vegas Magic Adventure!

When you are planning to come to Las Vegas, please contact us! We can help you arrange your Vegas magic adventures….Call Abigail at 702-450-0021

See you in Vegas! We are HOME!


Attention, Sympathy & Choice

Greetings magical friends,

What an honor and a privilege it is, to be asked to write a Museletter, to be given the opportunity to spend a few moments of precious time with you, to have you read the words I write, and consider the ideas I bring to mind. Thank you for the attention you are giving, right now.

With these few moments, I want to encourage you to be mindful about the choices you make about what you give your attention to.

Sir James Frazer, in The Golden Bough, writes about the principles of sympathetic magic, that “like produces like.” This theme appears in conjuring magic in various effects, including the Sympathetic Silks, made popular in the 1970’s by Lewis Ganson, and in Jörg Alexander’s Sympathetic Ten Card routine.

In the rest of our lives, one might imagine that if we choose to give our attention to, and direct our thoughts towards creativity, peace, and kindness, that this is more of what we will find coming into our awareness, and into our lives.

Consider this holiday season, and beyond, to notice when the mind begins to look for what is wrong, rather than what is right. Observe when the self-talk starts to get bossy or harsh. Become aware of the exact moment when the eyes of judgement open and the heart of kindness closes… and in that moment, challenge yourself. Challenge yourself to do something different. Perhaps you will take a deep breath, maybe touch your own chest, or choose to look for what the most beautiful object you can see in that moment is….

We get to choose what we focus on. What we focus on increases. Let us choose wisely.

Sympathetically yours,

Take Off the Mask

Greetings my friends,

Our world is now spinning into the Fall…the dark time of the year. Halloween is one of the great holidays for magicians, and for those of us who love masks!

How many masks do you wear?

We all wear many faces each day. You wake up in the morning and show your sleepy face to your partner. You go to work with the mask of a business person, then after work, the mask of a friend, a lover, or even that of a great entertainer.

From my own experience, I feel that we are all illusionists who shape-shift to fit the moment or social situation. Just think about how many interactions you have each day in person or online. Facebook can be a mask. Many show only the best parts of their lives–others show off the mask of the victim reaching out for help. But remember this–you have the power to take off the masks!

A few years back my friend Tim Cridland gave me a fascinating book by sociologist Irving Goffman. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life is about the many roles we play in life. We are all actors playing the best part we can. Even playing the part of “being authentic” is a mask that we can put on or take off at our convenience.

How I Became a Masked Monster

This magazine issue came out in 1965. I found it in an old pile of magazines around 1967. This is the magazine that changed my life and why I decided to wear masks… LOTS of masks.

I remember the day my Don Post “over the head” Wolfman mask came! I was in heaven and I did not take the fuzzy mask off for days. Lon Chaney was one of the top “monster actors” in Hollywood, and he was my hero! I experimented with masks and makeup almost every day!

Here is an early image of my mime makeup from ten years later in 1977, after much influence from the master pantomime artist Marcel Marceau, and rock group KISS.

Who do YOU see when you gaze into the Mirror?

It took many years to perfect my style of makeup. Here is a rare old clip from a TV series I did years ago in the UK, called The Best of Magic.

Who are the “NEW FACES” of Magic?

Just click on the link here to see many of our top award-winning students. Now you can see how these new talents are unmasking their power and magic!


Student of the Month

William Bradshaw has been with the McBride Magic and Mystery School for the last 7 years. In his first year performing professionally, Will was awarded the Cracked Cup for the most entertaining street performer at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Two years later, he was named the Most Improved Entertainer by the same festival. He has studied theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and the University of Minnesota.

He recently was a featured performer at the world-famous Magic Castle, on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us and on the first international tour of Las Vegas Magic Stars.

“My greatest goal with magic is to create real moments of emotional connection for my audience. To do this, I break down my script into beats (smaller sections within a script), and then write down what I feel each moment, what I want the thing or person I am interacting with to feel, and in what way I am doing that. This allows me to tell what moment I am attempting to create, and whether I am being successful in creating it.

A single moment would look like this on paper

Beat: Plucking water from folded newspaper, and throwing it in air
Feeling personal: Longing
Desired feeling (of the water I am acting toward): Love and care
Display of Feeling: Caress

Having a target allows me to understand the moments within a script better, and write more compelling emotional-rich magic.”

See Will perform here

October Events:  The BEST in Vegas!

WONDERGROUND – Oct 18th, 2018

Three  Awesome Shows: Parlor magic, Stage magic, and Close-up magic – the longest running independent variety & magic show in Las Vegas history!

Come be part of the fun. For full details, our show line-up and directions click on the link below:

The Las Vegas Witches & Wizards Ball

The Witches and Wizard’s Ball is happening on Friday, October 26th at The Olive in Las Vegas! Doors open at 7:30pm. Music, dancing, performances and prizes continue all night long until midnight!

…with DJ LeoD, the New World Rhythmatism Dancers, Spiral Dance and Community Ritual, over $500 in prizes for creative costumes, the Mystery School Magicians, Scott Steelfyre’s Legendary Coffin Ride, The Psychic Sideshow, big surprises and much more!

Creative and festive costumes and masks are wholeheartedly encouraged, but not required. The Witches & Wizards Ball is a fundraiser that makes Mysterium and MayFire possible, so thank you in advance for your generous support!!

Pre-register for $20
Pay $25 at the door
We have a limit of 100 attendees so pre-register to insure you get to come!…/registration-forms/

What is the BEST magic effect of the past few years?

Many top magicians say that BEKOS is one of the most versatile and practical magic effects ever!
The new knots are here and better than ever! No jamming- smoooooth as the silk!

B.E.K.O.S. is available here:

Have a great Halloween…and remember to take off that mask after the holiday!


« Older Entries