Important Life Lessons

Dear Friends:

3 Important Life Lessons!

Q: What are the most important lessons in life?
A: Here are 3 important lessons I learned from my friend Johnny Thompson.

Johnny Thompson was my lifelong friend and an amazing magic teacher. His passing was a shock to the magic world. A few weeks ago, I had the honor of speaking at his memorial celebration. I chose to share three lessons that I learned from Johnny.

These are the lessons that stick to my heart. They are the lessons I will pass on to my friends, family, and students.The  lessons he taught me will always be remembered!

Johnny Thompson is now immortal! For those who are remembered never die!

1 – Don’t Stop Thinking!
Most people settle for the first answer to their question.Most magicians stop at the first solution to their problem. Johnny always said, “There are 20 or 30 more answers to the question!” He reminded us to keep thinking beyond our comfort zone. Keep coming up with possible solutions, methods,  and alternatives to our questions. Never stop thinking!

2 – Bring People Together
Johnny and his wife Pam would always bring people together around their dinner table. In fact, they had the longest dinner table in Las Vegas!

Johnny and Pam Thompson were the MOST sensational hosts in Vegas history! Abigail, Eugene and I attended so many of their dinner parties over the years. Each week Johnny and Pam would host a spaghetti dinner and invite visiting and local friends to their table.

Abigail and I have a tradition of hosting community dinners here at our home, in no small way inspired by the Thompson’s incredible talent for hospitality, bringing so many old and new friends together around the table!

3 – Always Say, “I Love You.”
Abigail also reminded me that whenever Johnny said goodbye to her, he said, “I love you Babe!” The fact is, Johnny said this to almost everyone all the time! He always took a moment to show his love for you.

For the guys, he always said, “I love you, Pal!” It was Johnny’s way of letting you know you were a special person in his life. He always left you with those warm words, “I love you.” I think I’m going to make a habit of this now–a very good habit to take up!

We miss Johnny, but his magic and inspiration live on in his books, videos, friends and students.

Our friend Christopher Rose is hosting a tribute site for Johnny Thompson. Go visit the site and add your story.

McBride World Tour News
The past few months have taken me to the UK, China, the Philippines, Canada, and many cities here in the States. This summer I return to the USA and will be teaching in Vegas and also performing and teaching at Hollywood’s famed MAGIC CASTLE from June 10-17.

I‘ll also be at Magic LIVE! in August, so I might see you there.

Let us know when you come this way. Just call Abigail at 702-450-0021 to let us know your schedule.

The Biggest Magic Party in Vegas!
May 16th, 2019 – one night only! 3 GREAT Shows! Never to be repeated! See the NEW magic!

8pm — Comedy & Variety Show
Tim Wise is your Host
Tetro – Modern Magic & Manipulation
Jimmy Fingers – Creator, Inventor, Artist
Bizzaro – He F*cks with your Brain! (in a good way)
Jeff McBride – a New Rendition of his classic “Heroes”

9pm — Close Up Magic, Bar Magic, & Strolling
Jimmy Fingers – New Magic Creations
Tetro – Up Close & Personal
Bizzaro – Step back! He may attack your normality!
Jeff McBride – “I’ve been working on a new one!”
Shocker – You have been WARNED!

LIVE- at the WONDERBAR – World Class Bar Magic
Kent Axell – Mind Melting Mysteries
Scott Steelfyre – Witness “The King of Kups”
Jimmy Fingers – A Mind Blowing American Original
Tim Wise – Hollywood Star of Magic

10pm — Stage Show Extravaganza!
Jeff McBride – Your Host with the Most!
Tetro – Magic in Flow Motion
Jimmy Fingers – Favorite Creators and Performers
Bizzaro – Normal is Just a Setting on the Dryer!
Ryan and AmberLynn – Stars of America’s Got Talent
Shocker – Consider this your FINAL WARNING!

All the Above Plus:
Dance by The New World Rythmatism Dancers, Photography by Sheryl Garrett, Strolling magic and Bar Magic by Scott Steelfyre & Maggie, Corey Rubino. Belly Dancers, Psychic Sideshow, Tarot Reading with Eliza Snow & many more surprises and special celebrity guests.

Final Thought

I always appreciate your feedback or comments, so please email me at — I always personally answer my emails from you!

Always remember –” We love you!”

Jeff and Abigail

Magic & Mystery School News

New Classes

Jeff McBride’s Commando Act Bootcamp – August 8 & 9, 2019
Jeff McBride has become world famous for teaching magicians how to live their dreams. In this first-ever “Commando Show Bootcamp,” Jeff will help YOU to create a perfectly practical stand-up magic show that can play anywhere!

“Pack Small & Play Big!”
2 days of Hands-On Magic Training with Jeff McBride. Many of the world’s top magicians started as street magicians, performing in demanding settings. A real magician should be ready and able to perform anytime, anywhere, even in the most challenging of environments.

Now, you can learn the secrets of the masters and receive hands-on personal instruction from America’s Grand Master of the Magical Arts, Jeff McBride.

The BEST way to learn magic = Live Personal Instruction.
The BEST place to learn magic = Las Vegas Magic Capital of the World.

Imagine yourself receiving hands-on, personal instruction by some of the top experts in the world of magic. Now you can! You will learn 9 professional routines you can do anywhere. You will learn a show-building formula to create custom made shows.

Get bullet proof effects 

  • For performing in the round
  • Indoors or outdoors  
  • For 1000 people or more 
  • With no setup & no strike time!!

This is the real work on how to get a show ready to rock in ANY situation. Never worry about angles or setup–just pick up ONE small case and walk through the stage door to your show. You enter clean, put your case on a chair, and do your 30 minutes. Pick up the case and walk off clean and ready for your next show.



  • Exclusive lecture notes & videos. 
  • (only available to students that attend this class).
  • Top 10 commando/portable grand illusions.
  • Free deck of Jeff McBride manipulation cards.
  • Enrollment in the Mystery School secret online group.
  • Access to the library of secrets, the private collection. 

This is one weekend that will help your magic forever! Space is limited to 12 students.  Register now to reserve your space.

Have you ever read 
The Expert at the Card Table is one of the most mysterious books ever written!

“The Expert at the Card Table is the most famous, and the most carefully studied book ever published on the art of manipulating cards at gaming tables.”
Martin Gardner

Published in 1902, It is considered by many to be “The Bible” of Card Technique. No other book in all of conjuring has been so avidly read, and so affectionately regarded. Now you can begin to master the techniques that have confounded many of the top card experts for over 100 years!

We know how challenging it can be to learn from a book or DVD, so for the VERY FIRST (AND PERHAPS ONLY) TIME, you can have personal and professional help with your card technique from the very best in the business.

September 14th-15th 2019
Join us for 2 days that will change your card magic forever!
In this exciting two-day seminar, you will get hands-on training with two of the world’s foremost experts on card technique: Jeff McBride – America’s Grand Master of the Magical Arts, and Allan Ackerman – The Las Vegas Card Expert.

The small and intimate size of this class will give each student the opportunity for individual coaching.

Allan Ackerman is known throughout the world as one of the foremost expert teachers on the material in Expert at the Card Table. Allan’s skills are unmatched, and now, for the very first time, he can be your personal guide through the mysterious territory of this classic book of magic.

What you take away from this two-day seminar:

  • Learn card technique the correct way from the masters of card manipulation.
  • Break old habits and develop new, exciting practice and performance routines.
  • Witness the best in the world execute the world’s finest card magic and learn the secret of their techniques.
  • You will take home exclusive private videos, and lecture notes and techniques you can’t learn anywhere else.
  • Your personal notebook with many pages of exclusive information that you will use for years to come.
  • Never before published secrets and professional work ONLY given to Mystery School students that attend LIVE and in person.

Join Jeff McBride and the Las Vegas Card Expert- Allan Ackerman for this 2-day experience that will change your magic forever!

The House of Magic Has Many Rooms, and Ours Has Many Chairs Around the Table

Dear Friends:
The Reverend David Reed-Brown is one of our oldest friends and students, who has been coming to various Magic & Mystery School events for over 20 years. Besides being an inspiring performer, David is a deep thinker about both the technique and philosophy of our art. I know you’ll enjoy his guest-artist article which follows:

The House of Magic Has Many Rooms,
And Ours Has Many Chairs Around the Table

Eugene lovingly took Cindy’s hand…  My wife had just come through the front door of the House of Mystery during an evening session, but she didn’t know where to go.  He graciously led her to our group out back on the patio and made sure she had a place at the table. It was my first Master Class, back in January, 1999.  That was Eugene Burger’s way. He often looked out and looked closely for people on the fringes, for those who are different. He very intentionally connected and welcomed people. Eugene was fond of saying, “In the House of Magic there are many rooms.” Let me add to this statement, “In our particular room we have a variety of chairs around the table waiting just for you.”

Magicians Dana Douglas & Eugene Burger
Photo Courtesy of Dana Douglas.

I remember performing for critique at my first Master Class.  I had never performed for magicians before, and I was so “green,” yet still very welcomed.  We have people of many different abilities participating at the Magic & Mystery School.

We have those just starting out, as well as seasoned professionals, women and men, older and younger, people of all skin tones, LGBTQIA, well-known and unknown people speaking different languages, all with different finance levels, professions, talents, and education – each one with a unique approach to magic.

Back in the early 2000’s after one of our conferences ended, a number of us went into Las Vegas to watch close-up magic.  A well-known magician approached us, and we introduced ourselves as being from the School. He looked down condescendingly, muttering under his breath, “You know that’s where all the gay magicians go, don’t you?”  A number of us proudly responded right away, “O yes we do! It’s a safe, caring community where all are welcome. It doesn’t matter to us if someone is different. It actually enriches us and magic all the more…” A silent and magical teaching moment followed, as he absorbed a glimpse of this love. What I’m saying is, “All are welcome.” We’re not perfect at it. No one is, but we really try.

Every October at Magic and Meaning, the annual homecoming of the Magic & Mystery School, we open with a ritual led by Abigail McBride.  I won’t fully explain this experience because that mystery is especially for those who attend, but I will share that it is lightly adapted for our purposes from Mahatma Gandhi’s community.  This bonding experience helps us to appreciate and support each person in a variety of ways right from the start of the conference. It creates room for each one. We also check in with the group at regular points along the way.  There are daily opportunities for each person to share in smaller groups what they are processing. The welcome continues in some fashion at every online and in-person event hosted by the school. Every voice is welcome.

AN INVITATION:  No matter who you are, no matter where you are on your magical journey or your life journey, in our magical room, there’s a special place for you at the table. In fact, meeting YOU might be the best thing that happens to us all year…

Jeff and Abbi Welcome Us

David Reed-Brown is an Instructor at McBride’s Magic and Mystery School, where he has studied for twenty years.  As a fusion of clergy and magician, he gives people hope through the Art of Magic. He lives in Simsbury, Connecticut with his wife, Cindy, and two amazing boys, Matthew and Kirby.  See his articles on

The Card Trick That Changed My Life

Greetings friends,

I’m sitting here in Vegas this week, thinking back on all the events that led me to this point in my life.

I have been reflecting on the timeless question, “How did I get here?”

After much contemplation, I realized that it was one moment in time… (drum roll please!)

The card trick that changed my life!

The fact is, that there REALLY was a card trick that changed my life. Let me tell you about it, and why it matters!

The answer is that “I picked a card!” That is correct my friends, I was 6 years old and saw a card trick and it changed my life!

There were 2 little girls named Linda and Susan. They were 6 years old too, and also identical twins (to me at least). I remember them showing me a card trick…. I picked a card, and what happened next changed my life forever!

My magic career started with just ONE card trick. 

From that ONE card trick I built a life, career, home, and many fulfilling relationships.

All it takes is ONE thing, one moment, ONE step to change your life!

For me, the step was picking just ONE card!
For YOU it might be….

Just ONE step. 

The following suggestions, if you TAKE ACTION will change your life!

After you have taken that ONE step… here are 10 more things you can do that will take NO talent–just commitment!

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
-William Ward

That’s what we do at the McBride Magic & Mystery School—inspire you to become the best magician to which you aspire. We love to teach people of all ages, but have a special spot in our hearts for the youth.
Just look at this great photo of AGT winner Mat Franco. He started with us when he was 12 years old and is now a millionaire with his own show on the Las Vegas Strip!  I had the pleasure of having coffee this week with Mat and catching up. This photo is a classic “now and then” shot!

Many great magicians’ passion for the art gets started at a young age. Now it’s our turn to give back to the next generation of magic.

The Lance Burton Teen Seminar

While most of our educational activity takes place at our Las Vegas location, we also teach at the Lance Burton Teen Seminar (LBTS), which precedes the annual I.B.M. Convention. This year, the LBTS will be held from the evening of Monday, July 8 through noon on Wednesday, July 10 at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, just prior to the I.B.M. Convention.

The seminar is free to all teenage youth.

Daily follow-up sessions will also be held. Lance Burton and Larry Hass will join me as core faculty, as well as guest presentations from select convention performers. The Seminar is free to all teenage youth. Registration details exist at Partial travel scholarships are available. Shin Lim attended the Seminar a few years ago, and look at him now! If you’re a teenager, do join us for what can be a life-changing experience. I’ll save a seat for you.

Mystery School Student of the Month


In the last 2 years, Jad created a sensation by winning 10 major awards at many magic competitions in Europe.

Jeff: Why do you compete Jad?

JAD: Paradoxically, I’m not going to get into the glorifying aspect of winning awards in Magic. Being in a magic competition is one of the most difficult challenges for a magician. There is no time to set the stage, no time to rehearse, no time to set proper lights, no space to keep my stuff safe, and, the cherry on top, everybody in the room knows something about magic, and some people are even going to judge my work.  Usually in this configuration a magician is exposed to the worst and it seems normal that some of these conditions can guide the magician to make mistakes. And I’ve made many… 

I have made mistakes that I have never forgotten, mistakes that I have overcome, and mistakes that made me become a better performer. 

Eugene Burger said, “Sometimes, the greatest gift of all is failure… and that’s what it’s all about!”

JAD says, “For me, every competition was a new challenge. I had a new goal every time. Over the years it has become a pleasure for me to be on stage sharing my work with my peers, taking their advice and thinking differently. I have found that by being visionary in my approach, I have been able to overcome the unexpected traps of a competition. I think that to be successful in magic, the most important thing is to be prepared, and entering a magic competition is one of the best ways to learn how to be prepared.”

Bravo, Jad for becoming our Mystery School “Student of the Month!”  See JAD soon at WONDERGROUND!

Wonderground News
all info at
April 18, 2019

3 Great NEW shows- Never to be repeated

7pm     Strolling magic with Shawn Newman: “The Wand King!”

8pm     Comedy, Magic & Variety
     Your host Tim Wise: Hollywood Magic Star
     Jason Andrews:  A Modern Classic
     Ming Da: Direct from Asia
     Dyno Statts: Steam Punk Driven magic
     Mago Enigma:  Dynamic Illusions

9pm     Close-up magic and Strolling
     Your host and MC Will Bradshaw
     Shawn Newman: “The New Man” in Vegas!
     Jason Andrews: Delightful Deception
     Ming Da: Magic with an Eastern Flair
     Dyno Statts: Magic Beyond Science
     Sean Scott: Artistic Original Creations

THE WONDERBAR- Bar Magic Close-up
Tim Wise: The Hollywood Magic Star
Shawn Newman: “The New Man” in Vegas!
Jeff McBride: McBar magic!
Scott Steelfyre: Die-namic Delights!

10pm   Stage Show Extravaganza
     Your host: Jeff McBride
     Will Bradshaw
     Jason Andrews: Sophisticated Sorcery
     Ming Da: Mysteries from Asia
     Dyno Statts: Is it Science or Magic?
     Mago Enigma: Illusions with a Latin Flair

Bar Magic, Scott Steelfyre & Maggie, Corey Rubino, New World Rythmatism Belly Dancers, Psychic Sideshow and Tarot reading, and many more surprises and special celebrity guests.

So, my friends… the next time we see each other in person, ask me to show you the card trick that changed my life!

It just might change YOURS!

Be inspired,


“Playing cards are like people, the backs all look the same, but the fronts are all different!”

Conjuring at the Capital

Dear Friends:

I’m delighted to introduce you (though I expect many of you already know him) to our guest columnist for this month. He is our long-time friend Cyril John May – The ReSourcerer! I first met CJ almost 20 years ago, when he was head of recycling for Yale University, and wanted to see if we could arrange for Jeff McBride to visit and lecture there. After several years of work, we did make those arrangements, and CJ has become a good friend, both personally and as a friend of the Magic & Mystery School. He is an amazing performer, who uses his magic to further the cause of our environment, and, particularly re-cycling. I think the piece below will really make you think…and perhaps consider ways you can use your own magic to further a worthy cause. Without further ado…Cyril John May!

Using magic to lobby legislators is a double-edged sword. It can help you win their hearts and minds.
It can also get you arrested.
by Cyril John “CJ” May

Magic has more power than even magicians think it does. It can change the laws of the land. On many of my occasional trips to legislative bodies to give testimony on environmental issues, I have used magic. The power to entertain and capture attention is in full play. It pulls bored legislators out of the stupor brought on by hours of mind-numbing, fact-swollen statements read by droning lobbyists, citizens and others. Lawmakers wake up, smile and thank you when you interject fun and creativity into their day.
But magic also is an exclamation point. It does not merely entertain. It helps you emphasize what you are trying to say. Testifying before the New Haven Board of Alders as they considered whether to discontinue the purchasing of bottled water was vastly improved by magic. Producing a stream of smoke from a previously empty bottle made my point: polluting trucks must drive bottled water to its destinations. This use for magic adds pleasing and easily rememberable visuality to important facts. This can lock your message into the memories of the lawmakers and help win your case.
It might also get you arrested.

Controversy over the question of whether the local utility should close a coal-fired plant brought me to Bridgeport, CT with a trick, literally, up my sleeve. A sharp-eyed plain-clothes Federal Marshall, hyper vigilant in the days following 9/11, noticed something suspicious. He briskly whisked me out of the room, gave me a once over, a tongue lashing and the boot from the building. No testimony…but at least no handcuffs.

Like any good show, testimony requires preparation, waiting, and on-the-fly adjustment. I was recently called to Hartford, the capital of Connecticut, to speak about issues related to recycling and plastic bags. I scripted myself for the 3 minutes (maximum time allowed), rehearsed it with props, and packed and arrived early. I knew the venue, and was not at all surprised that even checking in way before the 10:30 am start time, still resulted in my testifying at 3:00 pm. By that time the lawmakers were zoned out. They woke up, however, when I made a bottle levitate. They laughed when one plastic shopping bag became a daisy chain that spanned half of the caucus room. In the four hour wait, I had also realized that they might ask me about the current crisis in recycling markets, and whether we should stop recycling. Fortunately, I had been carrying the right magical answer to that question for several weeks. I was able to display five 5-dollar bills to demonstrate that my employer, the City of Waterbury, still saves $25 for every ton it recycles. And the alternative…? The $25 instantly became $80 to represent what it would cost per ton to trash all those cans, bottles, paper and cardboard. This got exclamations, requests for me to do the same trick with their money, laughs and, most importantly, a point firmly-made.

Magic is powerful.  It can change the world not only by the sense of wonder it provides, but also by the messages it can deliver to audiences in a theater or a government conference room.

Cyril John “CJ” May wears the hat of a sorcerer as well as that of a sustainability professional. He performs “enviromagic” shows for children and families as “Cyril the Sorcerer” ( When presenting on environmental topics to professionals and other adults he is “The Resourcerer” ( He has worked in recycling for more than 30 years and currently serves as Refuse/Recycling Coordinator for the City of Waterbury. As Waterbury’s “municipal magician” he regularly performs magic on environmental topics at City schools, library, events and civic meetings.

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