The Magic of the Mind in the Moment

Greetings Magical Friends,

Abigail here, writing from the House of Mystery on a peaceful morning in the desert. I have been thinking these past few weeks, about my mind and how mysterious and magical it is.

“…the magic show takes place primarily in the spectator’s head…. Nevertheless, the wizard may exert a certain degree of control: he determines what the audience shall not pay attention to (a process known in conjuring as misdirection), and he restricts so far as he can, the ways in which each onlooker shapes his own private performance. What you must realize is that your game is angling, not shooting. You don’t propel, you lure. The “fly” is in the trout’s appetite, not on the hook.”

 -Henry Hay, The Amateur Magician’s Handbook

I’ve come to the realization, as the sages say, that I am not just my mind. Not only that, but I now know I don’t have to believe everything I think. My mind is brilliant, and finds patterns and tells stories, and remembers and plans for the future, and can be a two-edged sword, of both discernment and distraction. When I find my mind is not acting like my good friend, I remember that I have a choice.

Abbi WG Sword

“Words and magic were in the beginning one and the same thing.”

–Sigmund Freud

When my mind is dragging me out of the moment, into regrets of the past, or fears of the future, I have an option. I can use my senses to get out of my head, and into my body, and back into the moment I am actually inhabiting, the present. I am embodied, alive and breathing in this moment, so I have the option of using my eyes to look around and notice what I am seeing. I can use my ears to be aware of what I am hearing. I can notice the taste inside my mouth, the scents in the air around me, the sensations I am feeling through my skin… I can notice how I am breathing, and I can choose to deepen my inhales and lengthen my exhales. When I control my breath, I control my heartbeat, and this influences my state of mind.

Abbi Cage

“It is important as a mentalist to notice small things… little things such as being able to tell if someone is right or left handed by looking at which way their belt is pointing. Looking at a book of matches will tell you if they are right or left handed by the side the matches are removed…. It’s important to notice these things because the more you do, the more you will realize that each person has little psychological nuances that tell you a lot about the individual. Doing so will tremendously sharpen your skills.”

 -Banachek, Psychological Subtleties

When I do turn my awareness to these things, I return to the actual “real” world of here and now. When I find myself not in the present moment, then, as Fritz Perls would say, I can recognize that I am in “fantasy land.” If I’m going to go into my fantasy world, then I may as well make it a good fantasy, and imagine the best possible outcomes, the nicest things happening, and how good I could feel. Of course, I can always choose to step out of the present moment, if there is something that actually needs planning, but now I know it can always be a conscious choice.

Spinner Many Arms

Being present is where the real magic happens. Not too long ago, I wrote a song called Right Here, Right Now. You can check it out right here, it’s #7.

The Magic Formula to Success Now

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure, or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember, that’s where you will find success.”

T. J. Watson 


To see more, CLICK HERE

 Albert Einstein


I have creative friends.  They are inventors of magic and stage technology, musicians and painters. We get together every month at the Magic & Mystery School and at WONDERGROUND to share new ideas, and to see what the Las Vegas performance art crowd thinks and feels about our offerings.

As Larry Hass says, “Getting an idea from paper to the stage is a process that, if done correctly, is NOT tedious!  It takes hard work, but even hard work can be lots of fun!”

“Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.” – Franz Kafka


What type are YOU? Are YOU a “creative type” or a “producer type?”

There is a BIG difference between these types.

Let me ask you an important question. Are you getting expert feedback? How do you know when you are “off the deep end” or “right on target?”

Producer types “get it done.” They have systems, and they have developed formulas to grind away at tasks…and that, too can be fun. We certainly get a sense of accomplishment when a deal is done or a new product is brought to market. My manager, Tobias, is a real wizard at this type of creative-productive merging of talents.

His book, The Wizard’s Way, teaches how real wizards produce new products and manifest creative ideas.

I’m always looking for new sources of inspiration to empower my life and business. Here is a chart I found the other day.

How to Be Productive Chart

I printed out this chart and hung it on my wall so I could see it every day!

Make more of your time and energy.

This article will help you learn techniques to grow a more prosperous future.


I save many people from making costly mistakes. Last week a student wanted to get props built, and had placed an order with a builder who is less than honest. I turned him on to our Mystery School resources and saved him over $50,000.00

A 1-hour consultation with an expert can forever change the way you work and produce.

Hypno Wizardry Banner


My hypnotism mentor is Dr. Richard Nongard.  He and I have innovated a hybrid form of magic & hypnotism. Now, you can see the highlights reel we just created, with our compliments!

“Real magicians invent the future!”

One of the ways to create the future is to set goals.  Set short term and long term goals. Use “smart goals.”

A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic. While there are plenty of variants (some of which we’ve included in parenthesis), SMART usually stands for:

  • S – Specific (or Significant).
  • M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
  • A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
  • R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
  • T – Time-bound (or Trackable).

For example, instead of having “to study magic in Las Vegas” as a goal, it’s more powerful to use the SMART goal “To have completed my Master Class training by August 2016.” Obviously, this will only be attainable if a lot of preparation has been completed beforehand!

For more info on goal setting, CLICK HERE

One of my goals is to create and produce a new WONDERGROUND event each month.  Now THAT is a deadline! How do I do it?  I have the pleasure of working with a great team! Each month, we develop new ideas and book new performers for that month’s one-time-only night of magic and variety.

Sperry at WG  “Photo by Sheryl Garrett”

WONDERGROUND – Where the Las Vegas Stars come out to play!

AUGUST 20th – Eugene Burger, Larry Hass and the Mystery School All Stars

7:00 pm – The magical “Art of Sean Scott” – original strolling magic creations


8:00 pm – Tim Wise – Master of the Ceremony

Jonathan Pendragon – Newsworthy Magic

Larry Hass – The Magical Philosopher

Mark Presley – The Master of Thimbles

Ty Reveen – The Legend Continues

Jeff McBride – The Magical Storyteller


9:00 pm – Christian Diamond – Your Host

Eugene Burger – The Master of Mystery

Nabeel Arshad – Continental Mysteries

Justin Rivera – The Clever Conjuror

Larry Hass – Is It Real? He Lets You Decide.


10:00 pm – Jeff McBride – Your MC and Host

Yangyang – China’s New Rising Star of Magic

John Shaw – Something Wicked This Way Comes

Les Contortionettes – A Magical Collaboration

Chris Randall – I.B.M. Stage Contest Winner 2015


May this summer bring you new creativity and productivity.

See you in Las Vegas, on TV or on tour!


Unsung Heroes

“What’s the story of the hidden daisies among the roses, 
and the stars which break at the dawn?”

– Saleem Sharma

Unsung Heroes
Larry Hass, Associate Dean

In the run up to magic convention season, I found myself observing how many familiar names were on the convention bills. Many of them are the same names we saw at last year’s conventions or the year before. Some of them will be the same at different conventions this year. And some of these people are familiar because they receive a lot of attention in the magazines.

This is terrific for these magicians, and I am delighted for their success and celebrity: it helps spread the word, get the bookings, and pay the bills. But I am also aware that the famous names in magic are a very thin slice of all the magicians who are out there performing excellent magic shows for non-magicians in real-world venues, night after night, week after week, year after year.

So as a gentle corrective to the “season of celebrity” I wanted to dedicate this Museletter to some of the unsung heroes in magic today. That is, talented magicians who are out there making excellent shows and who are unlikely to get much coverage in the echo chamber of our subculture. You might well know some of the names I’m about to mention, but it’s more likely you won’t. That’s part of the point and the fun!

To gather these names, I emailed a wisdom team of respected friends and advisors, asking for their recommendations. My approach was not scientific or systematic. I simply asked some people whose opinions I trust, and by no means do they canvas the country or the world. Also, I am severely limited in the space I have available here. This all means there are a lot of unsung heroes I have missed!

Let me also say that it wasn’t at all necessary for the performer to be connected with the Magic & Mystery School. Instead, the criteria I presented in my request were simply: 1) that the magicians should be performing excellent magic on a regular basis, and 2) that they haven’t yet received the kind of recognition in the magic subculture their work probably deserves. Despite these rather open criteria, I was amazed to see a number of these names appear on several replies. Tells you something!

Here they are, then, in alphabetical order; some unsung heroes performing magic in the world today:

  • Alfonso (Southern California): close-up and parlor magic
  • Jeff & Kimberly Bornstein (Los Angeles): corporate mentalism
  • Dennis Debondt (Chicago): comedy magic
  • Dan Fleshman (Vail and St. Louis): close-up and restaurant magic
  • Greg Gleason (Las Vegas and on cruises): illusions, close-up, and card magic
  • Geoffrey Grimes (north Texas): walk-around, close-up, family entertainment
  • Mark Haslan (Southern California): close-up card magic
  • Debbie Leifer (Atlanta): comedy magic
  • CJ May (Hartford): environmental magic
  • Eddie Medrano (Southern California): comedy magic, clowning, and circus
  • Erick Olson (Orlando): comedy magic
  • Roland Sarlot & Susan Eyed (Arizona): parlor, platform, illusions
  • “Baff-alo” Bill Smith (Atlanta): hospital, community, clowning
  • Steinar Thelen (Norway): parlor, platform, emcee
  • Phil Van Tee (Southern California): comedy magic
  • Arjan Van Vembde (Amsterdam): close-up and parlor magic
  • Tom Verner (cities all over the world): Magicians Without Borders
  • Jim Vines (New York): close-up magic
  • Woody Woet (Amsterdam): comedy magic

In closing, allow me to say what a deep personal pleasure it was to read and learn about these magicians and the very fine performance work they are doing. I hope that you, too, will take a little time to broaden your magic horizons by getting acquainted with them.

So, who have I missed? Who are your unsung heroes? Whether they are folks on my list or on your list, I encourage you to make a special point to go see them work next time you are in their area. If you enjoy their magic, let them know. Working in the trenches is challenging, and your good words can make a big difference. Also, spread the good word to others whenever you can.

Indeed, the world needs magic. And there are unsung heroes all over delivering it.

Magic Explodes in Vegas

“Magic is an international language that transcends all cultural and language barriers.”   – Jeff McBride, Creator of The Magic & Mystery School

The Art of Magic is EXPLODING! In Las Vegas!

Magic Explodes in Las Vegas
Greetings friends.

Jeff here in Vegas. It seems like I’m getting booked more and more in Vegas these days and with good reason!

Not since “the magic boom” of the mid 1990’s has there been such a demand for magic in Vegas. “The Magic Center of the World” now hosts more than a dozen magic shows on and off-strip, and more are starting soon.

Q: Why is magic so popular?
A: It is a form of theater that appeals to all generations.

  • Visual magic has no language barrier. All cultures can enjoy its wonders.
  • Magic combines many other forms of theater, storytelling, music, quick change, dance, mime, circus, and variety arts.
  • The art of illusion reminds us that our world is filled with beautiful and terrifying mysteries.

Magic Store
Photo: Sheryl Garrett


Oh, I LOVE magic shops!  When I was a teen I worked at FLOSSO’S magic shop in NYC. It was the oldest magic shop in America. Filled with secret devices and esoteric books. I would practice and invent magic effects, read the strange books, and experiment with all the old tricks and the new magic innovations.

Recently, we built a new wing onto the Mystery School with a huge magic library, museum and yes…a real magic shop. Take a look–or better yet, come here and visit!

There are 2 ways you can visit our new magic shop.

  1. You can visit the shop if you attend a class
  2. Shop online. Take a look! We have many EXCLUSIVE items to be found nowhere else. CLICK HERE

Jeff & Abbi Masks
Photo: Clay Patrick McBride

 Jeff & Abigail McBride on MASTERS OF ILLUSION

We appear on multiple episodes this season with many “never seen before on TV ” acts.
Abigail will perform one of her solo pieces on the show too!


For  more than 20 years I played mostly East Coast nightclubs and casinos, so this seems like going home again!  I’ll be at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City on July 16th with the show. I’ll be performing my classic “Mask Act.”
Kabuki Shaman
” Here is a shot Abbi took of Jeff as “The Shaman”, backstage at MASTERS OF ILLUSION
Explore The Mystery School – “A Philosophy of Magic, Art, & Life.”

Jeff TeachingPhoto: Sheryl Garrett

What the students are saying:

“Simply the best way to learn magic.”   Jeff Christensen

Come join me every Monday night, and you can also tune in each and every day to see streaming videos of some of the top magic teachers in the world. If you have a hankering for hocus-pocus, this is the place for you to learn the new tricks of the trade.

“Mystery School is The REAL Hogwarts” – CNN  news

CNN Video Clip

WGPhoto: Sheryl Garrett

Every month, the  top magicians of Las Vegas are seen at WONDERGROUND.  It is the “mecca of magic” for the world now.

Why has WONDERGROUND outlasted many shows in Vegas?
 We change the show every month! Yes, a new show, with a new cast of new acts! It keeps it fresh and exciting. You never know who is going to drop in. Recent guests included Teller, Lance Burton,  Dan Sperry, Amazing Jonathan, Criss Angel, Mac King, Xavier Mortimer, Johnny Thompson and many more…

“Shock Illusionist Dan Sperry will be appearing at WONDERGROUND  July 16th!


8PM –   Tim Wise- Host with a ghost!
Randilyn-  as MJ
CK the  Modern Mystic – Magic from Singapore

9PM –   Christian Diamond – Sparkle & Mystique
Scott Steelfyre – With his Box of Mystery
Murray Hatfield – Canada’s #1 Illusionist
Dan Sperry – From AGT and The Illusionists

10PM – Tim Wise- Man on fire!
Dan Sperry – Beyond words!
Ryan Stock- Comedy Daredevil
Jarol Martinez- The ILLUMINATION act-direct from Paris!

Plus: The New World Rhythmatism Dancers, Bar Magic with Zack Pattee and Scott Steelfyre, Iam Creed, and Randilyn
Psychic Sideshow with Alan Scott, live art with Areeya, photography by Sheryl Garrett, and many more surprises and special celebrity guests!!

Matthew Wright & Eugene
Marvelous Matthew and one of his co-stars “Eugene”, see them live when you are in Costa Del Sol!

International News

Learn the Secret behind “THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS!”

Our friend and award winning student Matthew Wright has a new venue! His secret to success was a quote he heard when he attended Mystery School…here is the secret.

“A Goal is a dream with a deadline”

…and for Mystery School alumni and FISM award winner Marvelous Matthew Wright, that deadline was met this month with the opening of a brand new purpose built magic theatre in Torremolinos on the Costa Del Sol in Spain…visit “THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS.”

Matthew says:

“Inspired by a single line taken from Eugene Burger’s early video “Gourmet Close up Magic” Matthew has held a dream of opening his own theatre for almost twenty years. The “Chamber of Secrets,” as it is named, is a close-up/parlour theatre fully fitted with state of the art lighting and sound, as well as tiered seating and raised stage, so that everyone in the 36 seat room gets a perfect view of the action.

If you are in the Costa Del Sol this summer make sure to drop Matthew a line….he even has a special deal for friends of Mystery School!

Thank you Marvelous Matthew. You are doing great work bringing magic to an entirely new audience!

Magic is alive and more popular than ever…it is my hope that I can share my magic with you in person or online very soon!

We will end this month with one of our favorite poems by Rumi

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there. 
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.” Rumi

See you in the field!

Jeff & Abigail

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