The Magician’s Bauble

From Lawrence Hass, Associate Dean:

Throughout the month of October, we are celebrating the “Philosophy of Magic” on our Mystery School Monday shows. Thus, for this Museletter we wanted to bring you something special from one of our famous philosophers, Bob Neale. On the day this arrives in your box, Bob will be with us in Las Vegas for the Magic and Meaning Conference, where we will be celebrating the release of his brand new book The Sense of Wonder (available October 20 from

Meanwhile, enjoy these reflections:

The Magician’s Bauble

The Magic of Celebrating Illusion

 Robert E. Neale

(Excerpt from an unfinished manuscript, Breakaway: Bits and Pieces of a Magic Wand)

“Bauble” is an Old French term of obscure origin. It refers to a child’s plaything or toy. We continue to employ it to mean a trinket—a small, showy ornament of little value. In either case, it suggests something of little value. This is just as it should be . . . as long as we remind ourselves of the quite opposite meaning that is involved when we connect it with the Fool’s Bauble, which functions as a scepter that mocks the staff of office of rulers.

Fool’s Baubles could vary in form from an imitation phallus, to a bladder, to a doll-like replica of the fool himself. The prop was a symbol presenting the jester as a ruler of his own, fool of all fools. But our recollection of the jester in Europe should not obscure the fact that the fool figure has occurred in such cultures and societies as Eskimo, Aztec, Arabian, Roman, and Chinese. Fools occur to make merry, play absurd, and also critique society. They are experienced as innocent and yet knowing, criminal and yet caring, destructive and yet wholesome. Indeed, the jester is a most ambiguous figure about which we are properly ambivalent.

So I invite you to consider our traditional magic wand as a jester’s bauble:

Wand Whole

It is a bauble we have been using all through our magic lives, but perhaps haven’t fully recognized it as such.

But now consider it to be a kind of wand that we have sometimes used in our public performances:

Wand Broken

Indeed, at the most fundamental level, all our baubles are breakaway wands: the comedy stick with which we wave to make magic happen and then hand to a child who discovers it broken. We take it back, restore it, and may offer it to the child again. However abusive, this event has been experienced as funny by magicians, their audiences, and even those on whom the trick has been played. And it is properly ironic that we should finally play it on ourselves. Can we show our wand broken? Can we create the illusion for ourselves that we have restored it? Can we not like ourselves, then like ourselves, and then be silly with the serious?

So consider our wand now as fully revealed. Can we see it? And if so, can we appreciate it still as a comedy stick? Is it funny for us? Yes, can we laugh? Let us hope so by moving the life cycle of our magic wands to a new stage in which they embody ambiguity, and yet we treasure our own ambivalence about it.

How MEANINGFUL is Your Message?

“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.”

-Mother Teresa

Jeff Takes the Plunge

Lance Burton and Jeff McBride raise awareness for ALS. It is a joy to share this with our friends.

Jeff & Lance ALS

See the video:

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

–Winston Churchill

You Must Have a Powerful Message…

to gather and hold the attention of the crowd. Today’s audiences have short attention spans. In today’s fast-paced world, only those who have the skills to win the crowd will survive.

What can we learn from magicians? Here are the 3 rules of “Street Magic”

Find out the techniques used by master “crowd stoppers” by watching this short clip:

1. CAPTURE THE IMAGINATION - Use sound, color and movement to attract ALL of the senses.  Get people INVOLVED not “just watching.”

2. EN-TRANCE & MANAGE ATTENTION - Use the hypnotic language of storytelling, music, varied vocal VOLUME and pacing to connect and deepen the immediate experience.  Repetition and predictability are boring! Make your presentation a roller coaster ride.

3. MAKE THE MESSAGE MEMORABLE – Use “catch phrases,” hooks and visual metaphors to help the message “stick” in the memory.

For more info on how to make your message stick:

Q: Where do public speakers, presenters and magicians go to learn how to make their

message more meaningful?

A: The Magic & Meaning Conference

Mario Big Crowd

caption under photo: Mario and I will teach you to the secrets of  capturing the big crowd at our upcoming class.

Street Magic

Mario Morris said, “This is perhaps the only magic workshop you will ever attend, where you can actually get PAID BACK your tuition by PERFORMING!”

This training is the THE REAL DEAL on Street Performing. If you EVER had the desire to live your dreams as a busker, this class will give you what you need to know.

 “Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.”

–Albert Einstein

Blindfold Ross

Seeing Without Seeing

Yes, Ross Johnson can detect objects while 100% blindfolded! He seems to have developed the ability to see without the use of his eyes! He can also teach you to manifest apparently psychic powers! I’m not kidding! You can even meet Ross here:

“Advertising is the greatest art of the 20th century”

– Marshall McLuhan

Could this be the Birth of a New Artform?

Imagine performances that integrate the power of the mind, magic, mentalism, and hypnosis, creating a truly unique experience for audiences – a unique experience that only you can provide.

Hypno Wizardry

Hypnotic Wizardry

Join master hypnotist Richard Nongard and

World-renowned magician Jeff McBride

Jeff McBride’s Mystery School

in Las Vegas, NV

January 23-25, 2015

Magicians and mentalists will master the art of hypnotic language, directing audiences in new and powerful ways to accomplish routines that are spectacular.

A New Class

Hypnotists will learn the art of magic, illusion and mentalism and create unique skits that move far beyond what the standard stage hypnotist is offering.

You will be able to exemplify yourself in this intensive three day learning opportunity and you will have the personal attention of two masters within their craft.

This class is for magicians, mentalists, hypnotists and performers that desire to impact audiences with powerful demonstrations which others simply do not perform. You will be setting yourself, and your performance, apart from the rest by combining cognitive magic with innovative performance.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

–Maya Angelou

What Happens at the Magic & Mystery School?

Sheryl Garrett is an amazing photographer. She attended a recent Master Class. You can get a secret look inside the halls of Mystery School by viewing the gallery of her photos you will find here:


The biggest magic party in Las Vegas and YOU are invited!

Thursday night September 18th… never to be repeated! The full line up can be seen here:

Are You Planning to Visit Las Vegas?

I’m home in Las Vegas after the “Chicago to Brazil to Arkansas” tour. Abbi and I are hosting a few residencies and seminars here in Vegas. So when you plan your Vegas visit, be sure to let us know, and we’ll help you put a little magic in your visit. Call Abbi at 702-450-0021 to set up a class or private session.

We will see you in the online classroom, here in Vegas, or on the road,

Jeff McBride

Back to (Magic) School

From Dr. Larry Hass, Associate Dean

“Before you can think out of the box, you have to start with a box.”  —Twyla Tharp

For me, September is the month of transitions. It is the month when the nights start to get cooler and the days get shorter. It is the time to roll up my sleeves (vacation is over!) and get started on some fresh new thinking and projects. And above all, it is time to get “back to school”!

Lawrence Hass

“Back to School” is the theme of all our Mystery School Monday shows this month and I hope that you’ll tune in because we will have a lot to say about “hitting the books” with your magic (Mondays, 7:00 p.m. pacific, But here I want to talk about something I won’t discuss during the shows and which I have found to be utterly essential for bearing in on September projects. And that is: “taking good notes,” in other words, the practice of keeping an artist’s notebook.

I don’t know about you, but for me creative insights and breakthroughs come when I least expect them: in the shower, riding on a train, or walking my puppy. Or I come across an exciting trick or a potential method while I am reading a magic book or magazine. Of course I always pledge and promise not to forget, and yet days or weeks later most of them are simply . . . gone. Or the living heart of the idea has evaporated; I can’t remember what gave me the “creative buzz” that seemed so promising.

This is why I always have my artist’s notebook with me. And it is why every serious artist I have ever known, across a full range of art forms, keeps notebooks or journals. It is the primary way we can catch our dreams and, by putting them into words, make them real. Without this, despite all good intentions, our creative insights flutter away and fritter into nothing.

Now, it doesn’t have to be a note-book. As her epigram makes clear, master choreographer Twyla Tharp uses a box to collects props, artifacts, CDs of music, notes written on napkins, and so on. And you certainly could keep your “notebook” on your “tablet” or a computer. But after twenty years of doing this and experimenting, my preference is to use “Mead Composition Books,” available in any drugstore. They are inexpensive, small enough to be portable, and yet large enough to hold lots of notes. And I personally love the muscular, tactile handwork of writing on paper with pen and ink—somehow this embodied ritual makes it all solid and “sticky” for me.

Whatever system you decide to use—composition book, loose pages in a binder (Jeff’s method), or digital files—an artist’s notebook has two essential functions. The first function has already been mentioned: being able to record your good ideas and creative brainstorms whenever and wherever they might occur (after the shower, on the train, in the middle of the night). This is what I call the “dreamcatcher” function.

The second function is retrieval: you must be able to quickly access your past good ideas when you need them today. Indeed, nothing is worse than knowing that you once had a great idea for this somewhere! I call this the “lay-your-hands on-it-now” function.

In my experience, every system is better at one of these functions than the other. So carefully decide which “box” will work best for your overall work-style and devise additional strategies to offset the shortcomings. For example, my composition books are perfect for recording, but to facilitate retrieval I need to create a supplementary index for each one.

Obviously, there is a lot of variability in how artists keep a notebook. But there is no variability about the fact that doing so will help you be a more creative and productive magician. If you have never tried this practice or if you have fallen away from it, this September is a perfect month to “take good notes.” I think you’ll like what it does for you!

# # #

Face Your Fears

“What would you do if you were not afraid?”

Face of Fear

The #1 Killer of Dreams – Fear!

Yes friends…. I work with many people from all over the world. I help many performers overcome stage fright and anxiety. One of the most common things that stops people from living their dreams is fear: fear of failure, rejection and loss.

What if I could wave a magic wand and make your fear go away?

Well the magic wand is you, and all you have to do is follow these steps…. here are a few things to do to banish fear.


One of my favorite quotes about fear is….

“Fear is excitement without the breath!!” –Fritz Perls.

Yes just breathe. We hear it so often it seems almost cliché, but it works!

Just take five deep breaths and your anxiety will ease. Fear cannot live in a relaxed breath.  Next time fear moves into you… breathe it out. Inhale slowly to a count of 8, then exhale to a count of 8. Steady does it!  Here is one of our teachers, Gay Hendricks, with some of his amazing breathing exercises:

Move Your Body

Years ago, in martial arts class, I learned a very simple tool that I share with you….

“If you’re feeling great, meditate.

If you’re feeling down, move around!”

Simply put, when you feel fear, start moving your body. Take a walk, do housework, but get moving!

If you are feeling fine, stop all your running around! Just sit, reflect and be peaceful.

This poem by Nano Saki says it all in a crazy wisdom way…. 

“If you have time to chatter, read books. If you have time to read, walk into mountain, desert and ocean. If you have time to walk,sing songs and dance. If you have time to dance, sit quietly, you happy, lucky idiot.

Focus on Gratitude

When we focus on the good things in our lives, the negative thoughts are pushed to the background.  Count your blessings–not your curses! A great resource on fear:

Historic Syrian Magic Wand

“Life is the dance between your deepest desire and greatest fear.”- A. Robbins

The Wand from Beyond! An Historic Find!

The following article will be of special interest to magicians. Could this be the first magic wand ever used in “broken wand ceremony?”

Keep Calm

& use

a magic wand

Mystery School Student on National TV!

Mat Franco in the America’s Got Talent Semi-finals!

We have had a few talented students from our Magic & Mystery School on America’s Got Talent, including Jason Andrews and Michael Trixx… and now, here we have Mat Franco in the semi-finals!

Mat writes….

Dear Jeff,

What!? Results were announced live last night on America’s Got Talent… I’m in the semifinals!!! Thank you all for your support, comments and votes!! I am so excited to put together something for the next round!

Here is the link to my first performance on AGT.  Hope you enjoy it.  “I am so excited to be a part of the live shows at Radio City Music Hall in the next round where America votes!  If you want to share a link to my contestant profile, here is the link:  If you want to share the video of the latest trick I did on AGT, the link is here:   More more info on Mat go to:

Mat on AGT

We wish Mat much success! If you want to meet more of our star students, take a look at our Winners Circle Page:

Many performers, like Mat, push past their fears and take steps towards a better life.

Mat came to our school many years ago, and after years of dedication to his craft, is building a name in the entertainment industry. When will you take the next step?

For more about McBride’s Magic & Mystery School:

Let us host your Las Vegas vacation! Just drop us an email, and let Abbi and me know when you’re coming to Las Vegas, and what events you want to attend. You can always reach us at 702-450-0021

Wonderground News: The Biggest Magic Party in Las Vegas!

Here’s the lineup for August!  The entire Mystery School faculty will be with us this month! Arrive early to get a great seat. I will personally greet you at the door before the show! It is our pleasure to host your magical evening with us.

Early Stage

  • Jeff McBride
  • Tim Wise
  • Larry Hass
  • Eugene Burger
  • Adam The Professa
  • Shocker and Sinn Bodhi
  • Alexander Straub


  • Christian Diamond
  • Eugene Burger
  • Larry Hass
  • Jeff McBride

Late Stage

  • Adam The Professa
  • Circe
  • Jason Andrews
  • Alexander Straub

All of this PLUS, 

  • Psychic Sideshow: Tarot reading with Alan Scott,
  • The New World Rythmatism Dancers,
  • Live painting & Art by Areeya,
  • Body painting art by Suzanne,
  • Photography by Sheryl Garrett,
  • Video by Steelfyre,
  • DJ David Rosario
  • THE WONDER-BAR Close -up Magic with Zack Patee and MORE!

For more info go to: The Olive Mediterranean RestaurantWWW.VEGASWONDERGROUND.COM

I am home for the month of August working with students here in the School and on Skype. If you want to schedule a session with me, just drop me an email:

See you in Las Vegas or on the road.

Yours in better magic,

Jeff McBride

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