Chicago is on Fire…with Great Magic!

Yes! The magic is heating up at The Rhapsody Theater, with many new shows and the world premiere of McBride’s Magic & Mystery School Festival of Magic!

Three exciting shows, close up magic, lectures, workshops, and many magic parties await you. Get the inside information on our “VIP All Access Pass” here –

Collector’s Alert!
There are only a few copies left! If you’ve not yet ordered your Jeff McBride Portrait Mini-Print drawn by magical artist Jay Fortune, then act quickly, as Jay has only a handful left – and they won’t ever be reprinted! Get yours free (you only pay shipping and handling) or buy it for just a few dollars and support the Mystery School Scholarship Fund. Get your signed copy here:

Can You Imagine This?

Are you attending Magic Live? This August, the day before and the day after Magic Live, the Mystery School will open its doors for 20 lucky adventure seekers. This is your chance to step into the enchanting world of magic with Jeff McBride’s Magic & Mystery School Experience

Immerse yourself in a five-hour magical journey that will take you through the art and heart of magic, all while discovering the world’s premier magic learning experience.

IMAGINE yourself guided on a mysterious adventure, as your host Jeff McBride invites you to join him for an unforgettable experience at The Magic & Mystery School. Watch Jeff perform some of his new and classic magic pieces, and then embark on a guided tour of the magic school. You will visit our incredible magic library, and behold the thousand and one wonders of Jeff McBride’s extensive magic collection – a treasure trove he has gathered from his many years adventuring around the world!

You will also get to participate in lectures, hands-on workshops, and, of course, lots of magic! To keep you fueled throughout the day, snacks and drinks will be provided. This is a one-of-a-kind experience that may never happen again. This may be your last chance to make it a day at The Magic & Mystery School!
If You Can’t Get to Vegas
We open our virtual doors every Monday night at 7:00 Pacific time for Mystery School Monday! This is your opportunity to learn magic from us from the comfort of your own home. Join the fun and excitement and learn the insider secrets to our fascinating art. Just go to this link and join us –

See you in Vegas or online!
Jeff and all your friends at The Magic & Mystery School

Burnout and Magical Wintering

Our guest contributor this month is Careena Cullen. Careena talks about something we can all relate to: burnout. She shares her experience of what she likes to call “magical wintering,” using her favorite tools, the Tarot cards, to illustrate how she used this period of pausing to replenish and create a new brand.

Hey there, friends!
My name is Careena Cullen, and I have been a magician for 20 years. I come from a performance and academic background, and am currently halfway through a PhD program in the UK, focusing on the intersection of witchcraft and spiritualism in the nineteenth century. I have explored just about every room in the house of magic, from séance theatre to children’s magic, via manipulation. With a wide repertoire of magic to call upon, I am enjoying my magical life, represented by the Nine of Pentacles: appreciating what I have while looking forward to good things to come.
The Pause
Let me tell you about my experience with burnout. It snuck up on me slowly, like a creeping malaise. I found myself going through the motions, churning out shows without feeling any real enthusiasm or passion. Even though I had a new show, “The Library of Eerie Tales,” and my academic writing was on track, I just couldn’t summon the old excitement and spark of joy. What was going on? My body hit the brakes and enforced a pause – the menopause. We’re seeing more and more in the media about how this can affect how women perform and operate on a daily basis. 
Sadly, women who are magicians are not immune to this, so it’s important for them to get the lowdown, too! My body wasn’t functioning as it used to, and this affected my magic performances. My hands weren’t working the same way, and somewhere between my brain and my fingers, my hormones were getting in the way. I even forgot how to do an effect I had been performing for over ten years. Crazy, and definitely not my idea of fun. So, what did I do? I allowed myself to pause and wait, creating space to reflect and recalibrate.

Taking a break is crucial, especially for those who have experienced, or are experiencing burnout. It’s not just for one gender, and it can benefit everyone. I learned the value of disconnecting from social media and tuning into my inner wisdom during this period, much like the Hermit in the Tarot. By shutting out outside influences, I was able to determine what was truly nourishing and beneficial for my magical practice. This time allowed me to reflect on what kind of magician I wanted to be with my altered body and mind. Since I couldn’t turn back time, I embraced change instead. I saw my wintering period as represented by the Hanged Man, and enjoyed the wait (look at the smile on the face of the Hanged Man.)

To overcome my burnout and feelings of malaise, I decided to seek out new experiences. One of the most memorable was a trance-mediumship course I took at the Arthur Findlay Centre, the headquarters for the National Union of Spiritualists in the UK. It was a surreal and eye-opening experience that I will never forget. During this time, I also discovered the Emotional Freedom Technique, or tapping, which involves tapping on the meridians of the body to promote calmness and a positive change in mindset. I highly recommend former actor Brad Yates’s YouTube channel for some great tapping rounds.
Another valuable resource was Mel Robbins’s award-winning podcast, aptly named “The Mel Robbins Podcast.” Her science-based pep talks encourage taking small, consistent actions to move forward and avoid feeling stuck. I also had a great conversation with Abigail McBride about the changing roles of women in magic as they age. This is a topic that Dr. Marjorie Hass also discussed at the Magic and Meaning Conference in 2022. 
Women magicians evolve from sorceress to wise women as they gain experience, and as I continue to evolve, I have created my own brand as a hybrid tarot reader and magician specializing in weddings, called The Wedding Witch. I also offer a magic lecture for other magicians on my experience creating and marketing bizarre magic shows.
In conclusion, I encourage all magicians to embrace the High Priestess and seek out new experiences. There are always great mysteries waiting to be discovered behind her curtain.

You can follow Careena on Instagram @sylviasceptre1 or email her at

Imagine My Shock!


Imagine my shock when I opened up the pages and saw my face staring back at me! Our Mystery School got incredible coverage in this month’s National Geographic. Mystery School featured in National Geographic! The article talks about how to create illusions, the World Championships of Magic, and features many of our friends and faculty here at Mystery School.

You can read the full article here:
Published April 7, 2023, photographs by Dina Litovsky, story by Nina Strochlic and Michael Greshko. Thanks to William Bradshaw, Scott Steelfyre, Tobias Beckwith, and the dean of McBride’s Magic & Mystery School Dr. Larry Hass, for the incredible work you have done for the school this year! 
Join Us For a Magical Adventure – McBride’s Mystery School Festival of Magic
Dr. Ricardo Rosenkranz has created a new home for the Mystery School in Chicago. The Rhapsody Theater is an incredible facility that hosts magic, music, and exciting theatrical productions. On June 2, 3, and 4, there will be a full-blown magic festival filled with extraordinary events, one of my favorites being what we call the “magic pub crawl,” followed by a late night party!

You are invited to join us in Chicago for an immersive experience with four world-leading performers and teachers of magic and mentalism. During three full days, you will enjoy four major shows, you’ll participate in workshops, lectures, private parties, and a field trip to Chicago magic sites. Above all, you will spend quality time in small groups learning from the world’s finest magic teachers.
Learn more and join us for the fun! Tickets are on sale here:

What is Your Magical Fantasy?
Many magicians dream of producing endless streams of money from their fingertips. Now that dream is a reality! For many years, I’ve kept this secret very close to my heart, and now I have released it to the magic community – 40 years in the making!

Imagine having the power to apparently read other people’s thoughts! Imagine having a full mind reading show that you can carry in your wallet! Join me for an adventure in mind reading magic and very personal hands-on training, limited to 6 students only

Who is this class for?

  • Anyone passionate about deepening their understanding of performance mind reading.
  • Those who are seeking to upgrade their skills, techniques, and presentations.
  • Magic enthusiasts performing for friends and family over the internet.
  • Individuals looking to be prepared for the challenges of the new world we live in.

What will you learn?

  • Various mind reading techniques, including metal bending, direct mind reading, predictions, and Q&A.
  • How to give powerful presentations over the internet.
  • A full mind reading show based on your new skills and style.
  • Six hours of private, exclusive, high-quality video training from the Mystery School.
  • Follow-up videos and teaching materials not available elsewhere.
  • Personal interaction with each teacher to receive specific answers to your questions.
  • No previous experience necessary! 
  • Six students only!

Register now, because space is limited –

Good Omens Ahead

As Abigail and I look out our back window, the flowers are blooming and the mockingbirds are singing the good news – Spring is here! Nature is reminding us of the great potential that lies ahead for us all.

See you in Las Vegas or online,
Jeff and Abigail

Push Your Comfort Zone

Dear Friends,
Our guest contributor this month is Elliott Hunter, a long time Magic & Mystery School student. Elliott used his magic and illusion show to put himself through college, and earn his engineering degree. At just 23 years-old, he has performed over four hundred shows in the Palace of Mystery at the world-famous Magic Castle, has represented companies like Sony, TEDx and Starbucks, and has won numerous international titles. Most recently, he was named a top qualifier by FISM North America, which allowed him to represent the United States at the FISM World Championships this past summer in Quebec City, Canada. Currently, he is the resident headlining magician on the Princess Cruises flagship in Illusions, one of the top illusion shows on the seven seas.

Elliott with his first magic directors – Jeff McBride and Eugene Burger

Put to the Test
I have been training and performing magic for over fifteen years. Having been a student of the Magic & Mystery Schoolfor over a decade now, I have constantly been encouraged to advance my goals, forgo my comfort zone, and seek greatness. For me, this admonition has come in many forms, but has never been put to the test like it has this year. In January 2017, the Genii online magazine published an article about me, and I mentioned that my goal was to perform aboard cruise ships. At the time, that goal seemed like a mere pipe dream. However, in July 2022, when I was in Atlanta performing for the I.B.M. annual convention, I got a call that a cruise company was casting for a resident magician in their next production show, and I was at the top of their list. Of course, I said “yes!” 
This year I have embarked on what is probably one of the most challenging endeavors of my career – being the headlining magician for a multi-million dollar production show aboard a brand new cruise ship. However, this comes with a steep learning curve. I was tasked with performing someone else’s show to their standards, while upholding the corporate image of the company. It’s not my job to offer notes, but to take them. My contract clearly states that I am to perform the show as designed by the director. It is my responsibility to film every single show, take notes on myself, then email the files to the director, who will then take notes as well. His job is to be quite particular and ensure that the product remains up to his standards. This was completely foreign to me! There are many habits that I had to learn, and many that I had to break.

All packed for eight months of cruise ship performances.

Working with a Director
I believe it is crucial that you work with a director at some point in your career, someone who has the knowledge of stage production beyond just magic. A director can look at your show through an objective lens, and make changes based on the show itself. This means polishing your blocking onstage, working with you to deliver your lines with the proper vocal inflections, critiquing your costume, your shoes, your applause cues – the list goes on and on. When working in a production show, these aspects are equally, and sometimes, more important than the magic itself. 
It is paramount to never take any notes or direction personally. The director is not there to attack you, but to help you and the show as a whole. I have often found that directors sometimes ask rhetorical questions when offering feedback – statements like “Why are your feet like that? They should be like this.” They usually are not asking for you to respond, they are simply helping you navigate through their thought processes, so you can interpret their notes thoroughly. Sometimes feedback may come across as terse or harsh, but this is normal, and is important for the rapid growth of a show; especially when the rehearsal timeline is so tight! 

Backstage preparing for the show.

Learning to Adapt
I have been blessed with the ability to be a very fast visual learner. In engineering school I could watch the instructor do one demonstration, and immediately repeat the procedure move for move. In professional production environments, rehearsal time is often included in your contract; you are paid for rehearsal time as well as for shows. However, this means that rehearsal time is highly valuable and intentional to the company, and they often only allot one to two weeks for rehearsals prior to opening. I had to learn an entire show’s worth of magic effects and illusions that were not in my current repertoire, as well as the script, blocking, choreography and timecode in less than two weeks!
In this professional market it pays to be able to be able to adapt quickly. There have been several occasions in my own shows where I have needed to add new material last minute. This may mean selecting a new effect in the morning, and presenting it as a fully developed routine by the 7:30 showtime! This would be intimidating to any performer, but one of my cruise ship mentors had a strategy for this. He would always bring his copy of Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic. This way, if the cruise director needed him to do another show at the last minute, or he needed ten extra minutes in his show, he could oblige because he literally had hundreds of relatively easy to do magic effects at his fingertips. All he had to do was add his character to the already printed script. 
Employ this with Jeff McBride’s concept for “hammocking” your routines, and you have set yourself up for success. This strategy is invaluable, because if there is a last minute cancellation of a scheduled act, the cruise director will need someone else to fill in. If you tell them “no,” there are literally hundreds of other entertainers more than happy to take your place!

Manipulation act performance in preparation for FISM.

Push Your Comfort Zone
I always encourage everyone to push their comfort zone. For you, this may mean competing in a magic competition, four-walling a venue for the first time, or something as simple as trying out a new effect on an audience. The only way we can grow is if we are constantly willing to push our comfort zone. Some of the best advice I ever received is “if doors won’t open, kick them down!” Be willing to take the leap. It is rare that someone will come along and hand you success on a silver platter. The people you see posting online about how much they are working are not showing the blood, sweat, and tears that it took for them to reach where they are. There will always be work for entertainers; it’s just a matter of working hard to get it. Remember, no one came knocking on David Copperfield’s door.

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