Death & Beyond… Do the Spirits Return?

Greetings magical friends,
Here are two questions that have confounded humankind for millennia! 


My answer to BOTH questions is YES! and YES!
How do I know this? How is this even possible? 
The power of story is the power to keep memories and magic alive. 
Folk tradition says…

“That which is spoken can be written.
That which is written can be remembered.
That which is remembered never dies.”

Eugene Burger: The Master Storyteller
One of the greatest magicians & story tellers of our age was Eugene Burger. Eugene was famous for his spirit theater performances, and Eugene’s spirit lives on here at the House of Mystery. Here is a rare clip of Eugene talking about one of his favorite subjects.

Eugene Burger & “Eternal Silence”Video Credit: Michael Caplan, copyright Montrose Pictures 2020

Eugene was a master storyteller, and famous for his spectacular séance and spirit manifestations. Eugene shared his secret séance techniques with only a few of his closest friends. This November, his friends and students are gathering to create a tribute to his memory and magic… and if you are reading my Museletter, then you are invited to attend!


Raising Your Spirits in a Time of Darkness. An Online Conference Experience.

Dedicated to the Memory and Spirit Theater of Eugene Burger.

Many of the top minds in the world of Spirit Theater, Séance, and Bizarre Magick will gather in an online circle to share their stories and journey together, into a world of shadows and candle-lit mysteries… And when the candles are extinguished, these spirits will emerge enlightened, armed with messages of hope and courage for these challenging times.

Imagine yourself joining us for this 3-day adventure from darkness to light, as we explore the history and mystery of the performing arts of seance and bizarre magic, with some of world’s leading mystery entertainers.

  • Celebrate the spirit theater of Eugene Burger.
  • Explore the rich possibilities of “raising spirits” in dark times.
  • Focus on tricks, techniques, manifestations and Special FX for creating this kind of magic, light and dark

You will meet our top teachers and performers in these areas, including Ross Johnson, Dr. Larry Hass, Jeff McBride, and Terry Tyson, along with a number of special guests, including Sylvia Sceptre, Kevin Lepine, Paul Draper, John Ferrentino & more.

Go here:

One of the gifts that I received from Eugene was an understanding of the power of storytelling…

“Your LIFE: is filled with stories
Your STORY: Is what makes you unique
Your MAGIC: Can enhance and empower your stories”

Join me for “The STORYMASTER Series.”
I will teach you the essential secrets of enhancing YOUR personal stories with magic!
Experience the world’s greatest magicians, sharing their most meaningful stories!
Let me guide you through my video archives, personal stories, and exciting performance routines.
You will learn to illustrate and enhance your personal storytelling with magic.  
In this course, we will focus on three major aspects of the creative process.

1. TELLING YOUR STORY: The Heart of the Art of Magic 
Learn how to unlock your inner storyteller. We will focus on improvisation skills, scripting, and memorization techniques, and how to make a memorable story. Not all stories have words; however, every magic routine tells a story, and you will learn the secret key to help you unlock presentations for many of the magic effects you already own or perform. 

Since the dawn of time, magicians have used the power of symbol to evoke deep responses, and stir the imagination. I will unlock a treasure trove of rich magical stories, symbols, metaphors and more to enhance your magical performances. Drawing on my vast experience of multicultural studies, you will learn how to apply my time-tested techniques to enrich your understanding and performances. We will also explore “The Twenty Essential Effects” of magic.

Magic is an international language. In this class, we will focus on adding “your personal touch” to your performances. You will learn a few new tricks, and you will also learn the closely guarded trade secrets for engaging and connecting with your audiences, one on one, or in crowds. Whether you are a full time professional, or a magic enthusiast who performs only for a few friends or the grandkids, we are all called on to perform magic in social situations.  

Your STORYMASTER tuition includes these amazing take-aways:

  • 9 new and original magic effects, routines, and presentations you can add to your performances.
  • Video recordings of the entire 3 class series for you to watch on demand, or if you miss class.
  • Performances, lectures & personal Q & A time with Jeff.
  • The McBride master key video and pdf archive of all topics, routines, and discussions from all three classes.
  • Access to the exclusive mystery school online discussion group.
  • Certificate of participation.

Go here to get more information about “The STORYMASTER Series.”

See you in our online classroom!

Yours in magic,
Abigail, Jeff…and “The Spirit of Eugene”

The Goblins

Little Orphant Annie’s come to our house to stay,
An’ wash the cups an’ saucers up, an’ brush the crumbs away,
An’ shoo the chickens off the porch, an’ dust the hearth, an’ sweep,
An’ make the fire, an’ bake the bread, an’ earn her board-an’-keep;
An’ all us other childern, when the supper things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an’ has the mostest fun
A-list’nin’ to the witch-tales ‘at Annie tells about,
An’ the Gobble-uns ‘at gits you
             Ef you

–“Little Orphant Annie”  –  By James Whitcomb Riley

Greetings, Friends!

Tobias here, writing a few days into October. The brutal heat of summer is beginning to give way to cool nights and pleasant, sunny afternoons. Fall is arriving, and it’s time to break out the sweaters, jackets, Halloween costumes, and scary stories!
October also contains some special things for those of us who love magic:

The week of October 25-31st has been proclaimed MAGIC WEEK by the City of New York, so that it coincides with The Society of American Magicians’ annual event. The mayor recognized that “More than a century ago, a group of New York City magicians gathered in the back room of Martinka and Company’s famous magic shop to form their organization. For more than fifty years, the Society has recognized the anniversary of the death of Harry Houdini with a special week of events to highlight the charitable work of its members throughout the year; during which magicians volunteer their talents performing in schools, veterans hospitals, senior facilities, and nursing homes, and for people who cannot afford to pay for this type of entertainment. MAGIC WEEK is when The Society of American Magicians takes its bows.”
— S.A.M. Magic Week Press Page

And, of course, that spookiest of holidays – Halloween, when all the ghosts and “gobble-uns” come out in full force. On Halloween, and on the Day of the Dead (Oct. 31-Nov. 1), it is said that the “veil between the worlds is thinnest,” and the time is ripe to contact and honor our ancestors who have passed on to the other side. As magicians and séance mediums, we love to play up the spooky and frightening nature of this time. Many cultures, however, think of it as a celebratory time—time to celebrate our ancestors and our roots.

Speaking of seances—we’re preparing our Las Vegas Séance Summit, November 6-8, all online. How does one conduct a séance over the internet? Well, I’ve been in on the planning calls, and I can tell you it is going to be an innovative endeavor! It will be groundbreaking, since it’s not only the class that will be online, but Jeff, Larry, Ross, and Terry Tyson will be giving you their own best thinking for creating your own online séance experience! If spooky storytelling and séance are something you’ve been interested in, this is going to be a wonderful 3 days for you!

I started today’s Museletter with one stanza from James Whitcomb Riley’s “Little Orphant Annie”—and with the intention of talking just a bit about those “Gobble-uns.” Here’s my question for you: What are your personal goblins? We all have them. You know, the little things that frighten you and you never talk about. Fears you may have hidden from yourself, but which hold you back from becoming your highest version of yourself.

Here’s one of mine: an irrational fear of approaching someone I don’t know with a request or an idea. “They don’t want to hear from me,” I think, to justify not reaching out. In fact, I think I’m afraid, “They’ll think poorly of me,” or “They’ll reject me.” But, if I’m honest—what do I care if they think badly of me? They don’t even know me, and I don’t know them. If we make contact and it doesn’t work out, neither of us have lost anything. But if we do find common ground, and create something wonderful together, that’s a big win for both of us. But my goblin whispers in my ear, “Don’t do it! It will turn out badly!” If I listen, I never make the call or send the email.

So…what are your goblins? It just might change your life for the better if you figure that out, and send those goblins packing!
Before I go:

  1. There is still time to register for Magic & Meaning, and it’s going to be a memorable one!
  2. The Séance Summit is filling fast. I’m not sure when we’ll offer this again. Jeff is busy procuring some very special “special guests” for that one, and it’s going to be fun.
  3. The Master Class for Mentalism still has a few non-performing spots available.
  4. We’re just putting the finishing touches on Beyond Deception – Acting, Stagecraft and Innovation for Magicians and Jeff’s new offering The Story Master Series, both for late November into early December.

Check all of those out at, or use the direct links in the calendar below.

In the meantime, all of us here at the Magic & Mystery School wish you a safe, healthy and magical autumn!

Tobias Beckwith

The Mantle of Magic

Dear Friends:
Our guest columnist this month is team member Daryl Rogers. Daryl performs close-up, strolling, parlor, and stage magic in a variety of venues, including birthday parties, private parties, fairs, festivals, schools, and libraries. He was recently named as an Instructor of the Magic & Mystery School and is a recipient of the Eugene Burger Legacy Award. He has taken numerous classes, acts as Assistant Media Manager to Scott SteelFyre for the school’s online classes and broadcasts, and occasionally hosts Mystery School Mondays

Discovering the Mantle of Magic

Mantle – noun 1. a loose sleeveless cloak or shawl  2. an important role or responsibility that passes from one person to another 

When I was 12 years old, I discovered magic and pursued it as a hobby for three years. The community I grew up in did not have a public library, and there were no magic stores nearby, so my knowledge of the art of magic was very limited. Forty years later, my interest in magic was reignited, and access to information was plentiful. The public library near me was large, and it didn’t take me long to discover the 793.8 section, and check out every item available.

One of the first books that caught my eye was The Illustrated History of Magic by Milbourne Christopher. I was fascinated to read about the long and rich history of magic. I was intrigued by the stories of past magicians like Robert-Houdin, Alexander Herrmann, Harry Kellar, Chung Ling Soo, Howard Thurston and other illustrious performers. I finally understood the reason for all the red tin tubes and boxes with fake Chinese lettering on them that I saw in the magic stores! Within that book I discovered the story of the Mantle of Magic.

Thurston’s poster promoting The Mantle of Magic being passed to him

The History and the Symbology
Harry Kellar became the premier American magician after the death of Alexander Herrmann. Toward the end of Kellar’s career, he started grooming a protégé to carry on in his footsteps. The original choice was a magician named Paul Valadon, but personal conflicts between Kellar’s and Valadon’s wives, in addition to some of Valadon’s personal actions, soured the deal. 
Howard Thurston stepped into the breach and made a bid to buy the show. He was accepted as Kellar’s heir apparent and performed with Kellar during his final tour. Kellar’s last show was held at Ford’s Opera House in Baltimore on the evening of May 16, 1908. At the end of the show, he gave a brief farewell speech, called Thurston onto the stage, and formally introduced him as his successor. 
At this time the passing of the Mantle of Magic was a metaphorical symbol, but it was soon depicted in a fanciful poster Thurston had created to promote his own show tour the following year. At the end of his career, Thurston passed the mantle to Harry Jansen, who performed under the name Dante. Dante passed the mantle to Lee Grabel, and Grabel passed it on to its current holder, Lance Burton, a close friend of the Magic & Mystery School
The Mantle of Magic is symbolic in a number of ways. At the surface level the mantle symbolizes a continuous lineage of master magicians. It is an outward designation of a person who has mastered all of the aspects of performing theatrical magic, and has reached the pinnacle of the art. It is the physical embodiment of a level of ability worthy to strive for by anyone serious about performing magic.
On a deeper level, it touches on the concept of a Jungian archetype. Indeed, the magician is one of the twelve brand archetypes in the Jungian aesthetic. The image of the classic magician in a white tie and tailcoat, tuxedo, top hat, cane, and cape is instantly recognizable as depicting a person of mystery, ability, and power. Even the youngest person getting involved in magic instinctively understands the meaning of this symbol.

Lee Grabel passing the Mantle of Magic to Lance Burton on May 12,1994

Earning Your Mantle

Though you may not perform in the traditional Robert-Houdin inspired wardrobe of the magician, another kind of mantle exists that you can wear. It is a mantle in your mind, and of your spirit. It is that never-ending quest to perform to the best of your abilities, and to raise the appreciation of magical performances in the eyes of the public. It doesn’t matter whether you are doing card tricks for one person at a bar, or performing for thousands of people on stage in a formal theater. The goal is the same.

There is no secret formula for reaching this level of performance ability. It comes from reading good books on magic history, theory, and philosophy. It comes from focused, conscious practice, and rehearsal. It comes from knowing your character, choosing the correct wardrobe, scripting your routines, and blocking your performances. It comes from your dedication, perseverance, and commitment to continual improvement. 

Perhaps most important of all is your connection to your fellow magicians, your mentors. and your teachers.

  • Whose writings and teachings do you learn from?
  • Who do you choose to have review and critique your act?
  • Whose business advice do you listen to? 
  • What actions do you take based on what you learn? 

How you answer these questions will have a profound impact on how you perform your magic, how your audiences will perceive your magic performances, and ultimately on your foundational relationship to the art of magic. 

There is no better place to make connections with people you can trust, and that have a deep understanding of the art of magic than at the Magic & Mystery School. The entire faculty and supporting staff are dedicated to the school’s mission of “improving the art of magic one magician at a time.” 

All skill levels are welcome. You will be connected to some of the friendliest and most generous magic teachers and mentors working today. As you deepen and strengthen your relationship with the school, you will be joining prior students like Shin Lim, Mat Franco, Bill Cook and many others. What it has done for their careers, it can do for yours as well, and soon you will find a Mantle of Magic that fits you. 

Learn more about the Mantle of Magic in the books The Illustrated History of Magic by Milbourne Christopher and The Last Greatest Magician in the World by Jim Steinmeyer.

What Kind of Magician Are You?

What role do you play in life or on stage?
What role do YOU most often play when you perform magic? Do you think of yourself as a Trickster, Sorcerer, Oracle, or Sage?
Following is the philosophy of “The Wheel of Life of the Magician.” 
Many of you have seen my now semi-famous chart of the “Wheel of The Magician” that was created by my study of magicians for over 30 years. You can see it here:
Who are you on an archetypal level?
Some people pass through all of these personas as they grow in the art. Some develop their work and dive deep into one role. Some go their entire careers totally unaware or unwilling to work their magic, or live life on mythic level. There are a multitude of personas and characters to explore, and many shades in between each role.
In creating graphic art, there are three primary colors: red, yellow and blue. Many shades of color can emerge out of these. Likewise, infinite novel, and colorful variations flow from our four primary magical archetypes of the magician! Below are just a few of the primary archetypes. Hint–you can always play more than just one of these four roles! What is your primary persona?
(You can “find yourself” in our next class series!)

The Trickster is the disruptor who turns our reality upside down. Learn the ways and means of master tricksters, and how to use them to capture people’s hearts and minds.

The Sorcerer is the hero who captures and concentrates magical powers, and focuses them to work their will upon the world. Yet, it takes more than mere tricks to become a Sorcerer; it takes discipline and many skills. In this class, we will focus on theatricality, character, and presentation.

The Oracle is the master of the inner world – a visionary who taps into our inner landscapes, can appear to read minds, and can even predict our future. In modern times, these oracles appear as mentalists, mind readers, and mystery entertainers.

The Sage is the keeper of the inner secrets. The real secrets of magic are only passed down from master to student, in whispers. The Sage is a collector of knowledge, experience, and hard-earned wisdom. When you tap into your inner sage, you have the entire history of mystery at your fingertips.
Which one are you?
If you are a serious student of magic, art, and philosophy…
I invite you to take a very personal journey with me, and explore real secrets of these archetypes that will be revealed in my upcoming class. Registration is now open!

Super Star David Copperfield!
David Copperfield will be our very special guest with us for Mystery School Monday on September 14th, and we will talk about how the cinema has influenced his magic and television shows. We are incredibly excited to have David as our guest. This is a very special opportunity to hear a true Master of the Art.
Movie Magic
Magicians are often ahead of their time. Many of you might be aware that magicians were pioneers in the Art of Cinema. Many people consider Georges Méliès to have been the father of cinematic special effects; however, there were magicians before him that blazed the trail… And I have been walking that trail recently and exploring the history of magicians in the movies.

I’ve always had a passion for live theater, and have always considered myself a theatrical performer. These days, everybody is living in front of the computer, a medium that isn’t quite television, and yet isn’t cinema either. It is something new and unusual, and an unexplored frontier. We here at the Magic  and Mystery School are exploring it.
I’ve learned many things from watching great movies, and I am working to put them into practice in our online presentations. Recently I’ve been seeking inspiration from Masters of Cinema.
During these last few months, I have avoided watching movies. However, there are some great inspirational movies that magicians must see in order to understand how the general public perceives magic.
In recent years, movies like The Prestige and Illusionist have given magic an elegant Victorian mystique.
There seems to be a pendulum swing between sophistication, and making other movies like The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The Great Buck Howard and most recently, Magic Camp by Disney, which all portray magicians as ego maniacal comic characters, using magic to get attention — and in many ways they might be correct!

I’m curating a list of magic movies that inspire. What are some of your favorite magic movies? I’d be curious to know!

Wikipedia has an extraordinary list of magic movies to explore–take a look for “Movies about Magic”

Each Monday on Mystery School Monday we will explore magical archetypes in the cinema!

Join us at

Take a look at these amazing new classes we are offering and also know that we are offering financial aid in the form of a stipend, in case you need help attending our online classes. Go to

See you in the online classroom! It is our amazing new home and we invite you to join us!

Jeff & the Mystery School faculty

New Days and New Ways to Learn Magic

Remember the good old days?
What is the most wonderful memory you have from your school days? The school play, a school dance, the talent show? I remember my favorite teacher Mr. Stedman. He was the music teacher.
Mr. Stedman taught music like it was a game! He let us students PLAY music. And, he allowed me to share my passion for magic, as well as my passion for music. That’s why I think, even at a young age, I was combining different artistic disciplines together to create “Fusion illusion.“ That’s what I called it back in those days–a combination of magic, theater, music, and dance.
What made Mr. Stedman’s classes more fun and effective? It was a unique combination of teaching, doing, play, and study, that made a huge impact on my performance skills and knowledge base. Now I can look back and see how his inspiration helped me make the following important discovery.
HOW we learn is as important as WHAT we learn!

New Days & News Ways of Learning Magic
There are many ways to take in information. The world is moving so fast these days, that I thought it was important to create a new way to study and learn magic.
Each of us learns at a different speed… 
I am a very slow and steady learner. Other people digest information at the speed of light.
How do you satisfy so many different styles?
Most people are either readers or “visual learners.“ Still others like to listen to podcasts, and other audio training materials.
Our master key system of magic training combines all three!

The McBride Master Key System of Magic Training

Our Mystery School team has developed a new teaching system that is a combination of:

  1. LIVE – Online, interactive real-time classes.
  2. Follow up study videos where students can learn at their own pace, stop the action, and review and renew their skills.
  3. A “Bonus Bundle” of Printed materials, books, PDFs and other important documents that you can refer to for research and study for the rest of your life!

I have new classes, and I invite you to join me live online, and get the MCBRIDE MASTER KEY SYSTEM as part of the training experience.

Innovations in Magic Teaching

I think about new ways to teach, and I think I’ve discovered something radically different than in the past. Now that we have everybody on Zoom, there is a new way to learn magic. My life classes, combined interactive real-time classes with extraordinary training videos, PDFs and other support materials. Some of our classes are over two hours long, and you will also get Bonus materials. The bonus training package that we called the Master Key has hours of exclusive training videos.

This is the best parlor magic & stage magic course ever created!

– Paul Craven, UK

More than mere trick teaching, THE McBRIDE MASTER KEY SYSTEM contains lessons in showmanship, presentation, psychology, philosophy, and much more. We have created a whole new way to learn magic you can see it here.

You can get more information by contacting Abigail at 702-450-0021 or
Register now online for the upcoming classes:

See you in the online classroom!
Jeff McBride
Website | Promo Video
Cell: 702-245-7282 Office: 702-450-0021
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