The Workshop Transcripts

Our contributor this month is Dr. Larry Hass, Dean of the Magic & Mystery School. Larry shares some exciting news with us about an opportunity that you will want to take advantage of immediately!

I am delighted to announce something of extraordinary interest to the Magic & Mystery School community. On October 31, 2023, Theory and Art of Magic Press will release a third posthumous book: Eugene Burger: The Workshop Transcripts.

No one is more surprised by this book than I. It certainly wasn’t in Eugene’s and my plans for the posthumous project. When I finished Final Secrets in 2021, I felt I had kept my pledge to Eugene and had shared everything. However, the release of Final Secrets brought explosive, world-wide interest in Eugene’s distinctive approach to Equivoque and Dai Vernon’s “The Trick that Cannot Be Explained.” I received countless emails from readers who loved the book but wanted more information, more details – indeed, every last nugget of his work on psychological card magic.
One of those readers was Jamy Ian Swiss – a close friend of Eugene – who had attended one of Eugene’s workshops in the mid-1980s where he first taught these materials. A long, productive email conversation with Jamy helped me realize I still had something in my archive that every fan and friend of Eugene’s Equivoque material would want: audio recordings of some workshops, which had been instrumental in my composing Final Secrets
It wasn’t an option to share these recordings – the audio quality is mixed and it’s frequently impossible to understand what’s going on from the words. But one day, I realized I could create fully developed transcripts of these recordings, in which I could fill in the blanks.
This became my secret task during 2022: creating clear, readable, annotated transcripts for the three early workshops I had audio recordings of. I also transcribed part of a late workshop where Eugene delivered his first-rate teaching unit, “Favorite Card Forces.” These transcripts are the new book’s four chapters. Then, in a three-part appendix, I share Eugene’s long-lost script for his no gimmick version of Max Maven’s “B’wave,” Eugene’s work for Bryce Kuhlman’s wonderful Equivoque routine “Accentuate the Positive,” and corrections for a few errata in From Beyond and Final Secrets.

There are so many things about The Workshop Transcripts that readers will enjoy. For one, you will get to travel back in time to experience these legendary workshops as though you were sitting there. Also, you will read exactly what Eugene did with these psychological tools, and what he said about using them. (Moving forward, there won’t be any need to rely on rumor and misinformation from the magic underground.) And yes, you will hear Eugene’s voice, because the book provides access to three audio excerpts, as well as six videos that will show you how to do what’s being discussed.
There is one more important thing about this new book: every penny of profit will be donated by Theory and Art of Magic Press to McBride’s Magic & Mystery School Scholarship Fund. To maximize the donation, Eugene Burger: The Workshop Transcripts will only be available from The book will only ever exist in a limited edition of 850 copies, each one numbered and signed by me.
The cost of The Workshop Transcripts is $80.00, which includes free Media Mail shipping in the USA. (Other shipping options are available for an additional charge.) We started accepting pre-orders for the book a couple of weeks ago, and we still have many copies available. Yet, if this book calls to you please don’t delay in purchasing one; the demand will vastly outweigh the supply.
Thank you for receiving this commercial message as my “muse” for you this time. I simply don’t want anyone in our community to miss out on this book because they hadn’t heard about it in time. Please remember all the profits from your purchase will go to the School’s Scholarship Fund, which provides need-based financial aid for people who need a hand getting their magic education with us at the School.
From my perspective, The Workshop Transcripts project is a Win-Win-Win, all the way around!

The Secret Magic of Lasting Love

The Secret to Lasting Love!

“The secret of lasting love, in shared dreams we confide,
Through all life’s seasons, by each other’s side.”

Greetings friends,

We wanted to share the real magic secret to long-lasting love and happiness with you. Such secrets are hidden in the word-spells of this sweet letter from my love Abigail – the day of our anniversary!

My Dearest Jeff,

Here are my musings on being connected to you for thirty-one years, living with you for twenty-six years, and married for twenty-two years, tomorrow! Being friends for so long with you first, Jeff, was a huge key.  Getting to know the man behind the mask, both onstage and offstage meant that, years before I even kissed you, I knew some things. 

Things I Know

I know when your blood sugar gets low, you get cranky, which means that if I walk in the door, “Hi honey, I’m ho-ooome!” and you snarl in my general direction, I don’t take it personally. “Why are you being so mean to me? I didn’t even do anything! You’ve hurt my feelings!!” I recognize, “Ooh, somebody is hangry,” and slap a piece of cheese on a couple of crackers and put it in easy reach of your grouchy self, and hey, presto!  That guy disappears, and my sweet man returns, just like magic.

I also know that before a show, or a lecture, or a class, or a trip, as you’re packing things and condensing your materials, your energy also gets rather condensed. You focus in on the one thing you’re trying to do or prepare for, and that’s not the time for me to come in and ask where we’re going for dinner. That’s the time for me to do something I enjoy doing, like read a book, or have a snack, or practice an instrument, or sit in the hot tub – and when you’re finished with whatever it was, you’ll come to me, “What should we do for dinner, love?”

I know that if I ever want your undivided attention, all I have to do is pick up a deck of cards and ask if I’m doing this Sibyl cut properly (ok, ok, it’s really only a Charlier, but still), and I’ll have your full focus.

Jeff and Abigail’s Wedding Day

Things I Love

I love being your Muse. I love that you’ll come to me when you’re seeking inspiration about what to perform, how to respond to a difficult situation, choosing a focus for a class, or wondering which piece of music to use. You let me help you, and you make it easy for me to do so.

I love that we share creative pursuits, my darling man. Wonderground is returning in September for a special one-time reunion show, and we have been collaborating on how to make it amazing and fun for us, as well as for everyone else. Friends, you’ll see us playing on-stage together, and yes, we’re just that way off-stage too.

Holding the center of the Vegas Vortex gives us ample opportunity to co-create magical experiences where the gold always outweighs the lead. Creating events here at the Magic & Mystery School where we both shine, is an amazing experience I love doing with you, too.

I love how brilliant you are with your students. Just about every private lesson I hear you teach in the other room, there is a moment of “Holy Wow!”, when your wisdom shines through and the student has a magical epiphany. Whether it’s someone preparing for Penn and Teller, or someone getting ready to launch their cruise ship career, you always know what they need, and give it to them in ways they can handle. You’re an amazing teacher, and you inspire me.

I love how gentle you are with me. You know just how I like to be touched, and you are considerate and patient with me when I get snarky or sharp. You’re not afraid to ask for what you want and need, and you know how to respect my “noes” and celebrate my “yeses.”

So Much Gratitude

I am ever grateful to David Ganesh, of blessed memory, and to Alan Tauber, for bringing each of us to that epic Rites of Spring in 1989 when our hearts caught fire. I am thankful to Mike Breene for telling you to marry me (take away that question mark!) and I am thankful for every one of the partners we had before we got together, so we could learn and practice and grow as we prepared for each other. I am grateful to Gay and Katie Hendricks, to Scott Catamas and Marshall Rosenburg, who all have influenced our marriage in good ways. 

I have loved you, Jeff, for more than half my life. Together, we have seen hundreds of sunrises together around many a sacred fire. We have shared our dreams each morning more times than I can count. I love being married to you. I love our life together, and am so incredibly thankful for the years we have shared. I look forward to many more and to continue growing in love with you.

Happy anniversary my love,


Thank you Abigail for sharing your magical heart song with all of us! I will miss you when I fly off to the east coast for the upcoming New England WizardFest & Magic Convention. I wish you could fly on your broom with me! 

Harry Potter Meets a Magic Convention!

The  New England WizardFest & Magic Convention takes place August 25-27 at the Boxboro Regency Hotel in Boxborough, MA, just outside of Boston. Here you will find magic, celebrity guests, family activities, vendors selling magical wares, licensed merchandise, and memorabilia from famous literary wizard brands, such as Harry Potter, Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings, Marvel’s Doctor Strange, Merlin the Magician, and many more, plus vintage and modern magic artifacts, tricks, autographs, posters, books, and pop culture collectibles. 

More information and tickets are available here –

Meanwhile, Back in Las Vegas…

When I get back home, Abigail and I will be hosting a few of our friends and students at our September classes –

Inspiration for Magicians and Leaders
This letter just came in from my friend and student Braden Daniels. Braden is known as “The Thought Leader – Mind Reader!” I so enjoy introducing our readers to top thinkers in their field. Braden emphasizes that true leadership is an ongoing journey of skill development, rather than expecting instant results. Listeners will walk away with actionable tips for strengthening abilities like effective communication, staying disciplined to long term goals, prioritizing self-improvement through reflection, and cultivating supportive relationships.

Braden says, Hi Jeff! I wanted to share with you and fellow MuseLetter subscribers that our Lead Like A Magician™ podcast was unveiled this week. I believe many of your readers will enjoy listening to this magically inspired content.

Our aim is to provide powerful strategies for embodying the archetype of the wise leader every month. In the premiere episode, we draw parallels between magicians and leaders, highlighting how both serve as guides who walk between worlds and mentor others. We discuss the four essential elements of leadership. This insightful podcast equips listeners with frameworks for taking their leadership to the next level. New episodes will be released every month. Subscribe now on Spotify and YouTube to develop your skills and “Lead Like a Magician,” so you never miss this content.


Here are a few early reviews:

“This is so professional and polished, Braden! Great work! I wish you all the best with this new project!”

– Geoff Grimes

“Great new podcast by Braden Daniels. Well done and informative.”

– Frank Zazanis II

Final Thoughts

My teacher Eugene Burger said, “The goal of the teacher is to help students transcend the teacher.” We know how wonderful it feels to see our community of magic students achieve their goals. George Bernard Shaw spoke the following words that touched my heart.

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations.” 

Yours in the mysteries of love and magic,

Jeff and Abigail

My Greatest Joy

Our guest contributor this month is Paul Draper, a senior faculty member at McBride’s Magic & Mystery School. He is currently a visiting professor at the most internationally diverse university in the United States, where he is teaching culture studies. Draper sits on both the Inclusivity & Diversity committee for the Hollywood Magic Castle and for the Magic Circle in London – all of this while still performing hundreds of shows per year!

My Greatest Joy
I am currently floating somewhere in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Cozumel on the largest cruise ship in the world, for an event known as the President’s Cruise. The President of Royal Caribbean, Azamara, Seaborne, and Carnival is along for the ride, joined by a lot of the leadership C-Suite of the companies, and 6,000 of their top guests. For this special event they tripled the entertainment for the week! Fifteen bands instead of five, three comedians instead of one, multiple headliners and production shows, etc., etc., etc. I’m so lucky to get to be a part of making their experience more magical.
That is perhaps my greatest joy as a mystery arts entertainer – our job is to help people celebrate! A child will be having the only eighth birthday they will ever have, but we get to be a part of hundreds of eighth birthdays. Someone might be in Vegas, on a cruise, or at Disneyland for the only time they will ever get a chance to experience it, and we get to share these moments with them time and again. They have worked hard all year for a conference to celebrate, and we are the final event of the conference. It is a great honor and responsibility, and McBride’s Magic & Mystery School entertainers don’t take that responsibility lightly.

The Magician is YOU
There are about 10,000 active magicians and mentalists in the western world. That isn’t many of us to serve the magical needs of billions of people. Most people will never see a wonder worker in person in their entire life. If they are seeing you, you may be the only one. Their entire schema of “Magician” is Merlin, Gandalf, Harry Potter, that magician on tv, and YOU! It’s a great honor to share our art with others. 
Learning from Others
Let me round this out with a few deep thoughts I’m having this week. As I bob around the ocean on a luxury liner, I’m focused on how much we can learn from others and other arts. This week I have learned a great deal about movement from juggler Viktor Kee, who is also performing on the ship with me. I’ve learned the power of call backs from the production of Mamma Mia, where the mega mix at the end gets everyone to their feet every night as they relive the songs from earlier. 

Paul Draper and juggler Viktor Kee onboard the Allure of the Seas

I’ve learned about structure from the three nightly comedians who improvise with “audience work” to make every show different, but they also stay to a core structure that helps their performances hold together. I’ve learned the power of music from watching the ice skating show, where the music carries the story, and makes my heart speed up and slow down in alignment with the feelings and connections they, as artists, want to make. I’ve learned the power of costuming and connection, as we have seen different cultural performances at every port that each tell their own authentic, connected, and powerful stories about the places and the people.

So many magical entertainers of our 10,000 just perform the latest effect that they purchased ten minutes after watching the video. And it works – and gets a wow – because it is magic. Magic is incredible, but we can all learn from others and step beyond the “good enough.” The greatest among us learn from other arts, hobbies, and passions. We make choices based on those experiences, and we tell stories with our bodies, movement, stillness, structure, costumes, lighting, callbacks, words, silence, props, and passion. I learned how to be a better mentalist from watching family entertainers. I learned to be a better person by watching bar magicians. Find another artist to watch today and start learning.

The Curator of Conjuring Curiosities

The Curator of Conjuring Curiosities – Jeff McBride’s Strange Collection of Magical Events

Hi friends! Abigail here, and it is so good to be connecting with you. You know, Jeff is usually a pretty happy fellow. He rarely gets angry, but when he does he’s able to talk about what’s going on. There is something that is really bugging him right now. I’ll let him tell you about it.

Jeff writes… 
It’s so sad!
It makes me angry, actually!

Most people are watching magic on their iPhone or devices, where even the biggest illusion is the size of a postage stamp. I think we are being cheated and manipulated. Online magic and media magic do not compare to the experience of an in-your-face, and in-your-heart, live magic experience! 

Magic is supposed to be seen live and in person! At its best, the goal of television and online magic is to get people out and about to experience magic live and in person. To help counter the diminishing effects of media magic, we have been working long and hard to design some exceptional magical experiences for you – and most of them are live in Las Vegas!

The Mystery School Experience at MAGIC Live

If you are going to be in Las Vegas on August 6 or August 10, we have a special event for you – an afternoon at the Magic & Mystery School, complete with a guided tour of our Museum of Wonders in the Library of Secrets. Consider this your personal invitation to come see our ferocious dragons and all the attractions! There will also be shows, lectures and other mysteries. If you’ve ever wanted to visit the Magic & Mystery School, now is your chance!

Card Magic Mastery

In September, we are hosting a very special weekend of Card Magic Mastery.  Imagine yourself with just a few students at the card table, learning the secrets of expert card technique.

Whether you are a beginner or advanced, this six-person class will take your card magic to the next level.

Award Winning Writing!
Congratulations to Simone Marron for receiving the Bamman-Willmarth award from the International Brotherhood of Magicians. This is the highest literary award given by this prestigious organization.

Many of you know Simone from her work with the Magic & Mystery School as our Social Organizer at many of our events here in Las Vegas, and she is also the editor of this newsletter. Congratulations, Simone, on such a milestone accomplishment for your excellence in magic writing!


We are hosting a one-time only event on September 21st – our WONDERGROUND Reunion!

Tickets are limited and are selling fast. Get yours here –

Magic and Meaning Conference 2023
Coming up soon will be our Magic and Meaning Conference, live online. Join us to hear speakers from all over the world talking about the most interesting subjects in the art of magic performance, entertainment, philosophy and more. Most importantly, we love the community that gathers. Students around the world get to connect one time a year – and this is that time!

If you are new to the Magic & Mystery School, or if you have been studying with us for years, this is our homecoming, and we welcome you into the Magic & Meaning community!
Private Lessons with Jeff McBride
We offer live in-person classes here at the Magic and Mystery School in Las Vegas, but you can also learn online. Contact or give her a call at 702-450-0021.

Abigail here again, chiming in at the end just to say thank you for reading, for staying connected to us, and for all the ways you continue to improve the art of magic. Jeff and I look forward to seeing you, either here in Las Vegas, or online, sometime soon.

What is Your “Walking Bacon?”

Our guest contributor this month is Mystery School Ambassador Eric Henning. Eric has been seen around the world, from the streets of Paris to our nation’s capital. He has been featured at the National Theatre, at three Presidential Inaugurations, has made five appearances at the White House, and was twice voted as the Washington D.C. Magician of the Year! Eric shares his thoughts on how to turn your clients into fans, and your fans into friends.

What is Your “Walking Bacon?”

You may have seen the popular social media meme about “walking bacon.” A woman relates how she went to a deli, bought a sub sandwich for lunch, and got a separate package with the sub. The owner explained that it was “walking bacon,“ three extra pieces that she could eat on her way back to her office. She was floored by the generous gesture.  

But this is something that smart business people have done for centuries. We already know about the “baker’s dozen,” which originated in medieval times as a kind of insurance against the crime of giving a bakery customer a short order. You may even have heard of the Louisiana custom of “lagniappe,” which basically means giving “a little extra.”

Here’s an example. One local restaurant specializing in Cajun cuisine does something special in the winter. The chef/owner delivers your check with a demitasse of hot chocolate containing just a splash of bourbon. It’s a lovely ending to an amazing meal. This is a lagniappe. It’s the thirteenth bagel, the cherry on the sundae, the chocolate on the hotel pillow, the hostess gift, the walking bacon. It’s that exquisitely tasteful little extra that makes the entire experience special, and anchors it in our memory.

It sticks in our memory precisely because it makes us feel seen, recognized, and special. In an era when customers are being reduced to data, this is huge. Any time we can be “state of the art” while maintaining our “state of the heart,” that’s a massive win. It also makes us stand out from the crowd. Sadly, this is because customer service in general has declined so much that many companies can’t, or won’t, provide even their basic product or service. They continually disappoint their customers. When we – as entrepreneurs, entertainers, executives or professionals in any field – give a little extra, these days it just means so much more. 
I was reminded of this recently, when I was able to accommodate a client who had to change their show time due to an issue with their venue. Because I had built extra time into my schedule, it didn’t throw me off, and the client was super happy. Once we grasp this, it can influence our entire business. Anyone can charge $500 and do a $500 show. But if you charge $1,000 and do a $2,000 show, you’ll soon thrive. 
As trite as it is, the phrase “under promise and over deliver” remains true in every area of business. If we follow it, we will get the five-star reviews, the raving fans, the repeat bookings, and the word of mouth referrals that help keep our businesses thriving.

These extras don’t have to be lavish or expensive. When I was in the investment business years ago, a handwritten thank-you note to a client resulted in a referral for a multimillion-dollar account. That’s not why I did it, but it shows the power of taking that extra step. The client told me that in decades of investing, I was the first broker who had even said “thank you!”
As an entertainer, the extra might mean doing a longer time than expected, lending our PA system to a client who forgot theirs, putting a customized spin on a routine to help highlight the theme of the event, advising on the overall event flow (where appropriate), magically producing awards, gifts or door prizes, or any of a hundred other ideas that we could generate organically from each unique event. We don’t always have to do it, but by adopting this mindset, we will, more and more, begin to see real, appropriate, and effective ways to add our own “walking bacon” to our clients’ experience. 
One final story. One of the best sushi places in Baltimore is Matsuri (Japanese for “festival”). My late wife and I used to go there each month before the nearby Yogi Magic Club meeting. After our second or third visit, our food would arrive with a bottle of saki and three cups. Before we finished, the owner, Bill Tien, would sit and have a quiet drink with us before returning to the swirling activity of the kitchen. He was letting us know that he valued us as repeat customers. We became and remain good friends to this day. This is how you turn clients into  fans, and fans into friends. 

So, what is your “walking bacon?” What tasteful, extra goody can you provide to your customers, your students, or your staff that will make them feel special? Sit down and brainstorm some ideas. Try different things and see what builds those relationships – and let us know what you discover.
Eric Henning

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