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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

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