Of Roses, Thorns and Gratitude

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.”
—Alphonse Karr

I’ve always been one of those “find the silver lining” types of people. No matter how dire the circumstance I find myself in, my first thought is usually something along the lines of “Wow, that could have been way worse. OK, what can I learn from this so I don’t have to repeat it?”

After the motorcycle wreck in the early 90s, I really knew things could have been way worse, and that I was lucky to be alive and whole, with both my legs and all my arms intact. Ok, yeah, I had to figure out which way was up, and going from easily walking in six-inch heels to needing a cane to find where the ground was, wasn’t fun, by any stretch of the imagination. But, I learned that I am loved, that death is nothing to be afraid of, and that my butt does not belong on a motorcycle… 

But, seriously, the choice of how we choose to see things influences everything in our lives. Ever since that fateful day, I choose to see everything with eyes full of gratitude and wonder, and the linings are not silver anymore; they are pure gold.

“The soul that gives thanks can find comfort in everything; the soul that complains can find comfort in nothing.”
– Hannah Whitall Smith, British author and suffragette 

This past year has been so hard, for so many. We have seen loved ones die, families fighting over different beliefs, friendships falling away, and fears growing daily…. and yet, there is still wonder and there is still magic in the world. The sun still smiles down on all of us, asking nothing in return. It is good to hold the challenges in one hand, and gratitude in the other. Finding little things to be thankful for helps to balance the challenges. We know that “energy flows where attention goes,” and that which we focus on is what grows, from plants in the garden, to food on the stove, to our magic practices, our relationships, and our art.
More than anything, I am so deeply thankful to be the bride of McBride, and I grow more in love with this dear man every single day.

“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.”
– Amy Collette, author 

So, friends, as we approach our time of thanks-giving, consider starting your own gratitude practice. See if you can find three different things each day to be thankful for, and start your own gratitude journal. Write down what those three things are, and also write down why you’re grateful for them. Conduct the experiment for 100 days, and see if the magical fire of joy grows brighter within you. If your self-talk moves toward comfort and away from complaining, and if you’re finding more roses amongst the thorns.

Email me, Abigail@mcbridemagic.com and let me know what you find! 

MuseLetter: Mind Expanding Magic & The Real Halloween Party

Dear Friends:

We are having a Halloween party, and you are invited!

Jeff McBride here in Vegas. I am preparing new adventures for those willing to expand their minds!

SHHH! Hidden in this letter is a bonus video for those of you who want to dig even deeper into the real meaning of this season, if you dare!

I have a few invitations for you my friends; one is a party, and the other is an immersive learning experience. (But first let’s look into this month’s darker theme, if you really dare!)

The Real Meaning of Halloween?? 
Historians have linked Halloween to Samhain, the Celtic festival of the summer’s end celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. According to Celtic mythology, the veil between the Otherworld and our world thins during Samhain, making it easier for spirits and the souls of the dead to return. People would make offerings of food in order to get on the good side of these spirits and departed ancestors.

Different traditions celebrate this autumn season in many ways. Here in Las Vegas, we are celebrating by doing what we do best, putting on a party!

I have created a show that will inspire you, shock you, and maybe even raise your spirits in these dark times!

MAGIC, MASKS AND MONSTERS – Twisted Mysteries & Bizarre Storytelling
One day only! Saturday Oct 30th, 12pm & 6pm Pacific – (Vegas time.)

Join me for my online Halloween party! Wherever you are on planet earth — you can make it!

A limited number of tickets are available here:

Jeff McBride, Master of Masks & Mystery, invites you to his House of Mystery for our first-ever interactive Halloween show, directed by Tobias Beckwith, with special guests including Media-Mage Scott Steelfyre — and more surprise guests!

“One of the greatest teachers in the history of magic.
He’ll share an important story – his own.”
– David Copperfield

October is World Magic Month, and your spirit guide for Magic, Masks & Monsters will be Jeff McBride, whose passion for masks, monsters, and magic, his live Las Vegas shows, and his recent MagicQuest virtual show have all helped him gain critical acclaim. 

Jeff has created an all-new experience, using the wonderful interactive tools developed to create MagicQuest — this time with a very different set of dark stories and very twisted magic!

Once again, there will be a Special VIP afterparty, in which we will share some of the more frightening and bizarre aspects of Jeff’s extensive Curiosity and Oddity collection.


Last month we SOLD OUT all tickets! So don’t miss out — ORDER NOW! CLICK HERE for your ticket. Get just one ticket for your entire household!


Also coming up in mid-November is a special online class for those who want to dive deeper into the real mysteries of magic.

The Las Vegas Seance Summit – A Celebration of Bizarre Magick and Storytelling – November 19-21, 2021    

They said it couldn’t be done–an online seance. But, after last year’s success, we decided to do it again! Dedicated to the Spirit Theater and Bizarre Magick of Eugene Burger.

Some of the top minds in the world of spirit theater, seance, and bizarre magick will gather online to form a circle, and to share their stories as we journey together into the world of shadows and candle-lit mysteries. When the candles are extinguished, these spirits will emerge enlightened, armed with messages of hope and courage for these challenging times.

Raising Your Spirits in a Time of Darkness
Join us for this 3-day online adventure from darkness to light, as we explore the history and mystery of the performing arts of seance and bizarre magick, with some of world’s leading mystery teachers and entertainers.  

The teaching team:  Jeff McBride, Dr. Larry Hass, and Paul Draper, with special guests: Daniel Gastelum, Careena Fenton-Cullen, Kevin Lepine, John Ferrentino, Jon Stetson, Joe Cabral, Vince Wilson, and David Parr, with other guests to be named! 

On November 19-21, 2021, the Magic & Mystery School will once again hold an Online Seance Summit. Our subject: the performance arts of seance, Bizarre Magick, and storytelling, this course will:

  • Celebrate the Spirit Theater of Eugene Burger.
  • Explore the rich possibilities of raising spirits in dark times.
  • Focus on tricks, techniques, manifestations, & special effects for creating this kind of magic, both light and dark.


Now, as we journey into the dark time of the year you just might need some magic to lift your spirits in these dark times.

Well, my friends, here is magic that is guaranteed to make you and your friends smile! This is one of the most versatile magic routines I’ve ever performed. Now you can learn why I love to perform this in every one of my shows!

You can perform it to music, perform it silently — or with the professional scripts provided. You can even create your own custom presentation. It can be performed solo or interactively with audience members. Take a look!

You can order yours now by clicking here:

You take a large silk handkerchief. Tie a very fair and sturdy knot in the center. Tug on the knot to make sure it’s secure… Then, you make a magical gesture, and the knot mysteriously slides right off the end of the silk!! This can be repeated with a hilarious kicker finale. 

BEKOS Packs Small & Plays Big! 

You can perform this strolling, street, parlor, and it is visible even on the largest stages. BEKOS is a complete professional routine! 

Our detailed instructions, scripting, and presentational tips will give you all you need to dazzle and delight your audiences. Your choice of classic red, or Smiley Face yellow. BEKOS comes complete with special, improved knots, and access to a special online training video. Get it here: https://shop.magicalwisdom.com

I hope you find something of interest on our Events Schedule this fall. it is our great pleasure to host you! I will see you at our online Halloween party or here in Vegas at one of our live events.

Jeff & Abigail and all your friends at Mystery School

PS: you made it so far, so here is the bonus video… it brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it.

PPS We still have a spot left for our Weekend of Wisdom, coming up next weekend. Use the calendar link below to grab it!

Three Motivators for Engaging Your Audience

Dear Friends:
Our guest columnist this month is Jonas Caine, founder of  https://www.hashtagpositivity.com/ and the hashtagposivity (#positivity) community group on Facebook. He is an accomplished magician, speaker and workshop leader, and a longtime member of our Mystery School community. You’re going to love this!
Three Motivators for Engaging Your Audience
By Jonas Cain

The look on the woman’s face said it all—but if there was any doubt, it was resolved when she opened her mouth.
“How long is this going to take?”
These words punched me in the gut. I had just walked in the door of the senior center ready to perform my magic act, but the entire community of seniors were engrossed in a game of bingo. When the staff stopped the game to begin the performance, the stern woman confronted me to make it clear she wasn’t happy about the state of affairs, adding, “I hope it’s a quick show.”
This experience became a valuable reminder that not everyone in our audience will want to be there, and even for those who are excited for the opportunity, as presenters, we are gifted with the responsibility to honor that excitement by providing an all-around engaging experience.
Activators to A.I.D. Engagement
In my work as a performer, facilitator, and coach, there are three key motivators I use to engage with my clients: Attention, Interest, and Desire. Whether in a classroom, boardroom, theatre, or wherever your work takes you, you can use these same motivators to A.I.D. engagement with your own audiences—and in so doing, make stronger connections with the people you serve.

When initiating these strategies, it’s recommended to approach them linearly — starting with attention, then interest, and building to desire. Once all three are activated, you can then use them together iteratively, weaving back and forth to reinforce deeper engagement. 
What follows is a brief explanation for why these engagement motivators are important and suggestions for implementing them:
1. Attention

You may have something wonderful to share, but if no one is paying attention then it simply won’t matter. Gaining attention activates a temporary state of curiosity through external stimuli, motivating them to respond with perceptual curiosity—the tendency to investigate novelties in the environment.
How do we apply this to our presentations? Fast-paced visual magic works well here, such as appearances, transformations, color changes, and so forth, as does changes in sound and light. A joke or a brief story can also work if they are both crafted and paced well.
Attention, however, wanes quickly, which is why we must transition efficiently from mere attention to interest. And that’s the key to this motivator: attention unlocks the potential to foster interest in experiencing more, inspiring your audience to sustain their attention.
2. Interest

Whereas attention tends to be fleeting, interest can be longer-lasting because it relies on what your audience already intrinsically cares about, motivating them to respond with epistemic curiosity—the tendency to investigate unanswered questions and develop deeper understandings. By connecting your presentation to what your audience already cares about, you motivate a deeper level of curiosity, inviting them to engage more meaningfully in the experience.

How do we apply this to our presentations? Magic that speaks to emotions and strongly held beliefs can work well here. For example:

  • The Light and Heavy Chest can speak to beliefs about power.
  • The 100th Monkey can challenge the perception of beliefs.
  • Anniversary Waltz can speak to the value of relationships.

These are just a few samples to help get you started thinking about what is inherently motivating for your audience. In addition, it’s worth noting the valuable role stories can play here. Humans are wired to understand life through metaphor, and a well-crafted story embedded in the right part of your presentation can do wonders for creating a deeper level of interest for your audience.

3. Desire

When genuine interest is activated, it can become fuel to drive your audience to get involved, motivating your audience to respond with social curiosity—the tendency for people to value what they help create. This final engagement motivator is where you invite your audience to follow your lead and become co-creators of the experience.

How do we apply this to our presentations? Scripts that utilize call-and-response and do-as-I-do will work well here, and magic that empowers your audience to perform their own magic can be used to great effect. Jeff McBride’s “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is a perfect example of a piece that utilizes this strategy.

Another valuable way to activate desire is your ability to demonstrate authenticity, likeability, and trust—the dance between who you are, what you do as an expression of who you are, and the attitude you express towards your relationship with the people you serve. Simply put, if your audience likes you then they will want to engage in the experience, and if they don’t then they won’t.


  1. How might you generate attention?
  2. How can you foster interest?
  3. How will you inspire desire?

Final Thoughts
As presenters, we are gifted with the responsibility to provide an all-around engaging experience for our audiences, and taking this responsibility to heart will reward us with stronger connections with the people we serve.

Using these same engagement activators all those years ago at that senior center, when my magic act interrupted a game of bingo, I was able to win over the heart of even that stern woman who was hoping for a quick performance. Throughout the show, I watched her scowl turn into a smile, and listened to glee spill from her heart in fits of laughter! And by the end of the act she even willingly volunteered to participate in the grand finale, becoming an engaged co-creator of a valued experience. When the show ended, she once again approached me, this time with a transformed heart, saying: â€œI thought I didn’t like magic, but I like you!”

Such can be the power of directing attention, speaking to inherent interests, and inspiring desire for what you have to share through authenticity, likeability, and trust. Whether in a classroom, boardroom, theatre, or wherever your work takes you, you can use these same motivators to A.I.D. engagement with your own audiences.

The Real Meaning of Life–Revealed

Greetings my friends,

I really think the teaching in the quote above is profound. However, there is a missing piece that makes it incomplete. To really get the full meaning of this quote, we must investigate a bit. So, let’s track down the source.

The inspirational quote above has been attributed to William Shakespeare, Pablo Picasso — and like many quotes on the internet today, Bruce Lee!

I searched for the origin of this quote, and was surprised that there is a missing piece of wisdom that completes the thought. Research shows that in 1993, the volume Finding Your Strength in Difficult Times: A Book of Meditations by David Viscott was published. The author was a psychiatrist who hosted a pioneering radio talk show in the 1980s and 1990s, during which he provided counseling to callers. Viscott’s statement was composed of three parts instead of two. Here is the full quote:

The missing part was “the work of life.” This is a very important step to keep in mind. The discovery and giving away of the gift can take moments – but “the work” takes a lifetime!

I really feel that my life path is to help my magic students discover their gifts and help them work to develop them. I so love to see our students light up when they “get it,” and the light goes on — that is pure Illumination!

When you need help developing your magic, I’m here for you. Just email me to set a time to meet on Zoom, or live here at the school in Las Vegas.


Jeff McBride Presents
Magic Masks & MonstersTwisted Mysteries & Bizarre Storytelling

All New Show — All New Magic!

One Night Only! — And yes…there will be Monsters!


Jeff McBride, Master of Masks & Mystery, invites you to his House of Mystery for our first-ever interactive Halloween show, directed by Tobias Beckwith, with special guests including “Media- Mage” Scott Steelfyre — and more surprise guests!

“One of the greatest teachers in the history of magic.
He’ll share an important story – his own.”
                               – David Copperfield

October is World Magic Month, and your spirit guide for Magic, Masks & Monsters will be Jeff McBride, whose passion for masks, monsters, and magic, his live Las Vegas shows, and his recent MagicQuest virtual show helped him gain critical acclaim. 

Jeff has created an all-new experience, using the brilliant interactive tools developed to create MagicQuest — this time with a very different set of dark stories, and very twisted magic!

Once again, there will be A Special VIP afterparty, in which we will share some of the more frightening and bizarre aspects of Jeff’s extensive Curiosity and Oddity collection.

There will also be a unique new online Halloween magic show & after party at Jeff’s home

ONE NIGHT ONLY! * Last month we SOLD OUT  ALL tickets!
Don’t miss out — ORDER NOW!

If you ever wondered what it is like to be in the McBride House of Mystery on Halloween… this is your chance! Join us for a night of spooky fun and magic!

See you online.

Jeff & Abigail and all your friends at Mystery School

So, when you get inspired by a thought, try to track that inspiration to its source. Or, remember the words of Honest Abe…

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