Use Your Powers for Good!

Our Museletter contributor this month is Abigail Spinner McBride. In this Museletter, Abigail asks us to think about how we are using our powers, both as magicians, and just as ordinary people, and what steps we can take to use those powers intentionally. 

Greetings friends,
Abigail here, musing on the use of our magical powers. We all come into this world with certain gifts, talents, skills, and abilities. With intention and practice, we can grow these natural gifts into formidable powers.

I remember just coming into my gift of charisma as a young teen. I practiced walking down a busy street in Boston and looking people in the eye while thinking, “We share a secret,” and giving them a smile just with my eyes to see how they would respond. Could I “make them” look at me, and smile back with their eyes? Could I “make” that boy at school squirm by flirting with him? Could I “make” the teacher like me by nodding when they spoke, and turning my homework in on time?
I was finding my edges, stretching into what I could or couldn’t, should or shouldn’t do. I learned that not all attention is good attention, that toying with people’s hearts isn’t kind, and that there is more to connecting than just “making.”

I remember, at the age of fourteen or so, making a conscious choice to “use my powers for good.” I’ve heard it said that those who practice magic for the sake of evil, are using their powers to only benefit themselves, and those who practice magic for the sake of good, are using their powers to benefit all beings. That’s something I keep in mind to this day. I like to ask the question, “To what end?” before embarking on anything new, whether it’s a purchase, a practice, or a plan.  Why am I doing this? What do I hope to accomplish? Who is this going to help?

As you move forward in time, I invite you to join me in using your own powers for good, and to ask the important questions that might help you to clarify your intentions. I hope one of them will be to join us at the Magic & Mystery School, either live or online for one of our upcoming classes.

All good wishes,


The Secret of Seeing in the Dark

“Life is a mystery, and magic is in the unraveling of its secrets.” 
– Johnny Depp

I was one of those kids that was terrified by darkness. I had to sleep with a nightlight on, and often checked for monsters in the closet and under my bed. But not anymore! I think magic was one of the things that helped me face my fears and even gave me the courage to look deeper into the shadows. Magic helped me find my own inner light, to help me see in times of total darkness! 

One of the masters of bringing light to the often shadowy realm of the mystic arts was Eugene Burger. Many of you know that Eugene was a master of séance and spirit theater, a magic teacher and my friend for over 30 years. Abigail and I have now dedicated an extraordinary experience to celebrate Eugene’s life and his legacy of Spirit Theater.

The Eugene Burger Séance: A Night at the Mansion of Mystery

Join us for a 3-hour immersive magic theater and seance experience – live in Las Vegas. If you knew Eugene Burger, you’ll have a mysterious opportunity to visit with his magic again. If you;ve never met him, then this is a rare treat – but there are only 13 seats at the table!

Get tickets here

Magic is a Journey from Darkness to Light

Eugene and I both felt that the way a person watched a magic show was very much how they approached the challenges of life. Life is either a wonderful mystery to be experienced or a frustrating puzzle to be solved! Here is a quote  from one of Eugene’s favorite philosophers that unfolds this idea. Just change the word “magic” for “life” and it nails it!

“Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.”
     – Søren Kierkegaard

Fine magic is often enlightening. When good magic happens, a light switch is turned on that illuminates us with surprise and delight; that is why people often say “A-HA!” when they experience powerful magic! I love creating those “A-HA!” moments for you, my friends!

Have You Seen the Ghost?

“In the shadows, we often discover the brightest sparks of creativity and insight.” 
– Evangeline Harcourt

Get The Ghost here

The TED Talks of Magic

That’s what they have been calling our Magic & Meaning Conference for many years. This amazing online event gathers some of the top speakers and presenters in the world of magic for three days – and you can join us online! This year our guest of honor is one of the world’s most respected magicians and authors, Peter Samelson! Join magicians from around the world as they present their powerful magical performances and lively, inspirational talks.

No matter where you live in the world, you can join us for this extraordinary once-a-year event that will inspire you to make better magic. Register here –

Abigail and I wish you a great Halloween season!
See you online or in Las Vegas,

An Evening to Be Remembered Forever!

Our Museletter contributor this month is Scott SteelFyre, Media Manager and Technical Director for the Magic & Mystery School. Appropriately to kick off the month of October, Scott takes us on a journey through some of his most successful haunted houses and shares what scares him the most. But first there is a surprise message from the Magic & Mystery School about an exclusive upcoming experience you won’t want to miss!

An Evening to Be Remembered Forever!

Would you attend an Immersive Magic Show and Seance that celebrates the life legacy and spirit theater of one of the world’s most beloved and celebrated magicians Eugene Burger? An evening at the Mansion of Mystery is more than a magic show. It is a rare theatrical experience that explores the heart and the art of magic…but there are ONLY 13 seats!

Step into a world where magic comes to life! Jeff McBride’s transcendent show is not just a magic act; it’s an immersive, theatrical adventure that will take you on a spellbinding journey through the heart and art of magic. Join us as we celebrate the enduring legacy and mystical spirit of the one and only Eugene Burger – a true legend in the world of magic! 

Dive into Seven Mysterious Encounters 

1 – The Welcoming
Enter the enigmatic MANSION OF MYSTERY, where Jeff and Abigail McBride will warmly invite you into a captivating evening of conjuring the spirits. The night kicks off with a mesmerizing magic show and a glimpse into the life and wisdom of the legendary Eugene Burger, one of the world’s most revered Magicians, philosophers, and Spirit Theatre masters.

2 – Ritual of the Trickster
Embark on an initiation into the mysteries of the element of Air. Discover the secrets of the Mystery School under the guidance of our master teacher, Eugene Burger. Unleash your inner magician and unlock the magic within!

3 – The Great Mystery Magic Show
Prepare to be astounded as Jeff McBride presents his most beloved magic routines. Witness the extraordinary with mind-bending tricks, Tarot readings, captivating storytelling, and mesmerizing conjuring in the Great Room. You’ll see things you’ve never imagined!

4 – Ritual of the Sorcerer & Oracle
Immerse yourself in the power of elemental fire and the subtle magic of water during this hands-on encounter with the miraculous. Discover the patience and power behind the elements.

5 – The Museum of Wonders
Embark on a guided tour through one of the world’s greatest magic museums and libraries. You can even touch and peruse books that are over 500 years old! Behold arcane objects from Jeff and Abigail’s global travels and experience jaw-dropping close-up magic right before your eyes. Plus, savor delicious snacks during a brief intermission.

6 – The Seance of the Spirits
Enter the Grand Seance Parlor and be part of a mystical ritual that will leave you awestruck.

7 – The Ritual of the Sage: The Eugene Burger Spirit Theater Experience 
Embark on a guided journey and experience a seance like no other, guided by the ethereal presence of Eugene Burger himself. And to top it all off, join us for a closing gifting ceremony where you’ll receive gifts of wisdom from the Wise Ones. 

This isn’t just a magic show; it’s a once-in-a-lifetime, enchanting adventure that will leave you spellbound. Are you ready to unlock the secrets of magic? For more information go to or contact Abigail at 702-450-0021.

What Are YOU Afraid Of?

One of my talents is Haunted Houses. I started at age 13 by making a maze in our side yard with wood stakes in the ground and refrigerator boxes stapled to them and painted to taste. Well, painted to my taste. At two points in the maze were sliding glass windows where I could set up a couple of displays – one of them being an illusion where my sister’s head would visibly change to a skull and back again.

Oh, my taste! Growing up on the Addams Family, the Munsters and Dark Shadows, you probably know my taste – classic dark, creepy fun! Today I am still part of the Haunt Industry, making a high tech “Casket Simulator Ride to the Grave,” with over 300 around the world. So to my point: “What are YOU afraid of?”

I have pondered a good part of my life about what people’s fears are. That is what I get paid for, to find and display what scares you, in a clever arrangement of rooms and mazes. It’s amazing to me that people will stand in line for hours and pay to get that thrill and adrenaline rush. I discovered that people are fun when they are scared…and sometimes dangerous! 

One night I was at the back exit of a haunted attraction when a teenage girl came flying out of the exit followed by several others. The lead girl was screaming, and with tears in her eyes she dropped to the ground and covered her head with her jacket. I asked her if she was ok. She peeked out and could see I was normal (well, mostly) and she relaxed and started getting up. I told her that I worked at the haunt and asked her “So what scares you?” She said “Everything!” I asked if she got her money’s worth, and like it was planned out, the whole group screamed “Yes, yes, yes! It was awesome!” This is why I love what I do.

I have had the opportunity to work on several fun and interesting seasonal haunts. I was working with Randy Grigg at (you can find the Casket Ride there), when Randy got a contract to do a Halloween attraction for a party in a high-profile California billionaire’s mansion. It was amazing!

In just one night, we had pro makeuppro lighting, and pro sound. And, oh darn, I had to work the casket ride (so much fun!). I wish I could tell you the names that I helped into the casket and closed the lid upon – but I can’t!  The big payoff from this was they paid for everything we built and kept just a few things for memory of the event. We were able to haul the rest back to home base in Las Vegas, put it all into storage, packaged to be moved and set up again if they wanted a repeat event. 

Later, a possible event popped up in Wichita Kansas. It looked like a go, so I got to work in my 3D programs where the California mansion walls and sets were designed. I got plans for the bar with outside access in the corner of a good sized shopping mall. I laid out the sets from the California job into a model of the bar, added a few things, and the next thing I know I’m heading out to Wichita with two 48 foot semi-trucks packed full of scary stuff, mostly of my design.

I took up residence in the back of the bar’s freezer (the freezer was off)  – a nice, quiet spot, even if work was going on in the main area. I inflated a mattress and I was set. Outside of that was my office, with a fridge, microwave and computer. Dreams do come true – I was living at the haunt! I was working with local crew and actors, and as always, drama and other issues needed to be dealt with, but we survived.

Being that close to the project was great! I could oversee everything. I set up a camera so I could watch the doors from the back room. It was a bit weird when the local S.W.A.T. used the mall for training. We were warned, so we just kept clear from where they were working. A few weeks later we opened for Thursday through Sunday performances. That gave me and the crew time for repairs and upgrades. It took two hours to do all of the make-up, mostly done by me.

A fun time was had by all! The run went well and we had some of the S.W.A.T. team members and firefighters from the area come through. I have to give thanks to all that helped out that season both in Wichita and in Las Vegas.

The only thing left was to take it down and pack it up. And that is what really scares me! And is always sad.

Scott SteelFyre
aka Professor FrightMare

Escape Your Nightmares – Run Away to Your “Happy Place”

For many kids, school is a nightmare! But I had an escape plan. I could just run away to my “happy place!”  This special, enchanted place was a magic shop I could visit anytime…in my mind. I would visit in person only once a year, but I could journey to it anytime I needed to. The magic shop was at 1540 Broadway. This was Louis Tannen’s Magic Shop – heaven on earth! My first visit was in 1970, and it changed my life forever! I lived on 52nd Street and 8th Avenue, and for nineteen years, I would visit the shop three or four times a week. It was like a second home – my “happy place!” 

I remember the phone booth outside in the hall was my office, surrounded by all those great photos of famous magicians. The hallway next to Universal Costumes was often my rehearsal studio and a place where I would show off my new card manipulations to new friends. Every Saturday was a special day to connect with the magic community; stepping into that store was stepping into another world filled with celebrities, stars, and the wannabes. I was a wannabe. I wanted to be a star! 

 Tannen’s was the place to meet the stars – and learn from them too. I met so many legends of magic: Jeff Sheridan, Harry Lorayne, Frank Garcia, Bobby Baxter, Lou Lancaster, Slydini, and so many more. These amazing Gods of Magic became my teachers, and eventually my friends.
Below is a photo of Louis Tannens in his magic shop, who inspired the lives of  thousands of magicians worldwide!

The NYC magic scene was thriving in the 1970s and 80s. Most of my days were spent practicing, jamming, seeing shows at The Magic Townhouse and Mostly Magic, and meeting new friends. I met David Copperfield at Tannen’s. We were both in our teens, and neither of us knew what adventures awaited ahead of us, but we were getting prepared and training for that adventure! The magic I learned, and the people I met at Tannen’s, transformed my life. Magic gave me the opportunity to travel the world for 40 years and to live a most magical life. Even though I now live in Las Vegas I spent lots of time at the “other Tannen’s.”

The “Other Tannen’s”

I am very blessed to be able to visit David Copperfield’s museum and experience his dream version of Tannen’s Magic Shop. It is the greatest feeling to be able to enter David’s most magical museum and step back in time to the glory days. I think back to them often, and how those days at the magic shop shaped my life. 

David Copperfield has re-created the look and feel of the old Louis Tannen’s Magic shop in every detail – it is a time capsule of my “happy place.” Here I am with David Copperfield, sharing stories with the very funny comedian Alan Bursky. Allen was actually one of the original demonstrators at the old Tannen’s.

The 1970s are my Golden Years of Magic, and some of my most powerful memories come from those times. To enter the doors of the magic shop is to step into another world of infinite possibility. Today, I have built my version of the dream magic shop in my Magic & Mystery School, so I can access those sweet memories and connect with that special feeling every day. I think back to Tannen’s and the wall of photos of all the famous magicians, and now I am one of them! The magic shop is my happy place. “To step inside is to come home!” 

Did You Know?

Steve Martin started  his career by working in a magic shop at Disneyland. Below is a photo of Steve in his “happy place!”

Only 13 Will Join Jeff McBride’s Magical Mystery Tour!

Jeff McBride’s Magical Mystery Tour is more than a magic show. It is an immersive, theatrical experience that explores the heart and the art of magic. This immersive magic experience celebrates the life legacy and spirit theater of one of the world’s most beloved and celebrated magicians – Eugene Burger. 

Jeff McBride studied with Eugene Burger for over 30 years; many of his secret teachings will be passed on to you during the course of the evening through magical rituals, performances and the art of storytelling. Imagine yourself joining this delightfully mysterious adventure! For this limited run, limited seating experience, only 13 lucky people will be personally guided through a series of magical encounters, finally culminating in an authentic recreation of a seance.

Inspiration for Performing Artists

Everyone at Mystery School  sends a thank you to Paul Craven for sending this inspiring quote:

May the autumn harvest bring you the bounty of life and love,

Jeff and Abigail

« Older Entries Next Entries »