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Topic: Swami Mantra & The Charlatan's Handbook
Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Sep 29, 2002 06:49PM)
Hi all,

I was lucky enough to pick up both the above books (Swami Mantra & The Charlatan's handbook) in an eBay auction recently. While I wait to recieve them I wonder if anyone who has either could clue me in on any precations I should take over some of the stuff contained within.

The reason I ask is that I have noticed a lot of messages which mention that Swami Mantra in particular can have some real safety issues, with some info being misleading or even completly incorrect. I am a pretty experienced performer with a good grounding in sideshow stuff so I reckon I should be able to spot the dangers. But, then again, who knows what might read great and only become suspect shortly after the ambulance arrives :eek:

So, any help, and anything, good or bad you can point me at in these well respected tomes would be appreciated.

Message: Posted by: Missing_Link (Sep 30, 2002 04:02AM)

I read Swami/ Mantra a while back and then had it stolen (along with my car...), so I can't provide any specific references.

However, you're pretty experienced and, like me, you'll spot the hazards quickly. It's the usual "proceed with caution" warning that all sideshow performers need to heed. Interested to hear what you think of Swami - I've never looked at the Charlatan's Handbook; let me know what you think of it.



ps, if anyone has a second-hand copy of Swami/ Mantra to sell, please let me know!!
Message: Posted by: maratekin (Oct 2, 2002 07:00AM)
Hi, Duncan -

Swami/Mantra is a great book - I haven't tried the sideshow effects, and I've read here (and elsewhere) that some of the explanations are not thorough enough to learn from. It seems the consensus is that to learn sideshow magic, you should learn one-on-one from a practicing sideshow magician.

I have the Charlatan's Handbook as well, but haven't spent much time with it. Sid Fleischman is a wonderful writer - you may recall that he was the author of the children's book "Mr. Mysterious & Co." One of my all-time favorite books as a kid.

Take care -

Message: Posted by: tim_mantis (Dec 12, 2002 06:39PM)
Is the Charlatan's Handbook purely sideshow style material, or does it contain standard magic too?

Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Dec 17, 2002 12:16PM)
Hi All

Sorry I did not get back to those that asked me about the content of these two books.I have a good excuse though. Though I ordered them in September I didn't end up getting them till about a week ago. Its a long long story which ended with me having 2 copies of each. In short, I ordered them. two months later they still haven't come, so I ordered them again from another supplier. a couple of days later 2 packages arrive. All my orders on the same day!

The upshot is that I have spares of each which are for sale on eBay and I can now answer your questions.

Swami Mantra.

PACKED full of tricks, twists and ideas for any magician. A little lighter on the sideshow stuff than I had hoped but with some secrets that can be found nowhere else. As far as sideshow goes these include:

Glass eating
Bed of Glass
Bed of nails
Blind leap (jumping on to a pile of broken glass from a height)
Eating razor blades
Passing a needle from eye to eye
Scar face (rubbing handfuls of broken glass on the bare face)
Sword ladder
Thread from Stomach
Biting through a nail with your teeth
Drinking acid
Fire eating
And probably more I can't remember!

The sideshow secrets are just a small part of the book so as you can imagine there is tons of other stuff for any occasion. All areas of magic are covered.

Be warned though. Some of the information is a little outdated. With particular regard to the fuels used in the fire stuff. Apart from that NONE of the above should be learned from a book anyway!

Some of the articles are hard to follow and it is not indexed as well as it could be. But overall this is a book that could turn your act into a stunner. (or even more of a stunner than it already is :) )

The Charlatan's handbook:

This book has less content than Swami but it is none the worse for that. Because what is there is better presented, better explained and covered in depth. Some of the performance tips and 'patter' lines are excellent. There is less sideshow stuff to be found with only the coin eating trick, and Fleischman's take on the needle trick really worthy of note. Though personally I think the latter is worth the price of admission on its own.

I think card magicians in particular will love this book but it also includes rings, larger illusions, coin tricks, mentalism, rope tricks, ring tricks, vanishes, one or two larger illusions for the stage and more.

Anyway. If you have any questions pm me.

Have fun and happy holidays!