A Mysterious Childhood

As a teen-age magician, I was fascinated by everything mysterious. A tribal mask on a stamp from Cameroon. Magic equipment in the back room of a magic shop with small cards explaining the provenance. The yellow and green paperback from the school library on Transcendental Meditation. Will Dexter’s biography of Chung Ling Soo – “the Marvelous Chinese Conjuror,” who was killed catching a bullet onstage.

Along the way, I discovered Rumi’s poetry and Houdini’s expose of the medium Marjory; Bach’s B-minor Mass and Dr. Rhine’s faulty experiments in telepathy. Nostradamus, and The Amazing Randi’s debunking of various mystical hooey. The unbelievable is still unbelievable, but it is fun to be fooled. The fake mysteries have been, to me, fascinating works of art like a finely turned poem or piece of music – and these things you will find on these pages.

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