Spirits On The Stage, And More Guarded Secrets Revealed by Bob Blau

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii September, 2005)

Bob Blau is a longtime—make that really longtime—professional magician, who, if I read this manuscript correctly, is now a spry 93 years old, more or less, and still going strong if this book is any indication. Most of this manuscript concerns Mr. Blau's presentation for the Spirit Cabinet, and it's an eminently practical piece of work that speaks of years of real-world experience. Following a brief biography and some personal anecdotes, Mr. Blau describes his routine in sections that describe the presentation, all the required properties, the methods, and other assorted commentary. Mr. Blau's take is a bit different than the reader may be accustomed to: two spectators thoroughly bind the "medium," who is standing, to a vertical post, around which the minimal cabinet—little more than a curtained stall with a simple framework—is placed during the various manifestations. Pretty nifty, if you ask me. Bells are rung, various properties are flung out of the cabinet, spirit writing appears on a pair of bound slates (some sound tips here on the locking slates), knots are tied in a scarf, drinks are consumed, and finally a spectator who briefly visits within the cabinet is summarily expelled wearing a wastebasket over his head. Along with the separate and complete details for Mr. Blau's slate routine, there are also brief sections on sealed envelope readings (both with and without assistance), and some work on memory stunts. A few more detailed illustrations of the restraint handling would have been appreciated, but considering the price and the obvious experience this routine is borne of, this is a great value. If you're interested in the spirit cabinet—or, for that matter, handling locking slates—buy this practical guide from a spirited hand.

8-1/2" x 11" comb hound; 30 pages; illustrated with photographs and line drawings; 1994; Published by Bob Blau