I have just re-read Ricky Jay's 'Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women', and a damn fine read it still is. Dealing with the history of old time magicians, contortionists, illusionists, high divers and masters of the flatulence (I'm surprised l wasn't mentioned), there are colour reproduction posters, and the odd explanation of how tricks and stunts were performed. I've always been interested in magic and illusion, as l love trying to work out how the deceptions are done. It's amazing how many times you can argue with someone who describes a trick to you, only to take offence when you explain the ways the illusions could have been achieved. "But they didn't do that" they scream, all spittle mouthed and incandescent with rage, despite the only other option being that the performers are true magicians who can make solid objects disappear, which l very much doubt. Probably the one trick that really would have bamboozled me at the time, was the one involving Johnny Eck and his brother. You'll have to look it up as l don't want to give the game away, but if l had seen that when it was first performed, especially as a member of the audience, l wouldn't have believed my own eyes.
I've now got a hankering to rip open some boxes and dig out some of my other magic books (wherever they are). Maybe they have disappeared and are trying to fox me. Bastards!