General Analysis for Magicians

Part 2 - The Theory of Magic
Chapter 2 - General Analysis

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We have already pointed out that magical techniques may be dealt with under three principal headings, according to the nature of the processes involved. Thus, we have the three Orders of Magic-Manipulative, Mental and Physical.

Manipulative Magic is that which depends upon what is called "sleight-of-hand." In other words, it is a form of jugglery.

Mental Magic is the branch comprising, mainly, the various secret processes which a performer "works out in his head," during his performance.

Physical Magic, by far the most extensive and most important branch, includes those processes which depend upon the use of mechanical appliances, or other adaptations of the physical sciences in general.

These three groups, as we have previously stated, are fixed and determinate only so far as concerns the typical processes used in magic. They must not be regarded as a classification of magical experiments. In fact, very few of such experiments are dependent upon one order of magic alone; while, in many cases, they involve a combination of all three orders. These subdivisions of the subject relate to the general character of magical processes, rather than to the feats or presentations in which those processes are employed. The due distinction between experiments and their associated processes is of considerable importance in magical theory.

Passing on to the subdivision of respective orders according to class or type of process, we find that Manipulative Magic has four departments. These may be set down under the headings of Prearrangement, Concealment, Interposition, and False Handling.

Mental Magic is not so readily divisible in accordance with the actual type of processes employed, since the matter is so largely complicated by extraneous assistance of various kinds. Still, for practical purposes, there are three subdivisions which will be found satisfactory. These are Thought Transference, Memorization, and Divination.

Physical Magic can be appropriately subdivided, according to the departments of science or invention to which its component types respectively may be assigned. Thus, there are six classes in this branch of magic, viz., the Mechanical, Optical, Acoustic, Electrical, Chemical, and Molecular.

The foregoing classes or types may, again, be subdivided into groups according to the various principles or methods involved, as follows:


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