Anyone who’s ever worked through the Cups and Balls from illustrated instructions or performed the Cap and Pence owes a debt of gratitude to the anonymous author of this pioneering magic text. First published in 1634, this is the second edition of Hocus Pocus Junior from a year later. As well as effects with knives, fire and lace, and an early description of card and dice cheating, this edition boasts expanded material and beautifully crisp woodcut illustrations, or, as the title page charmingly puts it: “Unto each Tricke is added the figure, where it is needfull for instruction.”
Many of the explanations given in this book became the chief references, often copied wholesale, for the same effects when described in English-language magic literature throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Several hundred years after it first appeared, this charming “Anatomie of Legerdemaine” continues to delight, intrigue and exert an influence on many of the routines magicians still perform.