Tracing the performance of magic and illusion back to its earliest beginnings, Robert Ralley considers its influence on religion, science, and society. He explores changing perceptions of magic, from charms and curses to rites and spells, from the black magic of ancient curses and demons to David Blaine's death-defying endurance tests for television audiences, and illuminates the overlapping layers of illusion, fraud, and devilry in modern magic.
"An essential introduction. It skillfully teases apart the dark and twisted strands of magic and its practices."—Barry Jones & Stuart McLeod