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It’s usually spoken in hushed tones and with a sly smile: “It’s in The JINX.” It’s exactly the sort of answer an experienced magician loves to give for the source of a just-performed killer trick. Not only are some of today’s “new” tricks derived from items originally published in The JINX (1934-42), but its creator Theodore Annemann was the original magic blogger. Every month, in his spirited editorial column, Annemann praised — and more often condemned — magic and magicians.
Working as a professional mind reader, and known to the magic community through his prolific early publications and contributions, Annemann became ensconced in a scene that was the center of American magic. His legacy is a landmark work. Its thousand pages stand like a massive, intricately forged armored door with no easily detectable keyhole among myriad distractions. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Uncovering the priceless subtleties contained within The JINX demands about a year’s intensive study — or the right lock picking set.
Each chapter of the JINX Companion could be likened to a lock picking tool. Its introduction is a torsion wrench, establishing a “constant” while the reader shifts into a proper feel for the material. Its “Secrets and Mysteries” chapters are half-diamond picks, offering easy access to vital individual elements (such as long-forgotten methods ripe for revival — gems of a practical nature). Its “Signs and Wonders” chapters are warded picks (a.k.a. skeleton keys), allowing for internal manipulations (compelling notional springboards such as mind-expanding aphorisms and mythological allusions — gems of a cerebral nature).