Book of the Month Update: The Book of Secrets

Lesson Two: Rubbed Away


I am really enjoying John Carney’s “Book of Secrets”. Over the last few weeks, I have revisited his wonderful handling on the Vanishing Silk. This is a bare hand vanish of an 18 inch silk which is rubbed away between the hands and completely disappears. This is one of the most magical effects possible and it looks exactly how it should look if you could do it by real magic.

 This second lesson is much more than just the technical workings of this great effect. It is a wonderful illustration of how to think about creating the perfect effect and what needs to happen to make it so.

John goes into extraordinary detail to discuss the technicalities, the management, the body language and the internal script that makes this a profound mystery. I would have to say this is my favorite chapter in the whole book.


As a youngster, I used to love performing the Vanishing Silk using a technique every magician is familiar with, which I won’t mention for obvious reasons. The size of the handkerchief was approximately 12 inches, when you contrast this with an 18-inch Silk the effect is actually much bigger and consequently more impossible.

I’ve actually performed this effect and let me say each time has generated an audible “grasp” from my audience. The second lesson in the book lays the foundation for quality of thinking which can be applied to every trick in our repertoire and it has inspired me to dig a little deeper and to keep asking questions;

How can I make this effect cleaner?

What can I eliminate to improve the effect?

Why should the audience care?

What is the hook?

I look forward to your evaluation.

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