The Notebook


The handwritten pages of The Notebook contained over 81 different tricks, sleights and subtleties with cards from the turn of the nineteenth century. This book features a transcription and facsimile of the original document, spread over 128 high quality, hard bound pages.



[Will] is a really fine magician with some serious chops… this is a remarkable collection that serious students of close-up magic will enjoy for quite some time. – Genii Magazine

Card-trick aficionados and magic historians will be grateful that Will Houstoun has unearthed and published this centuries-old curiosity. Houstoun has done historians and card-magic lovers a great service by publishing The Notebook… – MAGIC Magazine

Hidden in the depths of The Magic Circle, London was a long forgotten notebook, written around the second half of the eighteenth century by an unknown author. It’s handwritten pages contained over 81 different tricks, sleights and subtleties with cards. What makes this book different to other known magic books from the time is that it’s believed to be one of the first books on magic that was written with the intention that magicians would be able to study and learn from it. This means that a large number of the items it contains feel surprisingly modern. Many would fit perfectly alongside magic created in the twenty-first century, despite the fact they are over two hundred years old. I even perform some of the effects in my show Dr Houstoun’s Conjuring!

I have painstakingly transcribed the original, hard to read handwriting and provides this alongside facsimile copies of the pages. Additional notes are also included that will aid in the understanding of the text as well as biographies of all the performers mentioned in the original text. A dating section explains the features of the text that allow the completion date of a two hundred year old, anonymously written, undated document to be estimated.

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