With all the talk on the Heinstein Shuffle on a separate thread I realized I overlooked Michael Edwards' article on John Mulholland titled "The Sphinx and The Spy" (Genii Vol. 64 #4, April 2001).
Drugs, poisons, clandestine operations, secret manuals, spys, IRS loopholes, death, codes, and (real real world!) sleight of hand. Wow!!! Now, is it just me or did anyone else get a creepy feeling reading Mr. Edwards' most excellent investigative article? Sure, John Mulholland was a magician's magician, but quitting the Sphinx (under the quise of failing health) to go undercover for the CIA and produce THE spy's working manual (with the ambiguous working title of: Operational Applications of the Art of Deception) is very heavy indeed! I know it was a very different world back then, but to drop everything and do this kind of work... and continue in it even after the known death of poor scientist Frank Olson... is a bit much! Talk about a DARK side to magic, Whew! (I wonder what kind of operations magicians are or will be involved in on today's world scene?)
I don't know about you, but I would have a hard time justifying my motivations rubbing shoulders with people like this. What was Mr. Mulholland thinking? Social Elite? Duty to your country? It sounds like there's a story underneath the story which most likely went to the grave and will forever remain speculation.
Kudos to Mr. Edwards and Genii for publishing this fascinating account of John Mulholland's secret underworld. Who knew?
I look forward to Genii telling it like it is (or was) in the future.