Works of William Larsen: 3 vols were planned...

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Postby Ted M » 02/01/11 03:46 PM

Can anyone tell us a story about magic publishing history?

From the introduction to The Mental Mysteries and Other Writings of William W. Larsen, Sr:

This is intended to be the first volume of a three volume matched set. This is by far the most commercial, I know, as it contains twenty-five of the most popular manuscripts published during the Thayer days.

The second volume will be "The Writings of William Larsen Sr. and T. Page Wright." The final volume will be "The Later Writings of William Larsen, Sr." which will pick up everything not included in the first two volumes.

William W. Larsen (Jr.)
The Magic Castle
January 12, 1977

Unless I'm mistaken(?), books 2 and 3 were not published. Does anyone know the story behind that? Were the manuscripts prepared? Would they have been collections of republished material, like volume 1? Or would they have drawn from unpublished material?

- Ted
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/01/11 04:03 PM

No further volumes were published. All the material which was scheduled to be in further volumes can be readily accessed through the digital files of Ask Alexander. Most of it appeared in The Sphinx and then in Genii.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
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Postby Bob Farmer » 02/01/11 05:32 PM

There is a T. Page Wright book that is excellent:
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Postby Ted M » 02/02/11 11:04 AM

A little sleuthing may suggest a reason why books 2 and 3 did not reach publication.

3000 copies of Book 1 were printed in 1977. It was reasonably handsome, but not lavish. It had 221 pages. The price was $35, equivalent (according to this cool inflation adjustment website ) to $129.87 in 2010.

Book One, expected to be "by far the most commercial," simply may not have been a very brisk seller.

In the March 1995 Genii (vol 58, p 452) -- 18 years later -- we encounter this 1/3 page monument-style announcement:

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Postby Diego » 02/02/11 01:00 PM

Yes, GENII ran ads for years selling the book before they sold out. Maybe 3,000 copies was a lot to sell, for the market it was intend for, but many including myself, regard it as one of the best and most USEFUL books on mentalism/readings there is. Richard Webster has correctly said that some of the chapters, (Like Working Hotel/Resorts)are worth the price of the book alone.

Considering the hyped prices on other mentalism books/dvds, and what is in them, The Mental Mysteries was a bargain.
Many working mentalists/readers, often list Larsen's book among the top 5 mentalism books for them.
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Postby Diego » 02/02/11 02:30 PM

It was a source of irony, that The Magic Castle, (Founded in William Larsen's name/vision) would not have a qualified performer, do entertaining readings there.
I asked a long-time member of the BOD of The Castle about his resistance, why a club founded in the name of one of the greatest performers and teachers of cold reading, would not allow others to also so entertain, and he said that Mr. Larsen would not do such a thing. I then showed him The Mental Mysteries, and it's contents, and he was surprised, (unknowing) but held to his stance regardless.
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Postby Necromancer » 02/02/11 03:48 PM

Why let logic stand in the way of a perfectly comfortable opinion?
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Postby Welles » 06/16/12 06:09 PM

Bob Farmer wrote:There is a T. Page Wright book that is excellent:

you might be interested in a new version at
The Complete Page Wright Manuscript, available only as pdf.

Apparently the earlier version was missing about 25% of the material. At the site the Contents listing highlights what was missing from 1991 version, and now supplied, and it's a lot.

I like the book too.
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