Chris Wasshuber: Digital Sphinx Is Here!

A while ago — it was last year, we think — we
reviewed the incredible work of Chris Wasshuber on the complete Sphinx
Collection.

It was incredible. It was gigantic but incredible.

Because
we read it from cover to cover, in chronological order, it didn’t
really much matter it was not fully digital and searchable. We were
able to use the data provided to do better than crude searches to find
articles but more importantly, it just gave us a warm feeling to know
it was all in one place.

That warm feeling has returned and we received news the Master of Magic’s Memory has finished his magnum opus.

The warm feeling should go away with penicillin; the Digital Sphinx will be here forever.

We
mentioned last time the collection is not cheap. In fact, it is as we
say in the street-corner drug sale oeuvre, “pricey.” But as Li’l Tom
Hardy used to say, “If you want cheap, buy a bird.”

If you
purchased an earlier version of Mr. Wasshuber’s wonderful work, he has
an offer to upgrade to the fully digital and searchable version for
$100.00. The full-version of the work is $499.00. 

So the question on the table has to be: Is it worth it? Can any magic resource be worth $499.00

The
set gives you immediate access to all 52 volumes (consisting of all 597
issues) for about 17,000 pages.  The collection was convenient to
browse and search thanks to Mr. Wasshuber’s planning: each volume is
its own PDF file, and each PDF file can be searched through the
complete index or by search engine. 

We loaded the files
to our hard drive, ran our Google Desktop Version 2 through it, and we
could now search three or four different ways.  We thought this
was genius on our part — of course, it was only possible because of
Mr. Wasshuber’s consistent and accurate file structure.  By the
way, Google Desktop Version 2 does not come with the package but can be
downloaded for free from Google.com.

We use it to find
anything in our electronic collection from Lybrary.com.  So when
we run a search on a particular effect or sleight, we will receive
results from The Tarbell Course, The Sphinx, Card College Vol. 1, and
several other collections.  

The collection also includes
very well written features to set the theme for the information you now
possess.  Mr. Wasshuber added a bunch of extras to the new set
including: an introduction by Bill Kuethe, an article about The Sphinx
by Gabe Fajuri, a talk about The Sphinx also by Gabe Fajuri, and the persona research and recordings of A.M. Wilson’s granddaughter Mary Syphus.

The Sphinx
is arguably the most important magic magazine and complete files are
extremely rare. We think we heard some early issues only saw a print
run of 75 copies. A complete set in good condition goes today for
around $5000. This is the time for you to own a complete file in
digital form.

So who can you read within these hallowed pages?

Here’s
a partial list: Ted Annemann, Al Baker, David Bamberg, Ross Bertram, J.
B. Bobo, Fred Braue, Jack Chanin, Milbourne Christopher, Joseph
Dunninger, Ade Duval, Bruce Elliott, Dariel Fitzkee, Karrell Fox, Frank
Garcia, Martin Gardner, Robert Harbin, Guy Jarrett, Fu Manchu,…

A while ago — it was last year, we think — we
reviewed the incredible work of Chris Wasshuber on the complete Sphinx
Collection.

It was incredible. It was gigantic but incredible.

Because
we read it from cover to cover, in chronological order, it didn’t
really much matter it was not fully digital and searchable. We were
able to use the data provided to do better than crude searches to find
articles but more importantly, it just gave us a warm feeling to know
it was all in one place.

That warm feeling has returned and we received news the Master of Magic’s Memory has finished his magnum opus.

The warm feeling should go away with penicillin; the Digital Sphinx will be here forever.

We
mentioned last time the collection is not cheap. In fact, it is as we
say in the street-corner drug sale oeuvre, “pricey.” But as Li’l Tom
Hardy used to say, “If you want cheap, buy a bird.”

If you
purchased an earlier version of Mr. Wasshuber’s wonderful work, he has
an offer to upgrade to the fully digital and searchable version for
$100.00. The full-version of the work is $499.00. 

So the question on the table has to be: Is it worth it? Can any magic resource be worth $499.00

The
set gives you immediate access to all 52 volumes (consisting of all 597
issues) for about 17,000 pages.  The collection was convenient to
browse and search thanks to Mr. Wasshuber’s planning: each volume is
its own PDF file, and each PDF file can be searched through the
complete index or by search engine. 

We loaded the files
to our hard drive, ran our Google Desktop Version 2 through it, and we
could now search three or four different ways.  We thought this
was genius on our part — of course, it was only possible because of
Mr. Wasshuber’s consistent and accurate file structure.  By the
way, Google Desktop Version 2 does not come with the package but can be
downloaded for free from Google.com.

We use it to find
anything in our electronic collection from Lybrary.com.  So when
we run a search on a particular effect or sleight, we will receive
results from The Tarbell Course, The Sphinx, Card College Vol. 1, and
several other collections.  

The collection also includes
very well written features to set the theme for the information you now
possess.  Mr. Wasshuber added a bunch of extras to the new set
including: an introduction by Bill Kuethe, an article about The Sphinx
by Gabe Fajuri, a talk about The Sphinx also by Gabe Fajuri, and the persona research and recordings of A.M. Wilson’s granddaughter Mary Syphus.

The Sphinx
is arguably the most important magic magazine and complete files are
extremely rare. We think we heard some early issues only saw a print
run of 75 copies. A complete set in good condition goes today for
around $5000. This is the time for you to own a complete file in
digital form.

So who can you read within these hallowed pages?

Here’s
a partial list: Ted Annemann, Al Baker, David Bamberg, Ross Bertram, J.
B. Bobo, Fred Braue, Jack Chanin, Milbourne Christopher, Joseph
Dunninger, Ade Duval, Bruce Elliott, Dariel Fitzkee, Karrell Fox, Frank
Garcia, Martin Gardner, Robert Harbin, Guy Jarrett, Fu Manchu, Dr.
Stanley Jaks, Ed Marlo, Ed Miller, John Mulholland, Okito, Augustus
Rapp, John Scarne, Matt Schulien, Slydini, Harlan Tarbell, and Peter
Warlock.

There are over 17,000 pages in the collection and each
one is presented as an image and accompanying data allowing you to see
the page as readers of the great journal saw it; and search, dissect,
and examine it with the precision of a magic forensic surgeon.

(Speaking of which, make sure you check out our review in Magic Medicine this month on the new DVD from Guy Tussle, The Conjuring Coroner.
Guy wrote it with two pretty famous medical examiners that perform
magic during the off-season. We particularly like their version of the
Tim Ellis and Sue-Anne Webster trick Healed and Sealed. We also loved his variation on the Three Shell Trick.
Granted, the parts are tough to find unless you happen to be a medical
examiner, but for that niche market, it received our highest rating).

Mr. Wasshuber does an incredible job no matter the subject or the length of the text.

We
appreciate so much his attention to detail and commitment to producing
the type of product only a magician or true magic-lover would cherish.
We have purchased countless of his CD-ROMs and DVDs and found
absolutely no deviation from the perfection he promised.

So, is $499.00 USD too much for this masterwork?

That depends on who you are and what you value.

If you are looking for the latest MP3 from Fifty Cent, or a DVD version of The Books on Tape classic Late-Fourteenth Century Artistic Influences: The Age of Outlining and Coloring,
this will likely go to waste. There is no music to be found and the
artwork in The Sphinx could not compare with any seen in a modern
gallery.

If you seek top-notch magic, innovations that still seem
new and innovative today, scuttlebutt about our Fathers and Mothers in
the Art, very cool advertisements and public notices; this is for
you. 

Maybe you are like us or maybe you’re not.

We
could read about magic 24 hours a day.  We love reading the same
classics again to find the gems we missed and really enjoy checking out
historic journals to get a flavor for the magic scene when they were
published.

So, if you are like us, you will love this collection and you will agree with us it is well-worth the price.

We highly recommended the previous version of The Sphinx
DVD (and CD-ROM version). With the addition of the fully digital
infrastructure, the collection literally comes alive. It is becomes as
effective a resource as any other book in your library.

In our book, The Sphinx
is one of the essentials of any magic library whether in hard-copy or
electronic form. Despite our best efforts, we could never collect all
of the printed editions of the journal. Mr. Wasshuber has accomplished
not only the curatorial task of finding the best quality printed
versions; he has also made it convenient enough to bring with us to any
of the conventions this summer.

You can visit Lybrary.com to find more gems — some you can download immediately. Also, do yourself a favor and sign-up for his newsletter.

Thank you, Mr. Wasshuber for all you have done to preserve our magic history and to fuel our future in the art. 

Inside Magic Rating: Five out of Five – Our Highest!





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