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Target Midnight

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Abbott's Magic Presents

Target: Midnight 

The Incredible Story of the Midnight Magic Spook Shows & Seances!

Amy Morris  (Contributor), Yuka Huston  (Contributor), David Seebach  (Contributor), John Bundy  (Contributor), Mary Kleiber  (Contributor), Rocky Clements  (Contributor), Sara Schultz  (Contributor), Keith Stickley  (Contributor), Michael Baker (Contributor)

 

Target: Midnight performers (which include spook shows, séances, mediums, etc.) have been around since man first walked upright so saying it all started with the Abbott’s Magic Company would be a falsehood. Kellar, Thurston, Blackstone, and many others all did some form of “spook show” magic in their acts but they were simply part of a larger magic act. However three major catalysts happened in a 5 year period that really led to the conditions being right for the Abbott’s Magic Company to have the success it did enjoy (and does to this day) with the Target: Midnight performers.

The first catalyst was in 1926 when Harry Houdini died on Oct 31st. Houdini began a crusade of exposing fraudulent mediums and their methods by duplicating their effects on stage. This generated an incredible buzz and soon other magicians were following suit. When Houdini died on October 31, 1926, his wife Bess began séances to try and contact Houdini in the afterlife. Houdini had given his wife Bess a code word so that if contact was made, she would know it was him and not a stunt. Thus annual séances by magicians to contact Houdini began and were very well publicized. These usually took place each Halloween - the day Houdini died.

The second catalyst was in 1929, when what many consider to be the first theatre spook show was put on by a magician called El-Wyn. El-Wyn called his show the “Midnight Spook Show” and in the show he would perform some standard magic along with some of the medium methods that Houdini had uncovered. The finale was the entire theatre being put into darkness similar to the séances of the day, and luminous beings and “spooks” would enchant the theatre. The difference between Houdini’s séances and El-Wyn’s séances was that El-Wyn did not expose the effects, nor did he endorse them as real. He simply did them to entertain the audience and the audience loved it! One thing that would remain constant (through the El-Wyn era to the Rocky Horror Picture era) was that the audience was young, mostly teens and young folks in their early twenties.

The third catalyst occurred in 1931 when the movies Dracula and Frankenstein were released and they generated a whole host of horror movies. Other midnight spook shows began popping up using the same format as El- Wyn, with psychic phenomenon, séances, and even hypnotism being used with standard magic effects. They all ended the same way, with the theatre in darkness and luminous spooks running about the place. It should also be mentioned that many magicians who worked the spook shows did so not because they loved horror, but rather to earn a living. It was the middle of the Great Depression and there were not many jobs for magicians available. Working a spook show was a pretty good way to start a career in magic.

It was in this environment that the Abbott Magic Company was born and while Abbott’s was not created for the spook show or séance workers, it would find out very soon that there was money to be made if you could secure a good percentage of the magicians who worked the spook show circuit as customers.

1934 was the year that Percy Abbott decided to open a magic shop in Colon Michigan. This was risky business because the last magic shop to open in Colon Michigan - The Blackstone Magic Shop - had just closed. Percy was determined to make this magic shop different than the last, especially since the owner of the new magic shop - Percy Abbott - was the manager of the now closed Blackstone Magic shop!

To capture the Target: Midnight performers business, Percy decided to print a catalog for $1,000 and partnered with one of his magic students Recil Bordner (who bought into the company for . . . you guessed it, $1,000) and they put their items on the market through a mail order campaign . . . the gamble paid off!

TARGET: MIDNIGHT TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • TARGET: MIDNIGHT WARNING & DISCLAIMER 1
  • DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF PHILIP MORRIS 2
  • DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF BILL NEFF 3
  • ABOUT TARGET: MIDNIGHT by Abbotts Magic 10

THE TARGET: MIDNIGHT ORMOND MCGILL FILES 19
PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT PT 1 - INTRODUCTION 20
PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT PT 2 - ASTRAL BODIES 22
PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT PT 3 - PSYCHIC PROJECTION 24
PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT PT 4 - MESMERISM & MAGNETISM 27
PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT PT 5 - THE PSYCHIC CIRCLE 29
PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT PT 6 - MAGNETIC HEALING 31
PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT PT 7 - CLAIRVOYANCE 33
PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT PT 8 - CRYSTAL GAZING 36
PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT PT 9 - PSYCHOMETRY 38
PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT PT 10 - CONTACT THOUGHT TRANSFERENCE 40
PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT PT 11 - FURTHER CONTACT THOUGHT TRANSFERENCE 42
PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT PT 12 - THOUGHT TRANSFERENCE 46
PSYCHIC CIRCLE - SPIRITUALISM 49
PSYCHIC CIRCLE - PROBABLITY IN PSYCHIC RESEARCH 50
PSYCHIC CIRCLE - FALLACIES OF PSYCHIC SCIENCE 51
PSYCHIC CIRCLE - TELEPATHY, MESMERISM, & HYPNOTISM 53

TARGET: MIDNIGHT WALTER HUDSON FILES 55
MAGIC & MAYHEM AT MIDNIGHT PART 1 56
MAGIC & MAYHEM AT MIDNIGHT PART 2 58
MAGIC & MAYHEM AT MIDNIGHT PART 3 61
MAGIC & MAYHEM AT MIDNIGHT PART 4 67
MAGIC & MAYHEM AT MIDNIGHT PART 5 70
MAGIC & MAYHEM AT MIDNIGHT PART 6 72
MAGIC & MAYHEM AT MIDNIGHT PART 7 74
MAGIC & MAYHEM AT MIDNIGHT PART 8 77
MAGIC & MAYHEM AT MIDNIGHT PART 9 79
MAGIC & MAYHEM AT MIDNIGHT PART 10 83
MAGIC & MAYHEM AT MIDNIGHT FOLLOWUP 85
MAGIC & MAYHEM AT MIDNIGHT SPOOK SHOWS ON PARADE AD 86
MAGICAL WHIRLIGIG - GEORGE MARQUIS 87
MAGICAL WHIRLIGIG - TERRORAMA 89
MAGICAL WHIRLIGIG - MARK WALKER 91
MAGICAL WHIRLIGIG - BURIED ALIVE & THEATRE TERRORS 93
MAGICAL WHIRLIGIG - DR SILKINI 96
MAGICAL WHIRLIGIG - SPIRITS OF ST LOUIS 98
MAGICAL WHIRLIGIG - SPOOK SHOW EXPERIENCES 99
MAGICAL WHIRLIGIG - FROZEN ALIVE & SPIRIT PAINTING 101
MAGICAL WHIRLIGIG - GEORGE MARQUIS HORRORSCOPES 102
MAGICAL WHIRLIGIG - REMINISCING LIVE SHOWS IN 1993 105
MAGICAL WHIRLIGIG - GHOSTMASTERS BOOK 106
MAGICAL WHIRLIGIG - GHOSTMASTERS BOOK AD IN TOPS MAGAZINE 107

TARGET: MIDNIGHT PERFORMER ARTICLES 108
A WORD ABOUT THE ABBOTT WRITERS AND COLUMNISTS by Abbott's Magic 108
ROBERT NELSON AND THE GHOST FACTORY by Abbott's Magic 110
1938 THE GREAT VIRGIL by Mahendra 117
1939 FRANCISCO MIDNIGHT FROLIC SHOW by Tops Magazine 118
1942 SEANCE OF DUROS SHOW by The Campbells 118
1944 LESTER LAKE by Percy Abbott 119
1944 BILL NEFF by Howard Melson 120
1948 ORMOND MCGILL by Tops Magazine 122
1948 BILL MORTON SPOOK SHOW by Howard Melson 123
1952 BLANKS SPOOK SHOW by Ray Amy 124
1953 BILL NEFF BAFFLED ME by Tommy Windsor 125
1953 RAY-MOND VOODOO SPOOK SHOW by Bill Pitts 126
1957 DR CLAYTON SPOOK SHOW by Tommy Windsor 126
1959 THE PHANTASMA GHOST SHOW by Percy Abbott 127
1961 THE BILL NEFF RETURNS TO GET TOGETHER by Dorny 129
1962 GEORGE VAL GEORGE by Tops Magazine 130
1963 MUSEUM OF MONSTERS by Tommy Windsor 130
1964 BILL NEFF by Dorny 131
1964 PHILIP MORRIS by George McAthy 132
1964 GREYSTOKE by Dorny 134
1965 GRAND GUIGNOL by Robert Nelson 135
1966 HORROR VISION by Robert Nelson 136
1967 BILL NEFF REMEMBERED by Clarke Crandall 137
1967 BILL NEFF TRIBUTE & ESTATE by Tops Magazine 138
1970 DR EVIL MOVIE TEASERS by Philip Morris 140
1972 BOB NELSON by Tops Magazine 144
1974 GRAND GUIGNOL by Walter Hudson 146
1977 DR LONDON OGREE BANCHEE by Tops Magazine 147
1985 THE CHANDLERS (A SILKINI PERFORMER) by Walt Hudson 148
1989 ORMOND MCGILL by Geoffrey Hansen 149
1989 PHILIP MORRIS by Walter Hudson 151
1992 ILLUSIONS IN THE NIGHT REVIEW by Mark Holstein 154

TARGET: MIDNIGHT FEATURE ARTICLES 156
1935 SPOOK LECTURE by Abbott's Magic Company 156
1936 BROOMSTICKS AND BLACK CATS by Eddie Clever 161
1936 HOW TO SHRINK HUMAN HEADS By Percy Abbott 163
1937 REVIEW OF SPIRITUAL LITERATURE by Lloyd E Jones 165
1938 RECENT EVIDENCE AGAINST TELEPATHY by Cranston Seymour 167
1938 SPIRIT CABINETS by Eddie Joseph 168
1938 SPIRITS NOT IN A BOTTLE by H Adrian Smith 169
1939 SEANCE SHADOWS by Eddie Clever 171
1944 THE MAGICIAN AND SPIRITUALISM By Chaplain Willard S Smith 173
1945 SPOOK SHOW QUESTIONS by Sid Lorraine 173
1945 SPOOK SHOW ANSWERS by Tommy Windsor 174
1947 ZOMBIE ROUTINE AND PATTER by Richard Holmes 176
1947 U V AND FLUORESCENT ROUTINE by Mariano Palhinha 177
1948 STAGE HYPNOTISM BOOK REVIEW by Sid Lorraine 177
1961 ABBOTT CATALOG 178
1961 THE SPIRITUALIST BELIEF by Robert Nelson 192
1962 THE DECLINE OF THE THEATRE SPOOK SHOW by Tommy Windsor 193
1966 PHANTASMAGORIA by Tony Shiels 194
1965 HALLOWEEN by Robert Nelson 195
1965 THE GHOST SHOW PLAN by Robert Nelson 196
1968 THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF "THE DOOR ILLUSION" 198
1971 SMOKE MACHINE by David Seebach 200
1973 SPOOK SHOW REVIVAL by Mickey Hades 200
1976 SPIRIT PAINTINGS by Robert Olson 201
1978 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THE BLACKSTONE'S SPOOK by Robert Spencer 203
1978 HOWARD THURSTON'S DEMON by Robert Olson 205
1980 THE CRUSADER BIT by Robert Olson 206
1986 THE PHANTASCOPE by Robert Olson 207
1991 THE CREATION OF THE SPIRIT CABINET by Robert Olson 208
1988 PEPPERS GHOST EFFECT by Robert Olson 212
1994 TELLER & THE SPIRIT PAINTING by John Sherwood 215
1994 SPOOK SHOW SPECIAL EFFECTS by Artie Kidwell 216
1994 SPOOK SHOW QUIZ by Tops Magazine 217
2011 PLANNING CALVERT'S 100TH BIRTHDAY PARTY by Hank Moorehouse 219

TARGET: MIDNIGHT THROUGH THE SPOOKVINE 225
TARGET: MIDNIGHT HOUDINI SEANCE FILES 274
HOUDINI BIO by Dorny 274
1936 HOUDINI SEANCE FAILS by Eddie Clever 276
1943 MRS HOUDINI DIES by Tops Magazine 278
1946 HOUDINI SEANCE DETROIT by Tops Magazine 279
1972 SEANCE LEGEND REV ARTHUR FORD DIES by George Johnstone 279
1969 HOUDINI'S GHOST by Robert Nelson 280
1973 HOUDINI SEANCE INDIANA by Tops Magazine 280
1976 HOUDINI SEANCE CHICAGO PARK by George Johnstone 280
1977 HOUDINI SEANCE CHICAGO by George Johnstone 282
1977 HOUDINI SEANCE WINCHESTER HOUSE by Dorothy Smith 283
1978 HOUDINI SEANCE MUSEUM OF MAGIC by John Sherwood 284
1979 HOUDINI SEANCE CREATE YOUR OWN by John Novak 286
1981 THE ORIGINAL HOUDINI SEANCES by Jay Marshall 286
1986 HOUDINI SEANCE APPLETON WISCONSIN by Bruce Posgate 287
1986 HOUDINI SEANCE CHICAGO by Bruce Posgate 287
1988 HOUDINI SEANCE TELEVISION SPECIAL by Walt Hudson 288
1989 HOUDINI SEANCE MUSEUM OF MAGIC by John Sherwood 291
1994 HOUDINI SEANCE VENT ACT by Rob Asa 293
2016 HOUDINI SEANCE by Abbott's Magic 294
2022 HOUDINI SEANCE CODE REVEALED by Abbott's Magic 297

TARGET: MIDNIGHT MAGIC 299

TARGET: MIDNIGHT EL-WYN STYLE EFFECTS 299
EL-WYN STYLE SEANCE EFFECTS - BILLETS AND CENTER TEAR 300
EL-WYN STYLE SEANCE EFFECTS - QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 304
EL-WYN STYLE SEANCE EFFECTS - RAPPING HAND 305
EL-WYN STYLE SEANCE EFFECTS - POGO BOX 309
EL-WYN STYLE SEANCE EFFECTS - SEFALALJIA 310
EL-WYN STYLE SEANCE EFFECTS - SPIRIT SLATE EFFECTS 316
EL-WYN STYLE SEANCE EFFECTS - NEW RAPPING SPIRITS 317
EL-WYN STYLE SEANCE EFFECTS - THE BLACKOUT SEANCE 318
BONUS - A SECOND SIGHT ADVANCED 321

TARGET MIDNIGHT SILKINI ERA MAGIC 323
THE SILKINI ERA HYPNOTISM 326
THE SILKINI ERA CANVAS COVERED SUBSTITUTION TRUNK 347

TARGET: MIDNIGHT BILL NEFF ERA MAGIC 351
THE BILL NEFF ERA FRAME OF LIFE AND DEATH 354
THE BILL NEFF ERA BROOM LEVITATION 360
THE BILL NEFF ERA BASKET GIRL ILLUSION 365
THE BILL NEFF ERA GIRL WITH NO MIDDLE 368
THE BILL NEFF ERA RAPP SPIRIT CABINET 376
BONUS EFFECT - NEFF'S MIRACLE ROPE 385

TARGET: MIDNIGHT RAY-MOND ERA MAGIC 392
THE RAY-MOND ERA DOLL HOUSE (STANDARD) 394
THE RAY-MOND ERA DOLL HOUSE (HAUNTED) 400
THE RAY-MOND ERA DOLL HOUSE (MINI) 403
THE RAY-MOND ERA SUPER X LEVITATION 405
THE RAY-MOND ERA ASRAH/COFFIN LEVITATION 410
THE RAY-MOND ERA CAGE ILLUSION 417
THE RAY-MOND ERA BURNED ALIVE ILLUSION 423

TARGET: MIDNIGHT DR EVIL ERA MAGIC 431
THE DOCTOR EVIL ERA AGA LEVITATION 432
THE DOCTOR EVIL ERA CHOPPING BLOCK 442
THE DR EVIL ERA BUZZ SAW 444
THE DOCTOR EVIL ERA TALKING SKULL 452
THE DOCTOR EVIL ERA GIANT GUILLOTINE 455
THE DOCTOR EVIL ERA MODERNISTIC AMPUTATION 466
THE DOCTOR EVIL ERA PHANTASMO MINDREAD 472
THE DOCTOR EVIL ERA ABBOTTS TORTURETTE 480
THE DOCTOR EVIL ERA ABBOTT'S PAINLESS SURGERY 482
THE DOCTOR EVIL ERA ABBOTT'S DISECTO 485
THE DOCTOR EVIL ERA ABBOTT'S SHREDDER 487
THE DOCTOR EVIL ERA ZOMBIE 496

TARGET: MIDNIGHT - THE BLACKOUT by David Seebach 500

TARGET: MIDNIGHT - KEEPING THE MEMORY TODAY 511

IS THE MEMORY FLAME STILL LIT TODAY? 511
KEEPING THE MEMORY FLAME LIT - TIDBITS ON PHILIP MORRIS by Amy Morris 512
KEEPING THE MEMORY FLAME LIT - REMEMBERING ROY HUSTON by Yuka Huston 521
KEEPING THE MEMORY FLAME LIT - THE PSYCHICS & MEDIUMS OF TODAY 528
KEEPING THE MEMORY FLAME LIT - ILLUSIONS IN THE NIGHT 531
KEEPING THE MEMORY FLAME LIT - DR PHANTASM'S MADHOUSE OF MAYHEM 533
KEEPING THE MEMORY FLAME LIT - DR SCREAMS SPOOK SHOW REVIVAL 535
KEEPING THE MEMORY FLAME LIT - POTTER AUCTIONS 537
KEEPING THE MEMORY FLAME LIT - AMERICAN MUSEUM OF MAGIC 538
KEEPING THE MEMORY FLAME LIT - THE ABBOTT MAGIC GET TOGETHER 541
KEEPING THE MEMORY FLAME LIT - THE GHOST SHOW by John Bundy (Dr Morbios) 543
KEEPING THE MEMORY FLAME LIT - ABBOTT'S MAGIC SHOP 548
KEEPING THE MEMORY FLAME LIT - WITH SAWDUST, SANDPAPER, AND SPOOKS 552
KEEPING THE MEMORY FLAME LIT - THE ABBOTT MAGIC CATALOG 554

INDEX OF TARGET: MIDNIGHT PERFORMERS 556

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Details: Target:Midnight

572 pages, soft covers, preface binding, size; 8 1/2" by 11".

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