CIA Manual of magic tricks from the Cold War era

A CIA manual instructing US agents on the use of magic tricks during the Cold War has gone on sale.

It was written in 1953 by magician John Mulholland for a fee of $3,000 – considerable at the time. It includes deceptions such as spiking drinks, pocketing small objects and tying shoelaces to communicate in code.

The CIA ordered copies destroyed in the 1970s, but one survived. It has been republished as The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception…

In the foreword, deputy CIA director John McLaughlin writes that “magic and espionage are kindred spirits“.

So are the politics of religion and the absurd power of patriotism.

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