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"A performer pulls out a long rope and, with arcane words and gestures, coaxes it to climb high into the sky without any sign of support. The magician then calls on his young assistant, who climbs the rope until he vanishes from view. When the boy doesn't return, the magician angrily follows after him and carries him down to resounding audience applause. Impossible? Yes. Lamont's fun, informative book details the history of this myth and why so many people wanted to believe in it so deeply. The first "hard" reference came from an eyewitness report in the Chicago Tribune in 1890. Although the journalist printed a retraction a few months later, the fabrication had already captured the attention of U.S. and British readers to the extent that others claimed to have witnessed the trick themselves. Strange and frightening stories developed around the swamis and magi who supposedly performed it and the dangers experienced by those who attempted to discover its secrets. Amid the campy facts, Lamont develops interesting conclusions. The late 1800s brought a rise in science and a growing disbelief in the spiritual side of life, and the tale fulfilled a need within educated Westerners to believe in something that couldn't be explained. The faraway land of India as its origin added a level of mystique. In the end, the author shows that the stories we create about other cultures reveal volumes about ourselves."
- School Library Journal (US)

Very favourable reviews on

Paperback 2005.

264 pages.

Very good condition.

The cost of shipping is $4.95 (ordinary post) or $6.40 (tracked mail). If you are on rural delivery and want tracked mail, the shipping cost will be $8.95.

There is of course no charge for shipping if you collect this book from my shop in Palmerston North following the auction.

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  • shipping via NZ Post$4.95
  • tracked mail$6.40
  • tracked mail for Rural Delivery (RD)$8.95
  • Seller allows pick-ups
  • Seller location: Palmerston North, Manawatu, NZ

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