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The Magic of Robert Harbin

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The Magic of Robert Harbin
AuthorRobert Harbin
PublisherC.W. Mole and Sons
Publication Date1970

The Magic of Robert Harbin was a book by Robert Harbin which included the plans (and performance rights) for the Zig Zag Girl.

In August of 1968, after Jim Sommers finally admitted that he had made the Zig Zag Girl illusion without Harbin's permission, Harbin decided to write "The Robert Harbin Book of Magic" in order to provide the plans for the Zig Zag giving owners of the book the right to build and perform the Zig Zag Girl. To purchase the book, one had to send for a prospectus and sign a legal document agreeing to keep the secrets. The owner were only allowed to build things from the book for their own use.

Only 500 copies were printed and then Harbin had the plates destroyed. The Magic Circle is currently in possession of the rights.

There were also a limited number of the books sold to magic society libraries for £10, but not sent until two years after the initial printing.


In the 1980's, individuals unknown for many years, but later determined to be Al Mann and Craige Snader, had a firm in Mexico print and bind a number of illegal copies of the Harbin book.

To tell the difference, on page 154 the original has a small sticker with text in the margin (beginning with "This is confusing..."), the copies have the text actually printed (not a sticker) on that page.

Another bootleg version, a softbound photocopied (one-side), was reportedly done by Gary Darwin.


The Index of illusions in the Magic of Robert Harbin is as follows:

  • The Vanishing Vase and Flowers
  • Harbin's Vanishing Radio
  • Harbin's Folding Trolly
  • The R.H. Cigarette Routine
  • The R.H. Rope Routine
  • Harbin's Torn and Restored Newspaper
  • Drinka Pinta
  • Cage to Bouquet or The Ever Vanishing Birdcard
  • My Lady's Ring
  • Harbin's Packaway Tables
  • Upside-Down Production Box
  • Super X Plus
  • Harbin Chair Suspension
  • The Magic Carpet
  • Super Simplex Levitation
  • Beer Barrel Penetration
  • Head Off
  • Experiment 13
  • R.H. Sww Saw (Visible Sawing Through)
  • Topsy Turvey
  • Take it Away
  • Little by Little
  • The Zig-Zag Girl
  • The Great Book Test
  • The Knight's Tour
  • Master Plan
  • Vana, the Living Plant
  • The Red Hands
  • The Hands of Dracula
  • The Space Wheel
  • Petra
  • The Invisible Man (or Out of this World)
  • The Wizard of OZ
    • The Ruby Shoes
    • The Cauldron
    • The Mutilated Straw Man
    • The Vanishing Witch
    • The Sentry Box
  • Last Word (If Ever a Wiz there Woz)
  • Last Last Word
  • Will o' the Wisp
  • Copy of Agreement
  • Other Books by the Author