This is material from the true origins of spy culture – the 50s. Put another, better, way, this is some real James Bond shit.

In 1953, the CIA hired the Criss Angel of the time – John Mulholland – to create a manual of “trickery and deceit.” Basically, it was a bunch of rudimentary magic tricks that the lay-spy could perform without a years-long training in traditional magic.

The secret “magic manuals” were thought to be destroyed in the 70s, but former CIA agent Robert Wallace and intelligence historian Keith Melton uncovered one of the manuals amongst a slew of recently declassified documents. They manual is reproduced (mostly) verbatim with some brushed up illustrations to show exactly how you can have the skills of an old school spy.

To be honest, most of the tricks aren’t going to let you kill a man using just your thumb. Many are things you probably could figure out for yourself given a little time, a little money, and a good magic shop nearby with some gimmicked coins and invisible thread. But, the bookdoes offer an interesting look into the not-so-far-from-cinema history of real life spying.   Check out these few examples:

Perhaps a more interesting question than ‘should you buy this book’ is: “Does this mean that Criss Angel is teaching our modern day spooks how to walk through glass and get hit by cars? We could tell you, but we’d have to kill you.* [Buy it]

*Definitely. Prepare to die.