Magic or spycraft? In 1953, against the backdrop of the Cold War, the CIA initiated a top-secret program, code-named MKULTRA, to counter Soviet mind-control and interrogation techniques. Realizing that clandestine officers might need to covertly deploy newly developed pills, potions, and powders against the adversary, the CIA hired America's most famous magician, John Mulholland, to write two manuals on sleight of hand and covert communication techniques.
In 1973, virtually all documents related to MKULTRA were destroyed. Mulholland's manuals were thought to be among them—until a single surviving copy of each, complete with illustrations, was recently discovered in the agency's archives.
The manuals reprinted in this work represent the only known complete copy of Mulholland's instructions for CIA officers on the magician's art of deception and secret communications.
“A legendary ‘lost’ piece of magic history…It’s James Bond meets Harry Houdini!”
“An enchanting account of espionage and wizardry at their blackest.”
“Entrancing! I was amazed to see how the magician’s trade can be twisted to aid in the dark arts of espionage.”
“Espionage and magic! A special thrill to read the once-classified CIA magician’s manual.”
“Melton and Wallace have achieved the ultimate mastery of the shadow world where CIA’s smoke and mirrors meet Hollywood’s art of magic, deception and illusion. Like any good stage show, the never-before-disclosed techniques are spellbinding. The history of espionage is expanded by this factual, fascinating account.”
Once a top-secret training manual for CIA field agents in the early Cold War Era of the 1950s, The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception is now available to the general public. An amazing historical artifact, this eye-opening handbook offered step-by-step instructions to covert intelligence operatives in all manner of sleight of hand and trickery designed to thwart the Communist enemy. Part of the Company’s infamous MK-ULTRA—a secret mind-control and chemical interrogation research program—this legendary document, the brainchild of John Mulholland, then America’s most famous magician, was believed lost forever. But thanks to former CIA gadgeteer Bob Wallace and renowned spycraft historian H. Keith Melton, The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception is now available to everyone, spy and civilian alike.