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To the Best of Our Knowledge: Magic Radio/TV Program

To the Best of Our Knowledge: Magic

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Publisher's Summary

In this hour, Lev Grossman talks about his novel, The Magicians, with Anne Strainchamps. It's the story of a young man who discovers magic is real, not that it makes his life any less complicated.

Next, Stephen Braude chairs the Philosophy Department at the University of Maryland, but he's long been interested in parapsychology, especially psycho-kinesis. His new book is The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations. He tells Steve Paulson about the remarkable Florida housewife he's researched and a few frauds he's uncovered.

Then, Persi Diaconis is a former stage magician who uses card shuffling and coin tossing to illustrate complex mathematical formulae. He tells Jim Fleming about the math behind common magic tricks. Diaconis holds a chair in statistics and mathematics at Stanford and is a two-time winner of a MacArthur Fellowship.

After that, Wiccan and neo-pagan communities combine acceptance of science and belief in magic. Anne Strainchamps and Caryl Owen visit the Circle Sanctuary in Barneveld, Wisconsin, while Margot Adler reports from Scotland.

And finally, Mitch Horowitz is editor in chief of Tarcher/Perguin Books and the author of Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation. He tells Anne Strainchamps that belief in the occult is as old as the colonies and that spiritualism was America's first great religious export. He says our society continues to prove that religious tolerance works. [Broadcast Date: November 3, 2010]

Listen to:

  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  • Occult America by Mitch Horowitz
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