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THE LONG CON

"We are gluttons for false facts; our craving for fraud rejects all truth but the look of it."
David Lowenthal in Fake? The Art of Deception

Jasper Maskelyne’s reputation as a war magician endures. Even posthumously he appears to have pulled off the long con. His wartime exploits shine through, buoyed along by the irrepressible gullibility of ‘experts’.

Even Sir Michael Howard, the renowned Oxford and Yale historian, mistakenly assumed that Maskelyne’s dubious memoirs were genuine. In his influential book Strategic Deception in the Second World War (1990) Howard includes a prominent footnote with the following recommendation: “For the numerous and valuable contributions made to visual deception by Major Maskelyne see his book Magic–Top Secret.”

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