This is about as close to magic as I can imagine. Picture in your mind original census pages that have faded so badly that the enumerators' handwriting is no longer visible. I am not talking about ink that has faded a bit. In this case, the ink is gone, not even visible on the page. All you can see is the page as it was printed and given to the enumerators (census takers) with the pre-printed text and boxes. These pages look as if they were never filled out, and yet you know they were.
Now, add in a mix of digital photography and different lights. Shake well with some computer enhancements. The result? Readable images!
If this isn't magic, I don't know what is.