Magic has a long and rich history. Here are some interesting facts about Magic and the Conjuring Arts:

  • The word Magic is derived from the Persian word “magus” which designated a priestly class.
  • Magic has many names! It is also called conjuring, hocus pocus, prestidigitation, legerdemain, necromancy, sorcery, thaumaturgy and wizardry, to name some of the most common.
  • Eliaser Bamberg, the 18th-century Dutch magician, was known as “The Crippled Devil.” He had lost one of his legs in an explosion and wore a wooden leg. The story goes that Eliase) had hollowed out his wooden leg and used it as a secret hiding place for his magic props.
  • The Bullet Catch is the most dangerous trick in magic. This feat, in which a marked bullet is fired at the performer who catches it on a plate or sometimes in his teeth, has taken the lives of well over a dozen magicians.
  • Harry Houdini died on Halloween in 1926 and is still the world’s best known magician. This marvelous showman and escape artist took his name from the French magician Robert-Houdin and on March 16, 1919, became the first man to fly an airplane in Australia.
  • Matthew Buchinger, one of the premier Cups and Balls performers of the 18th century, was born without arms or legs and was 29 inches tall. Despite all that, he was a master magician, a calligrapher and a musician who played the flute, trumpet, bagpipes and dulcimer. He married four times and fathered 11 children.
  • Adelaide Herrmann, the wife of Alexander Herrmann, America’s foremost magician of the late 19th-century, was one of the first women to be fired from a cannon. She was also the first woman to perform with an old-fashioned high-wheeled bicycle. In addition, she was an accomplished dancer in her husband’s show, and after his death she toured the world for almost 30 years with her own spectacular magic act.
  • Blackstone The Magician (as Harry Boughton was known) was characterized as a popular comic book hero of the 1940s. In addition to touring America with his spectacular illusion show, he appeared each month in Super Magician Comics solving mysteries as a magician detective.
  • Levitations of people were performed in Greek dramas as early as 431 B.C. and later in medieval churches! Early religious dramas, or passion plays, often featured individual and mass levitations.
  • The ancient Greeks were great admirers of magic, erecting statues of their favorite magicians. Homer even mentions conjurors in his epic poem, The lliad.
  • The most famous Chinese magician of all time, Chung Ling Soo, was really an American named William E. Robinson. He was mortally wounded in 1918 doing the Bullet Catch trick on the stage of the Wood Green Empire Theatre in London and died the next day. Only then did the world discover that he was not Chinese.
  • During World War II, the magician Jasper Maskelyne hid the Suez Canal and Alexandria Harbor from the Germans and helped the Allied Forces win the war in Africa. In the book Top Secret, Maskelyne tells of his war experiences and of the time when he performed at the Empire Theater in Cairo, Egypt as “The Royal Command Magician.” Few people actually realized that the performance was a front for the British intelligence service,
  • Several magicians have contributed important inventions to the world. Jasper Maskelyne invented the typewriter keyboard, another anticipated the telephone relay system, still another invented the Microwriter, a pocket-sized typewriter with five keys and a computerized personal organizer.
  • Magicians were very much involved in the birth of the movie industry. Not only were many magicians exhibitors of films, but many were involved as performers and producers. Harry Houdini made several silent films and was the creator of many special effects; magician George Melies bought the Robert-Houdin Theatre and exhibited the first motion picture seen in Paris.
  • While the very first great American-born magician is a subject of some debate, an African- American named Richard Potter, also known as “Black Potter,” was undoubtedly the first American magician to gain recognition in his own country. Potter was a great ventriloquist, and many stories exist about his amazing feats: It was said that he could swallow molten lead, enter a heated oven with a leg of lamb and stay there until the lamb was cooked, and dance on eggs without breaking them!
  • In the late 1800s, magicians frequently used robots or automatons in their shows. These mechanical figures played cards, chess and even sketched profiles of their spectators.
  • Okito (Theo Bamberg) Developed his silent Orental act to compensate for the fact he was totally deaf.
  • Doc Nixon, an american magicican who gained fame working in an Oriental costume, literally vanished in late 1939. Persistant rumors that he abandon all to become a Tibetian monk was never proved.
  • David Copperfield is the highest paid magician being named on fourton 500’s list.
  • The greatest collection of magic books, tricks and memorabilia in the world belongs to David Copperfield. The famous illusionist has a special museum in Las Vegas to house his collection.
  • David Copperfield is the first living magician to have a star on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. The only other magician so honored is Harry Houdini, who received a star after his death.
  • The worlds fastest magician is Eldon D. Wigton (Dr. Eldoonie) He performed 255 tricks in 2 minutes on April, 21 1991
  • The worldest stongest magician was Ken Simmons, He could bench press over 500lbs
    (Linking Ring 11-97)
  • You can join the worldwide International Brotherhood of Magicians, the world’s largest magic organization, as young as age 12. With headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, this fraternity of amateur and professional magicians was founded in 1922.
  • The Magic Castle in Hollywood, California, is a private club for magicians, featuring magic acts every evening. Many Hollywood stars belong as associate members, and they (along with some regular folks) can enjoy dinner with shows by magicians from around the world.

Famous Celerities who are (were) also Magicians:

  • Jonny Carson, Don Johnson, Woody Allen, Dick Cavett, Dick Van Dyke, Milton Berle, Cary Grant, Bill Bixby, Jimmy Stewart, Steve Martin, Muhammad Ali, Bob Barker, George Bush, Jerry Lewis, Boris Karloff, Dom DeLuise, Gallagher, Charles Dickens
  • Orson Welles, the actor and great film director, had a lifelong interest in magic. During World War II he had his own evening magic show that he presented for members of the U.S. armed forces. It was performed in a large circus tent and his assistants at times included such stars as Rita Hayworth and Marlene Dietrich.
  • Charles Dickens was an enthusiastic amateur magician. In August 1849, in one of his most ambitious performances he introduced himself as “The Unparalleled Necromancer Rhia Rhama Rhoos, educated cabalistically in the orange groves of Salamanca and the ocean caves of Alum Bay.”
  • The author of the 14 most recent James Bond thrillers is a magician. John Gardner, retained by the estate of Ian Fleming, the creator of the Bond character, was a professional magician before he became an author. One of his novels, The Confessor, is a thriller about a master spy who is also a secret master magician.
  • Television talk show hosts Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett and Arsenio Hall all started out as magicians. Magic is a wonderful way to become more comfortable addressing or performing for large groups of people.