The way our senses play us false

The way our senses play us false.
(originally published in The Crest Magician, December 1907)

Our senses deceive us curiously at times. A flash of lightning lights up the ground for only one-millionth of a second, yet it seems to us to last ever so much longer. What happens is that the impression remains in the eye or the retina for about one-eighth of a second, or 124,000 times as long as the flash lasts. If on a dark night a train speeding along at sixty miles an hour is lit up by lightning flash it appears stationary, yet in the eighth of a second during which we seem to see it the train travels eleven feet. But we really only see it during one-millionth of a second, and in that time it travels only one-hundredth of an inch. Read More…

Farewell Tour of The Dean of Magic

Farewell Tour of The Dean of Magic

(originally published in The Crest Magician, December, 1907)

Kellar, the world-famous magician, began a week-end engagement at the  Lyceum yesterday, giving his performance in the presence of crowded houses afternoon and evening. The bills announce this as Kellar’s farewell tour.  He is sixty-four years of age, and having Avon fame and fortune has decided to yield the center of the stage to a younger man. Kellar’s mantle is to fall upon the shoulders of Howard Thurston, a young magician who has been a top-liner in vaudeville for several years. Read More…

The Study of Magic as a Social Advantage

The Study of Magic as a Social Advantage, by Hermann Pallme.

(originally published in The Crest Magician, November, 1907)

While magic is a splendid profession, both as to being a dignified calling and a remunerative one, yet it is my purpose in this chapter to consider it in its broader field, that of the amateur — and when I say amateur, I mean the correct definition of the word, “a person who practices an art, especially a fine art.not as a means of livelihood or professionally, but for the love of it.”

There are many advantages for the amateur in magic, its educational value, as a means and incentive of research into chemistry, mechanics, history and languages, its development of natural grace and poise, and its general improvement and broadening influence on the mind. But the main point to the amateur is the social advantages, and these are so manifold that I shall endeavor to here take them up in detail. Read More…

Hermann Pallme

HERMANN PALLME.

(originally published in The Crest Magician, November, 1907)

Mr. Pallme was born in Kensington, on the outskirts of London, England, July 3rd, 1869. His ability as a magician seems to have been inherent, as at an early age his skill and dexterity astonished his school-mates and amazed his elders. He also evidenced an early liking for the stage and successfully played child parts in the late Augustus Harris’ Drury Lane Pantomimes, while yet attending school.

In 1885 he left England to tour Europe with his uncle, the late Alexande Berrmann, making his first public appearance in magic at the age of sixteen as an assistant to “Herrmann the Great.” He appeared before King Edward and Queen Alexandra (who were then Prince and Princess of Wales), during their Majesties visit to the Eden Theatre, Paris, France, where Alexande Herrmann was performing. Read More…

Children Laugh Louder

Children Laugh Louder, by David Ginn - bonus 2-hour DVD included

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I’ve been a fan of David Ginn for many years, since I first read his book, Clown Magic — David is not a clown, but he is one of the great children’s magicians of our time, with decades of experience. I’m glad to say that he shares some of his favorite routines, and some of his experience, in his book, Children Laugh Louder, now back in print. In addition, it now includes a 2-hour DVD of David performing the routines as well. Read More…

The Magic World of the Amazing Randi

The Magic World of the Amazing Randi – mystifying tricks easily performed by wizards of all ages. Including tricks by such world renowned magicians as David Copperfield, Harry Blackstone Jr., Penn and Teller and many more!

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The Magic World of the Amazing Randi - mystifying tricks easily performed by wizards of all ages. Including tricks by such world renowned magicians as David Copperfield, Harry Blackstone Jr., Penn and Teller and many more!In short, The Magic World of the Amazing Randi is an excellent book for someone just beginning to be interested in learning magic. It’s a collection of magic and magicians from around the world, with 1-page biographies of current magicians (current when the book was first published in 1989, that is) with each magician contributing a simple 2-page trick. It’s clearly written, with nice illustrations of both the individual magicians as well as the tricks themselves when needed. Read More…

Houdini’s Escapes and Magic

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Editorial review of Houdini’s Escapes and Magic, courtesy of Amazon.com

Houdini's Escapes and Magic, by Walter GibsonThe secrets of the greatest magician of them all are revealed in this new one-volume edition of two classic long-out-of-print works, Houdini’s Escapes and Houdini’s Magic. Prepared by Walter Gibson after Houdini’s death in 1926, from the magicians private notebook and memoranda, and with the assistance of his widow, Beatrice, and his friend and attorney, Bernard M. L. Ernst, then President of the Society of American Magicians, these books provide the most complete description available of Houdini’s feats and how he performed them. Read More…

The Book of Secrets

The Book of Secrets: Miracles Ancient and Modern, by Walter B. Gibson

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The Book of Secrets: Miracles Ancient and Modern, by Walter B. GibsonMany people have heard of Walter B. Gibson — best known as the author of “The Shadow,” a prolific writer.  What is less known is that he worked as a ghostwriter for Houdini, Howard Thurston, and Harry Blackstone Sr. He was a lifelong lover of the art of magic, an amateur magician and historian who was the first vice president of the Magician’s Guild of America.  In The Book of Secrets he combines these interests, writing about famous magic illusions of the ancient world, as well as some more modern. Read More…

Conjuring Among the Menomini Indians

Conjuring Among the Menomini Indians
By Walter James Hoffman

The following are excerpts from Walter Hoffman’s report on the Menomini Indians of Northern Minnesota found in the Fourteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution 1892-1893. This almost 300 page report contains a detailed discussion of the ceremonies and ritual magic of the shamans among the Menomini and other tribes. The author was invited to attend several initiation ceremonies to the Mitawit or Grand Medicine Society. He also discussed reports on ritual magic among different Indian tribes. Read More…

Mr. Macallister in Boston

From Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, 1851

This so called “Wizard of the Age” came among us a few seeks since quite unheralded, and in the most quite manner put up his magical apparatus at the Boston Theatre, Federal Street, where he has ever since been performing, aided by this wife, to a series of the largest assemblies probably, that have ever convened within that house. There has been no evening that parquette, boxes and galleries have not been filled to overflowing, and with an audience that has universally retired highly delighted and amused with the unique and puzzling character of the entertainments. It would be impossible for us to enter into a detailed account of the elaborate and amusing experiments that are nightly performed by Mr. Macallister: but suffice it to say, that they are of the most unexceptionable character, and calculated to interest, amuse and delight, without in any way offending the delicacy of his audience. Our artist has given us herewith a very excellent picture of his utensils and automaton figures, as they appear on the rising of the curtain to the audience. The immediate feat represented as being performed by the wizard is that known as the shawl trick, wherein he produces a whole brood of hens, chickens, ducks, pigeons, lap-dogs, etc., from out of a shawl borrowed from one of the audience, and this too, without going near any place of concealment, or any assistant of his company. But this is only one of his very curious and unaccountable representations, which to be appreciated must be seen. Probably no artist of his school ever visited Boston, whose mechanical arrangements were so perfect, and whose instruments and accessories are so elaborate and fine as Mr. Macallister’s. We are gratified to see that he is reaping a golden harvest by this efforts to please. We should not fail to mention that Mr. Macallister is assisted by his wife, who is a most important auxiliary to him in the execution of his deeds of necromancy. She is dressed modestly, thought in male attire, and attracts much interest and attention by her pleasing manners and prompt enacting of the part entrusted to her skill. To her husband, she is invaluable as a most adroit assistant.

Macallister, The Celebrated Wizard and Magician

Macallister, The Celebrated Wizard and Magician

(Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, Vol. I, No. 27, November 1, 1851, Boston )