When I decided to write about magicians, I started out the way you’d expect: I started researching how it was done. With very little research on the internet, you can easily find out everything from how to do card tricks to how to vanish the Statue of Liberty. I found the simplicity of it both startling and disillusioning, and I realized something.
I don’t want to know this.
So I turned my attention from the “how to” articles on the internet to the “who did that and when” articles. The people who have populated the world of magic are fascinating. The pioneers of magic, the great illusionists, the tricksters, the card wizards…if they devoted their lives to the art of magic and making people believe, their stories still entertain.
And that’s what I’m putting on my Close Up Magic Facebook Page. Here’s today’s post:
In the 19th century, spiritualism, or the use of mediums to contact the dead on the spiritual plane, claimed a portion of the audience of many of the magicians of the time. Many so-called “mediums” used methods of illusion to convince their audiences that they could establish a connection with the spirits of dead loved ones. While spiritualism had its illustriuous followers including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Queen Victoria and possibly even three American presidents (Lincoln, Grant and Johnson), many magicians took it on themselves to debunk the mediums’ seances. Houdini held shows in which he recreated entire seances in order to expose spiritualism as a fraud.
If you’d like to check out some of my other posts, you can find them here: Close Up Magic Facebook Page.