A magician, or an illusionist, is a person who, with the help of sleight of hand, tricks or special equipment, creates the illusion of breaking objects with their familiar properties. This artist shows tricks, using, among other things, the subconscious delusions of viewers.
The art of illusion goes back to antiquity, when it was possible to control people in this way (shamans, priests, leaders) and entertain people (fakirs). Professional artists of this genre appeared in the Middle Ages. Then at the fairs one could see puppeteers, jugglers, who use mechanisms and demonstrate tricks with cards.
Each era had its own hero-magician, it is still unclear whether they were wizards, scammers or talented illusionists. Today the profession of an illusionist is quite ordinary. These people work on the stage, in the circus, there are special courses that allow you to master this skill, a lot of relevant literature.
Despite the fact that it becomes easier to expose tricks people still go to the performances to be deceived, but the illusionists themselves are constantly improving their technical arsenal. We will tell below about the ten most famous conjurers in the history of mankind and about some of their famous illusions. Sometimes it’s even hard to tell where the tricks end, and the real magic begins …
This famous illusionist was born in Budapest on March 24, 1874. The real name of the artist is Eric Weiss. The boy spent his childhood in Wisconsin, the family was poor, that’s why Eric had worked at a young age as a merchant of newspapers, shoe cleaners and even a necktie cutter. However, since the age of six, an illusion and card tricks in general, as well as a circus, has become a real outlet for Houdini. Already in 10 years, Harry began to show tricks with cards in places of entertainment, and the young man took the pseudonym Houdini at the age of 18 in honor of the French illusionist Robert Goodin. Harry’s name came from Harry Kellar. From simple tricks, the artist moved on to more complicated ones. In his arsenal appeared handcuffs, which put the beginning of the tricks that gave Houdini world fame. Harry demonstrated the ability to self-free from bondage. Once Houdini in front of many people was hanging in a sack to the skyscraper’s cornice, but managed to free himself. In 1903, the artist was handcuffed to a 30-kilogram bowl and thrown into the Thames, but it took only a few minutes for him to free himself and triumphantly come up. To achieve such incredible abilities Houdini was able with the help of incredible flexibility, which was worked out by exhausting training since childhood. Harry could bend his limbs at unimaginable angles, they looked like plasticine. In time, his brother Theo joined Houdini. Together they did the trick invented in 1864 by John Maskelin. Theo, with his hands tied, was inside the drawer Harry was standing on. For a few seconds, all this was pulled back by the curtain, when she was pulled back, the brothers changed places – inside the box was already Harry with bound hands. In 1894 Houdini met with the dancer and dancer Wilhelmina, who soon became his wife and succeeded the brother of the actor as assistant. In 1898, Houdini’s career in the States began to wane, the magician decided to go to conquer Europe, who had not seen anything like it. The main part of the presentations consisted of tricks of liberation. For five years, Houdini traveled through Europe, gaining insane popularity. Then it was time to return to America, however, and the Old World magician continued to visit, as his popularity on both sides of the ocean was great. The highlight of most of Houdini’s rooms was his ability to be released from shackles, handcuffs and a straitjacket. The magician unimaginably emerged from prisons, cargo containers and sacks, from coffins and even a metal steam boiler. Since 1916, Harry began to make full-length films, being also their screenwriter.As a result, by 1923 Houdini shot 5 films, and over time he got his star of fame in Hollywood. In the sphere of the artist’s interests there were not only foci and cinema, but also aviation! It was he who made the first flight over Australia. However, Houdini became not only an unsurpassed illusionist, but also a virtuoso unmasker. The conjurer could, in cooperation with experts, bring to the clean water not one dozen miracle-workers, clairvoyants and tablesposters. For this, Houdini incognito attended spiritualistic sessions, exposing charlatans. This behavior, incidentally, was the reason for the break of the magician with his friend, Arthur Conan Doyle, who was a fan of spiritualism. In 1926, before the performance at the university, the artist’s dressing room will be visited by a young athlete and asked if it’s true that Houdini can take a few blows to the stomach. The conjurer did not have time to prepare himself and strain his muscles as the student hit him several times. This triggered the rupture of the appendix, and on October 31, 1926 the great artist died of an inflammation of the peritoneum.
was born in Israel on December 20, 1946. Soon the family moved to Cyprus, where the boy finished school. Training officer Uri did not finish, because he was ousted for sleeping on the post. Then Geller decided to start a career as a magician. At the first appearance, Uri declared himself a messenger of the highest mind, directed to prevent world cataclysms. However, this did not have any effect on the cunning Jews, a talented producer was needed to promote talent to world scenes, it was Andrea Puharish. In the 70s, Geller’s show became insanely popular both in Europe and in the US thanks to the simple and old focus with the bending of spoons, borrowed from the illusionist David Berglas. Soon the artist put a whole series of numbers with the stop and start of the clock, bending a large number of spoons, guessing the picture in a sealed envelope. In 1976, the magician bought the Cadillac, which adorned 5 thousand bent spoons that belonged to previously different celebrities. During his career, Geller wrote 16 books, and in 2001 even starred in a big movie. Today, the magician lives in England, leads a healthy lifestyle and learns languages. In his homeland, Geller was not perceived – when he proposed removing Ariel Sharon from the coma, the native politicians refused. It is curious that throughout his career Uri was never caught cheating, the main speeches are on television, where cheating is quite easy. Since childhood Uri and his family noticed some supernatural abilities in the boy, in particular watch control. The greatest fame for Geller came from a stunt with a clock stop on the London Big Ben. When one American company suggested that the magician stop the famous arrows, Uri only waved, but gazed intently at the postcard, ordering the clock to stop. As a result, Big Ben really stopped, which surprised the magician himself. Only the sensation, as it turned out, was not documented, but existed exclusively in Geller’s memoirs. In addition, in this story, actors and circumstances have been constantly changing. Not surprisingly, the American magazine “Time” at one time, based on the opinion of the leading illusionists, directly accused Heller of fraud. By the way, the watchmakers can easily explain and repeat the trick with the repair of the watch. The mechanism is filled with a stuck grease, which softens from the heat of the hands, and the watch starts to go.
was born in New Jersey on September 16, 1956, when the world recognized him as David Set Kotkin. The parents of the magician were Jews, and grandfather and grandmother emigrated from the USSR in due time. Since childhood, David was noted for his phenomenal memory, and for the first time repeated the shown focus in 4 years. His boy began to show his own tricks professionally at the age of 12 in his hometown, having joined the American community of magicians at the same time. At the age of 16, David taught the art of illusion at a local university.At age 17, the magician took part in the musical “The Sorcerer”, then he took the pseudonym “Copperfield” by the name of the hero of Dickens. David soon abandoned his studies in search of work to his liking. At the age of 18, the magician gets on television, where he leads the program “The Magic of David Copperfield.” Gradually, ideas of ever more grandiose illusions come to David. Copperfield became famous for his grandiose tricks, during which the plane disappeared, and later the audience gasped when they saw the disappearance of the Statue of Liberty. Today, the magician is the most famous artist of this genre in the world, he demonstrated the ability to fly through the Great Wall of China, escaping from Alcatraz prison and exploding building, the fall from Niagara Falls and the disappearance of the Orient express train, release from the straitjacket, and survival in the pillar fire. The personal life of a famous artist remains a mystery – there were rumors about his novels with models of Claudia Schiffer and Ambra Friske, but it could have been advertising tricks. Today David Copperfield’s show is perhaps one of the most famous in the world of its kind. The magician gives annually more than 500 concerts a year, traveling around the world. David has his own permanent place to speak in Las Vegas, but plays there not often. Today, a show of this magnitude is impossible without the existence of a whole team of professionals. Together with Copperfield, even a dance specialist works, not even talking about lighting and assistants. Today, David uses deceptive techniques, television and viewer assistants to deceive, and the secrets and revelations of his tricks have been on the Internet for a long time. For example, the flight is carried out due to the thinnest ropes, the patent for which is fairly well known. And the whole statement of the issue, including the location of the “checking” viewers, is carefully painted so that no deception is revealed.
was born in New York in 1973, he is the brightest representative of the young wave of magicians. If Copperfield makes a lush and colorful show, then Blaine, whom many now call the brightest illusionist, places emphasis on so-called “street magic.” The magician’s father was a Puerto Rican, and his mother was a Russian Jew. The origin of the actor’s simplest, because his father fought a soldier in Vietnam, and his mother taught at school. The first tricks David began to show as a child, sitting behind the showcase and showing tricks with cards. Growing up, Blaine began to gain popularity, looking for things hidden among the audience, “animating” the pigeons. The first demonstrations of street magic appeared in 1997, soon on ABC TV the magician had his own show. To more grandiose numbers Blaine moved in 1999. His most famous numbers are: Burial alive in a plastic container (1999), freezing in ice (2000), a 35-hour stand on top of a 22 meter column (2002), imprisonment without food for 44 days in a box above the Thames. The capabilities of this man’s body are so great that Blaine broke the world record for holding his breath underwater, having stayed there for 17 minutes. David’s hobby is playing cards, he is known as a strong preference player, and doing this sport even professionally. The image of the magician is rather democratic – cargo pants and a black T-shirt, a black ski cap and black slippers. Blaine claims to have understood the “strength” of black after participating in the voodoo ceremonies in Haiti. The artist is not afraid to risk himself for the effectiveness of the trick, so, burial in a container under the ground for 170 hours cost the actor 8 kilograms, but the show saw 80 thousand people! Being inside the iceberg for 62 hours, Blaine could not even move, and his body temperature dropped to 33.7 degrees, which is interpreted by physicians, among other things, as clinical hypothermia with irreversible consequences. Today, David Blaine “registered” in the Guinness Book of World Records and is a millionaire, he is preparing more and more spectacular tricks, despite the criticism of competitors and critics.
One of the first known magicians was
(1731-1807), known as the Comú. This man was also a demonstration physicist, building his illusions on a completely scientific basis. The name Komu is taken by the name of the Greek god of feasts and Kom festivities. The magician entertained with his tricks the royal court, aristocrats and a simple audience. Komu actively traveled with his performances throughout Europe, which gave him great popularity. In Paris, the artist was given a special room for demonstrations of numerous experiments with light, sound, electricity and magnetism. In addition to completely scientific ideas, there were also demonstrations of illusions. So, the public was shown a female robot, performing a simple team, a face with pupils taking on the color of the person looking at them, an artificial hand that records the thoughts of other people. The viewers of Komu at different times were Louis XVI, Joseph II, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The artist and scientist noted, as already noted, not only tricks. He developed a new system for nautical charts, came up with how electricity can be treated with epilepsy. Komu became a professor with the light hand of his patient Louis XV, and Louis XVI gave him practice at the orphanage. During the Great French Revolution, Komu was imprisoned, but was able to avoid execution. As a result, the death of this extraordinary man came only in 1807, by this time the conjurer was already quite a rich man. It is curious that the pseudonym became so popular that at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the magician Komu II successfully operated in France.
– for our country a whole dynasty of illusionists. Its ancestor was Emil Teodorovich Hirschfeld-Renard (1894-1965). First, Emil was not attracted to the circus, but cinema and theater. He even became a 26-year-old actor in the Moscow Theater of Miniatures. But gradually the circus entered the life of a young man – he visited the administrator, the rider, the uniformitarian, until one day he did not go to the arena with his tricks. To get to the viewer, a memorable and sonorous pseudonym was needed, once Emil saw how the letter “H” dropped out of the “Kino” signboard, and the artist Kio was born. The actor himself with humor offered such a deciphering of his pseudonym – “Kiev Known Deceiver”. The son of the artist, Igor, says that the name was born out of Jewish prayer, in which the word “tkio” was repeated with a refrain. Emil Teodorovich became famous for the fact that it was our first illusionist, who transferred large equipment to the circus stage. This allowed all viewers to watch the numbers, but that also increased the complexity of the tricks – after all, now the artist was watched from all sides. Kio eventually got rid of the oriental costumes and attributes of mystery, going out into the arena in a dress coat. Emil Teodorovich has developed a series of tricks, which are still used by many illusionists. It is no coincidence that in 1960 he received the title of the best magician in the world in England. If in 1932 the artist performed in a turban, joking and communicating with the public, using clowns and attractive assistants, then in 1947 Kio created a holistic view-revue. Sons Kyo, Emil and Igor, eventually began to perform with his father. The main merit of the magician was his manner on the stage, he slightly sneered at his tricks, as if offering viewers to find their uncomplicated clue. Kio offered tricks-jokes, realizing that the technical trick sooner or later will be exposed, but light humor will always be pleasant. Although Emil made good money, he did not become a millionaire, spending everything on the maintenance of his big family. In addition, his wife was very fond of luxury. As a result, after the death of the artist had to sell a car to create a monument, because the savings book was empty. Emil Teodorovich’s book “Foci and Magicians” has become a useful tool for artists of this genre. The children of the artist continued the work of their father.Emil Emilevich has been working in Japan for half a year since 1992, where his own public has formed, and six months in Russia. Igor worked in the system of the State Circus for 30 years, his short-term affair with Galina Brezhneva is known. And this magician deserved national glory, following the example of his father.
was born in Turin in 1793. His extraordinary giftedness quickly led this wandering magician into the ranks and salons of the rich. Bosco was a master of illusions – he decapitated pigeons, swapped their heads in places, and the birds came to life. In this case, a black pigeon had a white head, and a white pigeon had a black head. The magician loved adventure, which is why he joined the army of Napoleon during the campaign to Russia. When victims were robbed by soldiers, Bartolomee quietly cleaned their pockets. As a result, Bosco got into exile in cold Siberia, where he did not leave his craft, but constantly improved it. As a result, after the liberation of the illusionist, the spectators of many European capitals could see new tricks. Yes, and Bosco could still conquer, but with his speeches after 30 years. Even Nekrasov devoted part of his poem “Talker” to a visiting illusionist:
“I would take out the paper I,
What I would only describe,
What Bosko magic
He broke things whole
In small pieces,
Inserted the middle white
In crimson kerchiefs,
God knows where to throw
And rings and rings
And so funny told,
Where they will appear!
Well, in a word, Bosco rubbles,
As a magician and a liar,
Lured from the public,
So adroit that not it’s a pity!”
Death of the artist came in 1863, but his case was continued by his son, who also won fame.
(1743-1795) was the most famous mystic and adventurer of his time, his real name, which gave birth to the novel of Dumas – Joseph Balsamo. Already from childhood of simple origin, the boy showed an inclination not to science, but to fraud. The career of the future graph began with the sale of counterfeit miraculous potions and treasure maps. After the death of her aunt, the Vincenzi Cagliostro, Joseph took her name, and at the same time awarded himself the title of count. He did not need to increase the size of the diamond or remove the crack from the diamond, turn sackcloth into silk, and make an iron nail gold. Cagliostro argued that he knew the secret of the philosopher’s stone, and he himself more than three hundred years. Constantly traveling, the count got to Russia, where, according to rumors, tripled the amount of Potemkin’s gold. Here, the count conducted magical sessions, telling about the possession of the elixir of immortality. As a result of a series of scandals, it reached the empress. Catherine ordered to send Cagliostro from Russia, she herself wrote and wrote about him the play “The Deceiver”, shown in the Hermitage. Surprisingly, even here the Earl managed to find out – his autographs on the departure from the country appeared on four different border outposts. However, the thirst for luxury life and the doubtfulness of the tricks, which served as the basis for the profit of Cagliostro, constantly chased him from place to place. Moreover, the Count actively participated in the political life of Europe. As a result, he was captured in Italy and accused of fraud and warlocks, ending his days in prison. The story of this illusionist and adventurer is so rich in adventure that it has found its reflection, both in literature and in cinematography, it is enough to recall our legendary film “The Formula of Love”.
, nicknamed Dai Vernon, was born in Canada in 1894. The name changed because of a typo in the newspaper, and Vernon’s surname was borrowed from a famous dancer. It is Vernon who is often called the most influential magician of the last century. He learned the first trick as early as 7 years, stating that the first 6 years of his life was wasted. The illusionists themselves nicknamed Dai “The Professor” and “The Man Who Fooled Houdini”. The fact is that Harry Houdini boasted that it is enough not to see the focus more than three times, in order to understand how it is being carried out.In 1919, Vernon accepted the challenge, showing Houdini eight times in a row, “The Ambitious Card”, but Harry did not understand the secret of execution. The phrase “He fooled Houdini” was later used by Vernon for his own advertising in the 1930s. Any professional juggler knew Dai and his tricks, he was able to improve existing ones and create several of his own, such as “Twisting Aces”. Vernon was friends with outstanding illusionists of both old and new schools. It is believed that this magician has established classical rules for this profession. It was he who created the art of Micromagic, making for the art of deception more than anyone else. Werner traveled a lot, studying all sorts of card tricks. Werner was a real gentleman, charming and humble, everyone loved him. Dai did not talk about people badly, the only person he spoke about was relatively bad, was Harry Houdini. Since 1963, Dai worked in the famous Hollywood “Castle of Magic”. Many famous modern magicians studied at Vernon, and in 1965 journalist Richard Buffe recorded a series of interviews with Dai, which became the basis for a book published in 1992. Vernon even found the way out of this work, dying at the age of 98 in California.
The Italian magician Pinetti
(1750-1800) is obliged to transfer this art to the stage of the theater. Representations of the illusionist were distinguished by pomp and sophisticated entourage, which allowed to attract a new spectator level. In 1784 in London, Pinetti demonstrated the possibilities of the “third” eye, reading closed books and recognizing items in boxes. The performances were so successful that the magician was invited to the court of George III at Windsor Castle. There the show was a brilliant success, it involved dozens of assistants, exotic animals, sophisticated mechanisms and mirrors. The popularity of the artist allowed him to tour in Portugal, Germany and Russia. In our country, he died in 50 years. Pinetti’s tricks always attracted the attention of writers and publicists, who during his lifetime tried to uncover the secrets of tricks, which caused the annoyance of the master. Pinetti used to live in the style of his ideas – richly, brightly, he wore the best clothes, lived in the best houses and enjoyed the most expensive carriages. The magician was moderately eccentric, sometimes attracting the crowd with his antics. So, he could, in front of the crowd, break a fresh roll and find there a gold coin, which immediately turned into a token with the initials of the wizard. It is believed that it was Pinetti that laid the features of the modern image of the magician – recognition, courage, artistry and a small pomposity. In his experiments, the illusionist used knowledge in physics, chemistry, mathematics, mechanics, and medicine. One of his most famous tricks was a swallow-focus. Pinetti took from the cage a bird that was dying in his arms. Then he let the swallow hold one of the spectators, asking to breathe on the body. And, about a miracle, the swallow came to life! The fact is that the magician imperceptibly pressed the bird on the carotid artery, temporarily depriving her of consciousness. Today, many of Pinetti’s tricks can not be explained by logic at all. So, appearing at the court of Emperor Paul, the magician was late for his seven-hour performance for an hour, which caused indignation of all the courtiers. Imagine their surprise when Pinetti, entering, announced that it was not eight now, but only seven hours. And the clock of all those present miraculously switched to an hour ago. However, at the end of the magician’s apology, exactly one minute later, the clock began to show the correct time again. The next day, Pinetti, by invitation, appeared in Paul’s office, although the emperor had previously ordered and did not miss him.