Mindset

Of course, it can be kind of scary to think about a person being up on stage and performing some kind of magical act that seems humanly impossible, and I think for a lot of people who are interested in magic they are definitely toying with many occult ideas that allow magicians do things that are beyond the realm of normal human consciousness. Of course this is extremely hard to explain in a coherent manner, especially for someone who is not on the same natural wavelength of many of the world’s top magicians, and because I am not able to fully understand the occult ways of many of the world’s top magicians it is hard for to me even explain their mindsets in words because they supersede all of reality as all of us know reality, and because they are able to in a way manipulate reality not only for themselves but for an entire audience we all must try to come to terms with the fact that a magician and magic in general as some form of occult works behind it, even if it is not considered to be black magic, which of course is like witchcraft and Satanism and is very scary in general and is not the point of this article.

The point of this article is to start to discuss some of the world’s top magicians and what makes them so special, so if you are the type of person who is really interested in magic, or maybe you are just interested in finding out how magicians do what they do or how magic is performed, then you have come to the right place on the internet because this article is about to delve deeply into the psyches of the world’s top magicians who have been baffling the minds of regular humans for their entire magical careers.

So the first magician that we are going to talk about who is arguably the greatest magician in the world right now and has become extremely famous in the past 10 to 15 years or so is the one, the only, the David Blaine. Of course David Blaine had very humble beginnings just like most magicians, but in recent years he has been able to come completely in the public’s attention by doing his acts in the middle of public places in front of free crowds of whoever wants to see something magical in the middle of city parks and other places around outside of the stage. The fact that David Blaine wanted to do public tricks isn’t a new thing for magicians, but in recent times it was pretty innovative and helped him gain a lot of popularity in terms of his public imprisonments, which of course is very similar to possibly one of the greatest magicians of all time, Harry Houdini. But David Blaine has taken public imprisonments to a whole new level from Houdini and has done things and performances like being buried underneath a tank of water in New York City or being stuck in a glass box for over 44 days, which is an incredible feat to accomplish by any magician, and it’s really weird, but for some reason these huge acts of magic in the public eye caught on like wild fire and made David Blaine one of the most loved and well known magicians in the world.

The USO Tour

As time went on and war became a reality of everyday life, magicians and magic shows became popular as a means to escape the reality of the horrors of war for an hour or so. Beyond this, psychologists have indicated that there was a deeper reason for the surge in popularity that magic enjoyed during this time. A good magician could make his audience believe they were truly seeing something that defied reality, something that made the impossible, possible. In a world being torn apart by war, the human mind began looking for some means of escape and relief from the harsh realities of what it was being saturated with on a daily basis. Magic was empowering in a way. Even though the mind knew on some level that what it was witnessing was not possible, the very act of seeing it fed a part of the psyche that needed to believe that miracles could happen, that magic was indeed real. It was for this reason in part that the USO tours began to include magic acts in it’s shows for the troops. Although not generally realized consciously,for some people, civilian and soldier alike, the mind was being held together at the seams by illusions that were being perceived as truly possible.
In more modern times, a young Illusionist by the name of Doug Henning took the world of magic by storm. In the 1970s and 80s Henning was the most well-known magician in the world. He is credited with single-handedly reviving the popularity of magic. many historians of magic callthis time period “The Golden Age of Magic”. Henning’s large-scale ilusion show landed him several popular TV specials. He had studied magic as a young boy in his home country of Canada. After performing his magic act on local Canadian television, Henning was awaded $4000 from the Canadian Council as a study grant to pursue his interest in magic. He was attendingmedical school at the time but he decided to forego a medical career and move to Hollywood, California, where he studied at the famous Magic Castle for 3 months. Henning left the world of magic at the height of his fame. He passed away at the age of 52 in 2000.

Other notable masters of the Mysterious Arts include:
• CRISS ANGEL: Best known for his television showCriss Angel: Mindfreakwhich ran on A & E for four years, Angel introduced a young, intense crowd to the world of magic. He also performed as part of the Cirque de Soleil’s “Criss Angel: BELIEVE”.
• JASPER MASKELYNE: Known as “The War Magician”, Jasper Maskelyne came from a long line of professional magicians, himself the 7th in a line of famous magicians in his family. He was a popular stage magician, but he is best remembered for his efforts during World War II. Maskelyne used his prowess as a master magician to help defeat Rommell and the Nazi movement. His illusions and talents at distractions unsettled the German army, leading in large part to their downfall.
• ROBERT-HOUDIN: Houdin was a 19th century Frenchman who is remembered as “the father of modern magic”. Even though his entire career in magic lasted only 11 years, the influence he had on the craft was timeless. Houdin worked his personal magic on a young protege by the name of Ehrich Weiss, convincing him to add an “i” to Robert’s own last name, adopt it, and call himself “Harry”. Robert-Houdin left his watchmaking career and began his pursuit of magic in 1845, performing his first magic show at the age of 39.

A Niche in History

A number of magicians have carved out a niche for themselves in history. One of them, whose name will always be synonymous with magic was Harry Blackstone, Sr. During the 1930s, Harry Blackstone Sr. was the most renown magician in the United States. He became a master escape artist the likles of which had only been previously seen in Harry Houdini. Blackstone worked as an assistant to a cabinet maker and practiced magic as a hobby. His skills at woodworking became invaluable to him in his 65 year-long career as a magician. He started out his career in Vaudeville along with his brother Peter. Harry got a huge boost inhis magic act when he was able to purchase props that had belonged to a recently-deceased fellow magician who had been an illusionist At this time he was performing under the name “Fredrik the Great”. He changed his name to Blackstone when the German name “Fredrik” began causing his show to become unpopular due to World War I. During World War II, Blackstone performed his magic show at more than 165 military bases as part of the USO tour.

In the earliest times, and to a world with no knowledge of science and nature, things such as sunrise and sunset, thunderstorms, lunar and solar eclipses, fire, earthquakes, and other natural occurrences were feared and revered as supernatural, or “magical” happenings. Once mankind became a bit “educated”, it was decided that any form of magic, or any act that was perceived or gave the appearance of magic, was occult-related and therefore evil. During some of the darkest periods of time in the world’s history countless people lost their lives, condemned as witches, warlocks, and the like, for simply performing a sleight-of-hand trick or an easily-explained illusion. In an world ruled by religious dogma, anything that could be construed as canoodling with the Devil had to be eradicated immediately. Overzealous rulers and church officials overreacted in the name of saving souls.
Once the world moved forward a bit and magic was able to be seen as a harmless form of entertainment, it gained popularity quickly. From the courts of kings and queens to the street corners of the most ramshackle towns, illusionists and other types of magicians became some of the most popular and sought-after entertainers around. They were invited into the homes of nobles and peasants alike, to perform their feats of wonder and amazement. Royal courts often had magicians on hand for the entertainment of guests, and as well the ruler would often have his own select group or magicians who were called upon to advise him in matters of war, future endeavors, relationships, etc, as it was believed by many that magicians held special powers. It was believed that they employed their simple and often easily-detailed tricks in order to distract anyone from discovering that their “powers” were, in fact, all too real. Kings would access every option at their disposal in order to secure their position, so it was not uncommon to have a magician or magicians among his most trusted advisors.
Some magicians became more interested in using their distracting abilities and sleight-of-hand trickery to scam people out of money or other property. Magic tricks were turned into games of chance and gambling bets. This began to give all magicians and magic acts a seedy reputation and many people started to avoid their shows. Magic shows became ways to scam and trick the audience out of their money or valuables. Luckily this type of behavior would phase out rather quickly and magic and magicians became popular once more.

 

Let The Magic Begin

When talking about the subject of magic and magicians, it is interesting to discover just how many different types of magicians there are, and how many different types of magic they practice. Say the word “magician” and it instantly calls to mind the image of a mysterious-looking man on a stage, dressed in a top hat and cape, surrounded by various props and usually having a “lovely” female assistant.
Magic, or Conjuring as it was called in past times, is one of the oldest types of entertainment in recorded history. The first mention of magic is recorded around 1700 BCE in the Westcar Papyrus writings, dating back some 4,000 years. In these writings is the tale of a great magician named Jajamanekh and how he retrieved a bauble that had been dropped into a lake and lost. Jajamanekh divided the lake in half and placed one half of the water on top of the other. He then retrieved the trinket from the lake bed, returned to the shore, and clapped his hands. At this point the water righted itself back into the lake.
That amazing feat seemed to mark the beginning of a permanent fascination with magic and magic tricks. It seems that purveyors of magic were on every street corner, in every marketplace and at every fair. They were also very popular as entertainers at private parties and in theaters.
In 40 CE a Samaritan magician by the name of Simon Magus, also called Simon the Sorcerer, reportedly fell to his death while levitating when he mis-timed himself and ended his levitation a bit too soon, before he was close enough to safety.
During the Dark Ages of 400-1000 BCE, magic in any form, even sleight-of-hand and illusion, was frowned upon and considered to be a form of the Dark Arts, the Occult. Such things were not tolerated in a society under heavy religious rule.
In 1584 Jean Prevost published the first book in France dealing with practical magic, titled La Premiere Partie Des Subtiles et Plaisantes Inventions(“The First Part of Subtle and Pleasant Tricks”).
In 1720 the famous English magician Isaac Fawkes retired. He was well-known for his frequent performances at fairs, and these shows alone provided him with an amassed fortune of ten thousand pounds. Fawkes also included contortionists and impressionists in his magic shows.
In 1750 Joseph Pinetti was born. Throughout his life, Pinetti was considered to be the single most significant individual associated with eighteenth century magic. He was the first to perform second-sight tricks and to exhibit automata.
In 1769 a Hungarian nobleman by the name of Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen invented “the Automatic Chess Player”, a device which ultimately taught new methods of distraction and concealment. These methods are still effective and widely used by magicians today.
In 1874 Ehrich Weiss was born. He would become quite possibly the most well-known magician/escape artist of all time. Weiss was better known by his stage name, Harry Houdini. Eerily enough, Houdini died at 1:26 p.m. on Halloween, October 31, 1926. The date has been commemorated as national Magic Day in the United States.
In 1876 Professor Louis Hoffmann (real name Angelo John Lewis, 1839-1919) writes Modern Magic,the first publication of the time on the craft.
In 1905 The Magic Circle, an exclusive organization created for the brotherhood of magicians. The club enacted a strict set of rules prohibiting exposure or revelation of the secrets of illusions and magic tricks.
In 1911 renown magician The Great Lafayette is tragically killed in a fire while performing at the Empire Theater in Edinburgh, Scotland. After his body was identified and cremated a second deceased man was found in the rubble of the fire, and this body was also identified as The Great Lafayette. It was then discovered that the first victim had been a body double who took part in some of the magician’s illusions.
Some of the most popular forms of magic and it’s practitioners include:

• Street Magicians – These performers have been delighting and astounding audiences since the earliest days of magic, from the acts of conjuring displayed by shamans in tribal societies to modern day entertainers, street magicians are often a person’s very first exposure to “real” magic.
• Mentalistic – Mentalists are hailed as the true purveyors of magic. This is because Mentalists often employ forms of Psychokinesis and Extrasensory Perception to perform their feats. One of the earliest known performances of mentalism dates back to 1572 and was performed by a magician named Girolamo Scotto. Mentalism is one of the most popular forms of magic today.
• Illusionists – Illusionists, or Mega Illusionists a some of them are known, are the ones who make pretty ladies disappear from cabinets and who make jets and elephants and the Statue of Liberty disappear right before our very eyes. Of course we know that this is all done with smoke and mirrors, but regardless, it takes a phenomenal amount of skill to arrange and pull off an illusion of that magnitude, and it is still entertaining to watch and pretend for just a few moments.