Filed: Magic

C is for Chung Ling Soo

Chung Ling Soo

The world of magic in the 19th and 20th century was a competitive business and many conjurers became celebrities only after adopting an exotic Chinese persona that the public came to associate with the mysteries of magic.

One such was Chung Ling Soo who became one of the most celebrated magicians of his age who was to die in the pursuit of his art. Read more ›››

M is for John Nevil Maskelyne

John Nevil Maskelyne

In the last round of ABC Wednesday, I wrote about the War Magician, Jasper Maskelyne, mentioning that he was the grandson of the pre-eminent Victorian magician and inventor of the pay toilet, John Nevil Maskelyne, and it felt only right that I should complete his story.

The Maskelyne family liked to suggest that they were descended from Nevil Maskelyne, the famous astronomer royal under George III, but they weren’t. Read more ›››

M is for Jasper Maskelyne

Jasper Maskelyne

Jasper Maskelyne came from a long line of stage magicians. Born in in 1902, he was the son of Nevil Maskelyne and the grandson on John Nevil Maskelyne, perhaps the preeminent magician of the Victorian age and inventor of the pay toilet – but that, as they say, is another story.

While Jasper Maskelyne followed in their footsteps through a successful stage career and the publication of his Book of Magic which describes a range of magic tricks, seemingly his greatest contribution to history was as the War Magician of WWII. Read more ›››

S is for P. T. Selbit

Percy Selbit

P. T. Selbit is hardly a household name and yet he was responsible for creating one of the great magical illusions that we are all familiar with – sawing a woman in half.

Selbit was born Percy Thomas Tibbles in Hampstead, London, in 1881. He was to take his stage name by reversing his surname, subtracting one of the Bs, but that was to come much later. Read more ›››