Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The history of magic and tricks

Below is an article written by Preston Houer ( on the history of magic.

A Brief History Of Magic

With magic, illusions, spells, tricks and ceremonials are usually performed for entertainment. It is a supernatural power which makes the seemingly impossible occur.

'Looking Back'

In ancient Egypt, there was a magician named Dedi who performed in front of a crowd, where he supposedly beheaded two birds and one ox. He eventually restored the heads of these three animals.

Because of this, the Egyptians were considered to be the first magicians recorded in history.

As the popularity of magic developed, tricks involving cups and balls were shown to the public. Then, playing cards, silver coins and dice were added to their slew of magical tricks.

Later on, ancient Greek magicians invented tricks involving the human body. A trick where a performer thrusts a dagger through one's arm without being hurt has been developed and shown in public places.

The ancient Chinese civilization also paved the way for magic. The "linking rings" is one of the earliest tricks ever invented. To begin with, a number of rings link themselves. The rings are made up of solid metal and the illusion is that they eventually unlink themselves.

'Famous Magicians'

One of the greatest magicians of all time is Harry Houdini. He started as a trapeze performer in the late 1800's and eventually became famous for his magical abilities.

He was an "escape artist" who bonded himself using locks or ropes and eventually extricated himself.

Spanish, Italian, British, French and American magicians presented their acts as magic regained popularity in the 1920's.

'Sawing a Woman in Half'

In 1921, the world first witnessed a magician saw a woman in half. British performer Percy Tibbles cut through a box containing his woman assistant. After the trick, she appeared without a harm.

This trick became even more complicated when the woman assistant was 'operated on' with her hands, head and feet in full view of the audience. The assistant was sawed in half using a power-driven saw, and was later restored without a scratch on her head.

'Reaching a Wider Audience'

Before, magicians only performed in theaters which were open to the public where food and drinks were offered but the magic tricks were performed without any fee given by the viewers.

By the mid-1900's, they paved the doors for magicians to be 'professional performers' by requiring the public viewers to pay for watching magic shows.

In the 1950's, television was invented so magicians were able to reach an even wider audience spectrum.

During the 70's, Siegfried and Roy re-ignited the interest in magical tricks by making large animals disappear. David Copperfield is also a major player in the field of magicians who offered great entertainment to the viewing public.


mlmcats said...

With performances dating back to the 1950's, Siegfried & Roy will likely be remembered as the Greatest Magicians of all time.
Though Harry Houdini will also hold a special place in Magic history, S&R endured longer than any other act.
They will be held in memory not only for their incredible feats of magic, but also for saving & perpetuating the White Tigers as well.
Their many acts of humanitarism also should be noted in their biographies.

admin said...

Hi mlmcats.

Thanks for stopping by and leaving me your interesting comment.

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