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The Lives of the Conjurors by Thomas Frost

SKU: #011166 - In Stock
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This is considered one of the best early histories of magic.

From the Preface:

The present volume closes the series of works on the entertaining classes which I contemplated when writing Circus Life and Circus Celebrities, the greater part of which was written before The Old Showmen and the Old London Fairs was commenced, though the publication of the latter work preceded that of the former. In embracing within the present volume the lives of the conjurors of every period and every country, while the record of shows and showmen is confined to London and the suburban districts, (which may now be said to embrace a circle of twenty miles across,) and that of circuses is limited to the United Kingdom, with a glance across the Atlantic, I have been influenced by considerations arising from the nature of the subjects, and concerning which it seems desirable to say a few words on the present occasion.


  • CHAPTER I: Beginnings of the Black Art – Who the First Conjurors were – Apparitions of the Pagan Deities – Religious Mysteries of the Ancient World – How the Phantasms were Produced – Ancient Magic Mirrors – Corruption and Abolition of the Mysteries.

  • CHAPTER II: The Secular Practice of Magic among the Ancients – Zoroaster and the Magi – Wondrous Stories of the Greek Magicians – Separation of the Soul from the Body – Simon Magus – An Ancient Fire-king – Animated Statues – Transformation – The Flower Trick known to the Ancients – The Magic Sickle – Elymas, the Sorcerer – Apollonius of Tyana – The Oracle of Abonotica.

  • CHAPTER III: Merlin, the Enchanter – The Veiled Prophet of Khorasan – Optical Illusion shown by Santabaren – Brazen Head of Silvester II. – Lightning Produced by Gregory VII. – The Brazen Head of Bishop Greathead – Michael Scot – Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay – Story of the Brazen Head – Competition with Vandermast, the German Conjuror – Persecution of Bacon by the Pope – Albert Groot – Raymond Lully – Zeito, the Bohemian Conjuror.

  • CHAPTER IV: Cornelius Agrippa – Phantoms shown in his Magic Mirror – Faust – Legends concerning him – More Phantoms – The Decapitation Trick at Frankfort – The Enchanted Palace and the Fairy Garden – Sabellicus – Magic at Rome – Conjurations of a Sicilian Priest – The Devils in the Coliseum.

  • CHAPTER V: Persecution of Conjurors – John Dee – Visions in the Magic Mirror – Invocation of a Corpse – Attack on Dee's house by a Mob – Brandon, the Juggler – Jannes and Jambres – Conjuring Tricks of the sixteenth century – The Decapitation Trick – Jean Cantares – A Samoied Conjuror – Indian Conjurors at the Court of Jehangire – Dr. Lamb – The Magic Tree – Invention of the Magic Lantern – English Conjurors of the seventeenth century.

  • CHAPTER VI: A New Era in Conjuring – Neve and his Book – Story of an Indian Fakeer – Fawkes and Pinchbeck - The Younger Yeates – The Recreations of Comus – Jonas – A Conjuror's Challenge – The Pigeon Trick – Small Fry of the Profession – Boaz – Cosmopolita – Ray – George III. and the Conjuror – Social Position of Conjurors in the Last Century.

  • CHAPTER VII: Conjuring Entertainments in the Last Century - Breslaw - The Conjuror and the Mayor - Breslaw's "Last Legacy" - Flockton – Conjurors at the Fairs – Lane – Robinson – Katterfelto – His Black Cat, and its Vanishing Tail - Pinetti and His Book – Clairvoyance Ninety Years Ago – The Conjuror of the Royal Circus - Decremps - Astiey as a Conjuror – Invention of the Gun Trick – The Automaton Chess-Player.

  • CHAPTER VIII: Successors of Pinetti – Henry – Connus – The Vanishing Lady – Melville – Cagliostro – Rollin – A Conjuror on the Scaffold – Comus the Second – Coinage of Hard Words – Another Clairvoyant Conjuror – Improvement of the Magic Lantern – Robert's Optical Illusions – Raising the Dead – Philipstai's Phantasmagoria – Moritz – Bologna – Moon – Elliston and the Conjuror – A Conjuror's Law Suit.

  • CHAPTER IX: Successors of Moritz – Val – Ingleby – Decapitation and Reanimation of a Fowl – Boiling a Fowl, and Restoring it to Life – The Count de Grisy – The Conjuror and the Cardinal – A Page Sawn in Halves – A Fatal Mistake – Cucchiani – The Speaking Head – The Invisible Girl – Gyngell, the Showman – The Gun Trick Again – Fatal Accident to an Indian Juggler – De Linsky – A Terrible Catastrophe.

  • CHAPTER X: A New Series of Conjurors – Chalon – Transformation of a Bird into a Young Lady – Comillot – Comte, the Ventriloquist – Louis XVIII. and the Conjuror – Girardelli – A Novel Nomenclature – The Two Blitzes – Sullivan – Ball – Hoare – Ingleby Lunar – Conjurors at the Fairs – Keyes and Laine – Frazer – Capelli – De Berar's Phantasmagoria – Conjurors in India – Suspension in the Air – The Basket Trick – The Enchanted Water Jar – Magical Transformations.

  • CHAPTER XI: A New Era in the History of Conjuring Entertainments – Jacobs, the Ventriloquist and Improvisatore – The Chinese Ring Trick – An Incident of a Tripe Supper – Ink Turned into Water containing Gold Fish – The Inexhaustible Bottle – The Vanishing Page – Suspension by Ether – Imitators of Jacobs – Ching Lau Lauro – Testot – Sutton – The Speaking Automaton – A Young Lady Found in a Pie – Law – Buck – Miller.

  • CHAPTER XII: John Henry Anderson – His Early Wanderings and Adventures – A Conjuror's Perils Among the Ignorant – The Wizard's Umbrella – Anderson in a Scrape – Unfortunate Speculation at Glasgow – Burning of the Theatre – An Adventure in St. Petersburg – Second Sight – An Imperial Wizard – A Conjuror's Devices – Exposure of the Spirit-Rappers – The Mask Ball at Covent Garden – Another Conflagration.

  • CHAPTER XIII: Imitators of Anderson – Wizards from all Quarters – Young – De Saurin – Cunningham – Doward – Pennington – Foreign Conjurors in England – Mooty Moodaya – Oriental Conjuring – Louis Döbler – Instantaneous Illumination of Two Hundred Candles – The transfixed Card – The Magician's Kitchen – Philippe Talon – The Gold-Fish Trick – Hermann.

  • CHAPTER XIV: Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin - Amateur Conjurors and Continental Mountebanks – Carlosbach – Castelli – Robert's Connection with Torrini – The Pancake Trick – Exhibition of the Automaton Penman – Second Sight – Engagement at Brussels – An Unrehearsed Trick on the Frontier – A Card Trick at St Cloud – A Royal Duchess Puzzled – Suspension by Ether – Engagement in London – Transformation of the Queen's Glove – The Conjuror among the Arabs – The Gun Trick – How to draw Blood from a Stone.

  • CHAPTER XV: Optical Illusions – Robin's Ghosts and Phantom Fight – Automaton Calculator - Wiljalba Frikell - Wanderings in Three Quarters of the Globe – Conjuring without Apparatus – Orginski Rosenfeld – De Linski – Chinese Conjurors – Bosco – A Conjuror with a Dozen Languages – The Vanishing Card – Malcolm – Behind the Scenes with a Wizard – Inglis – Hambujer.

  • CHAPTER XVI: Wellington Young – Professor Logrenia – The Table-Rappers and Clairvoyants – Louisa Miller – Professor Sinclair – The Blooming Orange Tree – Optical Illusions at the Polytechnic – Silvester's Ghost – The Ghost at the Music-halls – Revival of Mediaeval Magic – The Skeleton in the Cabinet – The Vanishing Man and the Speaking Head – Alfred Stodare – The Sphinx – The Mysterious Hand – The Shade of Socrates – Another Automaton Chess-player.

  • CHAPTER XVII: Signor Rubini – The Indian Basket Trick – Beheading a Lady – The Fakeer of Oolu – A Lady Floating in Air – Professor Beaumont – Doings of the Spiritualists – Miss Katie King – Her Confession of Imposture – Mr. Maskelyne – His Exposure of the Brothers Davenport – Anti-spiritualistic Séances at the Egyptian Hall – The Automaton Whist-Player – Dr. Lynn – The Corded Box Trick – Palingenesia – Professor De Vere.

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