While the art of magic and the conjuring arts has existed since pagan times through priests, witches, etc., it is the ones who dare – the magicians who defy death and show acts that we ourselves wouldn’t even dare think of – that have gained the most following and become the most remembered. Here are a few whom we believe rank among the best and most popular of all time.
Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (1805-1871). Jean Robert-Houdin was the son of a French clockmaker, whose interest in magic began when he received from a bookseller – erroneously – a two-volume set of books on conjuring called Scientific Amusements instead of the books on clock making that he had reserved. He went on to study magic and opened the first magic theatre in France. Houdin is considered the Father of Modern Magic and it is from him that Harry Houdini took his stage name. Among his most popular acts were Second Sight, a two-person mind reading act where his blindfolded assistant (played by his son) described whatever it was that Houdin was holding or doing at the other side of the room; and Ethereal Suspension, where he suspended his son in mid-air, balanced only by his right elbow.