Hiding the Elephant : How Magicians Invented the Impossible, Paperback

Hiding the Elephant : How Magicians Invented the Impossible Paperback

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


This is the story of the Golden Age of magic and of the world's most legendary magicians: the eccentric personalities who patented the first ghost and competed fiendishly in the race to make things materialize, levitate and disappear.

We meet Harry Kellar, the ruthless thief of secrets who was the model for the Wizard of Oz, and PT Selbit, the first man to saw a woman in half on stage.

We meet John Nevil Maskelyne, whose Egyptian Theatre was a London institution for sixty years. "Hiding the Elephant" is the masterwork of a man who has dedicated his life to magic, who knows the tricks inside out, and still believes.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages, Illustrations, ports.
  • Publisher: Cornerstone
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Conjuring & magic
  • ISBN: 9780099476641



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An interesting overview of the development of the stage magician's art around the turn of the twentieth century. Although Steinmeyer reveals a number of the secrets behind famous effects, one of the points he keeps returning to is that the trick itself is secondary to the conjurer's delivery of it. There are some nice anecdotes along these lines, my favourite of which is the recounting of Thurston's method for producing an expression of shocked amazement from children viewing his levitation effect up close.

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