Devilish

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Jack Shalom
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Devilish

Postby Jack Shalom » November 5th, 2017, 11:18 am

Here's something I was wondering while looking at some of the classic magic posters:

Many of the posters include images of imps and devils, clearly implying that the featured magician was in league with the Devil. Obviously it was advertising hyperbole, but in an era when every state had Sunday blue laws, and church attendance was considered part of being an upstanding citizen, weren't the performers afraid of the negative response from the Church and city officials? Wouldn't such identification have hurt business, especially in cities like Boston and throughout the South where the various Christian churches were very powerful?

Jackpot
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Re: Devilish

Postby Jackpot » November 5th, 2017, 12:18 pm

In searching images, it looks like touring magicians had some posters with the devil and some without. Perhaps they were strategic about which posters they used to advertise they shows depending on the location they were performing in.
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performer
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Re: Devilish

Postby performer » November 5th, 2017, 12:44 pm

Kellar thought that the devils actually helped him in his show. He imagined they were sitting on his shoulders as he worked. He told Dunninger this who also believed it avidly.

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Gordon Meyer
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Re: Devilish

Postby Gordon Meyer » November 5th, 2017, 1:01 pm

Well, be sure to view it thru the cultural lens of that time period (such as you are able). What you see as a reference to Satan today might have been just been an imp to earlier folk. (Akin to a fairy or elf.) Likewise, religious viewpoints shift, and even if seen as a devil it's not necessarily true that the majority of Christians back then viewed the reference as some do today. Satan has gotten a bad rap in more modern times.

Leonard Hevia
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Re: Devilish

Postby Leonard Hevia » November 5th, 2017, 1:54 pm

Gordon Meyer wrote:Satan has gotten a bad rap in more modern times.


Most likely due to the 1973 classic horror film The Exorcist.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Devilish

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 5th, 2017, 4:46 pm

The power of Christ compels you!
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Brad Henderson
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Re: Devilish

Postby Brad Henderson » November 5th, 2017, 5:42 pm

mark.

i believe i read something similar re kellar's imps in a book called Dunningers secrets. If i recall correctly, it wasn't that kellar believed in the imps, but that audience members claimed to have seen them on stage helping kellar when there were none there (nor were there actors playing the roles). Dunninger related hearing audience members claim to have seen them.

at least that's how i remember it from the book.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Devilish

Postby MagicbyAlfred » November 5th, 2017, 8:56 pm

Here's a website showcasing many of the classic posters to which Jack is no doubt referring. It is uncanny how many of the most illustrious magicians of yesteryear featured these imps and devils on their posters. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/757167756071838461/

Furthermore, from perusing the site, it appears that several the most well known magi of modern times (e.g. Derek Brown and Rikki Jay) picked up on the theme and have incorporated these bizarre entities into their own promo posters. I have no idea who started the trend, or when it started, much less why, but it appears that imitation is, indeed, the sincerest form of flattery.

As far as turning off religious types, it may be that those of that ilk were unlikely to attend the shows in any event, so the magicians and/or their promoters felt like there was nothing to lose. I have read, and have also heard from various individuals, more than once, that magic (and I'm talking magic even as entertainment) is disfavored and disapproved of among many religious groups, fundamentalist Christians being one prominent example. Maybe because, in their view, the art of legerdemain conjures up images of witchcraft, sorcery, black magic and/or Voodoo. Or, to speculate further, perhaps it is because magicians run counter to the image of humans propagated by organized religion - as weak and powerless - as distinct from the deity that is all powerful and at the center of their world view. And, after all, most of us have probably heard the reference to a deck of cards as "The Devil's Prayer Book." I've even used that line myself when introducing a deck and doing spread flourishes. I also have a certain good friend who invariably asks me to do a trick when I go over to his house, and many times he has reacted by saying, "It's the work of the devil!" (I should never have signed that contract.)

Brad Henderson
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Re: Devilish

Postby Brad Henderson » November 5th, 2017, 9:06 pm

look at the stories these images tell:

kellar's golliwog ball. Here kellar is seen performing for satan and his imps. what a concept! a man so mysterious and magical that the most powerful and mysterious supernatural entities in the universe look upon him with amazement. When the most devious of entities needs entertainment and wonder, he has to turn to kellar!!!

look at germain's witches cauldron. Here a real witch conjurers an image of germain performing one of his feats. Here is a man whose work is so fantastical it isn't of this world. it is so amazing that to conceive of it it takes a REAL witch and only then can she create the illusion of what germain does nightly.

The imps are so impressed with kellar they share their secrets with him and have opened their books of secrets.

great stuff!!!!!

says so much more about the man and his work than a fan of cards and tuxedo.

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: Devilish

Postby Brad Jeffers » November 5th, 2017, 9:44 pm

These imps have been trying to influence me for quite sometime now ...

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Re: Devilish

Postby performer » November 5th, 2017, 11:05 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:mark.

i believe i read something similar re kellar's imps in a book called Dunningers secrets. If i recall correctly, it wasn't that kellar believed in the imps, but that audience members claimed to have seen them on stage helping kellar when there were none there (nor were there actors playing the roles). Dunninger related hearing audience members claim to have seen them.

at least that's how i remember it from the book.


I have a wonderful audiocassette from Martin Breese which features Dunninger himself. It is one of the most motivational cassettes I have ever listened to. I have listened to it many times and have even taken notes from it which is something I rarely do. I heard Dunninger himself explain about the imps (he never called them devils). He referenced Kellar when talking about them and he said words to the effect of, "when you go out on stage put one of those imps on your shoulders and never let them go". I think it was some sort of visualisation/metaphysical thing to help give you confidence.

The phrase that sticks out in my mind is when in emphasizing the importance of presentation and showmanship, "The trick is of no consequence. It is what you do with it that is of importance. Anything will do. Even nail through finger will suffice if you have some way of magnetizing and hypnotising that audience"

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Re: Devilish

Postby Brad Henderson » November 6th, 2017, 7:58 am

pulled out the book last night. kellar is never claimed to believe in the imps. Dunninger relates that kellar talked about the power both of misdirection to make things invisible but more importantly, to him, the power of belief to make non existent things appear.

Dunninger earlier in the book condemns magicians for not believing what they do to be real.

Given this i believe that if kellar said this it would have been included in the book as it reinforces one of dunningers beliefs. The book was not written by dunninger however but it was 'as told to' walter gibson. Perhaps gibson left that part out because he knew it didn't accurately reflect
kellar's beliefs? During the audio recording he wasnt constrained by an informed editor and it was likely recorded some time after the book which was admittedly written decades after any conversation he had with kellar - and As we know. dunninger was never one to let the truth get in the way of a good story (or the sale of a sculpture or pair of handcuffs).

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Re: Devilish

Postby performer » November 6th, 2017, 8:19 am

I haven't the energy to listen to the audiotape again to see what Dunninger actually said about Kellar and his imps and I have to confess that it actually isn't my highest priority in life. I really have no idea what Kellar thought about the imps. However, in my capacity as a psychic reverend I will contact him in the spirit world if you like to get his take on the matter. And while I am at it I can have a wander around up there to see if I can find out if any deceased people can tell me who Erdnase was.

In any event I am not suggesting that Kellar or Dunninger LITERALLY believed in the imps. I think it was more along the same lines as Slydini telling you to "believe" the item was in the other hand when you really knew in your heart that you had dropped the bloody thing in your lap. In other words both Kellar and Dunninger suspended their disbelief.

There I do hope I have cleared up this terribly weighty matter lest it consumes months and possibly years of scholarly deliberation.

Brad Henderson
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Re: Devilish

Postby Brad Henderson » November 6th, 2017, 10:47 am

that seems most likely. Your original post seemed to suggest kellar actually believed in them. It hit me as false as, for some reason, that story as told in Secrets always stuck in my mind. And i think kellar likely did use the mental trick you describe in order to help that process along.

given we have been discussing religious objections to the images i felt it worthy of comment. I wouldn't want people thinking kellar suffered from such delusion.

while you are speaking to him through the ether, see if he would be so kind as to perform the flower growth for you and tell us if it looks as great as everyone claimed it did.

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Re: Devilish

Postby performer » November 6th, 2017, 4:10 pm

I did indeed contact Mr Kellar in the spirit world. Alas the conversation was not very fruitful and he was in no mood to discuss his flower trick.
I am afraid I found him a very grumpy individual and not too forthcoming. He was not very friendly and informed me that he did not believe in spirit communication which I found rather odd considering the circumstances of the conversation. However he did inform me that he believed in devils and told me he thought he was talking to one, meaning me. I think he was in an irritable mood because of my mentioning to him in passing that I read somewhere that he was notorious for stealing other people's material. Alas when I mentioned that it put paid to the conversation.

In other words I shall have to refer to the Dunninger audiotape when I get the time and inclination.

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Re: Devilish

Postby MagicbyAlfred » November 7th, 2017, 9:07 pm

According to Samuel, Lawrence R. (2011), Supernatural America: A Cultural History, at the age of seventeen Dunninger was invited to perform at the home of Theodore Roosevelt in Oyster Bay and at the home of the inventor Thomas Edison, both of whom were avid admirers of Dunninger, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt invited Dunninger to the White House on a number of occasions to demonstrate his mentalist skills.

That's pretty impressive. I have been thinking for quite some time now whether laymen like and are impressed more by mentalism than magic? Of course, the performer is always a huge variable, but I mean generally speaking?

Brad Henderson
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Re: Devilish

Postby Brad Henderson » November 7th, 2017, 10:35 pm

there are conditions inherent to mentalism as a phenomena which encourage a deeper feeling of the magic moment than other forms of the mystery arts.

Dave Le Fevre
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Re: Devilish

Postby Dave Le Fevre » November 8th, 2017, 4:39 am

performer wrote:informed me that he did not believe in spirit communication which I found rather odd considering the circumstances of the conversation

Thanks for making me laugh out loud, Mark

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Re: Devilish

Postby performer » November 8th, 2017, 7:36 am

Dave Le Fevre wrote:
performer wrote:informed me that he did not believe in spirit communication which I found rather odd considering the circumstances of the conversation

Thanks for making me laugh out loud, Mark


I do thank you for thanking me for thankfully making you laugh since this bunch here are sometimes so serious that it is not a laughing matter. And while I am here I might as well give my take on Alfred's question about mentalism. I have always believed that yes, it is often far more powerful than magic if done well. But not always. The trouble is that mentalism is the strongest form of magic if done well but alas the worst type of magic if it is done badly. And of course it is usually done badly.

Now I really should not go off topic but since we have ventured into mentalism and the spirit world I really feel an urge to show you the man I regard as the greatest spiritualist medium of all time. Far better than that nasty old witch Sylvia Browne and the rest of the unholy bunch like John Edward, Van Praagh and the rest of them. And he could be quite funny too. Yet very few magicians have heard of him which I find surprising.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8yVzk-FVcg

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jkeyes1000
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Re: Devilish

Postby jkeyes1000 » November 18th, 2017, 9:07 am

This man, Higginson, has (or had) a style much like David Nixon. Very smooth and obviously well rehearsed, Mark.

For that reason, I doubt his validity as a genuine psychic. I suspect that his methods were Olde School. Many of his congregation were no doubt invited to attend, giving him plemty of time to research their lives.

I, like you, believe in psychic potential, but no one could be that good for real!

Leonard Hevia
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Re: Devilish

Postby Leonard Hevia » November 22nd, 2017, 10:57 am

Image

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Re: Devilish

Postby performer » November 22nd, 2017, 1:14 pm

jkeyes1000 wrote:This man, Higginson, has (or had) a style much like David Nixon. Very smooth and obviously well rehearsed, Mark.

For that reason, I doubt his validity as a genuine psychic. I suspect that his methods were Olde School. Many of his congregation were no doubt invited to attend, giving him plemty of time to research their lives.

I, like you, believe in psychic potential, but no one could be that good for real!


Oh, Higginson was exposed many times but it didn't make the blindest bit of difference! It never does!

I even remember when I was a kid going into a library and they had a large room where all the newspapers of the day were there to read. The Psychic News was a very well established newspaper of the day and I must check if it is still going although I doubt. There was a big scandal in the spiritualist world saying that wily old Gordon had been caught red handed with a bunch of ectoplasm on his person. I think it turned out to be crepe paper!

Ectoplasm seems to have gone out of fashion nowadays perhaps because of Gordon's bad luck in these matters! I have never heard of a single medium nowadays using physical mediumship which is just as well for them I imagine. They just wander up to the spirit world and relay the messages they receive. I just go to the magic cafe if I want to meet the dead.


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