Twelve Have Died -- Maybe one more???

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Bill Mullins
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Twelve Have Died -- Maybe one more???

Postby Bill Mullins » May 18th, 2004, 12:01 pm

From an 1896 newspaper article, about Native American magicians:

"The bravest act I have ever known was performed by one of these Indian jugglers. A favorite trick of his was one that has often been performed by white magicians. It consisted in permitting himself to be shot at, the hocus-pocus being an arrangement by which the bullet fell out of the barrel into a cavity in the stock of the weapon before the latter was discharged. Meanwhile he had another bullet concealed in his mouth, which at the instant of firing he pushed outward with his tongue, so as to make it appear that he had caught the projectile between his teeth. Now, it happened that this man had a rival, who was engaged in the conjuring business in a neighboring village. On an occasion when the trick was to be performed, the juggler announcing, as usual, that he was ready to be shot at by anyone present , the rival stepped forward and said that he would do the shooting. But he demanded permission to use his own gun. Naturally, the juggler objected, but his protest was overruled. It was decided that the rival magician might use his own weapon. This mean almost sure death to the performer, yet he did not blanch. To refuse the test would have been permanent disgrace. There was one chance out of a hundred, perhaps, that the marksman might miss. He decided to take that chance, and so permitted the volunteer executioner to take deliberate aim and fire at him from a distance of half a dozen paces. An instant later he fell dead; the bullet had passed through his brain.

Later in the article:

In some tribes of Indians it used to be the rule that a sorcerer who failed three times must pay the penalty of death. That regulation has been remarkably widespread among savages. I understand it to have been accepted as far south as Patagonia on this continent, and undoubtedly it survives to this day in parts of Africa and elsewhere. But there was an ingenious magician of my acquaintance who saved himself from this fate by a little device of his contriving. Being permitted to furnish the bullet by which he was to be shot, he made one in a mold in which a piece of paper was inserted in such a manner that the ball was cast in two hemispheres. These he put together, causing them to hold by rubbing the edges with his knife blade. In this way at the same time the deception was concealed. On being fired from the gun, the bullet flew in halves, which, being of such a shape, scattered and left the man untouched. By this means he escaped on several occasions the penalty which ought to befall the wizard who is a failure. Finally, however, he was found out and executed.

I haven't read Ben Robinson's book -- is the first paragraph related in it?

When did the term "juggler" cease to be synonymous with "magician"?

Guest

Re: Twelve Have Died -- Maybe one more???

Postby Guest » May 18th, 2004, 6:53 pm

Originally posted by Bill Mullins:
From an 1896 newspaper article, about Native American magicians:

When did the term "juggler" cease to be synonymous with "magician"?
Perhaps in 1858, or 1868 in the english translation by Hoffmann, when Robert Houdin said (wrote) " A conjuror is not a juggler, he's an actor, playing the part of a magician." That is the complete, and original, quote, so often mis-quoted. It is one of the two most mis-quoted things in magic. Can anyone name the other?

Best, PSC

Guest

Re: Twelve Have Died -- Maybe one more???

Postby Guest » May 18th, 2004, 7:47 pm

Mr. Chosse,

I don't claim to know you, but I have read enough of your posts to know how you might think.

You might like to quote the "Father of Modern Conjuring" but I'd put big money on Maugham:

""Do you like card tricks?"

"No, I hate card tricks," I answered.

"Well, I'll just show you this one."

He showed me three."

If I guessed wrong, you can just call me "Mr. Know-All"

Edwin Corrie
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Re: Twelve Have Died -- Maybe one more???

Postby Edwin Corrie » May 18th, 2004, 11:13 pm

I can't comment much on when the word "juggler" stopped being used to mean "magician", other than by saying that I think it is still used in this sense to a limited extent even today by people who have no interest in what we do and therefore do not make precise distinctions.

On the matter of the Robert-Houdin quote, I did read somewhere that the actual words were "...playing the part of a GREAT magician". along with an argument that said this made a significant difference to the importance of the statement. Does anyone else remember this? And does anyone out there have access to the original French?

Bill Mullins
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Re: Twelve Have Died -- Maybe one more???

Postby Bill Mullins » May 19th, 2004, 7:41 am

Originally posted by Edwin Corrie:
I can't comment much on when the word "juggler" stopped being used to mean "magician", other than by saying that I think it is still used in this sense to a limited extent even today by people who have no interest in what we do and therefore do not make precise distinctions.
I've been going through a number of 19th cent newspapers lately, and in them, one is as likely to see a magician referred to as a juggler or conjurer as a magician. Part of this is no doubt due to the fact that newspaper writing was much more erudite then, but also because at some point, the term "magician" just took over, and the other two terms (particularly juggler) dropped.

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Michael Kamen
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Re: Twelve Have Died -- Maybe one more???

Postby Michael Kamen » May 19th, 2004, 8:26 am

An Indian friend of mine (as in Madras, Bombay, etc.) has used the term "Maya Jala" to describe the way "magic" is referred to in his country. He loosely translates it (I hope accurately) as "juggling with that which is perceived by the senses." It may be that use of the word "juggling" for magic evolved from that context. Of course, that does not answer the question of when it ceased being used. But it suggests rather ancient connection to the "juggling" idea and relatively recent disconnection.
Michael Kamen

Jim Patton
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Re: Twelve Have Died -- Maybe one more???

Postby Jim Patton » May 19th, 2004, 5:33 pm

"Confusion is not magic." (Vernon) Often heard as magic is not confusion, etc.

Guest

Re: Twelve Have Died -- Maybe one more???

Postby Guest » May 20th, 2004, 4:14 pm

Originally posted by New Guy:
Mr. Chosse,

I don't claim to know you, but I have read enough of your posts to know how you might think.

You might like to quote the "Father of Modern Conjuring" but I'd put big money on Maugham:

""Do you like card tricks?"

"No, I hate card tricks," I answered.

"Well, I'll just show you this one."

He showed me three."

If I guessed wrong, you can just call me "Mr. Know-All"
What do I call you if you guessed right?

Best, PSC

Guest

Re: Twelve Have Died -- Maybe one more???

Postby Guest » May 20th, 2004, 4:50 pm

You could call me a very good judge of character.

Guest

Re: Twelve Have Died -- Maybe one more???

Postby Guest » May 20th, 2004, 5:29 pm

OK, Judge!

Best, PSC

David Alexander
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Re: Twelve Have Died -- Maybe one more???

Postby David Alexander » May 27th, 2004, 8:05 am

Not to be overly pedantic, but I believe the quote from Maughm goes:

"Do you like card tricks?" he asked.

"No," I replied.

He did five.

Guest

Re: Twelve Have Died -- Maybe one more???

Postby Guest » May 27th, 2004, 8:25 am

Then he seized the pack.
"Do you like card tricks?"
"No, I hate card tricks,"
I answered.
"Well, I'll just show you this one."
He showed me three. Then I said I would go down to the dining-room and get my seat at the table.

Guest

Re: Twelve Have Died -- Maybe one more???

Postby Guest » May 27th, 2004, 10:48 am

Originally posted by Dave Le Fevre:
Then he seized the pack.
"Do you like card tricks?"
"No, I hate card tricks,"
I answered.
"Well, I'll just show you this one."
He showed me three. Then I said I would go down to the dining-room and get my seat at the table.
This is the quote I was referring to, and this IS the correct version, from Maugham's Mr. Know-all, as noted above...

Best, PSC


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