Magic, specifically close up magic, has a really interesting and incredibly long history. Many others have put far more into studying this subject than I ever could, but here’s a brief and very basic run down of some of the most important people and things in close up magic history.
What the Fawkes?
The first accounts of magic being performed come from Ancient Rome, with stories of men performing the cups and balls trick in marketplaces. The roots of modern close up performances stem from the 1700s, with one of the most famous conjurors of the time, a man named Isaac Fawkes. Fawkes performed at street fairs, was the first to create close up parlour shows that catered to more affluent audiences, shows that they would pay to see. He is known to have performed tricks that magicians still use today, such as the chosen playing card from a thrown pack appearing on the ceiling, and the egg bag, a bag in which objects disappear or emerge (often an impossible number of objects). In Fawkes’ trick, from the bag there emerged, perhaps unsurprisingly, egg after egg after egg after egg….
Dai Another Day
The 1800s saw the birth of many hugely popular magicians who still influence us to this day. Notable are Max Malini, famous for his performance of the blindfold card stab, where a chosen card is stabbed from a scattered set of playing cards on a table; and Dai Vernon, an expert sleight of hand magician who travelled America learning from the best card cheats he could find. In a similar vein, all close up magicians will be familiar with S.W Erdnase, the unknown author of the seminal ‘The Expert at the Card Table’, a book which details, in essence, how to cheat at cards using sleight of hand techniques.
Witnessing the Art of Magic
Close up magic has continued to be the most popular form of magic, and magicians like myself work to continue the legacy of the great performers who came before us, performing established tricks and inventing our own (ask me about the tricks I've created). Close up magic is an amazing experience for an audience; a performance that carries a long and fascinating history; an intimate, accessible and beautiful form of entertainment that will take your breath away. If you want to see this long history of close up magic brought to life before your very eyes at your party, corporate event or other occasion, get in touch.