Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.
view all 18

Profiles

  • Samri Baldwin "The White Mahatma" (1848 - 1924)
    Biography Samri Baldwin "The White Mahatma" (1848-1924) was born Samuel Spencer Baldwin in Cincinnati, Ohio. He enlisted in the U.S Army at the age of thirteen and fought in the Civil War. As a y...
  • Kitty Baldwin (c.1853 - 1934)
    Biography Female mentalist Kitty Baldwin was born Kate Russell in 1853. She married well known magician Samri Baldwin and had a daughter together named Shadow. Baldwin and Samri performed togethe...
  • Dai Vernon (1894 - 1992)
    Dai Vernon was born as David Frederick Wingfield Verner on June 11, 1894, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He got the nick name of "Dai" when a typo in a newspaper dubbed him Dai instead of David. While h...
  • Harry Houdini (1874 - 1926)
    Births: 392 row Harry Houdini (1874 - 1926) , considered one of the greatest illusionists in history, was a Hungarian-born American magician and escapologist, stunt performer, actor, and film produce...
  • Theodore "Theo" Hardeen (Ferenc Dezső Weisz) (1876 - 1945)
    Birth: 353 row Houdini Family Secrets NPR Theodore Hardeen (March 4, 1876 – June 12, 1945), known simply as Hardeen, was a Hungarian magician and escape artist who was the younger brother of Ha...

Do you have a magician somewhere in your family? How about a conjurer or an illusionist? This is the place to show them off.

List of Geni Profiles

Magic (sometimes referred to as stage magic to distinguish it from paranormal or ritual magic) is a performing art that entertains audiences by staging tricks or creating illusions of seemingly impossible or supernatural feats using natural means. These feats are called magic tricks, effects or illusions. A professional who performs such illusions is called a stage magician or an illusionist. Some performers may also be referred to by names reflecting the type of magical effects they present, such as prestidigitators, conjurors, hypnotists, mentalists, or escapologists.

The first book of magic tricks appeared in 1584. During the 1600s many similar books were published that described magic tricks. Until the 18th century magic shows were a common source of entertainment at fairs. A founding figure of modern entertainment magic was Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, who had a magic theatre in Paris in 1845. John Henry Anderson was pioneering the same transition in London in the 1840s. Towards the end of the 1800s, large magic shows permanently staged at big theatre venues became the norm. As a form of entertainment, magic easily moved from theatrical venues to television magic specials.

Magic performances tend to fall into a few specialties or genres.

  • Stage illusions are performed for large audiences, typically within a theatre or auditorium. This type of magic is distinguished by large-scale props, the use of assistants and often exotic animals such as elephants and tigers. Famous stage illusionists, past and present, include Harry Blackstone, Sr., Howard Thurston, Chung Ling Soo, David Copperfield, Lance Burton, Siegfried & Roy, and Harry Blackstone, Jr.
  • Parlor magic is done for larger audiences than close-up magic (which is for a few people or even one person) and for smaller audiences than stage magic. In parlor magic, the performer is usually standing and on the same level as the audience, which may be seated on chairs or even on the floor. According to the Encyclopedia of Magic and Magicians by T.A. Waters, "The phrase [parlor magic] is often used as a pejorative to imply that an effect under discussion is not suitable for professional performance." Also, many magicians consider the term "parlor" old fashioned and limiting, since this type of magic is often done in rooms much larger than the traditional parlor, or even outdoors. A better term for this branch of magic may be "platform," "club" or "cabaret."
  • Platform magic (also known as cabaret magic or stand-up magic) is performed for a medium to large audience. Nightclub magic and comedy club magic are also examples of this form. The use of illusionettes (small tabletop illusions) is common. This genre includes the skilled manipulation of props such as billiard balls, card fans, doves, rabbits, silks, and rope. Examples of such magicians include Jeff McBride, Penn & Teller, David Abbott, Channing Pollock, Black Herman, and Fred Kaps.
  • Micromagic (also known as close-up magic or table magic) is performed with the audience close to the magician, sometimes even one-on-one. It usually makes use of everyday items as props, such as cards (see Card manipulation), coins (see Coin magic), and seemingly 'impromptu' effects. This may be called "table magic", particularly when performed as dinner entertainment. Ricky Jay, Mahdi Moudini and Lee Asher, following in the traditions of Dai Vernon, Slydini and Max Malini, are considered among the foremost practitioners of close-up magic.
  • Escapology is the branch of magic that deals with escapes from confinement or restraints. Harry Houdini is a well-known example of an escape artist or escapologist.
  • Pickpocket magicians use magic to misdirect the audience while removing wallets, belts, ties and other personal effects. It can be presented on a stage, in a cabaret setting, before small close-up groups, or even for one spectator. Well-known pickpockets of the past and present include James Freedman, David Avadon, Bob Arno and Apollo Robbins.
  • Mentalism creates the impression in the minds of the audience that the performer possesses special powers to read thoughts, predict events, control other minds, and similar feats. It can be presented on a stage, in a cabaret setting, before small close-up groups, or even for one spectator. Well-known mentalists of the past and present include Alexander, The Zancigs, Axel Hellstrom, Dunninger, Kreskin, Derren Brown, Rich Ferguson, Guy Bavli and Banachek.
  • Theatrical séances simulate spiritualistic or mediumistic phenomena for theatrical effect. This genre of stage magic has been misused at times by charlatans pretending to actually be in contact with spirits.
  • Children's magic is performed for an audience primarily composed of children. It is typically performed at birthday parties, preschools, elementary schools, Sunday schools or libraries. This type of magic is usually comedic in nature and involves audience interaction as well as volunteer assistants.
  • Online magic tricks were designed to function on a computer screen. The computer essentially replaces the magician. Some online magic tricks recreate traditional card tricks and require user participation, while others, like Plato's Cursed Triangle, are based on mathematical, geometrical and/or optical illusions. One such online magic trick, called Esmeralda's Crystal Ball, became a viral phenomenon that fooled so many computer users into believing that their computer had supernatural powers, that Snopes dedicated a page to debunking the trick.
  • Mathemagic is a genre of stage magic that combines magic and mathematics. It is commonly used by children's magicians and mentalists.
  • Corporate magic or trade show magic uses magic as a communication and sales tool, as opposed to just straightforward entertainment. Corporate magicians may come from a business background and typically present at meetings, conferences and product launches. They run workshops and can sometimes be found at trade shows, where their patter and illusions enhance an entertaining presentation of the products offered by their corporate sponsors. Pioneer performers in this arena include Eddie Tullock and Guy Bavli.
  • Gospel magic uses magic to catechize and evangelize. Gospel magic was first used by St. Don Bosco to interest children in 19th-century Turin, Italy to come back to school, to accept assistance and to attend church.
  • Street magic is a form of street performing or busking that employs a hybrid of stage magic, platform and close-up magic, usually performed 'in the round' or surrounded by the audience. Notable modern street magic performers include Jeff Sheridan and Gazzo. Since the first David Blaine TV special Street Magic aired in 1997, the term "street magic" has also come to describe a style of 'guerilla' performance in which magicians approach and perform for unsuspecting members of the public on the street. Unlike traditional street magic, this style is almost purely designed for TV and gains its impact from the wild reactions of the public. Magicians of this type include David Blaine and Cyril Takayama.
  • Bizarre magic uses mystical, horror, fantasy and other similar themes in performance. Bizarre magic is typically performed in a close-up venue, although some performers have effectively presented it in a stage setting. Charles Cameron has generally been credited as the "godfather of bizarre magic." Others such as Tony Andruzzi have contributed significantly to its development.
  • Shock magic is a genre of magic that shocks the audience. Sometimes referred to as "geek magic," it takes its roots from circus sideshows, in which 'freakish' performances were shown to audiences. Common shock magic or geek magic effects include eating razor blades, needle-through-arm, string through neck and pen-through-tongue.
  • Comedy Magic is the use of magic in which is combined with stand-up comedy. Famous comedy magicians include Ed Alonzo, Penn & Teller and Levent.