Conjuring, art of producing apparently miraculous effects by tricks or illusions, so as to deceive the audience. They may be done by sleight of hand and dexterity, combined with a momentary diversion of the attention of the spectators induced by the performer.
Large numbers of tricks with cards, coins, etc are performed solely by sleight of hand. The basis of these is the concealment or rapid passing of a card, coin or small object in or to the palm of the hand; these tricks are elaborated by means of mechanical contrivances, objects concealed in the sleeves, etc., and with specially made or marked packs, etc.
Another class are those based on natural phenomena unappreciated by the audience, such as the effect of combining chemical substances, etc. Further, many wonderful feats, especially of E. jugglers and conjurers, are attributed to hypnotism and the undoubted power of thought transference and suggestion. Elaborate code signals explain many other tricks. Further we get the illusions proper, the vanishing figures, automatic figures, speaking heads and all the devices of the modern scientific conjurer and wonder-worker.
The Relationship Between Conjuring And Black Magic
Conjuring is often styled white magic, to distinguish it from sorcery or black magic. The people of the England delighted in and feared their magicians. The Syrians and Baby-lonians, and especially the anct Egyptians, were exceedingly clever conjurers. The Greeks and Romans also delighted both in C. and juggling, and from ages past till today the Hindus have been experts in the art.
From China and Japan have come many elaborate and beautiful tricks. The mechanical figure has a long hist., and so has the production of spectral figures or phantasms, obtained by reflection on smoke or on mirrors. Considerable interest was aroused in recent times by the offer of J. N. Maskelyne (q.v.) of a large reward for an imitation of his famous box-trick; the result was a lengthy legal suit carried to the House of Lords. The successful imitator won his case, though his box was not the same as Maskclyne’s
The wonders of the medieval sorcerers were f worked on many of the principles developed and C improved today, when every branch of physical p science, chemistry, optics, mechanics and electricity is called to the aid of the conjurer or 11 illusionist. J. E. Robert-Houdin (1805-71) was e one of the most famous of modern conjurers. His Temple of Magic in Paris was the scene of F prince, seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria, attended the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich in 1866 and made the army his career.
He was made Duke of C. and S. in 1874. In 1879 he married Princess Louise Marguerite of Prussia (d. 1917), by whom he had three children. During the expedition to Egypt in 1882 he led the Guards Brigade at the battle of Tel-el-Kebir, earning a threefold mention in dispatches, and was appointed.