Ausstellung zur “Lust der Täuschung”

Die Wahrheit ist nicht irgendwo da draußen, sondern stets nur in unserem Gehirn. Wir glauben, was wir sehen; aber wir sehen auch, was wir zu sehen glauben. Viele Täuschungen beruhen auf den Grenzen unserer Wahrnehmung, weil diese entweder fehlerhaft, selektiv oder schlichtweg bequem ist. Nicht nur die Zauberkunst macht sich diese Schwächen zu Nutzen, sondern auch die bildende Kunst. Man denke etwa an optische Täuschungen, zum Beispiel vermeintliche Tiefenwirkungen auf zweidimensionaler Fläche oder sogenannte “Trompe l’oeils” (wörtlich: Augentäuschungen) – das sind täuschend echt gemalte Bilder, die eine nicht existente Realität vorgaukeln. Bei der unten stehenden letzten Abbildung etwa ist alles gemalt – die Holztür, die Weintrauben, ja selbst die Schnur und der Nagel!

“Lust der Täuschung” nennt sich sehr passend eine große Ausstellung, die nach München nun bis zum 30. Juni in Aachen im Ludwig Forum zu sehen ist. Sie schlägt gekonnt den Bogen von antiker Kunst bis zu heutigen Virtual-Reality-Darstellungen. Georges Méliès ist übrigens auch mit Werken vertreten!

Ich habe die Ausstellung in München gesehen und kann einen Besuch nur wärmstens empfehlen!



A Word on Dani Lary

YouTube Screenshot

Boy, you gotta love that small, Napoleonic Frenchman and grand illusionist! Just spent a pleasant morning enjoying about ten of his presentations on Patrick Sebastien’s “Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde”. Did you know that Dani Lary has closed each month’s program there with a fresh illusion for the past twenty years? That’s quite an accomplishment!

Yes, he’s very much into boxes and cabinets, dim lighting and fog, vanishes and transformations, but then, which illusionist isn’t? I love the gorgeous scenes and ornate props, the playfulness of his crew, the music, and the romantic moments incorporated. Not to mention the array of classic cars used in some illusions, or his appearing steam train.

Get yourself a treat and get started here or here!


European Magic History Conference 2019 in Vienna

Magic Christian and his team will be hosting the European Magic History Conference (EMHC)  2019 for magicians, historians, collectors, and connoisseurs. It will take place in Vienna, Austria from 22nd to 25th of August this year.

Vienna was and still is a lively center of magic, so you can experience the glorious past and present of magic there with many interesting talks, lectures, and special events. I am sure it will be worthwhile! My registration is in.

The conference fee is 250 Euros until April 2019, after that it will be 280 Euros. You can register by sending a mail to Christian Stelzel at

More details to come soon on the EMHC website.



Looking for Erdnase

The search continues: A new docu-drama is about to follow the trails of S.W. Erdnase, the most famous unidentified man in magic history, author of the The Expert at the Card Table. It will combine interviews with knowledgeable folks like Juan Tamariz with reenacted scenes. There is a Kickstarter project running until March 25th to ensure funding of the ambitious film. The mastermind behind this project is Hans-Joachim Brucherseifer, a young German filmmaker. You can watch a brief trailer and listen to an interview with him on Scott Wells‘s podcast The Magic Word here.


Read some of my thoughts and musings on Erdnase here.

Addendum: The funding goal has been reached, 15,185 Euros have been collected. Looking forward to the movie, which should be out by the end of this year!


20th Anniversary of France’s Maison de la Magie


This comes a bit late, but I’m going to mention it anyhow because more people should know about it. Last year, the Magic Museum of Blois, France celebrated its 20th anniversary. Its full name reads “Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin Blois”, and it was established in appreciation of Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, commonly and affectionately known as “the father of modern magic” (which is at least partly true), in his hometown of Blois.

The museum does not only feature the life and art of Robert-Houdin; it covers magic’s rich history as well as automata and props. Harry Houdini, both Houdin’s epigone and nemesis, is portrayed here as well. Outside, every half hour a huge mechanical dragon with six heads makes his appearance at the museum’s windows. In addition, there are regular live performances of magicians plus special exhibitions inside. The next one will feature “Optical Fascinations”, starting on April 6th and running until September 22nd.

On occasion of the 20th anniversary, several magical “zero Euro” souvenir bills (the latest hoot for currency collectors) have been issued in 2018, one of them featuring Robert-Houdin in front of the Museum:


For more information on the Maison de la Magie (in English and French), click here.

Deutschsprachige Informationen gibt es hier.


An Expert at the Card Table


Like many others, I tend to judge Fred Kaps as the best all-around magician I have ever seen. No matter which objects he manipulated, it always looked incredibly smooth and effortless. The impression was enhanced by his likeable persona and the joy – and sometimes astonishment – which he radiated. A shame and a big loss that he passed away so early. But his magic and his legend will live on at least for another couple of decades.

Here’s some rare old TV footage that shows Kaps in his prime in an informal card session. It’s in Dutch, but you will certainly get the magic. Watch the video over on YouBurp and enjoy!


Zeitzeugen von Kalanag und Gloria für Buchprojekt gesucht

Im Frühjahr 2020 soll endlich eine in Zauberkreisen bereits gespannt erwartete Biografie von Helmut Schreiber-Kalanag erscheinen. Verfasser ist der Journalist und Buchautor Dr. Malte Herwig. Beim Sammlertreffen 2019 las er jüngst aus seinem Manuskript und führte viele Fachgespräche.

Derzeit sucht er noch Zeitzeugen, die mit Kalanag und/oder Gloria de Vos (alias Anneliese Voss) in Kontakt standen oder solche Mitmenschen kennen, die im Besitz entsprechender Briefe oder Dokumente sind oder die etwas über Anita/Angela Ferrari wissen, Kalanags Partnerin nach der Trennung von Gloria.

Malte ist zu erreichen unter malte.herwig [at]



More on Potatoes

Reading my recent musings on potatoes, fellow magician and collector Dany Trick sent me these two funny anecdotes and kindly allowed me to share them with you. Enjoy!

Spotted your article about potatoes.
Have got two anecdotes about magic and potatoes!

1) Once a young amateur magician (he was nearly 35 years old!!!) insisted on visiting me. He came and absolutely insisted on showing me a few tricks he had been rehearsing. He showed me a “castelet”, but as he had not gotten any doves he produced three big huge potatoes that dropped down when the balloon burst out…

2) When we attended the FISM convention in The Hague in 1988 (?), John Kimmons and I shared the same hotel room. Ken and Sue de Courcy, John and I were working hard all day long behind the Supreme Magic stand. One evening John, who had tasted several glasses of Scotch Whisky, suggested to create a new Magic Society. It was baptised THE MAGIC POTATO CLUB! (I still wonder why.) John was elected President and I was the Secretary…


Thank you for sharing these, Dany!

Isn’t magic wonderful? And aren’t we just an obnoxious, but loveable bunch?

Please stop by at his fine site (it’s mostly in French) and check out some of his articles and pieces from his huge collection!

Potato Cup2


Flipping through Grandmother’s Necklace’s History

Beim jüngsten Treffen der Zaubersammler und -historiker der Stiftung Zauberkunst gab es eine Fülle interessanter Vorträge, oft garniert mit Trickvorführungen. So referierte Hollands Altmeister Fl!p trotz Hexenschuss ausführlich in englischer Sprache über die Geschichte und vielen Variationen von “Grandmother’s Necklace”, das sich bereits 1584 bei Reginald Scot findet. Später kam die Variante “Cords of Phantasia” (der deutsche Titel ist mir leider entfallen) von Ottokar Fischer hinzu. Auch Wittus Witt steuerte spontan auf der Bühne eine Routine bei. Ob Perlenbefreiung, Hals- oder Stuhldurchdringung – das Prinzip erweist sich in der historischen Zusammenschau als sehr vielfältig einsetzbar. Fl!p sprach aber auch die Herausforderung an, aus dem mitunter langatmigen Procedere eine flüssige, unterhaltsame Präsentation zu machen.

Hierzu kam mir gleich die schräge Routine des überhaupt schrägen britischen Kinderzauberers POZ in den Sinn, die dieser 1976 in seinem Seminarheft “POZ-itive Kid’s Magic” recht knapp unter dem Titel “Batman Trick” beschrieben hatte: Hier wird nicht der gängige Zauberstab oder Kochlöffel in die Seile gesteckt, sondern eine Dynamitstange (!), mit der zwei Übeltäter, die “Hässlichen Schwestern”, Batmans gefesselten Assistenten Robin in die Luft sprengen wollen (!!!). POZ schrieb dazu aber seinerzeit schon selbst: “Now I’m not suggesting that you could use this today, but in 1966/7 it went a bomb.”

Ich würde heute gerne mal eine Vorführung dieser Routine in einem Waldorf-Kindergarten sehen…


Houdini’s alive in New York

Recently, on the occasion of a business trip, I had a chance to revisit the tiny, but wonderful Houdini Museum of New York. It is located right within Roger Dreyer‘s Fantasma Magic store, hidden now at 213 West 35th Street, 4th floor. Roger is an avid collector and a super nice guy. He is also a great salesman, so beware: He may make you want magical…uumm…things from his many shelves and boxes!

On display are a sub trunk, an escape coffin, posters and handcuffs, the famous robot from one of Houdini’s movies, an original bust from his gravesite (on loan from the Society of American Magicians), and many other paraphernalia. Hard to escape their timeless magic!