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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Everything old is new again » » American Magic before Lewis & Clark (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Vince Hancock
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Bear Lake, Michigan
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Hi there,

I've read a few anecdotes about professional magicians performing "in the field" for a number of different reasons: military and/or diplomatic. Perhaps the most famous is Robert-Houdin in Algeria, with productions and vanishes, implying French superiority in armaments and disappearing potential enemies.

I've just come across the story of an amateur performance, during the Lewis & Clark expedition, from April 2-3, 1806. There's Lewis with a noisy, sort of military demonstration with an air gun, and Clark, with a separate, somewhat more subtle demonstration of supernatural powers, featuring a fire show and compass-needle moving (would anyone mind asking Mr. Geller, at the Genii birthday bash, if he was inspired by Clark?). I read about the latter displays in "The Story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition," (Noah Brooks, Dover Books, New York, 2004, pp.258-259)

There's an account of the same incident in a free Google eBook, "The Men of the Lewis and Clark Expedition," (Clarke and Duncan, University of Nebraska, 2002, pp.252-253) here: http://books.google.com/books?id=xbHy-Mx......&f=false

I'm wondering if anyone knows of any earlier documented "field magic" (either for the sake of entertainment or military/diplomatic) in North America. Thank you!

Cheers,

Vince
Wizard of Oz
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Most people wish I didn't have
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Hi Vince.
Fascinating story. You may wish to post this in the bizarre magic area as well. There are quite a number of magic historians who frequently post there. This is weird enough that it may get some interested parties to help you out.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Vince Hancock
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Bear Lake, Michigan
31 Posts

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Thanks for writing, Wizard. I hope others stumble across this query. In the meantime, I'll post this in the bizarre area, as you suggest.

Vince
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