History of Magic
MAGIC is the art of
performing extraordinary tricks to entertain people. It is one of the most
exciting and thrilling experience to the audience. I still remember the days in
which our school has organized several magic shows. I used to be in fore-front
to watch such shows.
When ancient man saw
the first flash of lightening , he saw the magic of gods. Then there came man
made magic. It is believed that Egyptians were the earliest recorded magicians.
There is a piece of papyrus ( a plant used by ancient Egyptians to make paper
like material) dt.1700BC shows the picture of a magician DEDI performing the
famous cup and balls for a King. This papyrus also says that The King brought an
OX and cut its head .Then Dedi was asked to join back the head. Dedi uttered a
magic spell and the bull stood up.
History tells us of
Brandon. He was an entertainer in the court of Henry VIII. One day he performed
a magical trick in front of the King. A Pigeon was sitting on top of a wall.
Taking a piece of chalk, he drew a picture of the pigeon. Then taking a knife,
he struck the center of the picture and the pigeon suddenly dropped from the
wall and found to be dead. This magic made the king think that one who could do
such to a bird quite equally could do the same to a King and Brandon was
jailed for few days and warned not to repeat such tricks.
Some of the ancient
temple priests claimed to be intermediaries of gods used magical devices
to attract people. These devices created interesting effects. For example when
fire was lit on the altar it would cause doors behind it open as if by gods.
Other examples included wine flowing out of the mouths of statues etc.
Later people began to
think magic was a form of witchcraft and associated it with devil. Anyone
so much practicing magic was accused as being a witch and burnt alive. In 1554 ,
a book namely "Discoveries of witchcraft" exposed the secrets
and workings behind these witchcraft . It was an attempt to prove that magic was
the tricks of hand not by the work of the devil. After breaking away from ritual
magic in the dark ages, new forms of magic began to appear. Earlier Magicians
were performing in circus and side shows. It was Robert Houdin, a French clock
maker who has taken magic to stage with a top hat & Magician dress. Houdin
studied , experimented, invented and perfected a no. of tricks and in 1845
he started a theatre in Paris. He is known as "the father of Modern Magic.
can be split into two basic types. White magic & Black magic. Black magic is
offensive and used to cause harm & death. This is used to frighten the
enemies. Where as white magic is used for cure , heal. There is another type of
magic we call it entertainment magic.
Today there are many
different forms of performing magic. Close-up magic is the most common
form of magic among magicians. This is just the name implies. It is the magic
right under your nose and there is a close interaction between audience &
the magician. Next is the stage magic. Escape magic is something spectacular
where magician escapes from any situation. Robert Houdin was expert in this.
Finally there is manipulation magic . This involves producing infinite
amounts of cards, coins or anything else from mid air.
There were several
instances in which conjurers ( magicians ) or audience were killed. In London,
one trick where a bullet loaded into a gun was fired at the performer. Once that
was missed and killed several people. Another magician while performing escape
trick, killed by an accident.
There are several
organizations which helps and motivates magicians. The society of Americn
Magicians, The Magic circle in Britain and International Brotherhood of
magicians are some of them.
Since the beginning of
time, magic has evolved and flourished. It has withstood endless prosecution in
the dark ages and become stronger and entertaining.