The purpose of magic has changed since temple priests in ancient times used mechanical devices to make wine pour from statues' mouths and doors open with the sound of thunder. Entertainers in the Middle Ages would try other techniques such as sleight of hand to mystify the crowds as they traveled from city to city.

In the 1800s, stage magicians became popular. John Henry Anderson, "The Great Wizard of the North," practiced magic in London for thirty years. Other magic parlors opened in the big cities. London's Egyptian Hall was famous for its wonders, and Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin's illusions in Paris relied a lot on scientific advances for their effects.

Probably the most famous American magician was Harry Houdini. Houdini was the star of vaudeville shows and created many escape tricks. David Copperfield is one of the greatest illusionists of today. He was twelve years old when he first began performing professionally.

Magic Just For Fun

Get started learning magic tricks today, and by autumn's end you will be ready to put on a truly impressive magic show. You can amaze everyone by pulling coins out of thin air or making a friend vanish. The Internet has a few sites that can show you tricks for free, but the library has lots of magic books and videos to help you put on a spectacular performance.

Plan Your Own Magic Show with the CRRL Kids: Magic Tricks Book List!