Magicians: Masters of Magic by Lace Kendall
An excerpt from the book Masters of Magic by Lace Kendall a biography of many famous magicians, theirs lives and their art.
MASTER OF MAGIC. By Lace Kendall. Philadelphia: Macrae Smith Co., 1966.
About the book: Not only the famous Harry Houdini, but many of the other great stage magicians are covered in this book. The lives of the magicians, and the secrets of their art, are revealed.
From the book: The group tensed as the Frenchman handed a cavalry pistol to the marabout and spoke to him with the aid of an interpreter.
"Aim directly at me. Then you shall see what kind of sorcerers we have in France." He walked of 15 paces and turned. Behind him a newly whitewashed wall glittered, making his figure stand out in black relief.
The marabout raised the pistol, triumph already showing in his eyes. On the faces of the Arab spectators there was both fear and awe. No man, not even the clever Robert-Houdin about whom they had heard so much since he had come to show his tricks in Algeria, could withstand a lead bullet. True, the chiefs who had watched him perform in the great theater in Algiers had reported that he was a miracle man, but he had performed then on a stage. Here in the open the watchers had seen the lead bullet with their own eyes and looked closely as he had placed it in the pistol and wadded it down.
The sound of the pistol cracked the silence. A horse nearby gave a snort of fear. A wandering goat racketed away in flight. The suave Frenchman stood perfectly calm, untouched. He stretched his lips to expose his teeth. There between his teeth was the bullet!
"Allah!" the marabout cried, and the pistol fell from his shaking hands. The other Arabs ran forward murmuring, "Djenoum!"--demon.
Robert-Houdin shook his head, smiled, and handed the marked bullet to the foremost leader for his inspection. "No, not a demon. Only a magician. I make no claim to supernatural powers." He glanced toward the wincing marabout. "As some conjurers do." He removed another pistol from the hip pocket of his coat and turned to face the whitewashed wall. "Now, if you will, please watch the wall."
He fired. A red splotch appeared on the masonry; blood dripping and running downward in the sunlight.
The marabout recovered his nerve enough to scoff. "It is red wine only."
"Go dip your finger in it," Robert-Houdin said. "You will find it is real enough."
The native magician ran forward, tested the blood with his finger, and raised it to his mouth. More shaken than ever, he turned and hurried away. The others crowded around Robert-Houdin, bowing in respect.
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