Sunday, December 14, 2008

Something About a Magician Disillusioned

Lumache Mansion in Colon, Michigan
If there's one thing we learned from The Specter of the Magician's Museum it's the men and women who practiced stage magic came up with some interesting stage names. Much of Specter has its roots in the American Museum of Magic in Marshall as well as Colon, the magic capital of Michigan. There are more names buried out in Colon's Lakeside Cemetery, too. The Magnificent Fraud. The Amazing Conklins. The Conjuring Humorist.  America's Greatest Pickpocket. You get the idea.

Ion Zwitter shares the story of one such magician, The Great Lumache:
For decades, his name was a household word, like Kleenex or Chapstick. Millions of people around the world had watched mystified as he defied physical laws and ordinances, performing remarkable magic tricks that were of equal delight to children, adults, and precocious horses. Today, in one of the great tragedies of modern necromancy, The Great Lumache is a broken man—lost, hopeless—bereft of illusions. 

"Why," I ask at last, grabbing a sudden lifeline of inspiration, "have you retired from the public eye? Why have you let down your millions of adoring fans?"

The Great Lumache smiles as though he had anticipated the question.

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