CONJURING ARTS ZAUBEREI &
OF THE EYE & SENSES
ofte den ZAK DER KONSTEN
poster of conjuror
all have a close relationship with Pre-cinema,
Photography and Film.
"Showing wonderful events
in front of the onlooker's eyes with the purpose
to amaze and to deceive him/her is the "Great
Art" of the Magician"
Early Visual Media are able to "conjure-up"
wondrous effects in front of our eyes.
playing the badminton"
in a Théatre Praxinoscope
is an amazing optical trick based on the same principle
of the Pepper's
Ghost in the theatre.
conjure-up ghosts by means of deceptive techniques.
of Magician Georges
show pure magic and are the precursor of special
effects in today's cinema. More on Méliès.
Magicians use Photography,
Film & Television to prove their magic
The Revival of Spirit ism
became possible at the end of the 19th.
Century with the help of photography.
Many Stage Illusions use optical
trickery also found in scientific, optical
the first Conjuror on Television
Conjuring Books cover a wide field
Not only the "conjuring
arts" as we known them today but
also the demonstration of early scientific
inventions, unknown to most spectators of
the Magician. Showing these, often new, scientific
knowledge was the secret of the conjuror.
- 1871) greatest' "Prestidigitateur"
of the 19th.
Century decided to learn the art of
magic after reading the "Dictionaire
Encyclopedique des Amusmens des Sciences Mathématiques
et Physique" (1792)
In his mémoires Houdin wrote about
this encyclopaedia: Volume
dans lequel j'ai puisé mes premières
inspirations dans l' art de l' escamotage.
This historical important volume covers: Amusemens
de Géométrie /
Amusemens d' Arithmétique
d' Astronomie /
Amusemens de Gnomonique
de Physique /
Amusemens de Mécanique
d' Optique /Amusemens
d' Acoustique ou Musique /
Amusemens de Catoptrique
de Navigation et d' Architecture /
Pyrotechnie sans feu
et purement Optique /
Pieces d' Artifice /
Pieces Hydraulique /
Traits Occultes ou Trompeurs
Magique et Cartes /
Tours de Gibeciere /
Figures de Magie Blanche devoileé.
In other words, this dictionary covers
a huge part of the 18th.
Century scientific knowledge unknown
to the general public. Demonstrating this
knowledge was the science of the conjuror.
Dutch Conjuring book
published in Ghent / Belgium
ofte den ZAK DER KONSTEN
and Pre-Cinematic & Pre-Photo history
In Jacques Lacombe's richly illustrated
(as well in many other) historical
conjuring books, many important devices who
also have their role in Pre-Cinematic history are
& slides, Anamorphic
images, the Panorama.
Also an important spectacular Phantasmagoria projection
technique, showing Ghosts
on a smoke curtain is illustrated and explained.
The major musical instrument used during Phantasmagoria
performances is vast described since the dictionary
was published less than 30 years after the invention
of the Glass Organ or Glass
Armonica by Benjamin Franklin. 1761
The Glass organ was most suitable
to lustre the Phantasmagoria atmosphere since it
produced a weird haunted
and uncanny sound.
a tune on the virtual Glass
Armonica in the Franklin institute
Or see Cecilia
Grieweck's historical Glass
armonica web site.
See the Glass Armonica from The
Bakken Library and Museum
Read text below from from Cecilia
Grieweck's web site.
Glass Armonica was an instant success. Marie Antoinette
took lessons on it and Dr. Mesmer,
the famous hypnotist, used it to put his patients
into a deeper trance.
Composers started writing for it. The most famous...Mozart,
Beethoven, Donizetti, Richard Strauss, and Saint-Saens.
By the mid-1800's, it suddenly lost its popularity,
and gradually vanished. Superstitions ran wild..
Armonicas were said to drive performers mad and
evoke spirits of the dead because of its eerie and
haunting sound. It had a rebirth in 1982 through
the efforts of the late master glass blower named
Gerhard Finkenbeiner, of Waltham, Massachusetts.
The "new-old" Armonica is now reaching
into many corners of the world and has moved into
the 21st century"
historians, travelers, philosophers and physicians
of all ages
Curieuse et Pittoresque des Sorciers
The Fascination for Magic,
Ghosts and the Supernatural
was popular in the 18th.
Century. Popular books and journals on the subject
Curieuse et Pittoresque des Sorciers"
Mathias de Giraldo describes a series of apparitions
and Vampirism. The
book is illustrated with naive woodcuts as seen
The themes in the book, Devins,
Magiciens, Astrologues, Revenants, Ames en Peine,
Vampires, Spectres, Fantomes, Apparitions, Visions,
Gnomes, Lutins, Esprits Malin, Exorcisme, etc.,
are of great interest to the conjuror, master of
Obviously, the photographer tries to capture these
phenomena on his light sensitive plates with success!
Long exposure, double exposure and dark room manipulations
where not common knowledge to most people in the
early photographic era.
In London appeared VOL I for the YEAR 1793 of the
long-drawn-out titled journal:
"The Wonderful Magazine,
and Marvelous Chronicle of Extraordinary Productions,
Events, and Occurrences, in Nature and Art"
See GOOGLE group for
The eye-catcher, further on the frontcover, mention
the expressions: Miraculous!,
Queer!, Odd!, Strange!, Supernatural!, Whimsical!,
Absurd!, Out of the Way! and Unaccountable. Unfortunately,
my copy mysteriously lost his Extraordinary
Still, this journal is "collected
from the writings off the most approved historians,
travelers, philosophers, and physicians of all ages
and countries" sic.
the publication year of the first issue of "The
Wonderful Magazine, and Marvelous Chronicle",
1793, Louis XVI was
condemned to death by the National Convention. January
The next day his execution took place with the guillotine.
The last page of the magazine describes the execution
of Louis XVI with the guillotine "...the
fatal instrument of death"
shows caused one of the earliest examples of political
censorship on the animated projected image when
he conjured-up the ghost of Louis XVI.
Suchlike tricks in pre-film, film and photography
where common practice in these pioneer period. In
1897 Albert Hopkins wrote a "bible" of
conjurors: "Magic, Stage Illusions and Scientific
Diversions, including Trick Photography". Indeed,
the Great Art of Magic found a major inspiration
source and outlet in 18th.
Century media inventions, especially Photography
Early Magic Lantern in a vintage Dutch Conjuring book.
Garcia collection |
nieuw vermeerdert natuurlyk tooverboek ofte speel-toneel
This popular conjuring book was written by
first edition of this book dates 1679, the last
Witgeest illustrate a bizar looking Magic
Lantern, together with a long slide showing
circular images. The informative Dutch text described
how the lantern was used.
This original 17th. Century conjuring
book was very popular. At least 17 different editions
in Dutch are known and 15 German editions between
1702 and 1798.
The book also describes the basic principle of the
Camera Obscura without
Although many editions where printed in subsequent
centuries, an original copy is difficult to find.
The book still remain popular since at least two
20th. Century Dutch photographic reprints
A reprint of the first 1679 edition was done in
the Netherlands by Sijthoff-Leiden, 1967.
A reprint of the 11th. edition was done
by Ripova (no date)
Obviously, references to optical devices or often
found in vintage conjuring
books. For example, the technique of smoke
projection as mentioned above.
The book also mention Folkloristic
Juggling & Circus in stereo- tissue photographs.
the website of Timothy
Trust who I met at the Genste Feesten 2009.
theme of Conjuring is also often found in stereo
(tissue) photographs. Above we see 5 children playing
with "cups & balls"
The scene is a small clay diorama similar to the
Suchlike dioramic tissues (with against the
light effects) are found in a variety of themes.
These genre tissues views have a long tradition
originated in transparent & colored Peepshow
Two further French albumin stereo-tissues show a
juggler and clownish actors.
you find the most Eerie and Ghostly places on Early
Visual Media. But be aware, many other pages are
a book on Phantasmagoria Projection techniques