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Title page from an anonymous and unpublished fair copy of Ozanam’s conjuring section, done in 1800


G ere ··· i b e c i`   Journal of The Conjuring Arts Research Center    >  ?

V T CVM QVE NEW YORK MMXI


The Conjuring Arts Research Center Board of Directors William Kalush Dr. David Singmaster Steve Cuiffo Philip Varricchio David Blaine

This issue sponsored by Bella Mondo Gourmet Food available from Wholefoods and fine grocers nation-wide. www.bellamondo.biz

Š 2011 Printed in China. ISSN 1558-8149 Gibecière is published semi-annually by The Conjuring Arts Research Center 11 West 30th, 5th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10001 212-594-1033 www.conjuringarts.org


Contents Pocket Notes—Stephen Minch  7 Spider in the Flies—Jim Steinmeyer  9 An Investigation into Magic in Japan after the Opening of the Country, Part VII—Mitsunobu Matsuyama  37 The Influence of Ozanam—William Kalush & Stephen Minch  69 Ozanam’s Magic—translated by Lori Pieper  79 Contributors  157

5 • Volume 6 ‹› Number 1


Pocket Notes When we began publication of Gibecière, it was natural that we had a wish list of contributors. Within the past ten issues, we have included a great many of those dreamed-of authors. One that eluded us was Jim Steinmeyer. With this issue, that lapse is corrected. We are delighted to open the Winter 2011 issue with Mr. Steinmeyer’s “The Spider in the Flies,” which is in an ironic way the flip side of Joshua Jay’s “Tragic Magic” from our previous issue. While “Tragic Magic” collected true tales (and a few false) of magicians, and those around them, dying by their magic, Jim’s article chronicles a series of murders in which magicians are presumed guilty until found innocent. It would spoil the fun to say more. Having mentioned Joshua Jay’s “Tragic Magic,” we would like to rectify an accidental omission in the acknowledgements for that article. Stephen Forrester generously provided information used during the preparation of Mr. Jay’s piece, and through an unfortunate oversight that fact went unmentioned. We regret this and wish to set straight the error. Mitsunobu Matsuyama has been our most dedicated contributor, beginning with the second issue of this journal. His series on the history of magic in and from Japan, at the time following the opening of that country to the rest of the world, has offered a wealth of information, discoveries and corrections to the record of magic, both Japanese and western. This issue carries his seventh installment, which details the important parts played in the magic of that time by five Japanese magicians and jugglers. Two of these are M. Gintaro, one of Maskelyne and Devant’s most valued opening acts; and Frank Kametaro, Chung Ling Soo’s right-hand man, and the unfortunate person who gave the signal for the rifle shot that killed his employer. Four other prominent players are Namigoro Sumidagawa; Takigoro Yoro II, Shoichi Kitensai I and 7 • Volume 6 ‹› Number 1


Gibecière Itchosai Yanagawa III, all of whom made important contributions to magic in Japan. Their stories are fascinating. The final portion of this issue is devoted to the magic found in ­Jacques Ozanam’s Récréations mathématiques et physiques, published in Paris in 1723. This work is widely considered among the most influential and most copied in the early centuries of conjuring literature. It is therefore remarkable that an English translation of this material has never been done, and students of magic who do not read French have had to rely on secondhand information—until now. Thanks to Lori Pieper, you may read the entirety of the conjuring section in ­Ozanam’s Récréations mathématiques et physiques. It holds a number of historical surprises, many of which are discussed in the introduction to the translation. You will notice that the translation of Ozanam is printed on reproductions of book pages from centuries past. Subscribers will know this is something that has been done with similar projects in Gibecière. What is not known beyond the walls of the Conjuring Arts Research Center is that these page backgrounds were meticulously rendered for us by Ricky Smith, whose patience and expertise have contributed tremendously to the look of Gibecière. In his quiet way, he is as important a contributor as the names you see in the by-lines. • Stephen Minch editor

Gibecière ‹› Winter 2011 • 8


•The Spider in

the Flies •


The 46th Street Theatre, where the first murder occurred on March 22, 1927


The Spider in the Flies • Jarrett’s Flowers, Blackstone’s Villainy and the Broadway Magic Mystery Plays of the 1920s Jim Steinmeyer

O

n March 22, 1927, an audience at New York’s 46th Street Theatre—today the Richard Rogers Theatre—found themselves witnessing an unusual crime. That week’s vaudeville show proceeded without incident until the third feature, Chatrand the Great, who was presenting a mindreading act with a masked young assistant named Alexander, “The Boy with the Radio Eyes.” As Alexander sat blindfolded on the stage, Chatrand stepped into the audience, asking for the loan of personal items. Alexander identified several objects, but when Chatrand reached for an unusual gold locket, there was a scuffle in the audience. New York news­ papers gave accounts the next day: Alexander began to explain, “It is an object with a curious history.” A spectator named John Carrington objected to Chatrand’s performance. He grabbed for the locket. There was an unexpected blackout in the auditorium, and then the sound of a single gunshot. When the lights came up, Carrington was mortally wounded in the aisle. The police were quickly summoned. They rushed into the theater and cautioned the audience not to leave. Inspector Riley, arriving from the local precinct, admonished the crowd, “This is a murder case. And somewhere in the house there is a criminal. I’m going to get the guilty man if I have to keep everyone here in this theater under lock and key.” 11 • Volume 6 ‹› Number 1

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