Category:
Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand

Floram Marchand

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As magic tricks go, the "I can vomit wine" claim has died a deserved death. One imagines that neither David Copperfield, nor even Penn & Teller, will be reviving the spectacle of Floram Marchand any time soon.

Floram Marchand: The Great Water Spouter

In the summer of 1650, a Frenchman named Floram Marchand was brought
over from Tours to London, who professed to be able to 'turn water into
wine, and at his vomit render not only the tincture, but the strength
and smell of several wines, and several waters.' Here - the trick and
its cause being utterly unknown - he seems for a time to have gulled
and astonished the public to no small extent, and to his great profit.
Before, however, the whole mystery was cleared up by two friends of
Marchand, who had probably not received the share of the profits to
which they thought themselves entitled. Their somewhat circumstantial
account runs as follows.



More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 07, 2010 - Comments (5)
Category: Entertainment, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand, Body Fluids, Europe, Seventeenth Century, Alcohol

Beach Magic just in time for Christmas

When it's cold outside, what could be better than a day of magic at the beach?



Any ideas about how it is done?

Posted By: gdanea - Tue Dec 15, 2009 - Comments (6)
Category: Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand

Optical illusion

Another great optical illusion -- but does this still work if you are colorblind?



Any explanations why this works?

Posted By: gdanea - Wed Nov 11, 2009 - Comments (5)
Category: Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand

Making an Invisible Statement

Liu Bolin, a young Chinese artist, has found a unique way to protest the government's decision to close his art studio in 2005. He paints himself to blend into the scenery, like a chameleon. There is no trick photography involved, and he doesn't use photoshop. Instead, he spends about ten hours studying a picture and painting his body so that people don’t even realize he is there until he moves. The Telegraph online has a pretty good gallery showcasing his images, but you can easily find more thanks to Google.

Posted By: Nethie - Wed Nov 04, 2009 - Comments (8)
Category: Art, Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand, Body Painting

Street Magic—Woman pulled in half

I love street magic, especially when the participants get freaked out.



Any ideas how this is done?
Little people? Animatronics?

Posted By: gdanea - Thu Jul 23, 2009 - Comments (12)
Category: Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand

How to Hack Your Brain

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The Boston Globe awhile back posted an article on how to fool your brain without having to take hallucinogens. Apparently, the human mind is addicted to sensory information and you can put halved ping pong balls on your eyes while listening to static and see some pretty interesting things. There are a few other techniques too. This is probably why people can see images in the clouds and in stains, it's the mind trying to make something of the chaos. I haven't tried any of them yet, but am looking forward to soon. If anyone tries any of these out let me know, because I'd love to hear about your experiences.

Posted By: mdb777 - Sun May 10, 2009 - Comments (3)
Category: Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand, Brain

Cobra Woman

I saw Maria Montez's COBRA WOMAN about a year ago. But I had to buy an all-regions DVD player and order the DVD from England, since it's unavailable here. But the expense was worth it, as I think you'll agree after you watch the trailer.



Posted By: Paul - Mon Feb 16, 2009 - Comments (8)
Category: Animals, Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand, Movies, Pop Culture, Stereotypes and Cliches, 1940s

The Camisards

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A group of fanatical religious terrorists, holed up in their mountain redoubts and battling an occupying government. Surely this description must apply to some modern-day group and situation, such as in Afghanistan, or perhaps Africa...? And the terrorists will in all likelihood be Islamic, right?

Well, not all the time.

Consider the French Protestant dissenters known as the Camisards.

I learned about this historical incident from reading Robert Louis Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey. (You can find the entire text of the book here.) Stevenson traveled through the region once ruled by the Camisards, and evoked the romance of their rebellion.

There, a hundred and eighty years ago, was the chivalrous Roland, "Count and Lord Roland, generalissimo of the Protestants in France," grave, silent, imperious, pock-marked ex-dragoon, whom a lady followed in his wanderings out of love. There was Cavalier, a baker's apprentice with a genius for war, elected brigadier of Camisards at seventeen, to die at fifty-five the English governor of Jersey. There again was Castanet, a partisan in a voluminous peruke and with a taste for divinity. Strange generals who moved apart to take counsel with the God of Hosts, and fled or offered battle, set sentinels or slept in an unguarded camp, as the Spirit whispered to their hearts! And to follow these and other leaders was the rank file of prophets and disciples, bold, patient, hardy to run upon the mountains, cheering their rough life with psalms, eager to fight, eager to pray, listening devoutly to the oracles of brainsick children, and mystically putting a grain of wheat among the pewter balls with which they charged their muskets.


Pretty weird, huh? And right in Europe, not all that long ago.

The last sentence from Stevenson is particularly intriguing, since it conjures up comparisons to the Mai-Mai rebels in the Congo today, who believe that certain magical charms protect them against bullets; that their own bullets are invulnerable to counter charms; and that ritual cannibalism of their enemies is still a grand idea.

Once Europe had its own Mai-Mai's. Perhaps someday Africa will be rid of theirs.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 22, 2009 - Comments (11)
Category: Cannibalism, Death, Frauds, Cons and Scams, History, Historical Figure, Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand, Paranormal, Religion, War, Weapons, Foreign Customs, Africa, Europe, Eighteenth Century

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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