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'Nation's Foremost Skeptic' Dead at 92

Magician devoted his life to exposing psychics, spoon benders, and quacks

(Newser) - James Randi, a magician who later challenged spoon benders, mind readers, and faith healers with such voracity that he became regarded as the country’s foremost skeptic, has died, his foundation announced. He was 92. The James Randi Educational Foundation said simply that its founder succumbed to "age-related causes”... More »

Magician Floats Way, Way Above Planet Earth

David Blaine is mesmerized over Arizona: 'Wow, it's so beautiful'

(Newser) - Ah, to float away. David Blaine realized that dream Wednesday by rigging up to balloons and floating nearly 25,000 feet over Arizona—until he cut the cord, USA Today reports. The 47-year-old magician drifted for nearly an hour in a livestreamed broadcast called "Ascension," which began with... More »

Police: Magician Did Not Survive Houdini Stunt

His peers say mistakes cost 'Mandrake' his life

(Newser) - A Houdini stunt in the Hooghly River was Mandrake the magician's last act, police in India say. The body of the magician, whose real name was Chanchal Lahiri, was pulled from the river Monday, a day after he was lowered into the water bound with a chain and six... More »

He Attempted a Houdini Trick, and It May Have Killed Him

Chanchal Lahiri didn't emerge from the Hooghly river on Sunday

(Newser) - He tried to do as Houdini once did—and it may have killed him. An Indian magician was lowered into the Hooghly river in West Bengal state on Sunday, his body bound with a chain and six locks in a Houdini-style trick, reports the BBC . Chanchal Lahiri's intention was... More »

Penn Jillette Talks 'Hard-Core' Magic He Uses to Stay Slim

Magician says he fasts 23 hours each day to maintain 100-pound weight loss

(Newser) - "I don't respect moderation." That's the reasoning magician Penn Jillette gives the Los Angeles Times for both the diet that helped him lose over 100 pounds in just a few months in 2015, and now for the "hard-core" way he maintains that weight loss. In... More »

Man Hurt in Copperfield Trick on Hook for His Own Injuries

Illusionist was found to be negligent but not liable

(Newser) - Illusionist David Copperfield was found negligent but not financially responsible for a British tourist's injuries during a signature vanishing act that used participants from the audience of a Las Vegas Strip show in 2013, a jury said Tuesday. Gavin Cox and his wife, Minh-Hahn Cox, alleged negligence by the... More »

Night Court's Harry Anderson Dead at 65

He was found dead at his NC home

(Newser) - Harry Anderson, the magician and former street hustler who starred as wacky judge Harry Stone on NBC sitcom Night Court, has been found dead in his home in Asheville, NC. He was 65. Police say officers were called to the home early Monday and no foul play is suspected, WSPA... More »

Body of Magician Found in Closet at the Magic Castle

Police say the death at the private magicians' club was a suicide

(Newser) - The body of a magician was found in a closet Friday night at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, the Hollywood Reporter reports. According to ABC7 , the body was identified by police as 61-year-old Daryl Easton. In a statement, the Magic Castle called Easton a "beloved illusionist." Easton had... More »

Illusionist in 'Water Torture Cell' Has a Close Call

Spencer Horsman said to have nearly drowned in promo for Criss Angel show

(Newser) - With just a rubber band and a piece of bent wire, Spencer Horsman entered a 30-by-30-inch Plexiglas tank filled with 100 gallons of water on Tuesday in handcuffs and chains, hoping to pull off a feat that would excite crowds for an upcoming show with illusionist Criss Angel, New Jersey... More »

Feds Demand Magician Submit Rabbit 'Disaster Plan'

USDA backtracks on rule after case publicized

(Newser) - Marty the Magician is no stranger to red tape—the Department of Agriculture has long required him to have a license for the rabbit he uses in his act—but even he was surprised when the government ordered him to pull a rabbit disaster plan out of his hat. Under... More »

Magician's Head Set on Fire on Dominican TV

No, it was not an illusion

(Newser) - An American magician was recuperating yesterday in the Dominican Republic after a local television show host lit his head on fire with a flammable cologne. California native Wayne Houchin said he is receiving treatment for burns that doctors are cautiously optimistic will not result in scars. A statement on his... More »

Penn and Teller Suit: Magician Stole Our Trick

Dutch illusionist tries to sell shadow trick's explanation

(Newser) - Half of Penn and Teller is suing a fellow magician who he says ripped off a classic trick. Dutch illusionist Gerard Bakardy reportedly posted a YouTube video of "Rose and Her Shadow," a trick at the heart of the duo's repertoire, and Barkardy said he'd reveal... More »

How to Make Magic With an iPad

Innovative sleight-of-gizmo makes virtual 'real'

(Newser) - Move over, David Blaine: everyone's new favorite illusionist is the iPad, recently put through its mesmerizing paces by innovative Japanese performer Shinya Uchida on the streets of Tokyo. The sleight-of-gizmo on YouTube presents a history of communication with the iPad providing smoke, drink, a cheese appetizer, x-rays, and even a... More »

Ex-Scientologist Actor: Return My $120K

After 33 years, Larry Anderson wants out

(Newser) - After 33 years as a Scientologist and a star turn in a widely disseminated orientation video, actor Larry Anderson wants out—and he wants his money back. Anderson, a magician turned TV actor and game-show host, says the organization owes him $120,000. A Scientology rep tells the St. Petersburg ... More »

Trainee Hypnotizes Himself

Wife finds hapless circus performer in trance

(Newser) - A stage performer's hypnosis textbook apparently forgot to mention that practicing on yourself is a bad idea. Helmut Kichmeier—stage name Hannibal Helmurto—was found by his wife standing in front of a mirror in a zombie-like trance with an open book on hypnosis by his side. She called his... More »

Woman Who Claimed Sex Assault Sues Copperfield

Alleged victim files on statute of limitations deadline

(Newser) - The Seattle woman who accused David Copperfield of sexual assault two years ago filed a federal lawsuit against the magician last month before the two-year statute of limitations expired, the Seattle Times reports. The 22-year-old model and former Miss Washington USA contestant says Copperfield used her in his act in... More »

Hourly Breaks? Blaine's Cheating!

Onlookers unimpressed by Blaine's latest stunt

(Newser) - David Blaine takes a 10-minute break every hour? "It's cheating," says an unimpressed onlooker among a crowd of 8,000 watching Blaine hang upside down in Central Park until a grand finale tonight, the New York Daily News reports. Though the illusionist planned to do his business using... More »

Blaine Dives Into Hanging Stunt

Despite risks, he plans to hang for 60 hours over Central Park

(Newser) - Performance art magician David Blaine dove head first into his latest public show in New York yesterday, hanging upside-down over Central Park. The Brooklyn-born show off plans to hang for 60 hours, despite a doctor's warning that the increased blood pressure in his head could cause blindness, and even death... More »

'Gospel Illusionists' Tricked Out for Jesus

Saving souls with sleight of hand

(Newser) - Though the Bible places strictures on the “magic arts,” a group of faithful tricksters are using sleight of hand to convert the wayward, Mother Jones reports. Weslyan University recently hosted the annual convention of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians, where performers were more likely to quote scripture and... More »

David Blaine Breaks Breath-Holding Record

Endurance artist sets new record at 17 minutes, 4 seconds

(Newser) - David Blaine broke the world record for holding one’s breath today when he was submerged for 17 minutes and 4 seconds during a taping of Oprah. The endurance artist looked relaxed emerging from a water-filled sphere, the AP reports. Blaine had undergone simulated altitude training and pure oxygen treatment... More »

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