Magicians' Biographies - Letter H

Read about the man who invented stage hypnotism, the amazing gasoline spouter, the incredible magical Herrmann family, and more!

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Habitt, Joseph
(?-?) Austrian or German magician, performing in the early 1920s. Remarkable for his fierce anger over bad reviews. In response to the unfavorable comments written about his Egyptian magic act, he published a scathing 60- page booklet attacking his detractors in the press.
Hackman, Eli
(1872-1962) American magician most known for his Punch and Judy work. Not only did he create some clever mechanical Punch and Judy puppetry figures, but he also broadcast the first Punch and Judy show on radio.
Haden, Conrad
(b.?) American coin specialist and inventor of the Expanded Shell.
Hades, Micky
(1926-2023) Canadian illusionist, magic dealer and prolific publisher.
Hadji Ali
(1892-1937) Egyptian magician famous for his vaudeville regurgitation act, in which he could swallow water and kerosene, then regurgitate them in order, effectively starting a blaze and then putting it out from across the stage.
Haenchen, Fred
(1903-1983) American magician most noted for manufacturing quality magic props under the Haenchen (and later Viking-Haenchen) name. George Robinson now owns the rights to the name and the properties, and continues to produce high quality Haenchen magic effects.
Hagen, Charles
(1877-1925) Austrian-born Karl Hagen, professional magician who early in his career moved to the United States and performed as "The Fakir of the Blackwells". He launched the Presto Magic Company in New York City in 1905. Along with founding his own magic society in 1911 (the National Conjuror's Association), he was also given the first Lifetime Membership in the Society of American Magicians. His magazines, The Boy Magician (published in 1909 and 1910) and the American Magician (published from 1910 through 1912) are very collectible today.
Hahne, Nelson C.
(1908-1970) American magic enthusiast and illustrator of several books on magic.
Haines, Ronald
(1906-1974) American magic dealer, manufacturer and publisher. He founded Haines' House of Cards in Cincinnati, Ohio, still one of the leading suppliers of regular and gaffed playing cards. His incredible collection of playing cards was world renowned for its staggering size and completeness. The collection is currently owned by the Society of American Magicians Magic Museum. He was inducted into the S.A.M. Hall of Fame in the early 1970s.
Haley, Louis C.
(1878-?) American Chautauqua magician, later a magic dealer. Operated the Haley Magic Co. of Madison, Wisconsin during the 1920s.
Hall, Newt
(?-?) Full name Newton Hall. American nightclub magician and manager of Max Holden's magic shop in Philadelphia, PA.
Hall, Trevor
(1910-1991) British magic enthusiast and author who amassed an impressive magic library which is now part of the Magic Circle Library. Wrote books on magic as a performing art as well as books on the occult.
Hamburger, Dr. Louis
(?-?) American amateur magician who reportedly fooled the famous Sigmund Freud with his apparent ability to levitate a glass of water from his fingertips.
(1812-1877) French magician, real name Pierre-Étienne-Auguste Chocat. First an assistant to Robert-Houdin beginning in 1850, he became Robert-Houdin's successor as director of the Théâtre Robert-Houdin in 1852 (as well as Robert-Houdin's son-in-law). He was director until his retirement in 1862. Credited with introducing the rather bizarre sounding illusion Lifting a Child By Its Hair in 1860.
Hamilton, John
(?-?) Inventive American magician specializing in card magic, most active in the 1940s and 1950s. Developed the Australian Deal and the Free Cut Principle.
Hamilton, Warren
(?-?) American magic manufacturer best known for producing the Jo-Ann Card Duck for L.L. Ireland.
Hamley, John
(?-?) British magic dealer and magic inventor (Palmo Ball in 1902). Associated with London's W&F Hamley toy shop.
Hamley, William
(?-?) British magic dealer. Co-founder of W&F Hamley toy shop in London.
Hamman, Bro. John
(1927-2001) American card magic specialist and inventor of creative card moves much used in card magic today. Invented the Hamman Count and Flustration Count among others. For more information, see The Secrets of Brother John Hamman (1989) by Richard Kaufman.
Han Ping Chien
(1891-1930) Chinese stage magician who achieved his greatest success touring the United States and Europe in the first two decades of the 1900s. He is also credited with inventing the Han Ping Chien coin magic move.
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
(?-1903) British stage magician whose fame was cut short by his suicide, purportedly caused by his raging jealousy over the loss of his female assistant's affections.
(1899-1933) Egyptian-born illusionist (real name Fuad Makarius) based in Germany, who performed both as an Egyptian character or as a Japanese magician. His wife and assistant was billed as "Nadja-Nadyr".
Hanlon, Tommy Jr.
(b. 1923) American-born club magician and illusionist. Served as an assistant with the Orson Welles Mercury Magic Theatre in the early 1940s. Later moved to Australia where he enjoyed a career as a popular television star in the 1960s before purchasing a traveling circus there.
Hansen, Arthur
(1893-?) American escape artist billed as "Suicide Hansen".
Hansen, Geoffrey
(b.1953) American stage magician and actor. Toured extensively in Asia during the 1970s. Has appeared in numerous films that use his skill with magic as well as his acting and kung-fu abilities. Longtime columnist for Tops, authoring "Personality Parade".
Hansen, Leif Rosengaard
(b.1946) Danish-born circus and large-scale amusement park illusionist. His show at Germany's "Phantasia Land" park holds the record as the longest-running magic illusion show in Europe.
Hansen, Rolf
(1885-1959) Speed demon closeup magician, he could perform 40 complete tricks in under 10 minutes. Austrian born, his real name was Rudolf Hans Holba.
Hanson, Herman
(1882-1973)(birthday May 26) Swedish born magician whose own solo career was eclipsed by his long associations with Howard Thurston and Max Holden. Was Thurston's stage manager and understudy from 1929 to 1935. So good was his study of Thurston and his mannerisms that (it is rumored) on more than one occasion he performed onstage as Howard Thurston while the real Thurston was performing in another city. He also built and maintained Thurston's illusions. From 1936 to 1960 he managed the Boston branch of Max Holden's magic shop. He was inducted into the S.A.M. Hall of Fame in 1968. For more information, see The Magic Man (1974) by Herman Hanson and Zweers. Fifth Dean of the Society of American Magicians, from 1959 to 1973.
Hanussen, Erik Jan
(1889-1933)(birthday June 2) Austrian-born magician and pseudo-mystic who became closely associated with Hitler's Third Reich. Real name Herschel Steinschneider and son of a Jewish comedian, by 1930 he had converted both his religion and his politics, becoming a Protestant and a Nazi. Murdered under mysterious circumstances. Subject of an award-winning 1988 film, István Szabo's Hanussen.
Harbin, Robert
(1908-1978)(birthday February 12) South African born magician (real name Edward "Ned" Williams) who was a legendary inventor of important stage illusions, including Assistant's Revenge and the Zig Zag Lady, both still popular today. Also invented the classic Vanishing Radio effect. In the early 1940's he was the first magician to successfully break into television in Great Britain. Visit Robert Harbin's grave.
Hardeen, Theodore
(1876-1945)(birthday February 29) Younger brother of Harry Houdini, also a professional stage magician. Born Ferencz Deszo Weisz in Hungary, a leap year baby, he was called Dash by his brother and family. Began his career in an escape act with Houdini, but was replaced by Bess when she married Houdini. Was obviously overshadowed by his more famous brother, but managed to gain fame as the heir to Houdini's show. Visit Hardeen's grave.
(?-?) French magician performing in the 1920s and 1930s. His most spectacular act was his version of the Bullet Catch. Billed as "The Invulnerable Man", he was shot by six guns at a distance of 30 meters, without being harmed. He also featured a spiritualist segment starring his assistant "Maryse", who was billed as "The Fair Gypsy".
Harrell, F.O.
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
Harrington, Johnathan
(1809-1881) American comedy magician and ventriloquist. Mentor to a young Walter Floyd.
Harris, Lou
(?-?) American magician and assistant in the Blackstone show in the early 1940s. From the mid-1940s was performing a spook show as the original Dr. Doom; sold both the show and the name in the late 1950s and retired from show business.
Hart, Christopher
(b.1961) Canadian magician specializing in manipulation. Most known for his role (or his hand's role) as Thing in the 1990's Addam's Family movies. Also worked as a backstage assistant to David Copperfield in the 1980s, including work on the Great Wall of China TV special.
Hart, Johnny
(b.1943) British stage illusionist who is most famous for his bird act.
Hartman, Ray
(1893-1967) American magician who performed with Thurston, Doc Nixon, Tampa and Sugden. He partnered with Sugden in the "Chau Tung Mysteries". He and his wife, Sophie Mikuszewska Hartman traveled the Vaudeville circuit after his return from WWI. They had 3 children. Also traveled with the Downie Bros. Circus. Head of "Hartman & Company", a group of magicians. Created the Hartman School of Magic. Invented numerous magic tricks, including the Glass Box, which would vanish a dove. He performed magic until his death.
Information provided by his granddaughter, Laurie Galbo.
Hartopp, Arthur
(?-?) British magician who performed as "Li Sing Foo", and also as "Amasis". Possibly purchased some of Chung Ling Soo's illusions from his widow, as he was performing them onstage a few months after Soo's death.
Hastings, Wilmot
(?-?) English actor who played the part of "Bosco" for a time in the LeRoy-Talma-Bosco act.
Hatal, Michael
(?-1899) Hungarian magician who was killed performing the Bullet Catch at the Odd Fellows Hall in New York City.
Heimburger, Alexander
"Alexander the Conqueror" was the first magician to perform at the White House
Read the biography of Alexander Heimburger- see images!
Heith, Herbert F.
(?-?) American magician who was born into a circus family of acrobats. In 1913, he relocated to Carroll, Iowa to open a small magic manufacturing company and magic shop. As "Mysterious Heith", he published Magic Key magazine from 1917 until 1918. While it existed, Magic Key advertised itself as the official publication of the Brotherhood of Magicians, which had actually disbanded in 1916.
Heller, George Washington
(1860-1928) American magic manufacturer from Williamsburg, VA. Held Membership #23 in the Society of American Magicians.
(1893-1933)(birthday December 23) German mentalist who invented and perfected numerous stage hypnotism methods. Born Axel Vogt. For more information, see Hellstromism by Robert Nelson.
Hellstrom, Axel
(1921-?) German stage magician, real name Anton Vogt, and nephew of Hellstrom. Though schooled in mindreading skills by his mentalist uncle, this Hellstrom specialized in manipulations, most notably with canes, thimbles and rope.
Hendrickson, Edgar A.
(1860-1917) American magician and shadowgraphy expert who played the vaudeville and Lyceum circuits with his partner, Rosani, from the later 1800s into the early 1900s.
Henning, Doug
(1947-2000)(birthday May 3) Canadian born stage illusionist who revitalized the world of magic in the mid 1970s. A student of both Dai Vernon and Slydini, he started his magical career at the age of 14. After college, he developed a musical with a magic theme (Spellbound) with the assistance of college friends Ivan Reitman (later to direct Ghostbusters) and Howard Shore (later to compose the music for Lord of the Rings). That musical went to Broadway as The Magic Show and brought Henning international fame as its star. Henning's new wave brand of magic proved very popular, and he was given several TV magic specials as well as a number of successful road tours. His next musical, Merlin, was less successful. Henning then started his own production company, creating special effects for music videos and concert tours. By the early 1990s, Henning had retired from live performance to concentrate on other interests. His interest in liberal politics led him to become involved with the Natural Law Party, becoming a candidate in both Canada's and England's general election (he did not get elected). He also became involved in a project with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a spectacular special effects theme park based on the teachings of Transcendental Meditation. "Veda Land" was never more than a plan on paper before Doug Henning died of liver cancer in February 2000. His cremated ashes were scattered at sea. In 2010, he was inducted into the Canada Walk of Fame in Toronto. His star is located on King Street West, between The Kids in the Hall and Howie Mandell.
Henry, S.S.
(1891-1947)(birthday September 13) American magician successful on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits between 1912 and 1939. His manager, Henry Hudson Davis, also managed show tours for MacDonald Birch, Herman Homar, Wallace, Marquis and Mel-Roy.
(1836-1913) British illusionist (real name R.D. Chater), writer and author. His stage name was an anagram of his last name. Most known for his version of the Cremation illusion. He was inventor and sole proprietor of another illusion, "The Mystery of She". In 1888 the manager of the Greenwich Theatre, William Morton, pursuaded Chater to copyright the SHE illusion design. This foreshadowed the rampant copying of illusions by all the magic headliners of the day that would make headlines during the early years of the 20th century. Morton knew his business- he was responsible for launching and sustaining the successful careers of Maskelyne and Cooke. Hercat's British tour in 1889 was organised by Morton. Morton described the British magician as: "HERCAT the American Illusionist, Ventriloquist, and Humorist".
Heresford, Hamilton H.
(1911-2001) American-born society magician. Real name Thomas Pinchett. Performed exclusively for private parties hosted by New York City's elite. His handsome looks and sophisticated manner made him irresistable to the ladies. Unfortunately, a jealous husband framed him as a thief, causing quite a scandal. Though the charges were dropped, Heresford's reputation was ruined. He became a florist, and operated a successful shop in Chicago for many years.
Herrmann, Adelaide
(1854-1932) Wife of Alexander Herrmann. Working for many years as the chief assistant to her husband, she continued with the show as "The Queen of Magic" after his death.
Herrmann, Alexander
(1844-1896) One of the most famous magicians in magic history, known as "Herrmann the Great" Buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, New York City.
Herrmann, Anna
(?-?) Mother of Alexander Herrmann and Compars Herrmann, wife of Samuel Herrmann. Former Anna Meyer from Hamburg, Germany.
Herrmann, Compars
(1816-1887)(birthday January 23) Elder brother of Alexander Herrmann and equally as successful.
Herrmann, Felix
(1881-1938)(birthday February 21) Nephew of Adelaide Herrmann. Real name Felix Kretchman. Billed himself as "The Great and Only Herrmann". Married to Gladys Herrmann.
Herrmann, Gladys
(1895-1966) European vaudeville magician (real name Gladys Martinez) who performed as "Madame Gladys and Her Company of Hindu Necromancers" before meeting and marrying Felix Herrmann. Performed with him thereafter as "Petite Gladys", wearing a huge signature headdress as part of her flamboyant costume. Buried in New Orleans' Garden of Memories cemetery.
Herrmann, Henry
(?-?) German magician who capitalized on the Herrmann family fame, but had no connection or relation to the Herrmann magical dynasty.
Herrmann, Leon
(1881-1938)(birthday March 13) Nephew of Alexander Herrmann and Compars Herrmann. Sometimes billed as "Herrmann III". Married to Marie Herrmann. Died of pneumonia.
Herrmann, Marie
(?-?) French actress, married to Leon Herrmann. Performed in her husband's show after 1899, taking the place of Adelaide Herrmann.
Herrmann, Rosa
(?-?) Austrian actress (real name Rosa Goldstein) who performed as "Rosalie Csillag". First wife of Compars Herrmann. Married in 1852 and divorced in 1855.
Herrmann, Roset
(?-?) Second wife of Compars Herrmann. Real name Rosalie Levy. Married in 1866.
Herrmann, Samuel
(?-?) German traveling magician, father of Alexander Herrmann and Compars Herrmann.
(?-?) Traveling magician in America, circa 1880. Mentioned in a poster for magician Prof. H.B. Reynolds.
Hertz, Carl
(1859-1924)(birthday May 14) American-born magician (real name Leib Morgenstern). He had a very shaky start in magic (including having all of his props destroyed in a theater fire in Troy, NY). Despite launching a more successful (and long) career in England, he was plagued by a series of personal attacks, including a court case accusing him of stealing the idea for his Aerolithe illusion from a German magician, and serious animal cruelty charges pressed by the British House of Commons. Hertz was accused of killing a bird each time he performed the Vanishing Bird Cage. To prove his innocence, he performed the trick for them, then produced the unharmed bird. Controversy still exists over whether he used two birds for the demonstration. His wife and assistant, Emilie D'Alton, briefly attempted to work his act herself after his death.
(?-?) French magician who presented a full evening show of illusions in late 1800s France, along with a two-person mindreading act featuring his wife, "Mme. Lyska". Billed as "The Enigmatic Magician".
Hill, Cedric Waters
(1891-1975) Australian amateur magician who escaped from a WWI Turkish prisoner of war camp by using a fake mindreading/spiritualist routine to fool the superstitious commandant. As a youth, he had seen Nate Leipzig's show, and took up magic as a hobby. While imprisoned in the Turkish camp in 1916, he and a fellow prisoner, Elias Henry Jones, developed a two-person mindreading and spiritism act to entertain their fellow prisoners. Hill and Jones communicated with the spirit world by ouija-board, conjured ghostly 'manifestations' and read the thoughts of audience members. The act came in handy when Hill and Jones used their theatrical skills to convince the commandant that their spirit contact, "The Spook" could reveal to them the location of a hidden treasure located on the Mediterranean Coast. Through a series of clever theatrics, the pair were able to eventually be part of a prisoner exchange. Impressively, he continued his career in the RAF, and served throughout most of WWII, finally retiring in January of 1944. His fascinating memoir, The Spook and the Commandant, was published shortly after his death in 1975. It is still available today from used book dealers.
Hilliar, William J.
(1896-1936)(birthday November 27) American magician who was so skilled that he once substituted on stage for Howard Thurston in 1902, with no one in the audience realizing the switch. Became known as "Big Bill Hilliar". Worked mainly in American circus sideshows and outdoor shows, first as a performer, and later as a manager. Committed suicide.
Hilliard, John Northern
(1872-1935)(birthday August 18) American magician most noted for writing the impressive multi-volume Greater Magic. For many years worked for Howard Thurston as his advance publicity agent. Also was a ghostwriter for T. Nelson Downs, authoring The Art of Magic. Began ghostwriting Howard Thurston's autobiography, but Hilliard's insistence at presenting a true account of Thurston's very checkered life forced Thurston to hire another writer instead.
Himber, Richard
(1907-1966)(birthday February 20) Famous as a bandleader and practical joker as well as a magician and inventor of many magic effects, including the Himber Wallet.
Hing, Ah
(1918-1994) Magician from 1930s-1960s. Noted for performing at the Chinese nightclubs in San Francisco. Married to Bertha Lew Hing. Their son Raymond was named after The Great Raymond.
Hing, Bertha Lew
(1917-2012) Chinese magician and dancer. First professional Chinese female magician. Part of the original Forbidden City Chorus line. She married Ah Hing in 1940, became his onstage assistant "Princess Lew Hing", and took his place in the act when he was drafted into military service. circuits.
Hinson, Harry Houdini
Houdini's nephew also died of peritonitis after a tragedy
Read the biography of Harry Houdini Hinson!
(?-?) German magician specializing in manipulations who performed in Paris in the late 1800s.
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
Hobgood, Cowboy Harvey
1940's nightclub magician who performed with a Western cowboy theme
Read the biography of Cowboy Harvey Hobgood!
Hofzinser, Johann
(1806-1875)(birthday July 19) Austrian magician, generally regarded as the father of modern card magic. He also invented the rough and smooth principle, the concept behind numerous card magic effects.
Holmes, Alfred Miles
(1836-1916) British-born magician who assisted James Taylor and John Henry Anderson before launching his own stage show in the mid 1870s. Married to Helena Elizabeth Anderson, they retired the show in 1912, when he became the manager of the Empire Theatre in Sheffield, England.
Homar, Herman
(?-1966) American magician, real name Homar Woulffe, who found success performing on the Lyceum circuit. For a while he was a partner in Joe Berg's Chicago magic shop. His manager, Henry Hudson Davis, also managed show tours for MacDonald Birch, S.S. Henry, Wallace, Marquis and Mel-Roy.
Home, Daniel Dunglas
(1833-1886)(birthday March 20) Scottish magician and spiritist, the most famous psychic medium of the 19th century because he was never "exposed" as a fraud. 
Horn, Roy
(b.1944)(birthday October 3) German-born international star of magic. Half of the duo of Siegfried & Roy.
Houdeen, Leo
Stage name of British magician Henry Barton Turner
Read the biography of Henry Barton Turner- see images!
Houdini, Beatrice
(1876-1943)(birthday January 23) American-born Wilhelmina Rahner, vaudeville dancer and singer, and wife of Harry Houdini.
Houdini, Harry
(1874-1926) Without doubt, the most famous magician in history.
Read the biography of Harry Houdini- see images!
Houston, Harry
(1888-1955) British stage magician (real name Herbert Taber) who enjoyed success on the Egyptian Hall stage under Maskelyne in the early 1900s before leaving the stage to become a theatrical manager and technician. Later went on tour with The Great Raymond as a technical assistant, but left after falling in love with Raymond's wife, Luella, whom he later married. Also managed the Carmo show in the 1920s.
Houston, William
(?-?) British magician who performed on the American Chautauqua circuit with a dead-on imitation of Leon Herrmann. Brother of Harry Houston.
Howard, Rupert
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
Huang, Dr. H. Sheng
(?-?) Magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
Hugard, Jean
(1872-1959)(birthday December 4) Australian-born magician and magic author. Real name John G. Boyce. Started his performing career in 1896, turning pro in 1900 as "Jean Hugarde" and "Ching Sun Loo". Worked in American vaudeville and then in his own magic theater in Coney Island's Luna Park before retiring his act in 1929 to become an author. His most famous illusion was "The Birth of the Sea Nymph", an illusion sold to him by creator and illusion builder Charles Catulle. Prolific author of books that are still popular today, including Encyclopedia of Card Tricks and Coin Magic. Also the founder of Hugard's Magic Monthly, which was published from 1943 to 1959. Fourth Dean of the Society of American Magicians, from 1952-1959.
Hugos, Franz
(?-?) Early 20th Century German magician, mentalist and hypnotist. Real name Hugo Dittrich. Also performed as "François Hugos".
(1881-1931) Stage name used by American magician Adam Hull Shirk.
Hull, Burling
(1889-1982)(birthday September 9) Legend has it that Burling Hull invented his first trick when he was only four years old. He became a prolific author of both magic and pulp novels as well as the inventor of a number of tricks including the Svengali Deck and the Menetekel Deck. Performing mainly under the stage name "Volta", he enjoyed a long career as both a stage magician and a magic dealer. He was also briefly billed as "The White Wizard". Known for his fierce protection of his own material and his prolific writings, his 33 Rope Ties and Chain Releases book written in 1915 is still popular today.
Hull, Ralph W.
(1883-1943)(birthday July 5) American magician (specialty card magic) and magic author who invented a number of effects still available today, including the Mirage Deck, the Brainwave Deck and the Mental Photography Deck. He was also involved in his family business, the well known Hull Pottery manufacturing company in Crooksville, Ohio. See Trevor H. Hall's 1945 biography, The Testament of Ralph W. Hull.
Hummer, Bob
(?-?) American magician and author credited with inventing the Whirling Card.
(?-?) Early 19th Century English magician featured on several period broadsides.
Hunt, Nicholas
(1595-1648) English mathematician who wrote the first force book in 1631, Newe Recreations, or the Mindes Release and Solacing. (A force book is a gimmicked book that allows a spectator to choose any word on any page of a book, and the magician is able to tell what the word is).
Hunter, George W.
(1850-1936)(birthday May 16) British-born magician who started as a music hall comedian in Chicago. By 1900, he was performing his own comedy magic act in vaudeville. A passionate closeup magician as well, he is credited with inventing the Acrobatic Matchbox and the Gypsy Switch as well as a version of the Card Castle for stage.
Hunter, Norman
Last surviving magician who performed with the Maskelyne shows, and a theatrical scale model builder
Read the biography of Norman Hunter- see images!
Hunter, Phil
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
Hurst, Lulu
(1869-?) American female magician who billed herself variously as "The Georgia Magnet", "The Georgia Wonder" and "The Electric Girl". Gained fame performing her physical resistance act in which male volunteers from the audience were invited to try and lift her or otherwise move her, despite her tiny size and their mass. Promoted as having "supernatural powers", and was billed as a spirit medium rather than a magician or variety performer. Houdini criticized her act for being obvious in its methods, writing in his Miracle Mongers and Their Methods. Her brief career was over within two years, when the 16-year-old got a dose of conscience and refused to fool her superstitious fans any more. Annie Abbott then performed a similar act, eliminating the spirit connection and finding worldwide fame. See also Mattie Lee Price.