HISTORIE VAN DE MAGIE
March 3 2019
Kobe Van Herwegen
Ye Olde Magic Mag, Vol. 5, Issue 3
Escamoteur, Jaargang 15, Editie 2
Cliffhanger, Peter Plas
Janis Van Heesbeke
Sunday the 3th of March marked the date for the 2019 edition of the Belgian History of Magic Conference.
The day kicked off with a demonstration of ‘the Demon`s Head’ by Herman Dufraing. A replica of the automaton, described by Professor Hoffmann in his book `Modern Magic` (1876), came to life and found two previously chosen pasteboards.
Ronald Moray lectured about his tutor Henk Vermeyden and surprised everyone by displaying the authentic prediction chest used by German illusionist Kalanag. For the first time in his career Ronald, who in 1990 predicted with Peter Vogel the outcome of the World Championship of Soccer, explained in detail the secret of this beautiful magical artefact. The lecture was well received with many gasps from the audience.
After a short break the stage made room for the performance of Dr. Q assisted by Miss Louise. The Sword Cabinet Illusion came to life through their energetic reenactment. The illusion itself was owned by Dutch Magician Winando and was acquired by Dr. Q from a Dutch Museum not realizing the historical value of this particular illusion.
Kobe Van Herwegen talked about his new book, cowritten with his father, on the life and career of Suzy Wandas. We saw a scoop of the final, richly illustrated layout of the book and heard that the story will be transformed by Els de Schepper into a musical. Also Suzy Wandas will be the subject of a television show on Belgium`s cultural television channel ‘Canvas’.
Luc Poppe revealed his plans for the new location of the ‘House of Mysteries’ just 50 yards from Ghent`s best known touristic highlight and medieval castle ‘Gravensteen’. This new location will house a performance hall, a close-up and parlor room, a vintage ‘spiegeltent’ and its own séance room. Honoring the splendor of the former Theatre Robert-Houdin in Paris and the Egyptian Hall in London, the ‘House of Mysteries’ will be a solid base in Ghent for the performance of magic and all things mysterious.
In between the lectures the museum showcased many beautiful and historical paraphernalia from private magic collections in Belgium.
The first lecture of the afternoon was given by Thomas Weynants, an expert on Magical Lanterns and the Fantasmagoria.
Marie Vandecaveye explained in detail the archiving procedures followed by `Huis Van Alijn’, in structuring their vast collection of circus and magic related items.
Hypnotist Patrick Pickart talked about the life and work of Ormond McGill and was followed up by Véronique Faber, lecturing on Alex Weyer, illusionist in the early 20th century and once a close friend of Harry Houdini.
The title of this year`s Guest of Honor was presented to Aaron Crow, a Belgian magician and semi-finalist on American`s Got Talent 2018. Aaron Crow talked openly about the development of his different acts and the challenges in becoming an international rising star.
The day ended with a viewing of the documentary ‘Ben Ali Libi-goochelaar’. Attendees were moved by the story of Michel Velleman, a Jewish entertainer living with his family in Amsterdam. During the razzia of the 2Oth of June 1943 the family was taken to Sobibor, a German extermination camp, where they died the same year.