Houdini and his Vanishing Elephant: Background information when reading The Magician's Elephant

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The Magician's Elephant

by Kate DiCamillo

The Magician's Elephant
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2009, 208 pages
    Mar 2011, 208 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

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Beyond the Book:
Houdini and his Vanishing Elephant

The magician in The Magician's Elephant makes an elephant appear. But what about an elephant that disappears?

In 1918, Houdini made an elephant vanish from the middle of the Hippodrome Theatre in New York before over 5000 pairs of eyes. Jennie was an 8 foot tall, 6,000 pound Asian elephant and when Houdini brought her onto the stage she would raise her trunk as though she were saying hello to the audience, and then she would walk into a box on wheels - and disappear.

Who taught Houdini how to do this magic trick? And how did Houdini do it?

First the who. In the early part of the 1900's, a man named Charles Morritt (1860-1936), sold and taught Houdini the basic principles of this illusion. A few years ago, Morritt's great-nephew, Norman Allen, researched his family ancestry and uncovered the story of this not-so-famous illusionist and hypnotist from Yorkshire, England.

Morritt was interested in magic as a teenager. He taught himself card tricks and some of the ...

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