Smoke & Mirrors — 1910
by Jen Krueger
In 1910, the 102nd Annual Magician’s Consortium was hosted in Prague, but, for reasons previously unknown, the event was never held again. Minutiae has uncovered a radio transmission from the event filed by intrepid correspondent Pippa Edison, and presents here a transcript of her report for a look at what would ultimately be the last Annual Magician’s Consortium.
PIPPA EDISON: As you can clearly hear behind me, it’s all hustle and bustle at the 102nd Annual Magician’s Consortium. What began in 1808 as a private gathering of sixteen prestidigitators has grown substantially over the years, and is now considered the world’s largest magic event, drawing over 150 magicians and thousands of magic fans from forty-seven countries.
Joining me now is Thomas Hennemore, the head of the governing body of the Consortium, the Board of Illusion. Mr. Hennemore, what can visitors expect from this year’s Consortium?
THOMAS HENNEMORE: Well, Pippa, that’s the beauty of a magic show. The only thing you can expect…is the unexpected!
PIPPA EDISON: Wow, I’m– I’m speechless! I didn’t expect– Is that a real dove?
THOMAS HENNEMORE: She may appear to be a dove, but don’t be fooled. In truth, she is…a phoenix!
PIPPA EDISON: [yelps]
THOMAS HENNEMORE: No need to be alarmed! When magic is on your side, anything, even a flame…can be captured!
PIPPA EDISON: [applauds] Unbelievable!
THOMAS HENNEMORE: Thank you.
PIPPA EDISON: Mr. Hennemore, much has been made of the infamous Mobius Trick. Can you tell us a bit about it?
THOMAS HENNEMORE: Yes, the Mobius Trick was created in 1817 by Edmund Verrig, the first head of the Board of Illusion. Many called it the most complex illusion ever created, and Verrig responded to the accolades with a challenge: anyone able to figure out how the trick is performed would become the next head of the Board of Illusion. It took thirty-six years for someone to come to Edmund with a solution. The Board of Illusion has been determining its presiding member in the same way since.
PIPPA EDISON: And you’ve now been the head of the Board for twenty-three years?
THOMAS HENNEMORE: Yes, that’s correct. I’ll be performing the Mobius Trick momentarily, actually.
PIPPA EDISON: We’re looking forward to it. Thank you for joining me, Mr. Hennemore.
THOMAS HENNEMORE: Thank you, and enjoy the show!
PIPPA EDISON: While Mr. Hennemore prepares for his performance, the last audience members are finding their seats. It certainly is a full house for this centerpiece illusion, one not likely to be forgotten by any man, woman, or child here today.
[violin strings keen]
PIPPA EDISON: Ah, it looks like Mr. Hennemore is taking the stage.
THOMAS HENNEMORE: Ladies and gentlemen, in accordance with tradition, I present: the Mobius Trick.
What you are about to see is a feat of daring. A defiance of death. I will bend the very laws of nature to my will!
[audience gasps, screams]
PIPPA EDISON: Oh god! No! This cannot be what Mr. Hennemore intended!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE: Their flesh! It’s like they’re melting into each other! Is there a physician in the house?! Please, for the love of god, someone find a doctor!
PIPPA EDISON: I think I’m going to be ill, I–
[footsteps racing away]
SECOND UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE: Miss, are you all right?
PIPPA EDISON: Yes, I think so–
SECOND UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE: Please, step aside, we need to make a clear path to the injured.
PIPPA EDISON: Yes, of course–
THOMAS HENNEMORE: What have I done? WHAT HAVE I DONE?!
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD’S VOICE: Mommy? Get up, mommy.
PIPPA EDISON: Mr. Hennemore, perhaps you should step away from–
THOMAS HENNEMORE: No, I did this, I must help them! I can reverse it, I can–
[cries of agony]
PIPPA EDISON: Mr. Hennemore, stop! You’re making it worse! Please, just leave it for medical professionals!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE VOICE: My son! Someone help my son!
THOMAS HENNEMORE: If this is what my magic has wrought, there is only one thing left to do.
PIPPA EDISON: Mr. Hennemore, what are you doing? Please don’t attempt any more illusions! What is that in your hand? Are you going to–
[electricity arcing, glass breaking] [terrified screams] [static] ♦