Smoke & Mirrors — 1910


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!


THOMAS HENNEMORE: No need to be alarmed! When mag­ic is on your side, any­thing, even a flame…can be captured!

PIPPA EDISON: [applauds] Unbelievable!


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!

[orches­tra swells]


[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–



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] ♦