John Nevil Maskelyne

Quick Facts

NameJohn Nevil Maskelyne
Date of Birth22 December 1839
Place of BirthCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
Date of Death18 May 1917 (aged 77)
Place of DeathMarylebone, London, England
Occupation(s)Magician, escapologist, inventor, paranormal investigator
SpouseElizabeth Taylor (1840–1911)
ChildrenNevil Maskelyne
ParentsJohn Nevil Maskelyne (1800–1875) and Harriet Brunsdon (1812–1871)
Notable InventionsPay toilet, other Victorian-era devices
CollaboratorsGeorge Alfred Cooke, David Devant
Famous Works– “Sharps and Flats: A Complete Revelation of the Secrets of Cheating at Games of Chance and Skill”
Founding of Occult Committee1914, to investigate and expose claims of supernatural powers
Early Career– Trained as a watchmaker
– Became interested in magic after seeing the Davenport brothers act
First Major ActRecreated the Davenport brothers’ spirit cabinet illusion, exposing their trickery in Cheltenham, June 1865
Partnership with George Alfred CookeBuilt a version of the spirit cabinet, added comedy illusions, and performed successful shows
Professional TransitionTransitioned from local performances to a professional magician with organized tours and expanded routines

John Nevil Maskelyne Books

Our Magic1911
Sharps and Flats1895
Sharps and Flats: A Complete Revelation of the Secrets of Cheating1894
Modern SpiritualismN/A
The Fraud of Modern Theosophy Exposed2014
Modern Spiritualism: A Short Account of Its Rise and Progress1875
Oriental MagicN/A

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