Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Grave of Howard Thurston

Howard Thurston, the great illusionist was born in Columbus Ohio on July 20,1869.  Thurston took over the Mantle of Magic from Harry Kellar in 1908 and reigned as the best known illusionist in America for almost 30 years. His life story has recently been captured in a biography by magic historian Jim Steinmeyer called "The Last Greatest Magician In the World". 

Thurston began his magical life as a Card Manipulator. He made cards appear and vanish in his bare hands and closed his act with a clever version of the Rising Card Trick. He arranged an appointment to show his trick to Leon Herrmann and successfully mystified him. Leon was the nephew to the Alexander, who was known as The Great Herrmann . Thurston used this event to further his career and promoted himself as 'The Man Who Mystified Herrmann', though technically, it was the younger Herrmann not the elder.

Thurston had dreams of one day having the biggest traveling show in the world. He gradually added material and tricks to his show and worked the material during a tour of the world. When he returned in 1907, he met with Harry Kellar who was looking for a successor. They worked out an agreement where Thurston would purchase the show and the two would take one final tour together. In May 1908, Kellar passed the mantle of magic over to the younger Thurston. Though he acquired the entire show, Thurston only used The Levitation Illusion and The Spirit Cabinet.

He died on April 13, 1936 and is entombed in Columbus Ohio at the Green Lawn Abbey Mausoleum.
Dean Carnegie standing outside the Green Lawn Abbey in Columbus.
If you'd like to learn more about Howard Thurston, check out the new book available through Amazon.http://www.amazon.com/Last-Greatest-Magician-World-Thurston/dp/1585428450

Also Rory Feldman is probably the foremost authority on Thurston today, he has an incredible collection which can seen at www.ThurstonMasterMagician.com

Finally, The Green Lawn Abbey Association is working hard to get their structure repaired and hopefully one day functional enough to be a working Mausoleum. If you are interested in helping out the Green Lawn Abbey, click here.


  1. my great great great uncle was born in 1869 the tomb in the abbey is incorrect on the date ^_^

  2. Hello Rachael. You are correct! I never noticed that before. I also corrected it within my blog as I listed it as 1870 as well.