|photo used with permission of Kent Blackmore|
Long before Harry Jansen became known as Dante, there was another Dante. In fact, this Dante had the potential to rival Howard Thurston, but tragedy struck his life.
His name was Oscar Eliason and he was born July 8th 1869 in the state of Utah. He showed an interest in magic from an early age. After seeing Herrmann The Great perform, he decided this would be his chosen profession though his father wanted him to follow in the family business.
When Anna Eva Fay came to town, Oscar decided he would put together a show that exposed her methods. He did this quite successfully and later had quite a run in with another medium by the name of Harry Waite. He and Waite attacked each other in the papers and eventually Oscar went on to expose the tricks of Waite and more.
His early days he billed himself as 'The Mormon Wizard' but around 1896 he changed his stage name to 'DANTE'. It appears the name Dante was one he had in mind to use even at an early age, but it wouldn't become official until later.
While on tour in Australia, he and some friends went on a hunting trip. During the trip, Oscar was accidentally shot by one of the company. He died a couple days later on November 29th, 1899, he was only thirty years old.
He is buried in Sydney Australia in the Waverly Cemetery, down the hill towards the sea, past the large monument to the Irish dead is the location of the grave.
I want to thank Kent Blackmore for letting me use his photo above. The biographical information on this blog comes from Kent's incredible article on Oscar Eliason on his website. Please check it out because it gives far more information about the life of this incredible young magician. http://www.sydneymagic.net/eliason/oe-index.html