Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fakir of Ava's Grave

photo courtesy of Dave Pape
The Fakir of Ava was really Isaiah Harris Hughes and was born in Essex England on December 25, 1810. He moved to America and took the name of a previous employer and became The Fakir of Ava. Hughes traveled across the US during the Civil War and did quite well. He developed a type of show called 'The Gift Show' where he would give out basically inexpensive door prizes to audience members. This scheme really helped his business and he was able to retire with a good deal of money.

He was also Harry Kellar's mentor. The story is that Hughes put an ad in the paper looking for an assistant. A young Harry Kellar saw the ad and applied for the job. Kellar was met at the door by Hughes dog and Hughes told him to come in. Harry got the job! The reason...Harry Kellar was the first person that applied for the job that the dog actually liked!

Harry Kellar stayed with the Fakir of Ava and worked as his assistant for a number of years. When The Fakir felt that Harry was ready to go out on his own as a magician, he gave his blessing and off Harry went.

The Fakir of Ava died on May 24th, 1891 and was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo New York. Along with the Fakir of Ava, President Millard Filmore is also buried in Forest Lawn. Here is the New York Times Obituary for the Fakir of Ava.

The website for the cemetery is

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The grave of Dr. Henry Slade

Henry Slade was not a magician, nor was he a real doctor. He was a Victorian era Spirit Medium who according to Mahatma Magazine "was the originator of spook slate writing." He was from the same area of the country that produced the Fox Sisters and the Davenport Brothers, also famous spirit mediums.

He was so popular that he traveled the world presenting his seances and spirit sittings. However, in London he was exposed as a fraud by Professor Ray Lankester and sentenced to several months in prison. However, upon appeals the case was dismissed and Dr. Slade returned to America.

He fought exposure his whole life from scientific investigators and magicians, but it wasn't until he was robbed and beaten one night in NY that his career came to a halt. He ended up partially paralyzed and struggled to continue his sittings. He was penniless and ended up in a Sanitorium in Detroit.

He died September 8, 1905 and is buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Albion Michigan. His grave is in Block 22, Lot 19.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Grave of Chung Ling Soo

(photo used with permission of Tom Atkinson)
Chung Ling Soo was the stage name of magician William Ellsworth Robinson. He was an American born in NY on April 2, 1861. His life story has been covered in a number of books, but the most extensive book is GLORIOUS DECEPTION by Jim Steinmeyer (a must read). Robinson was probably the most knowledgeable man in magic in his lifetime but he struggled to be successful. Instead he worked for the big names of the time like Alexander Herrmann, then Harry Kellar and then Herrmann again.

One day he witnessed a performance by an authentic Chinese Conjurer Ching Ling Foo and was so inspired by the performance that he decided to create his own oriental character Chung Ling Soo. Before long, a feud would break out between the two culminating in a showdown at a London Newspaper Office. However, Soo won the title as the best magician because FOO didn't show up.

On March 23rd 1918, Soo was fatally wounded on stage during a performance of the dangerous Bullet Catching Feat. He died the following day. Speculation continues to this day of whether or not it was an accident or perhaps some sort of planned suicide by Robinson. I tend to lean towards accident.

Soo/Robinson is buried in East Sheen Cemetery, Section B, grave number 219/220/221 London. Here is a photo of the cemetery entrance. The photo at the top of the page was kindly furnished by Tom Atkinson of Maidstone, Kent, England.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Max Malini Grave

Max Malini was born Max Katz on August 14, 1873 in Ostrov, which was near the border of Poland and Austria. According to information in the new article about Malini in Genii Magazine, Max got inspired to become a magician after watching a performance of Alexander Herrmann.

He began his professional career in Washington D.C. and eventually became a performer for royalty and high society. He chose a performing style different than most of his contemporaries. Where Houdini and Thurston and Kellar traveled with huge amounts of apparatus and props, Malini developed an act mostly on sleight of hand routines. But he learned that it was his personality that was the real selling point. His ability to garner publicity was similar to that of Houdini's. He did do rely upon exciting dangerous escapes however, rather his small close-up effects bordered on the miraculous and he made sure to present them before influential people.

Max died in Hawaii on October 3rd, 1942. He is buried in the Waldheim Jewish Cemetery 1400 Des Plaines Ave, Forest Park, IL 60130, Gate 47, Lot 137, Section D, Row 11, Grave 6. He is buried next to his first wife Lizzie Katz, though his grave is unmarked.

IN the October 2012 issue of Genii Magazine there is a fantastic article by David Ben about Max Malini, I encourage you to pick it up as it contains a wealth of new information on Malini.

IF you have a photo of the grave you'd be willing to share, please email me at

Monday, September 3, 2012

Adelaide Herrmann - Grave

photo courtesy of Richie Magic & Barbara Nista

The Queen of Magic, Adelaide Herrmann was the wife/widow of Alexander Herrmann. After her husband died on a train in 1896, Adelaide decided to carry on the show. First, she sent for her nephew Leon Herrmann from Europe to fill in for Alexander. This partnership only lasted a short time and then Adelaide created a solo act of her own.

In 1926, a fire in a NYC Warehouse destroyed most of the props from the Herrmann show, but with the help of other professional magicians like Harry Houdini and Harry Blackstone, Adelaide began to rebuild.

She passed away Feb 19, 1932. She had been writing her memoirs at the time but never finished them. An attempt was made to publish the memoirs after her death but the Great Depression prevented that from happening. Then in 2011, Margaret Steele had the good fortune to locate and acquire the manuscript and she later published a very wonderful version of Adelaide Herrmann's Memoirs.

Adelaide is buried next to her husband Alexander in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx NY in the Oak Hill section.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Alexander Herrmann Grave

photo courtesy of Richie Magic & Barbara Nista

Here lies Herrmann The Great! Alexander Herrmann, youngest brother to Compars Herrmann, son to Samuel Herrmann and wife to Adelaide Herrmann. He began his career assisting his brother Compars. Some say that he had been kidnapped by his older brother, but I'm not so sure. In any case, they worked together until Alexander was proficient enough to go out on his own. One of their more prestigious shows was for President and Mrs. Lincoln at the White House in Washington D.C..

Both Alexander and Compars were excellent magicians, but Alexander also added comedy into his routines. In addition, Alexander also played the part of magician off stage as well as on. When out at a restaurant or while shopping he would cause some magical event to happen that would surprise everyone around him. On a few occasions this impromptu magic show backfired and Herrmann had to scramble to 'fix' the situation. One example was when he produced a diamond ring while at dinner. He showed it to a waitress who said it belonged to her and took it. Herrmann had to plead with the restaurant manager to get the ring back.

Alexander Herrmann died on his own private train car on December 17th, 1896 while in route to a show in Pennsylvania. After he died, his wife Adelaide took over the show and brought in nephew Leon Herrmann to fill the spot left behind by Alexander.

Alexander Herrmann is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx NY in the Oak Hill section. Adelaide's grave is right next to his.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Margery the Medium - Cemetery

Mina Stinson Crandon, better known as Margery the Medium was born in Canada in 1888. She became famous as a Boston Medium who came up against Harry Houdini. Controversy still exists today as to exactly what took place. Margery claimed Houdini tried to sabotage her and did things to make her appear fake. He denied it.

However, some claim that Jim Collins admitted after Houdini had died that he placed a ruler in the 'Margery Box' to try and make it appear that Margery was a fake. On top of that he claimed Houdini told him to do it. But I don't know if Jim Collins actually said this. It's terribly out of character for him.

Margery died on November 1st , 1941 in Boston. She is buried in the Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston. Below is a map showing where she is buried in the cemetery. X marks the spot, approximately. Update: The red X on the map should move over to the right slightly. The grave is next to the roadside on Birch Ave.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Washington Irving Bishop's Grave

Washington Irving Bishop was a Victorian Era Mentalist/Mind Reader, or what we might think of today as a Psychic Entertainer. One of his signature feats was driving a horse drawn carriage blind folded. He got his start working with Anna Eva Fay and later Jacob Randall Brown. He had an interesting life and an even more interesting death which you can read about here,

Bishop is buried in the Green-wood Cemetery 500 25th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11232
He is buried in Lot 5628 Section 117
Died May 13th, 1889

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Kuda Bux Grave

Kuda Bux was known as The Man with X-Ray Eyes. I still vividly recall seeing one of his performances on TV and being dumbfounded by what I saw. I was told that at the time this performance took place, Kuda Bux was legally blind. I don't know if that was legit, but it sure made his exhibition even more impressive.

Kuda Bux died February 5, 1981 and is buried in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Cemetery. He is apparently buried in an unmarked grave behind the church as you enter the cemetery.

Forest Lawn Hollywood Hill Cemetery is located at 6300 Forest Lawn Drive Los Angeles, CA 90068
I believe the church is called The Church of the Hills, as that is the closest one to the front gate.

I want to thank Bill Bowers for graciously providing the information on Kuda's final resting place.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Grave of Anna Eva Fay

Here is the private mausoleum of famed mind reader and medium Anna Eva Fay. Though not a traditional magician in the sense we think of, she did use magic techniques to accomplish her feats. She admitted in her later years that she was a fake. Though during her time she fooled everyone!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

WILD ABOUT HARRY: Finding the grave of Edward Saint

The L.A. Houdini folks are at it again and this time they went searching for Dr. Edward Saint. He was the companion of Bess Houdini for years, instrumental in the Final Houdini Seance and frankly extremely helpful in keeping the Houdini name alive. Edward Saint is buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, CA. Now, I don't live in LA so I didn't have the good fortune to go on the hunt for the grave myself but... watch the video in the attached link and you can experience the adventure for yourself!

WILD ABOUT HARRY: Finding the grave of Edward Saint: Embolden by our recent success at finding the grave of Jacob Hyman , my fellow Houdini buffs and I went in search of the final resting place...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Other Houdini Grave

This is the grave of Jacob Hyman, the man who gave Erich Weiss his name. If you don't know the story, two teen age friends Erich Weiss and Jacob Hyman were talking about the great French magician Robert-Houdin. They were both into magic and wanted to emulate this master. Jacob suggested by adding an 'i' to the end of the name, it would mean 'like Houdin' in French, so Houdin became HOUDINI. And actually Jacob and Erich (Harry) became the Houdini Brothers.

Jacob wouldn't be with the act long before he was replaced by his brother Joe Hyman and then Theo Weiss and eventually Bess Houdini. Harry kept the Houdini name and apparently so did Jacob. When Harry found out about it, he was not too happy. Harry wouldn't even let his real brother Theo keep the name, instead giving him the name Hardeen.

Jacob eventually became a prominent physician in Beverly Hills. He died in 1942. He is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Graceland Section Lot 320 Space 3, Glenda, CA. The photo above is the grave of Jacob Hyman. The photo below is his brother Joe. The photos were graciously supplied by John Cox of You can read about his exciting trip to find the graves by clicking this link:

WILD ABOUT HARRY: This is J. Gordon Whitehead

J. Gordon Whitehead, the guy who punched Houdini, gets more hits on my site than all the other magicians combined. John Cox over at Wild About Harry has posted a photo of Whitehead if you'd like to see it. It's the only known photo of Whitehead.

WILD ABOUT HARRY: This is J. Gordon Whitehead: This is the only known photo of Jocelyn Gordon Whitehead, the McGill University student who punched Houdini in his dressing room at the Pri...