Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Wyman the Wizard's Grave

Here lies a great 19th Century Conjurer John Wyman, known professionally as Wyman the Wizard. He was born in 1816 in Albany NY and according to several magic history books, he was the most successful magician of his time from a financial perspective. I think that Signor Blitz would take the honor of being the most well known of that time, especially with his dozen + imitators. Though a number of newspapers dispute that fact and say that Wyman was THE most popular. Either way Wyman apparently made the most money, and unlike Blitz, Herrmann, Anderson, Heller and others he was American born!

He had the honor of having performed for President Abraham Lincoln four times. Apparently Mr. Lincoln was a big fan of magic as he had seen, Blitz, Compars Herrmann and now Wyman the Wizard! David Copperfield has in his museum, the very coins that Wyman the Wizard used to pass through the hands of Abraham Lincoln during one of his performances before the President. Wyman lived on 6th St in Washington D.C. for a period of time. And his regular performance spot was a place called The Odd Fellows Hall, which was located at 419 7th St N.W Washington, almost exactly half way between the Capital Building and The White House. I assume that his close proximity to the White House and his celebrity status helped him obtain his numerous appearances before not just President Lincoln, but also President Martin Van Buren and President Millard Fillmore.
According to Houdini, Wyman had one particular attribute that made him popular, he was honest! This is an important fact to remember because Wyman presented what were called 'Gift Shows'. Basically, all the tickets that were sold to his shows had numbers on them and every ticket received a prize depending upon the number. Wyman apparently gave out some really good quality items, among them, watches, table sets, family bibles, silver plated ware and more.

To read more about the life of Wyman the Wizard, please visit the following link

Wyman is buried next to his wife in Oak Grove Cemetery in Fall River Mass. His grave is in Lot 105, Oleander Path. John Wyman died July 31st 1881.

Photos courtesy of fellow magic historian Gary Hunt!