Anderson, John Henry

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The "Great Wizard of the North", John Henry Anderson
The "Great Wizard of the North", John Henry Anderson
A famous 19th-century Scottish-born stage magician, philanthropist and debunker of "psychic" fraudsters, John Henry Anderson was also a genuine wizard, one of the last two centuries' most famous and accomplished proponents of the plain sight exploit.

His Wikipedia entry gives most of the salient details of his public life. Anderson was normally scrupulous in keeping his "conjuror's" life separate from the work he did on errantry; but his work as a stage magician made it extremely simple for him to use wizardry at short notice and in public when there was need. He emphatically had no need to cheat by using wizardry in his everyday stage work, as he brought to this a level of creativity and flair which was unheard of in his time. Some imagery associated with him has become an indelible part of popular culture. He invented, for example, a piece of magical business now inextricably bound up with stage magic: the pulling of rabbits out of hats. (He may also have introduced the black, white-tipped stage magician's wand, though this is less certain.)

Anderson was publicly known during his lifetime as "Great Wizard of the North", a title which he allowed the public to think had been passed to him by Sir Walter Scott (also known as "Wizard of the North" previously). But very few people except wizards ever knew how true the title was. In the wizardly community Anderson was famous worldwide for his work with elementals and elemental constructions, and consulted widely up to the planetary level.

Despite his great skill as a wizard, Anderson's life was plagued by unfortunate events, money troubles and personal tragedy. Some wizards have theorized that he had courted the Lone Power's attentions by being a little too enthusiastically astahfrith in Earth's sevarfrith Western culture: but there is no way to tell how much or little truth there may be to this conjecture.

(See also: protective coloration.)

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