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Christopher, Milbourne (1914-1984)

Christopher, Milbourne (1914-1984)

One of America's leading conjuring magicians and chairman of the Occult Investigation Committee of the Society of American Magicians. Christopher entered the public eye in the mid-1970s when he challenged the feats of Uri Geller and other psychics in his book Mediums, Mystics and the Occult (1975). Based upon his observations, Christopher asserted that Geller was a clever conjurer and suggested various techniques by which his apparently paranormal feats were accomplished.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1914, Christopher practiced conjuring from early childhood. During the Depression years, he performed for the Roosevelts at the White House. He performed in more than 60 countries and amassed one of the world's largest private collections of magic memorabilia, including prints, paintings, letters, scrapbooks, playbills, drawings, and photographs relating to the great magicians of history. He wrote several books on the history of magic and his personal hero, Harry Houdini.

Although Christopher was a skeptic as far as occult and psychic phenomena were concerned, his writings on the subject had a precision and scholarly cast. He avoided making broad accusations against individuals; those searching for truth in paranormal research have found Christopher's skeptical writings valuable for their careful research and thoughtful presentation. Additional books on the paranormal by Christopher include ESP, Seers & Psychics (1970) and Search for the Soul (1979), a report on the continuing quest by psychics and scientists for evidence of life after death.

Christopher did much to popularize magic shows on television during the 1950s and demonstrated some amazing acts, including making an elephant vanish and catching a bullet fired from a rifle in his mouth. He also served as president of the American Society of Magicians. He died in New York, June 17, 1984, after complications following surgery.

Sources:

Christopher, Milbourne. ESP, Seers & Psychics. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1970.

. Houdini: The Untold Story. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1969. Reprint, New York: Pocket Books, 1970.

. The Illustrated History of Magic. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1973.

. Mediums, Mystics and the Occult. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1975.

. Panorama of Magic. New York: Dover Publications, 1962.

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