LOST MAGIC DECODED, History
Some magic effects are so mysterious, they've confounded illusionists for hundreds of years. How can a mechanical man defeat a world chess champion? How can a live bullet be stopped in mid-air? Magic has an ancient history, and one master magician, StEve Cohen, is on a quest to uncover the secrets behind these legendary feats and more.
In LOST MAGIC DECODED, a new two-hour special premiering Thursday, October 18 at 9 pm ET on HISTORY, Cohen tracks down, decodes, and resurrects ten of the most thrilling and shocking magical illusions ever witnessed. He gains access to the ancient incantations, secret sorcery, and mysterious contraptions that have gripped audiences for centuries. As he explores these legendary effects, he uncovers how they were influenced by their times, and how the illusions themselves changed the course of history. And the more he discovers, the closer he becomes to taking the same death-defying risks that conjurors have been taking since magic began more than a 1,000 years ago for the sake of an illusion.
Some of the most legendary illusions of all time are brought back to life in LOST MAGIC DECODED. They include:
“The Turk,” a magical wooden chess player, who first appeared in the 1780s, and perplexed the greatest minds in the world including Ben Franklin, Napoleon, and Edgar Allan Poe. Only one man has ever fully cracked the code of “The Turk.” Cohen tracks him down in modern day Los Angeles to bring this mystifying illusion back to life.
“The Light and Heavy Chest” was made famous by Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin, the father of modern magic, when the French government summoned him to put down an incipient revolt in the French colony of Algeria by demonstrating that he could easily achieve total control over the strongest rebelling warriors. Cohen must find his own method of turning a modern-day strongman from crushing bodybuilder into a weakling with the strength of a 3-year-old child.
In “The Indian Rope Trick,” an Indian street magician, or fakir, levitates a rope out of a basket and sends his young son climbing up the rope until he disappears. The fakir then climbs up after the boy, dismembers him in the sky, and resurrects him before the stunned audience. Cohen travels to Northern India to track down the one man who is rumored to perform the effect today, hoping to find a way to bring this dazzling piece of lost magic back to life.
At least 12 magicians have died in “The Bullet Catch” since its first recorded performance in the 15th century. Despite the advice of many magic experts and historians -- and even a magician who survived the bullet catch -- Cohen is determined to join the pantheon of magicians who have incomprehensibly caught a bullet and lived to tell the tale. In the shocking conclusion of LOST MAGIC DECODED, Cohen risks his life by attempting to catch a live bullet.