Max Dessoir (February 8, 1867 – July 19, 1947), a German philosopher and theorist of aesthetics was a skeptical student of the occult and an amateur magician who performed for charity as "Edmund W. Rells".
Dessoir was born in Berlin and earned doctorates from the universities of Berlin (philosophy, 1889) and Würzburg (medicine, 1892). He was a professor at Berlin from 1897 until 1933, when the Nazis forbade him to teach.
Dessoir wrote one of the first analysis on the psychological basis of magical illusions in "Zur Psychologie der Zauberkunst" (as Edmund Rells) in Psychologische Skizzen (1893). An English translation was "The Psychology of Legerdemain" in The Open Court, Vol.7, No.291 (1893). It was reprinted in H. J. Burlingame's Around the World with a Magician (1896 edition) and also in in Burlingame's Herrmann the Magician (1897)
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