P. T. Selbit

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P. T. Selbit (1881 - 1938) was an English magician and inventor who is credited with being the first person to perform the illusion of sawing a woman in half.

His birth name was Percy Thomas Tibbles and he was born in Hampstead, London. He learned magic at an early age and became a professional illusionist in the early 1900s. He has been reported as working a "pseudo-Egyptian" act under the name Joad Heteb between 1902 and 1908. Later he created the stage name P. T. Selbit by spelling his last name backwards and dropping one of the "B"s.

He was a prolific inventor of illusions. In addition to his famous sawing illusion he is credited with devising Walking through a Wall (1914), Girl/Man without a Middle (1924), Through the Eye of a Needle (1924), The Million Dollar Mystery, Stretching a Girl, and Avoiding the Crush, The Mighty Cheese, Selbit's Blocks and possibly also the Siberian Chain Escape.

Published work

  • Selbit is credited as writing The Magician's Handbook (1901)
  • Also, from 1905 to 1910, he edited a magic magazine called The Wizard (Selbit), which, under another editor, later became The Magic Wand.

[edit] References

  • Eric C. Lewis & Peter Warlock, P.T. Selbit: Magical Innovator, Magical Publications (1989), ISBN 0915181193
  • Jim Steinmeyer, Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear, Carroll & Graf, (reprint August 2004), ISBN 0786714018
  • Jim Steinmeyer, Art and Artifice: And Other Essays of Illusion, Carroll & Graf, (September 2006), ISBN 0786718064
  • P. T. Selbit, The Magician's Handbook: a Complete Encyclopedia of the Magic Art, (various editions, including: Marshall & Brookes, 1902; 3rd edition Dawbarn & Ward, 1904)
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