Talk:Ching Ling Foo

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Search for Ching Ling Foo’s Date of Death

Ching Ling Foo’s date of birth/death is usually given to be March 11, 1854 to 1922. Some sources state 1854-1918. The information is normally copied to the sources, what is true?


MAGIC, A REFERENCE GUIDE Earle J. Coleman Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 86-29611 ISBN: 0-313-23397-7, ISSN: 0193-6859, First published in 1987

Appendix, p.177 …

  • 1854, Birth of Ching Ling Foo (pseudonym for Chee Ling Qua), a Chinese magician who introduced his elegant brand of Oriental magic to America in 1898. Died 1918.

  • 1861, Birth of Chung Ling Soo (pseudonym for William Ellsworth Campbell Robinson), an American magician who achieved world fame before his untimely death in 1918 while performing the bullet-catching stunt.

Hay, Henry (Ed): Cyclopedia of Magic ©1949 Henry Hay, David McKay Co; Dover Edition 1975 ISBN: 0-486-21808-2 …

  • 120 Chinese Magic: defined
  • 121 Chinese Wands: described, multiple versions
  • 123 Ching Ling Foo (Chee Ling Qua): 1854-1918 bio
  • 123 Ching Ling Foo Water Can: defined
  • 124 Chopper Effects: defined
  • 124 Chung Ling Soo (William Ellisworth Campbell): 1861-1918 bio


M-U-M Vol. 61, No.7, December 1971

SOCIETY OF AMERICAN MAGICIANS MAGIC HALL OF FAME, by John Zweers, Chairman LIST OF MEMBERS (1971), p.18 …

  • Adelaide Herrmann 1853-1932
  • Ching Ling Foo 1854-1918
  • Dr. A. M. Wilson 1854-1930
  • Frederick Eugene Powell 1836-1926
  • Chung Ling Soo 1861-1918
  • Dr. Henry Ridgely Evans 1861-1949


The Sphinx, Vol. 18 of September 1919 gives a detailed biography of Ching Ling Foo but doesn’t mention his death. In the search of the date I didn’t find any reliable source, so I tried to find documents past 1918 which mention Ching Ling Foo giving any hint.

The sources I found are listed below. According to that information I have to conclude, 1922 is reliable. May be the sources given above mix up his date of death with that of William Ellsworth Robinson who toured under Chung Ling Soo.


The Sphinx, Vol.21, January 1923

Vancouver Society of Magicians, p.405 Our amiable Secretary, Mr. Bowycr. having left our fair city for fairer attractions at Montreal, it devolves upon me to acquaint the world at large with the recent doings of our Society. Blackstone was here recently and although I did not have the pleasure of seeing him myself. Pres. Wilson interviewed him • and tells me that he is a good scout.

Maurice, the Continental Magi was also highly praised for his clever work, but it is objected that his delivery is not quite what it might be. The local manager of the Pantages informs me that Ching Ling Foo is expected here shortly.


The Sphinx, Vol.23, November 1924, p.297

Chefolo tells Houdini that Ching Ling Foo died two years ago in Shanghai, China, thus confirming a rumor to the effect.


The Sphinx, Vol 32, February 1934 ... The Ching Ling Foo Company under the guidance of little Chee, Toy daughter of the late Ching Ling Foo, after a long season at the Century of Progress are on tour in vaudeville in the East and present a very fine show of Oriental entertainment, p.377


The Linking Ring, Vol. 28, No. 9, November 1948

Impressions Of Magic In China, by John Booth, p.26

Peiping was the home of Ching Ling Foo. He is buried there.

-- User:Hardi 28 May 2012


I would agree that the 1918 death date given by many is probably a mix up with Chung Ling Soo, but will keep my eye out for more information. -- Joe P. 07:46, 28 May 2012 (EST)
I did find this in Magicol No. 29 (No. 1970) which transcribes some letters from Kellar to Houdini "February 27, 1919 - Kellar expresses his regrets at the death of Ching Ling Foo and says his letters to his assistants in Shanghai were returned." Joe P. 08:10, 28 May 2012 (EST)
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