|Born||William Torrance Neff|
September 1, 1905
|Died||February 12, 1967 (age 61) |
|Known for||spook shows|
Bill Neff (1905 - 1967) was known for performing spook shows in the 1940s and 50s that usually started at midnight, preceding scary movies in theaters.
The Neff family later moved to Indiana and attended the same church that James Stewart family's attended. By the age of 16, young Neff was immersed in magic and by 1923, Neff and friend Stewart as an assistant, developed an act.
Neff attended Pennsylvania State University from 1923 to 1928 and later would accumulate a large collection of books dealing with matters of the occult.
Neff joined The Society of American Magicians in 1929 just before starting work selling life insurance for his father's employer. He continued to pursue magic.
In 1933, Neff married Virginia Louise Flickinger who would become an assistant on his show traveling to destinations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Neff eventually made magic his full-time profession in 1939, first as apprenticeship under Clifford Ackerman who taught him illusions such as The Spirit Cabinet and Burned Alive.
He enjoyed success performing as Dr. Neff from 1945 to 1952 with his "Madhouse of Mystery" show. Neff also performed mind reading, hypnosis and did escapes.
Neff would close his spook show by wishing the crowd "Pleasant nightmares."
- The Sphinx, Vol 31, No. 10, December 1932, Who’s Who in Magic, Bill Neff, page 407
- Cover, The Linking Ring Vol 14, No. 10, December 1934, William T. Neff, I.B.M. Nage 538
- The Linking Ring, Vol. 47, No. 3, May 1967, Broken Wand, William T. Neff, page 103
- The New Tops, Vol. 7, No. 6, June 1967, It’s A Mystery To Me, by Clarke “The Senator” Crandal – Bill Neff, page 9
- Pleasant Nightmares: Dr. Neff and His Madhouse of Mystery by William V. Rauscher (2008)
- Indiana's Bill Neff was one of the premier magicians By BILL ZIMMERMAN Indiana Gazette, Sunday, May 17, 2009