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Chris Van Bern

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Chris Van Bern

Cover of Sphinx (Nov. 1911)
BornThomas Robinson Byrne
January 6, 1872
Liverpool, England
DiedFebruary 7, 1950 (age 78)
Leicester, England
CategoriesBooks by Chris Van Bern

Chris Van Bern (1872-1950), born Thomas Robinson Byrne in Liverpool. His parents were Thomas Byrne and Margaret Byrne (nee Brown). His father's birth place is uncertain, however, Margaret was born in Liverpool in 1841. CVB was billed as "The Act that cannot be described" consisting of magic, music, quick changes and his Wine and Water trick.


He married Margaret Ellen Sandham in 1900 and they had a daughter; Dorothy Vera Byrne in 1901. Margaret Ellen died in 1902. It is thought that he married Florence Beatrice Healiss between 1903-1911. Florence was a lady Baritone who performed under various names; Iva Voice, Flo Lister, Sybil Lister and Cora Lister. NB Lister was her mother's maiden name. She became his magical assistant and had the surname, Byrne, in all official records subsequentlys. Many of his original effects were published by Will Goldston in his Locked Books series.

He early made a study of general science and psychology in New York, and received diplomas from the College for Science and the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York and Rochester City, and other institutions.[1]

Van Bern was a Gold Medalist and Life Member of the Inner Magic Circle and he did appear to hold the record for the number of high offices that he held in magic societies.[2]

Hon. President for;

  • Modern Mystic League, Blackburn
  • Leeds Circle of Magicians
  • Glasgow Magic Society
  • Mystic 12, Glasgow

President and Founder of the Magic Circle, Barrow-In-Furness

President for;

  • Dewsbury Mystic 7
  • Trent Vale Order of Mystics
  • Southport Society of Sorcerers
  • Esoteric Society of Mystics, Liverpool
  • Society for the Investigating Psychic Happenings

Vice-President for;

  • Mahatma Circle of Magicians
  • Magicians’ Club, London
  • Leicester Magic Circle
  • Order of the Magi, Manchester
  • Sheffield Magical Society
  • Yorkshire Magical Society
  • Northern Magical Society, Liverpool
  • Wizards of the South, Southampton



  1. Cover, The Sphinx, Vol. 10, No. 9, November 1911, Chris Van Bern, page 167
  2. "Chris Van Bern’s ‘Society’ Record." The World’s Fair. December 21, 1940