Help us get to over 4,000 biographies in 2018.

If you know of a past magician not listed in MagicPedia, start a New Biography for them or Email us your suggestion.

J. Wellesley Lynn

From Magicpedia, the free online encyclopedia for magicians by magicians.
Jump to: navigation, search
J. Wellesley Lynn
BornJoseph Wellesley Lynn


J. Wellesley Lynn (fl. 1900-1920) was the eldest son of the Dr. Lynn (Hugh Washington Simmons (1831-1899)) and was himself both a conjurer and ventriloquist.[1]


He became known as a magician, specializing in adaptations of his fathers repertoire but later finding his own feet as a card magician.

In 1909 he created a comedy drama in three acts called "TheDoctor's Experiment". [2] The illusion of apparently dismembering a man was done without the assistance of traps or mirrors (most likely a version of his father's Palingenesia illusion).[3]

In the late 1800s, he was hired by two mechanics to help them claim a 500 pound reward offered by J. N. Maskelyne to anyone who could duplicate his canvas covered box escape. Wellesley successfully performed the challengers box escape with "The Great Carlton" as his assistant. When Maskelyne refused to pay the prize money they sued. Maskelyne lost the case and appealed the decision all the way to the House of Lords and after still not winning on appeal ended up paying the 500 pounds. [4][5][6]

Many years later, in the 1920s, Houdini bought the Palingenesia illusion from J. Wellesley and presented it in a comical manner as part of his own show.


  1. Magical Nights at the Theatre : A Chronicle by Waller, Charles (1980)
  2. The Magical World (Dec. 1910)
  3. Selbit's The Wizard (March 1909)
  4. Who was Doctor Lynn? by Allister Hardiman, posted on Todd Karr's "magical Pasttimes"
  5. Linking Ring Vol. 37 No. 12 (Feb 1958)
  6. Linking Ring, Vol. 39 No. 10 (Dec 1959)