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John H. Percival

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John H. Percival
BornAugust 28, 1888
Providence, Rhode Island
DiedNovember 13, 1974 (age 86)

John H. Percival (1888-1974), as the "Mysterious John and Rene," performed an act in clubs, churches and lodges throughout New England with his wife.


His debut as a paid performer came on February 26, 1907 with the name of "Mysterious John" at the Town Hall in Plainsville, Massachusetts (at other times he adopted the name "Rene".)[1]

His interest in magic started as a child and he began buying books and equipment and attending performances of magicians touring the area.

He became a close friend of Thurston, Blackstone and Houdini (whom he at one time acted as "stooge"). A was also a mentor to H. Adrian Smith.

Percival was very active in the magic community. He was a correspondent for the Combined Magical Club Bulletin as part of the Providence Society of Magicians (which he was a president). He served as president of the Rhode Island Assembly of the National Conjurers Association. He was a member of the SAM Boston Assembly No. 9 (which he served as president)and helped organized Assembly 76 in Miami. He was a member of the I.B.M. starting in 1927, attending meetings at Ring 122 (Boston), Ring 44 (Providence), and Ring 150 (Ft. Lauderdale, FL).

He wrote articles in such magazines as M-U-M, Sphinx, the Boston Barnstormer.[2]

Percival retired from the New England Telephone Co. in 1953 after some 48 years, where he was a general personnel assistant in the Boston office. He was a president of the Bristol County Telephone Pioneers of America.[3]

During his lifetime, he had amassed a large library of magic books which he donated over 1,500 of them to the Providence Public Library.[4] He also collected palming coins and magic convention badges.


  • The Percival Shoe Lace Trick in Master Mysteries of 1933 By Adrian Smith.
  • I Stooged for Houdini, MUM, Vol. 53, no. 5, October 1963, page 232.
  • Concerning "Elliots Last Legacy", MUM, Vol. 59, no. 8, January 1970, page 21.


  1. Cover, MUM, January 1969
  2. CONVENTION CITY -1961 ACTION IN THE SPIRIT'S CABINET (Spirits of 76, that is) Part II, MUM, March 1961
  3. Broken Wand, Linking Ring, February 1975
  4. Tricks That Mystify by Will Goldston (1934)