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Paul Trattner

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Paul Trattner
BornPaul Henry Trattner
circa 1942
Baltimore, Maryland
DiedAugust 28, 2013 (age 70)

Paul Trattner (c. 1942-2013) was a retired Baltimore public schools art educator and webmaster who was also a noted magician and popular Santa Claus.[1]


Born in Baltimore but raised in Highlandtown, Trattner earned a bachelor's degree in 1965 from the Maryland Institute College of Art and later a master's degree in art education. He began teaching art in 1965 at Armistead Gardens and Martin Luther King Jr. elementary schools. He later became a graphic arts designer and webmaster at the city schools headquarters, from which he would retire in 2002.

His interest in magic began when an uncle showed him some magic tricks at the age of twelve. By the early 1980s, Trattner was performing magic and "psychic entertainment" professionally. He enjoyed performing historic magic from the 19th century. He performed at the Maryland Historical Society, Center Club, Maryland Jockey Club, Laurel Park racetrack as well as at conventions, senior citizen centers, weddings and private parties.

Trattner maintained an interest in the 19th century, including its Christmas traditions. He became an expert on the international myths and legends of Christmas. In later years, with his full white beard, he became a personification of the 19th-century Santa Claus while performing historic conjuring tricks using authentic props from the era.

For the last five years of his life, he was the "official Santa Claus" for the Greetings and Readings at Hunt Valley Towne Centre and St. Nicholas at the Fells Point's annual holiday celebration, which he would arrive by tugboat. He was also a walk-around Santa at the annual lighting of the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon Place and the 'Official Santa'" at the Charlestown Retirement Community.

Trattner was also an accomplished musician who enjoyed playing jazz on the alto saxophone and bass clarinet.

He was a member of the Psychic Entertainers Association and the International Brotherhood of Magicians.[2]