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Bob Gysel

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Bob Gysel
BornRobert Henry Gysel
November 18, 1880
Toledo, Ohio
DiedJanuary 5, 1938 (age 57)
Lucas County, Ohio

Bob Gysel (1880-1938) was an American magician who first studied pharmacy.[1]

Gysel held a State License, but discontinued his medical studies after only two years. In 1901, he was a professional "medium", using the name Joseph Johnson, but then made it his business to expose other fraudulent mediums.


He closely studied the working of locks and handcuffs, and dove handcuffed and blindfolded from bridges. He was also an expert in fingerprints and handwriting. His thirty minute stage act was based on "spirit phenomena". Gysel offered an open wager of 1,000 dollars to any magician who can emulate his feats.

Around 1920, Gysel regularly provided Houdini with information on psychics, but it doesn't appear he was ever employed as one of his "agents." Also in his letters to Houdini, he pressed for a job as an assistant in his full evening roadshow.Houdini in debunking psychics.[2]

Gysel effects were published in Sphinx and his "Spirit Tie" was published in Tarbell Course in Magic Volume 6.


  1. Tricks That Mystify by Will Goldston (1934)
  • The Magic Wand, Vol. 15, No. 129, March–May 1926, Rob. H. Gysel, by George Johnson, page 49
  • Tops Magazine, Vol. 3, No. 10, February 1938, Obituary, Robert H. Gysel, page 33
  • M-U-M, Vol. 60, No. 10, March 1971, The Magic of Robert H. Gysel, page 15
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 88, No. 947, July 1974, The Nineteenth Collectors’ Day, by Amy Dawes – Robert Gysel, page 113