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Samri Baldwin

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Samri Baldwin
BornSamuel Spencer Baldwin
January 21, 1848
Cincinnati, Ohio
DiedMarch 12, 1924 (age 76)
San Francisco, California
CategoriesBooks by Samri Baldwin

Samri Baldwin "The White Mahatma" (1848-1924) was born Samuel Spencer Baldwin in Cincinnati, Ohio. [1]


He enlisted in the U.S Army at the age of thirteen and fought in the Civil War.

As a young man, Baldwin became fascinated with magic while watching the Davenport Brothers perform their cabinet routine.

He began his career as a magician but achieved fame as a mentalist. He may have been the first magician to do a stage escape from handcuffs.

He performed Spirit Cabinet tricks and was the first to take the "question and answer" mentalism act to the stage. He created the phrase "somnomency" or trance-talking, to describe his act, which he called "Rosicrucian Somnomency".

He developed a two-person mentalism act featuring his first wife Clara, also later with his second wife, Kitty Baldwin.

Although Samri was careful to declare himself a magician and not a medium, he was nonetheless regarded by many in his audiences as a psychic.

In the 1920s, Baldwin was a technical consultant on the Thurston show.

Baldwin published a newspaper (in actuality a program) in the early 1890s called Baldwin's Illustrated Butterfly[2]

In Magic: A Pictorial History of Conjurers in the Theatre, David Price noted that Baldwin was associated with a Spiritualist church near the end of his life.



  1. Obit, MUM, March, 1924
  2. # 35 THE BUTTERFLY COTERIE, Rich Cabinet of Magical Curiosities by Edwin A. Dawe