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Theodore Annemann

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Theodore Annemann

Cover of Genii (1937)
BornTheodore John Squires
February 22, 1907
DiedJanuary 12, 1942 (age 34)
Resting placeGlenwood Cemetery, Waverly, New York
CategoriesBooks by Theodore Annemann

Theodore 'Theo' Annemann (b.1907–d.1942), born Theodore John Squires, was an American professional magician who specialized in the field of Mentalism. Annemann is most famous for inventing and refining many of the standard mentalism routines that continue to be used by magicians today.


Born Theodore John Squires in East Waverly, New York, he was adopted by Stanley Anneman. Ted added the second 'n' in 1930.

Annemann bullet catch video

Early in his life, Annemann began working as a railroad clerk and then got into show business as a tenor singer and a magician's assistant. He eventually became interested in mentalism and used his invention and performance skills to become one of the most talented and respected magicians of the 1930s. He invented the "Window Envelope" by 1931 and "Flat Rabbit" in 1937.

Annemann perfected his own version of the famous bullet catch illusion, performing the effect outdoors. Accounts of his performance describe the feat as a dramatic effect wherein Annemann would collapse from the apparent force of the gun and then produce the bullet from his blood-drenched mouth.

In 1934 he became the editor of the famous magazine The Jinx, published primarily for magicians. The magazine was primarily focused on mentalism, but did also feature ground-breaking effects from other fields of magic. The publication of this magazine ceased after Annemann's death and copies of it have become collector's items. Effects from the magazine have been published in several books and manuscripts, among them Annemann's Practical Mental Magic. This book is considered a classic in the field of mentalism. Annemann also founded and edited The Sign of Exceptional Magic in 1935

Annemann was married twice and may have had a child by his first wife. His personality is the subject of much speculation. On the night of January 12, 1942, Annemann was scheduled to perform his bullet catch indoors for the first time. Before the performance, he committed suicide. Since the subject of suicide is complicated, we may never know exactly why he decided to end his own life. It is believed that Annemann was suffering from severe stage fright and drug abuse among other factors related to mental distress at the time of his death.

Census Records

From online database of census records:

  • The 1910 census lists him as living in Barton Township (part of Waverly Village), age 3. He lived with his mother, Florilla Squires (age 22) and his maternal grandmother, Josephine Hayes.
  • The 1920 census shows him at age 12, with a six year old brother, Leland. The family name has changed by this time from Squires to Anneman -- but no adult males in the household still.
  • Theodore Annemann living at 370 W. 51st st, #128, with his wife Greta in 1930. His profession is "professional mind reader".
  • The database also has a number of indexed passenger manifests from ships. From them, we can learn that Annemann worked as an entertainer on the S.S. Munargo from late 1936 to late 1937. His was described as 5'10" (or variously as 5'11"), having light complexion and brown hair. His birthday was listed as 22 Feb 1907.


Manuscripts by Annemann

Edited posthumously