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Wiljalba Frikell

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Wiljalba Frikell
BornFriedrich Wilhelm Frickel
June 27, 1817
DiedOctober 10, 1903 (age 86)

Wiljalba Frikell (1817-1903), born Friedrich Wilhelm Frickel in Prussia, was a German magician. He often performed as Professor Frikell. As one of the most famous magician of his time, when Frikell lost his apparatus to a fire, he was forced to go on stage and perform barehanded. From then on, he developed an act without the usual equipment on stage, entertaining his audience through his sleight of hand dexterity.

He performed continuously, starting at the age of sixteen until he retired at the age of 59. Frikell performed across Europe, Egypt, India and in 1872 a successful appearances in the United States.

A year after his retirement, he lost all his money when his bank failed, he returned to performing. He gave his last performance in 1896. He retired a final time, leading an almost hermit-like life, leading the magic world thinking he was dead.

Houdini learned he was still alive and tried for months to interview Frikell because he heard that he was the first to work in evening clothes, rather the the flowing robes that magicians were known for during his day. But Frikell passed away before he could.

Danish King Christian VIII honored Frikell with the Dannebrog Order of Civil Merit.


  • Professor Wiljalba Frikell's Lessons in magic: Or, Two hours of illusions, without the aid of apparatus (1858).


  • The secret out: Or, One thousand tricks with cards, and other recreations. (1859)
  • Parlor Tricks with Cards (1863).
  • Book of riddles and five hundred home amusements (1868).
  • The Magician's Own Book, or The whole art of conjuring (1870).[1]
  • Hanky Panky,: A book of conjuring tricks (1875).
  • 150 Magic Parlor Tricks(1907).


  1. There is confusion with dates See here :