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Willis, a magician and ventriloquist, was a veteran of the Civil War who had been wounded in his arm.

He was assisted by a young Frederick Eugene Powell several nights when he was giving performances in Chester, Pennsylvania. His principal trick consisted of thrusting a knife through his wrist, and while blood was flowing freely would go among the audience to allow very close scrutiny of both the knife and his wrist.[1]


  1. Sphinx, September, 1927, page 226