Since antiquity, there have been wizards and magicians who have claimed to perform magical acts. People have seen, heard, and experienced various strange occult feats. Some of these mysterious; awesome occurrences are studied in this article.
During the Middle Ages of Europe, sometimes wizards and magicians would perform outside at private parties or even publically on street corners giving small magic shows for entertainment purposes. An empty hat or small box or a small bucket would be on the ground for observers to throw into donations as change(small coins or the more desired large coins).
A favorite magical demonstration was changing a human being into an animal; such as changing a young, handsome man into a frog, and then changing the frog back into the young, handsome man. Such a theme is very common in magical stories of medieval Europe and there is the story called “The Frog Prince” which is part of the folklore fairy tale stories, being extremely, extremely old and collected and then retold by the famous German Grimm Brothers: Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm (1785-1863) and Wilhelm Carl Grimm (1786-1859) in their book called “Children’s and Household Tales” published in 1812.The book comprised over 200 tales when it was published.
“The Frog Prince” is a story of a frog who turns into a young handsome prince after being kissed by a beautiful young princess. Disney production company made the film “The Princess and the Frog” in 2009 based on the classical children’s tale of yore.
The medieval demonstration of man to frog then frog to man went like this: a young man is near the magician (performer of magic) who tells the spectators what he shall do. Then the magician chants some foreign or unrecognizable words which the audience believes are magical words while the magician uses a substances, lights it, and causes a huge puff of smoke to appear; the smoke is so much that it causes nothing to be seen except smoke. When the smoke clears, standing next to the magician is a frog, dressed in exactly the same material, colors, and style of the clothes the young man was seen wearing. The magician picks up the dressed-up frog, shows the audience the frog, and then tells the observers the young man was changed into a frog. Then, the magician tells the audience he will change the frog back into a man. After waving his hands ritualistically, taking the same chemical substance, lighting it to burn with a torch or fire or a lit candle, there is a huge puff of smoke and after the smoke clears, the frog is gone and the young man is seen standing next to the magician.
There are several ways how this magical illusion was accomplished. One way is the magician or wizard is performing on a stage which has a visual area for the audience but also concealed chambers with outside push doors without knobs. The young man is seen on stage, during the big smoke scene which completely obstructs the audience’s view and the audience is told the smoke is magical smoke, then the man secretly runs into a hidden chamber of the stage. After the audience sees the frog dressed in clothes and the smoke “screen” is used again, when the smoke clears the audience sees that man standing again on stage.
An alternate way the magical trick would be performed is the frog is taken out of a shoe box which near the alleged magical performer during the smoke event and the young man runs and then hides in a very close nearby wilderness until he is ready to reappear among the spectators.
Another alternate would be for the young guy to appear, when the big smoke occurs to hide in a big, long trunk near the wizard or magician and the frog was hidden too, then to reappear after the smoke clears. The dressed-up frog could have been hidden, also, in a big, long pocket of the outfit the magician or wizard was wearing.
In the late Middle Ages, gunpowder could have been burned to produce a whole lot of smoke, mixed with coal dust for an explosive effect, but the performers and the audience, as well as an objects, would have to be far enough away for protection.
Another feat of the magician or wizard is making sparks or fire appear from his hands, while magical forces are claimed responsible. By using some flash powder on the fingers or palms and then forcibly rubbing them together, sparks will appear from the fingers and palms. Flash powder was commonly used in large quantities back in the 1800’s when photography was becoming quite popular, but the use of flash powder, itself, goes far back in time before the 1800’s. Early use of flash powder was often unstable, and flash powder, itself, is not really a safe thing for the skin and hands.
Nowadays, magicians use flash powder paper, a better alternative to using flash powder outright, to produce sparky fingers, as sold in certain magic shops, but there are other ways for these magical trick performers to produce sparks or fire from their hands.