Friday, December 3, 2010

The grave of Hofzinser

Johann N. Hofzinser
Vienna, Austria
photo courtesy Magic Christian
I was just thinking that in some way Houdini is like a gateway drug. You get interested in magic because of him and then you get hooked and move on to bigger things! One of his fascinations was visiting the graves of famous and not so famous magicians. Somewhere along the line this too became an interest for me. So much so that I started collecting images of these famous graves. They are not always the easiest things to find. The photo above is the grave of one of the GREATS! He came years before the golden age of magic. This is the grave of Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser (1806-1875) and he was a great Viennese Magician. He has been referred to as the most important card conjuror of all times. He was also one of the early Salon performers and as I suspected after so much of my research on Robert-Houdin, he was probably just as influential in Austria as R-H was in Paris. Both of their contributions to magic are still felt today!

Hofzinser was a cousin of Ludwig Dobler. Dai Vernon held  Hofzinser in high regard. He even gave one of his sons the middle name of Nepamuk. Hofzinser’s card work lives on today in many ways. His effects are still popular as are his sleights and even a number of his gimmicks. In fact, even I use one of his forces and spread cull. The charming ‘Everywhere and Nowhere’ card routine is Hofzinser’s and I’m wondering if it wasn’t first called “To Think and Forget”. One famous piece of magical apparatus that I am familiar with was called ‘The Rose Mirror’. I have seen the Rose Mirror in person as it is in the collection of Ken Klosterman. There are a number of Hofzinser’s apparatus pieces in the collection as a matter of fact. His ‘ink to goldfish’ is there as well.

As I continue down the road researching Victorian magic, I look forward to learning more about Johann Hofzinser. By the way, the photo above and much of the biographical information here is courtesy of Magic Christian who gave me permission to use the above photo. Please visit his website at to learn more about this wonderful Viennese magician. Ottokar Fischer wrote two books on Hofzinser which were translated into english by S.H. Sharpe which is no doubt how much of his card magic survived. Magic Christian has also written a couple books on the card magic of Hofzinser. For those that might not have these books, try ‘Greater Magic’ as there are several references to Hofzinser in the pages of that book.

The grave is located at the Vienna Central Cemetery, Group 4, Row 2, Tomb 16
J.N.Hofzinser, Rest in Peace.

(most of this is a reprint from a previous blog post I did at

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