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June 18, 2011

Magician takes kids on trip around the world

Library program offers kids a history lesson.

LOGANSPORT — Kids of all ages took a magical trip around the world this week without ever leaving the library.

C.R. Ryan, a magician from Noblesville, took children at the Logansport-Cass County Public Library on a journey Tuesday to teach them about the famous magicians who lived on each of the seven continents and the tricks they performed. Some of them, he said, dated back thousands of years.

“Get out your magical passports,” he told the children.

Children raised their invisible passports in the air.

Ryan told the children that the first magic trick was performed in ancient Egypt in 6000 BC using a bird.

“Ever since then, magicians have been tricking you,” he said with a laugh.

He took the kids to Africa where he talked about a magician who worked in a sideshow in the late 1800s. Hadji Ali, he said, became famous for his water spouting. He would swallow fish and water and then spit them back out, Ryan told the crowd of kids.

He also took the kids to Antarctica — a place that had no famous magicians, Ryan said.

“Anyone know which continent has the largest desert in the world?” he asked. “Antarctica. There’s only been three inches of rain in 30 years.”

He emphasized the continent’s frigid temperatures with a magic trick. He poured water into a coffee cup, swirled it around and dumped the cup over. Several ice cubes fell out.

The kids applauded after the trick.

For 11-year-old Macie McCarthy, the trip to Europe was the best.

Ryan talked about magician Robert-Houdin, a 19th century magician in Europe.

“They called him the father of modern magic,” Ryan said.

Ryan said the magician performed hypnosis.

Ryan demonstrated hypnosis on Macie. He told her that when he put a coin in a cup, she wasn’t going to be able to lift the cup because it would feel like it weighed 1,000 pounds.

She said he was right.

“It felt heavy, heavy... I don’t know how he did it,” Macie said. “Now I can go home and tell my mom I was hypnotized.”

Macie said the show was much better than she expected.

“It was amazing,” she said. “I was expecting a little kids show with puppets.”

Ryan said he was glad the children enjoyed the show.

“It’s kind of a fun way to teach the history of magic,” he said.

Ryan used his son Braden as a sidekick during the show.

He said the 7-year-old’s imagination box trick was a hit with the kids.

“They can relate to him,” Ryan said of his son.

In the trick, Braden drew a picture of a rabbit and dropped it into an empty box. When the little boy opened the box, a real rabbit popped out. The children oohed and ahhed when they saw the animal.

Larina Shaffer, a children’s librarian, said she was happy with the turnout for the program.

“I don’t think we could have fit any more kids in the room,” she said. “Everyone loves magic.”

The show, she said, was part of the library’s summer reading program.

The program’s theme this year is “One world, many stories.”

• Lindsey Ziliak is a staff writer at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or

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