'Lost Magic Decoded' Premieres October 18 on HISTORY

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October 4th, 2012

via press release:

The mysteries behind the most impossible – and most deadly – magical illusions of all time are unlocked in...


Master magician Steve Cohen explores legendary effects that have perplexed the pros for generations

New York, NY, October 2012 – Some magic effects are so mysterious, they've confounded illusionists for hundreds of years. How can a mechanical man defeat a world chess champion? How can a live bullet be stopped in mid-air? Magic has an ancient history, and one master magician, Steve Cohen, is on a quest to uncover the secrets behind these legendary feats and more.


In LOST MAGIC DECODED, a new two-hour special premiering Thursday, October 18 at 9 pm ET on HISTORY, Cohen tracks down, decodes, and resurrects ten of the most thrilling and shocking magical illusions ever witnessed. He gains access to the ancient incantations, secret sorcery, and mysterious contraptions that have gripped audiences for centuries. As he explores these legendary effects, he uncovers how they were influenced by their times, and how the illusions themselves changed the course of history. And the more he discovers, the closer he becomes to taking the same death-defying risks that conjurors have been taking since magic began more than a 1,000 years ago for the sake of an illusion.

Some of the most legendary illusions of all time are brought back to life in LOST MAGIC DECODED. They include:

  • “The Turk,” a magical wooden chess player, who first appeared in the 1780s, and perplexed the greatest minds in the world including Ben Franklin, Napoleon, and Edgar Allan Poe. Only one man has ever fully cracked the code of “The Turk.” Cohen tracks him down in modern day Los Angeles to bring this mystifying illusion back to life.
  • “The Light and Heavy Chest” was made famous by Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin, the father of modern magic, when the French government summoned him to put down an incipient revolt in the French colony of Algeria by demonstrating that he could easily achieve total control over the strongest rebelling warriors. Cohen must find his own method of turning a modern-day strongman from crushing bodybuilder into a weakling with the strength of a 3-year-old child.
  • In “The Indian Rope Trick,” an Indian street magician, or fakir, levitates a rope out of a basket and sends his young son climbing up the rope until he disappears. The fakir then climbs up after the boy, dismembers him in the sky, and resurrects him before the stunned audience. Cohen travels to Northern India to track down the one man who is rumored to perform the effect today, hoping to find a way to bring this dazzling piece of lost magic back to life.
  • At least 12 magicians have died in “The Bullet Catch” since its first recorded performance in the 15th century. Despite the advice of many magic experts and historians -- and even a magician who survived the bullet catch -- Cohen is determined to join the pantheon of magicians who have incomprehensibly caught a bullet and lived to tell the tale. In the shocking conclusion of LOST MAGIC DECODED, Cohen risks his life by attempting to catch a live bullet.

Intertwining the fascinating history of magic with the thrill of the highest caliber magic performance, LOST MAGIC DECODED is a unique roller coaster ride into the deepest crevices of history and back again to the present day, where Cohen proves that even the most mysterious lost magical effects can be performed and shock audiences hundreds of years later.

Cohen, an esteemed Member of the Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star, awarded by The Magic Circle in London, has mystified audiences all over the world. His long-running weekly show, Chamber Magic, is consistently reviewed as one of New York’s best kept secrets and must-see theatrical events. His performances include mind reading, telekinesis, conjuring, acrobatic card tricks, and an assortment of baffling physical tricks that include stopping his own pulse. His signature trick, "Think-A-Drink," finds him pouring any drink from a single silver teapot as requested by randomly selected audience members. Cohen gave his first public show at age 10, and by 2012 he was standing on the stage at a sold-out Carnegie Hall presenting his 2-hour solo show, Theater of Wonder.

LOST MAGIC DECODED is produced for HISTORY by Sharp Entertainment. Executive Producers are Matt Sharp, Peter Greenberg, and Steve Cohen. Carl H. Lindahl is Executive Producer for HISTORY.



HISTORY® is the leading destination for factual entertainment, including award-winning original series and specials that connect viewers with history in an informative, immersive and entertaining manner across multiple platforms. The network’s all-original programming slate, including scripted event programming, features a litany of hits including American Pickers®, American Restoration™, Ax Men™, Ice Road Truckers®, Pawn Stars®, Swamp People® and Top Shot® as well as epic mini-series and specials such as the Emmy® Award-winning Gettysburg, America The Story of Us, Hatfields & McCoys, Vietnam in HD and 102 Minutes That Changed America. The HISTORY website is the leading online resource for all things history, and in 2011, the United States Library of Congress selected HISTORY’s Civil War 150 site for inclusion in the historic collection of Internet materials related to the American Civil War sesquicentennial. www.history.com


  • Tyler

    This has been overdue for a long time. The last History Channel documentary on magic and illusion was in the mid 90s. I wish they’d air it too! Should be good.

  • Alex

    The bullet catch trick was so fake. Anyone who knows guns will notice he doesn’t chamber the signed round. The cambered round was prolly a fragmenting round that breaks when it hits anything solid like glass ( US air marshals us them on air planes) he prolly switched out the signed round with a different one and tore it out of the casing behind that cloth he’s holding.

  • Jason

    you could see that he was wearing a bulletproof vest and the camera practically showed the shooter drop the signed Bullet next to him. pretty easy to figure out when the first person near him is the guy with the bullet. pretty poor attempt at Magic.

  • Jake

    Alex I logged on to say the same thing. I found it totally insulting that they would think nobody would catch that the action was not slid.

  • James

    Noticed him not sliding the action to lol common sense to anyone who knows anything at all about guns

  • James

    Alex is absolutely correct. When loading the bullet the slide was already closed so a different bullet (or whatever breaks the glass) was chambered. And when the gun is discharged, the round that was put in the clip, chambered. Poor execution, not impressed at all guys.

  • Hal

    You guys are all correct, I saw that coming and figured that was what would go down. Fake bullet in the chamber, enough to break the glass and likely was not aimed directly at him either. Special round that was signed with the case made big enough to easil pull the signed bullet out. Roll around on the floor, put it in his mouth, then spit it out. Would have liked to get a better close up shot of the bullet to see there was no wear. Or better yet, go over and kindly offer to rack the slide for the shooter as he probably just “forgot” to do so, and see what they would have said or done… The rest of the show was pretty good, but yeah this one was insulting to anyone who knows anything about firearms.

  • brandon

    yeah anybody that has ever shot a semi pistol should get a kick out of this. very obvious to decode. all about the stack in the mag. load fake round the blank then real. shoot vase auto chamber blank and thats the round he shot at the glass. he never cycled the action once. lol now if somebody has never shot a semi auto then yeah they would be fooled 100%.

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