I am a great admirer of mystery and magic. Look at this life - all mystery and magic.
But then, so far as I know, I am the only performer who ever pledged his assistants to secrecy, honor and allegiance under a notarial oath.
I make the most money, I think, in Russia and Paris, for the people of those countries are so willing to be amused, so eager to see something new and out of the ordinary.
I think that in a year I may retire. I cannot take my money with me when I die and I wish to enjoy it, with my family, while I live. I should prefer living in Germany to any other country, though I am an American, and am loyal to my country.
But it must not be thought that I say this out of personal experience: for in the many years that I have been before the public my secret methods have been steadily shielded by the strict integrity of my assistants, most of whom have been with me for years.
Only one man ever betrayed my confidence, and that only in a minor matter.
A common pickpocket trick is for the operator to carry a shawl or overcoat carelessly over the left arm, and to take a seat on the right side of the person they intend to rob in a streetcar or other vehicle.
Eating coals of fire has always been one of the sensational feats of the Fire Kings, as it is quite generally known that charcoal burns with an extremely intense heat.
To cause the face to appear in a mass of flame make use of the following: mix together thoroughly petroleum, lard, mutton tallow and quick lime. Distill this over a charcoal fire, and the liquid which results can be burned on the face without harm.
Another method of eating burning coals employs small balls of burned cotton in a dish of burning alcohol.
It is not unusual for the eye or ear to play tricks with one, but when such illusions and delusions are taken for the Spirit forms of the departed and voices of the dead instead of being recognized as some subjective phenomena brought about by a physical cause, the situation takes on a grave aspect.
My professional life has been a constant record of disillusion, and many things that seem wonderful to most men are the every-day commonplaces of my business.
In all feats of fire-eating it should be noted that the head is thrown well back, so that the flame may pass out of the open mouth instead of up into the roof, as it would if the head were held naturally.
Flames from the lips may be produced by holding in the mouth a sponge saturated with the purest gasoline.
The great day of the Fire-eater - or, should I say, the day of the great Fire-eater - has passed.
Pickpockets either work alone or in pairs, or what is called a mob.
It is needless to say that women make the most patient as well as the most dangerous pickpockets.
No performer should attempt to bite off red-hot iron unless he has a good set of teeth.