Milbourne Christopher

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Milbourne Christopher
Magician Milbourne Christopher.png
Born 23 March 1914
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Died 17 June 1984 (1984-06-18) (aged 70)[1]
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Magician, historian, and skeptic

Milbourne Christopher (23 March 1914 – 17 June 1984) was a prominent American illusionist, magic historian, and author.

President of the Society of American Magicians, an honorary vice-president to The Magic Circle, and one of the founding members of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Christopher wrote a number of books, including a biography of Harry Houdini titled Houdini: The Untold Story, a chronicle of his own craft titled The Illustrated History Of Magic, and thousands of essays relating to magic and mentalism.[2]

Debunking work[edit]

Christopher regarded those individuals who claimed extrasensory perception or psychic powers to be actually using magic trickery. He wrote three book-length exposés regarding those he said were false seers or psychics: ESP, Seers & Psychics; Mediums, Mystics, & The Occult; and Search For The Soul. In the latter book he found no evidence for the existence of the soul.[3] Skeptical investigator Joe Nickell who was influenced by Christopher recommended the books "without reservation."[4]

Christopher also debunked parapsychology experiments and experimenters during his lifetime. Ironically, despite his denial of the existence of psychic or paranormal powers, and like fellow magicians Harry Houdini and James Randi, both of whom also worked to expose false psychics and mediums, Christopher was accused by some of using paranormal powers to perform his own magic tricks and illusions.[5]

Posthumous achievements[edit]

In November 2010, Christopher's widow, Maurine Brooks Christopher, published a special edition of Houdini: A Pictorial Life with Christopher Collection curator.[6]

At a meeting of the executive council of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) in Denver, Colorado in April 2011, Christopher was selected for inclusion in CSI's Pantheon of Skeptics. The Pantheon of Skeptics was created by CSI to remember the legacy of deceased fellows of CSI and their contributions to the cause of scientific skepticism.[7]

In 2012, the book Milbourne Christopher: The Man & His Magic, was authored by William V. Rauscher.[8]

The Society of American Magicians honors his memory annually by presenting "The Milbourne Christopher Awards" to performing magicians and illusionists in various categories, including: the Masters Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, Mentalist Award, Literary Award, and a Newcomer Award.[9]




  1. ^ "Milbourne Christopher, 70, Magician On Stage And TV". The New York Times. June 19, 1984. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  2. ^ Hövelmann. Gerd H; Truzzi, Marcello; Hoebens, Piet Hein. (1985). Skeptical Literature on Parapsychology: An Annotated Bibliography. In Paul Kurtz. A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology. Prometheus Books. pp. 449-490. ISBN 0-87975-300-5
  3. ^ "Search for the Soul". Kirkus Reviews.
  4. ^ "Celebrating Milbourne Christopher". Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  5. ^ Christopher, Milbourne. (1975). Mediums, Mystics & The Occult. New York: Crowell. p. 233
  6. ^ "Houdini A Pictorial Life Collector's Edition". Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  7. ^ "The Pantheon of Skeptics". CSI. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Archived from the original on 31 January 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017. 
  8. ^ Milbourne Christopher: The Man and His Magic Archived 2014-12-20 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  9. ^ MagicTimes News. [permanent dead link] - July 18, 2005.
  10. ^ a b "Hall of Fame". The Academy of Magical Arts. 

External links[edit]