Christopher, Milbourne (1914–1984)
One of America’s leading conjuring magicians and chairman
of the Occult Investigation Committee of the Society of
American Magicians. Christopher entered the public eye in the
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Christopher, Milbourne
285
mid-1970s when he challenged the feats of Uri Geller and
other psychics in his book Mediums, Mystics and the Occult (1975).
Based upon his observations, Christopher asserted that Geller
was a clever conjurer and suggested various techniques by
which his apparently paranormal feats were accomplished.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1914, Christopher practiced
conjuring from early childhood. During the Depression
years, he performed for the Roosevelts at the White House. He
performed in more than 60 countries and amassed one of the
world’s largest private collections of magic memorabilia, including
prints, paintings, letters, scrapbooks, playbills, drawings,
and photographs relating to the great magicians of history.
He wrote several books on the history of magic and his
personal hero, Harry Houdini.
Although Christopher was a skeptic as far as occult and psychic
phenomena were concerned, his writings on the subject
had a precision and scholarly cast. He avoided making broad
accusations against individuals; those searching for truth in
paranormal research have found Christopher’s skeptical writings
valuable for their careful research and thoughtful presentation.
Additional books on the paranormal by Christopher include
ESP, Seers & Psychics (1970) and Search for the Soul (1979),
a report on the continuing quest by psychics and scientists for
evidence of life after death.
Christopher did much to popularize magic shows on television
during the 1950s and demonstrated some amazing acts,
including making an elephant vanish and catching a bullet
fired from a rifle in his mouth. He also served as president of
the American Society of Magicians. He died in New York, June
17, 1984, after complications following surgery.
Sources
Christopher, Milbourne. ESP, Seers & Psychics. New York
Thomas Y. Crowell, 1970.
———. Houdini The Untold Story. New York Thomas Y.
Crowell, 1969. Reprint, New York Pocket Books, 1970.
———. The Illustrated History of Magic. New York Thomas
Y. Crowell, 1973.
———. Mediums, Mystics and the Occult. New York Thomas
Y. Crowell, 1975.
———. Panorama of Magic. New York Dover Publications,
1962