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Articles by Karen Beckman:

Insubstantial Media: Ectoplasm, Exposure, and the Still Birth of Film

By the end of the nineteenth century, European and American audiences had temporarily lost interest in stage magic, and the vanishing lady no longer held any particular theatrical appeal. Charles Bertram, the magician who had first introduced the Vanishing Lady Act onto the British stage, writes in 1896: “No place of entertainment was complete without its vanishing lady, but…the illusions which were attempted elsewhere lost all their significance, and eventually ‘wore out’ what was a most startling and marvellous feat.”1

This post is in: Phantom Limb (2004)

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