Thursday, October 28, 2021

Magik Revisited

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a magician.  I asked for, and received, the Presto Magic kits with standard illusions and tricks such as the Multiplying Spots, Penetrating Vision, the Endless Water Vase, the Bullet trick and the Ball and Vase trick.  I learned to do the tricks, and learned others pouring over the included Adams' 101 Magic Tricks booklet and other magic books I bought from the Scholastic flyer, but they were all simple and most people knew how they worked.  I could never afford the professional magic tricks sold in dedicated magic shops.  I continued to pick up magic sets at sales over the years, but of course, I never became a magician.

This summer, my family vacationed in the Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  As a surprise, my wife booked a visit to Evanswood Magic Mansion.  I had seen a Youtube video by Jacob the Carpetbagger doing a tour of The Magic Mansion and had mentioned to her it would be cool to see in person. The day before we left, my wife presented me with the tickets (well, at least an email with digital tickets).

The night of the tour, we pulled up to the house silouetted in darkness.  Well, actually, the tour started at 7:00 p.m. and it was still light out, but "silouetted in darkness" sounds better.  Below is a photo I took when we left.

Magician Terry Evanswood lives in the house which was built in 1840 and has decorated the inside both historically accurate, but also with various themes.

The tour begins in the foyer which included a player piano, fireplace and a telling of the history of the house.  No flash photography is allowed, so my pictures didn't turn out very well.

My favorite thing in the room was a pair of owl andirons.

As I mentioned, there are themed rooms dedicated to P. T. Barnum, The Titanic, a "dime museum" full of vintage working automatons, Disney, Willie Wonka and of course, a magic room displaying many of Terry's personal props, vintage magic posters and other collections.

We talked a little bit about these old Abbott's and Adams' magic guides and how I wanted to be a magician when I was a kid and the various magic sets I got as a kid. He was very obliging and accommodating and listened patiently to my rambling memories.

The tour was wrapped up with a personal magic show in a theater built into the home's basement. I'm telling you, this house has everything (even a dragon under the floor!)

Now, you might be asking, "Is Tom doing some kind of promotion for Evanswood Mansion? What does this have to do with garage sales?" Well, it is a bit of a promotion because I think it was a really enjoyable evening.  In fact, my kids said it was the best part of our trip.

But, now the garage sale connection.  Way back in 2014, I blogged about a can of Magik Japan Dryer.  While touring the home's kitchen, we viewed Terry's collection of vintage magic-inspired cans and boxes.

This can of Magik Japan Dryer immediately came to mind.

I told Terry I had something for him and would send it when I got home.  It took me a few weeks to get around to shipping it out, but about week after I did, I received a photo from Terry.

I can't think of a better home for my can.

If you're ever in the Gatlinburg area, be sure to check it out.  It's magicical.


  1. My sister visited Gatlinburg and said it was pretty cheesy. But this seems like a really authentic experience and something worth doing. I agree - those owl andirons are to die for.

    1. Yes, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge proper are very touristy, but there are still some cool things to do there. The National Park is beautiful.

  2. Even without a show at the end, seems like a very cool place to see! I was always checking out magic books from the library as a kid.

    1. The Magic Show is an extra $10/person fee, but it was worth it. But yes, the house alone is worth going.

  3. nice collection he has -- and even nicer for you to contribute to it. it's nice to know after all its life, that can ended up in the perfect place to last even longer.

    1. The older I get, I realize I eventually need to find a home for all of my found items so they can continue.

  4. That all sounds so wonderful. Such a great place, I would visit there in a heartbeat. And so glad your piece has a place there. Fits in perfectly.


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