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What are the BEST Magic Shows (in Boston) for 2024?

Houdini with handcuffs in Boston

Boston is full of both history and mystery, and is chock-full of great magic including Paul Gertner, Four Handed Illusions and the Salem Haunted Magic Show for starters. From Paul Revere and the Freedom Trail, to the oddities of the Market Museum and the debunked seances of Margery the medium, Boston has a lot to offer to both history buffs and magic fans alike.

In Boston, you'll find all things pilgrim to prestidigitation, Harvard to Houdini, and clam chowder to card tricks. It is full of American history, swanky schools, good food, and magic. So if magic is what you are looking for in Boston, you've come to the right place for the list of the Best Magic Shows in Massachusetts.

ALL Boston Magic Shows TODAY

Magic Shows in Boston: The Wicked and the Wayward

Boston and magic history
From left to right: W.D. Leroy, Houdini's publication debunking Margery the Medium, Jonathan Harrington

The United States really started in Boston, Massachusetts. A key location for the forming of America, Boston was founded by a group of religious-freedom seeking puritans looking for a land so far away England would stop bothering them. This group of uptight puritanical Puritans did important things to build up the city, but things of a mystic or magical nature were deemed unholy, satanic and just really bad; worthy of a proper shunning. This didn't stop the magic.

Sadly, the war on magic struck a homicidal fervor with the belief that witchcraft was running rampant among the female citizens of the city. While Salem was the epicenter of the witch trials and subsequent executions, Boston also joined in on the witch hunts. Women with too much knowledge, opinions, or who had the bad fortune of using bad grain for baking--causing quite the acid trip--found themselves on the tippy-top of a burning pile of wood. Magic wasn't just scandalous and forbidden but practicing anything resembling magic was a certain death sentence.

Thankfully, small-minded ideas were replaced by a more cosmopolitan view and the witch trials eventually ceased. As Boston grew into the early center of government and commerce, people from across the globe traveled to the city sharing ideas as well as money. Entertainment venues rose in prominence and the exotic illusions from far away lands filled audiences with awe and wonder. Replacing the hate for magic and the apparent evils it caused was the Market Museum. Ten parts oddity and one part mercantile, this unusual business combination appealed to the crowds who wanted to be wowed, scared and who needed to buy a little cement on the side. The exhibits ranged from the bizarre to the fanciful to the magical, with phantasmagorical performances, all surrounded by wax figures to really give people the creeps.

In the early 1800s Jonathan Harrington introduced his brand of illusion as well as ventriloquism to audiences around the Boston area. Described as comical, mysterious and magical, Harrington gave performances at notable theaters amusing and astounding as he went. In the late 1800s magic schools became popular in Boston among those trying to become illusionists. W.D. Leroy offered courses at his school teaching students how to escape handcuffs and other restraints. Leroy even had Harry Houdini as a customer, the latter wishing to buy several escape acts from Leroy. Leroy even created the Magic Mystic Fraternity for magicians, working to further the good name of reputable magicians.

As time marched on, so too did the entertainment value of magic shows in Boston. Smaller clubs feature talented performers who wow and make the audience laugh. Indeed, from a rocky beginning, Boston has truly come to embrace magic.

PAST Boston Magic Shows

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