Wednesday, October 2, 2013
William J. Hilliar -- The Disappearing Bullet Trick
The London-born Hilliar, 60, began in show business as a magician working with such greats as Harry Houdini and Thurston. In Chicago in 1902, he founded one of the first illustrated monthly magazines devoted to magic and magicians, The Sphinx, allied at the time with the Western Organ of the Society of American Magicians. Hilliar also wrote several books on the subject including Magic Made Easy: Money Catching and 50 Other Tricks (1902) and Modern Magicians' Hand Book: An Up-To-Date Treatise on the Art of Conjuring (1902). In addition to working on the staff of Billboard, the show business veteran also did publicity and press work for circuses and carnivals. On November 15, 1936, a cab driver picked up Hilliar in downtown Cincinnati and drove him to the magician's home at 1228 Iliff Avenue in the suburb of Price Hill. Telling the driver, "I'll be back in a minute," Hilliar went to the garage in the rear of the home and fired a bullet into his right temple.