Sunday, December 15, 2013


The world's foremost authority on the sideshow looks like a 19th-century carnival barker with a pitch crafted for the modern age:
Graduate of the University of Maryland and the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminar.
Co-founder of the Dolphin-Moon Press in 1973, (One of Baltimore’s oldest small press publishing houses )
Served as 'Literary Chairman' to the Baltimore 'Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Art and Culture' for 10 years
Taylor has also served as historical consultant to numerous television productions.

Writes for the Huffington Post.

Outside the PALACE OF WONDERS in Washington, DC!
 The only place where you could see fire-breathing, glass-walking, razors in mouths, nails in noses, curvy chicks in bowler hats, and white dudes in turbans, as well as James Taylor’s museum of freak memorabilia and some pretty tasty burlesque, four nights a week.


James Taylor’s Shocked and Amazed! On & Off the Midway, is the world’s only publication devoted to the history and current status of sideshow, novelty and variety exhibition.

Each issue contains in-depth articles and photographs (many not suitable for the dinner table) of such legendary sideshow figures as the Half-Girl, the Monkey Girl, the Human Blockhead and an assortment of other performing giants, midgets, fat men, bearded ladies, Siamese twins and more...

 "Good night ladies and gentleman!"

Mona Lisa smiles on Baltimore magic...


Painting by the one and only Robert McClintock

Learn more about the world's finest medical institution... 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

BOB "the dean" TILFORD

For nearly 70 years, Bob "The Dean" Tilford donned a tuxedo and top hat performing magic for the city of Baltimore.
Robert Lowery Tilford was born in Gary, Indiana and moved to Sparrows Point where his father was employed by the Bethlehem Steel Corp.  Mr. Tilford, who had earlier lived in Parkville, was known for his tricks with everyday objects and his ability to capture his audience with mathematical puzzles.  In 1921, he saw magician Howard Thurston appear from thin air on the stage of Hippodrome Theater on Eutaw Street and levitate Princess Karnac, a silver sphere; Tilford was hooked. This led him to become a charter member of Baltimore's Pyramid Magic Club in the1930s; run by a City College teacher by the name of Ernest B. "Fes" Marx.
After attending Lebanon Valley College, he then moved to New York in 1937 and began his professional magic career, appearing in Manhattan nightclubs as ‘LaSalle the Mad Kap of Mystery,’  ‘Magic Bob’ and ‘Trebor.’  Mr. Tilford also performed at USO shows in Baltimore during World War II and ‘Breakfasts with Santa’ at Hutzler's department stores. For many years, Mr. Tilford worked Saturdays alongside Phil Thomas at the 310 & 217 N. Charles Street locations of Yogi Magic Mart in downtown Baltimore.  His nickname, "The Dean" was given to him within the ranks of the Yogi Magic Club.
Mr. Tilford was married to his loving wife Laurette for 52 years and worked as an engineer for Maryland Refrigeration and the Bendix Corp. in Towson.
"Magic is a secretive field, but Bob was a very giving man who liked nothing better than to help the younger members. There was no magician he wouldn't welcome." 
 Ken Horsman
"He provided people with a lot of joy. He especially liked working with young magic students, especially if they stuttered or had a handicap, and helped them improve their self-image," 
- Anne Claire Garrett (daughter of Phil Thomas)
"He had an engineer's mind and liked tricks involving mathematical principles and numbers. He used a lot of everyday objects -- salt shakers, knives, forks, spoons -- in his tricks." 
 McCarl Roberts
 “Bob Tilford was called "The Dean" of the Yogi Magic Club. I had the pleasure of working with Bob at Yogi & Main Street Magic. I was blessed to be the one that Bob gave all of his "notes" to, about tricks that he either improved or invented!! An Extremely nice man!!" 
- Kevin Kirtley
“The first time I went to Yogi Magic Mart at 310 N. Charles, Mr. Tilford warmly approached my family and set about performing some of the most jaw-dropping close-up magic that I, to this day, have ever seen. His skills were on a level few magicians achieve. I distinctly remember his beautiful stripped suit and him smelling of cologne. Bob Tilford looked like a true wizard and his energy was contagious.” 
David Kidd

Friday, December 13, 2013


 Arthur D. Gans, (1890-1963) Gans was an amateur magician in Baltimore, Maryland extensively involved with the magician community and one of the founding members of Baltimore’s Demons Club.. The society, established in 1911, hosted famous magicians and organized local performances. He wrote for the Baltimore American newspaper and operated three theaters and a movie supply company before joining the B.&O. In 1920, Gans began working at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad as a safety instructor until retiring in 1960 as the head of the 'public relations department’s' newspaper clipping bureau.

 An article from Baltimore and Ohio Magazine 1922

Gans appeared on the front cover of LINKING RINGS magazine in March of 1926 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

DAI ANDREWS The World's Greatest Sword Swallower



In 2007 Andrews worked alongside Dr. Sharon Caplan and other physicians at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore MD USA. The study was conducted to determine whether the techniques involved in sword swallowing could be used to help patients who suffer from achalasia or those who had suffered severe throat trauma and were having trouble swallowing as a result.

On September 12, 2009 at Pimlico Race course in Baltimore, MD USA, Dai Andrews swallowed a sword that was curved 120 degrees from point to hilt. This record was certified as an official Guinness World Record™ in 2009, and included in the print edition of The Guinness Book of World Records in 2012
Andrews also holds three other world records for sword swallowing!



 "It was such a thrill to see so many old friends (on The Magic of Baltimore). I was very fortunate to be born and raised in West Baltimore and to have known the likes of Denny, and Jack, and George, Dantini and the endless other wonderful entertainers from Baltimore. Denny was and is my 'God Send', because with his help and friendship, Kohl and Company got to perform our little family comedy magic act all over the world. 
   I grew up with Phil Thomas, Vin Carey, Dantini, Denny Haney, Jack Gaylin, George Goebel, Howie, and knew and met everyone else involved including Channing Pollack. So nice that we were included. 
   I still have a dove pan that I bought from Dantini so very long ago. I also remember when I was a kid going to Phil Thomas's shop, and then one day after we had been doing 'the act' and appeared in England and got on the cover of Abra that he said... "Well, my boy, you have hit the big time. Ah the memories" - Dick Kohlhafer

Wednesday, December 11, 2013





by Robert Giordano 

Poe's Childhood

Edgar Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. That makes him Capricorn, on the cusp of Aquarius. His parents were David and Elizabeth Poe. David was born in Baltimore on July 18, 1784. Elizabeth Arnold came to the U.S. from England in 1796 and married David Poe after her first husband died in 1805. They had three children, Henry, Edgar, and Rosalie.

Elizabeth Poe died in 1811, when Edgar was 2 years old. She had separated from her husband and had taken her three kids with her. Henry went to live with his grandparents while Edgar was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. John Allan and Rosalie was taken in by another family. John Allan was a successful merchant, so Edgar grew up in good surroundings and went to good schools.

When Poe was 6, he went to school in England for 5 years. He learned Latin and French, as well as math and history. He later returned to school in America and continued his studies. Edgar Allan went to the University of Virginia in 1826. He was 17. Even though John Allan had plenty of money, he only gave Edgar about a third of what he needed. Although Edgar had done well in Latin and French, he started to drink heavily and quickly became in debt. He had to quit school less than a year later.

Poe in the Army

Edgar Allan had no money, no job skills, and had been shunned by John Allan. Edgar went to Boston and joined the U.S. Army in 1827. He was 18. He did reasonably well in the Army and attained the rank of sergeant major. In 1829, Mrs. Allan died and John Allan tried to be friendly towards Edgar and signed Edgar's application to West Point.

While waiting to enter West Point, Edgar lived with his grandmother and his aunt, Mrs. Clemm. Also living there was his brother, Henry, and young cousin, Virginia. In 1830, Edgar Allan entered West Point as a cadet. He didn't stay long because John Allan refused to send him any money. It is thought that Edgar purposely broke the rules and ignored his duties so he would be dismissed.

A Struggling Writer

In 1831, Edgar Allan Poe went to New York City where he had some of his poetry published. He submitted stories to a number of magazines and they were all rejected. Poe had no friends, no job, and was in financial trouble. He sent a letter to John Allan begging for help but none came. John Allan died in 1834 and did not mention Edgar in his will.

In 1835, Edgar finally got a job as an editor of a newspaper because of a contest he won with his story, "The Manuscript Found in a Bottle. Edgar missed Mrs. Clemm and Virginia and brought them to Richmond to live with him. In 1836, Edgar married his cousin, Virginia. He was 27 and she was 13. Many sources say Virginia was 14, but this is incorrect. Virginia Clemm was born on August 22, 1822. They were married before her 14th birthday, in May of 1836. In case you didn't figure it out already, Virginia was Virgo.

As the editor for the Southern Literary Messenger, Poe successfully managed the paper and increased its circulation from 500 to 3500 copies. Despite this, Poe left the paper in early 1836, complaining of the poor salary. In 1837, Edgar went to New York. He wrote "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym" but he could not find any financial success. He moved to Philadelphia in 1838 where he wrote "Ligeia" and "The Haunted Palace". His first volume of short stories, "Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque" was published in 1839. Poe received the copyright and 20 copies of the book, but no money.

Sometime in 1840, Edgar Poe joined George R. Graham as an editor for Graham's Magazine. During the two years that Poe worked for Graham's, he published his first detective story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and challenged readers to send in cryptograms, which he always solved. During the time Poe was editor, the circulation of the magazine rose from 5000 to 35,000 copies. Poe left Graham's in 1842 because he wanted to start his own magazine.

Poe found himself without a regular job once again. He tried to start a magazine called The Stylus and failed. In 1843, he published some booklets containing a few of his short stories but they didn't sell well enough. He won a hundred dollars for his story, "The Gold Bug" and sold a few other stories to magazines but he barely had enough money to support his family. Often, Mrs. Clemm had to contribute financially. In 1844, Poe moved back to New York. Even though "The Gold Bug" had a circulation of around 300,000 copies, he could barely make a living.

In 1845, Edgar Poe became an editor at The Broadway Journal. A year later, the Journal ran out of money and Poe was out of a job again. He and his family moved to a small cottage near what is now East 192nd Street. Virginia's health was fading away and Edgar was deeply distressed by it. Virginia died in 1847, 10 days after Edgar's birthday. After losing his wife, Poe collapsed from stress but gradually returned to health later that year.

Final Days

In June of 1849, Poe left New York and went to Philadelphia, where he visited his friend John Sartain. Poe left Philadelphia in July and came to Richmond. He stayed at the Swan Tavern Hotel but joined "The Sons of Temperance" in an effort to stop drinking. He renewed a boyhood romance with Sarah Royster Shelton and planned to marry her in October.

On September 27, Poe left Richmond for New York. He went to Philadelphia and stayed with a friend named James P. Moss. On September 30, he meant to go to New York but supposedly took the wrong train to Baltimore. On October 3, Poe was found at Gunner's Hall, a public house at 44 East Lombard Street, and was taken to the hospital. He lapsed in and out of consciousness but was never able to explain exactly what happened to him. Edgar Allan Poe died in the hospital on Sunday, October 7, 1849.

The mystery surrounding Poe's death has led to many myths and urban legends. The reality is that no one knows for sure what happened during the last few days of his life. Did Poe die from alcoholism? Was he mugged? Did he have rabies?




DocuTV - Crime author Denise Mina investigates the life and work of one of the world's greatest horror writers, Edgar Allan Poe. The relationships between Poe and the women in his life - mother, wife, paramour and muse - were tenuous at best, disastrous at worst, yet they provided inspiration and stimulus for some of the most terrifying and influential short stories of the early 19th century.
This is interesting



 Tim Burton's 'VINCENT' featuring VINCENT PRICE

Original illustration from 'The Pit and the Pendulum'
A short story by Poe
The Cask of Amontillado 
"The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?"
--from "The Premature Burial" (1844)
(Artist: Harry Clarke)

 Poe's home in Baltimore

 The Poe Museum in Richmond, VA.

A pub on the last street before docks, is rumored to have been one of Edgar Allen Poe’s favorite drinking spots and that he had been walking home from The Horse You Came In On when he died.
 It is also believed that Edgar Allen Poe’s ghost that resides in this pub and is responsible for strange occurrences throughout the bar.


"The Angel of the Odd" (1844) Comedy about being drunk

"The Balloon Hoax" (1844) Newspaper story about balloon travel

"Berenice" (1835) Horror story about teeth

"The Black Cat" (1845) Horror story about a cat

"The Cask of Amontillado" (1846) A story of revenge

"A Descent Into The Maelström" (1845) Man vs. Nature, Adventure Story

"Eleonora" (1850) A love story

"The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" (1845) Talking with a dead man

"The Fall of the House of Usher" (1839) An old house and its secrets

"The Gold Bug" (1843) A search for pirate treasure

"Hop-Frog" (1845) A midget seeks revenge

"The Imp of the Perverse" (1850) Procrastination and confession

"The Island of the Fay" (1850) A poetic discussion

"Ligeia" (1838) A haunting supernatural tale

"The Man of the Crowd" (1845) How to follow someone

"Manuscript Found in a Bottle" (1833) Adventure at sea

"The Masque of the Red Death" (1850) The horror of the plague

"Mesmeric Revelation" (1849) Conversation with a hypnotized dying man

"The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1841) A detective story

"Never Bet the Devil Your Head" (1850) A comedy with a moral

"The Oval Portrait" (1850) A tragic love story

"The Pit and the Pendulum" (1850) A torture chamber

"The Premature Burial" (1850) About being buried alive

"The Purloined Letter" (1845) A detective story

"Silence - A Fable" (1838) A dream

"Some Words With a Mummy" (1850) A mummy speaks

"The Spectacles" (1850) A great little comedy about love at first sight

"The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether" (1856) Inside an insane asylum

"The Tell-Tale Heart" (1850) A murderer's guilt

"William Wilson" (1842) Identical twins or something else?


"Alone" (1875)

"Annabel Lee" (1849)

"The Bells" (1849)

"The City in the Sea" (1831)

"The Conqueror Worm" (1843)

"Dream-Land" (1844)

"A Dream Within A Dream" (1850)

"Eldorado" (1849)

"For Annie" (1849)

"The Haunted Palace" (1839)

"The Raven" (1845)

"The Sleeper" (1831)

"To The River" (1829)

"Spirits of the Dead" (1829)

"A Valentine" (1850)

"The Valley of Unrest" (1845)

Life size silicone sculpture of Edgar Allan Poe by Tom Kuebler