Hocus Pocus Pocus and the Mystery of Busking Magician

Hocus Pocus Pocus and the Mystery of Busking Magician: a mystery blog about an illusionist.

In this tale, Hocus Pocus Pocus has been called upon to deal with a baffling disappearance at the local busking fair in the village of Highbury.

Friday July 12, 2013

The Disappearance of Busking Magician

On Thursday morning last week, the residents of Highbury were startled to discover that the busking magician who had been performing tricks in the square for several weeks had disappeared without warning. Only his hat was found, left on the ground where he had been standing before vanishing without a trace.

Officers from the Highbury Police Department have been searching for clues in his caravan, parked nearby and now under lock and key. So far they have not released any information about what they found there.

Back in the early days of Hocus Pocus Pocus, I got a note from my editor about the busking magician Jack Davenport. It was sent to me with a number of other notes about mostly unrelated articles, but it stood out for its pithiness: “Is this guy real?”

It was a good question. I hadn’t written about the street magician, who seemed to appear and disappear seemingly at random around the city’s downtown core, in several months. The last time I’d seen him was when he was spotted on a busy stretch of Queen Street West, but his appearance that day had been fleeting: by the time I arrived, he’d already disappeared.

While he may have been elusive, Jack Davenport wasn’t exactly hard to spot. He was tall, with messy blond hair and a handsome face covered in freckles. Even more striking was his attire: a black top hat and cape that made him look like something out of an old-timey silent movie.

I first came across Davenport’s story as an art project by three Ryerson University students that had gone viral shortly after being posted online. In an introductory video for the project titled “The Mystery of Busking Magician,” one of the students


Busking Magician is a mystery blog about an illusionist. Is he real or fiction?

Who knows. Let’s find out together!

I’ve always been fascinated by magic and illusion, and I’m also a sucker for a good mystery. So when I was asked to create a blog that combined these two things, I jumped at the chance.

Hocus Pocus Pocus, like any good magician, is a master of illusion. But it’s nothing to do with sawing women in half or pulling rabbits out of hats – the magicians here are those dressed as pigeons and performing card tricks on the pavements of London.

“It’s a bit like an onion,” says Martin. “The more I get into it, the more layers there are.”

Martin is a busking magician. He started his blog, Busking Magician: A Diary of Life as a Street Performer, as an outlet for stories that could not be told onstage.

“I was doing a show,” he recalls, “and this woman came up to me afterwards and said ‘oh my God! You’ve got to write about this in your blog!’.” Martin was taken aback. “I don’t have a blog,” he told her.

Somehow that fan had stumbled across his website but didn’t know it was his own. By the time he’d explained this she had disappeared back into the crowd and Martin had decided that it was time to write a blog after all (although how she found him remains a mystery).

After six years documenting life as a busking magician on its streets and in its pubs

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