5 Magicians That Died During Their Performance

Published by Magic Every Month Staff on





Royden Joseph Gilbert Genesta: In 1930, then famous magician Royden Joseph Gilbert Genesta had a famous special trick that attracted audiences far and wide; an escape trick. Genesta claimed the ability to escape any room to barrel or milk can in a matter of minutes before drowning.

After a crowd appear for his highly publicized show, Genesta crawled into his water barrel and proceeded with his main event. However, what the magician did not know was that the barrel was dented and this limited the amount of space he needed in order to make his escape. Realizing this fatal flaw too late, Genesta subsequently drowned trapped inside the water barrel.


Madame Delinsky: the Polish magician working in Germany was preparing for her signature trick; stopping a bullet before it punctures the body. However, Delinsky wished to provide an even greater spectacle and so she hired a group of six men to function as a firing squad, stating she would stop six bullets at once instead of just one.

Before she went through with the trick, she informed the men to load their guns with blanks instead of real bullets so as to help her produce the illusion. However, one gunman accidentally loaded his rifle with revaluation. Delinsky was subsequently shot in the abdomen and died a few days later.



Dr. Vivian Hensely was a dentist from Australia; known for his eccentric behavior and loving adoration for his children. He invented a trick that gave the illusion he would swallow a rusty razor while in reality he dropped the razor down his sleeve. However, one day while performing the trick for his son, he accidentally dropped the razor down his throat, and was immediately taken to the emergency room. To absorb the blood, his wife made him eat cotton balls all the way to the hospital.


Charles Rowen: Carl the Magician, real name Charles Rowen was a daredevil escape artist whose fetish involved lying in front of a speeding car while straight jacket. Carl would wiggle his way free in the short time span of a few seconds, and dodge the car as it runs by. But at his final show in 1930 car was unable to free himself as a car sped at 35 miles per hour and ran over the man’s legs almost severing one of them. Carl would later die from his injuries but he first exonerated the driver for his part in the show.


Joe Burrus: The amazing Joe Burrus had successfully made himself while doing local shows and experimenting with being buried alive, an amateur to his childhood hero Harold Houdini. Amazing Joe’s next trip would be to be buried inside a plastic see-through coffin under seven feet of cement and dirt. As many gathered to watch the miraculous escape, one did turn to horror as Joe’s miscalculations for the strength of his coffin ultimately became his downfall. The cement being too heavy for the plastic exterior collapsed through Joe’s coffin and crushed him to death before the trick could go anywhere.