Magic and the Second World War

| February 25, 2008

A fascinating article about how the British Army used a professional stage magician in their fight against Germany in North Africa:

Maskelyn’s inventiveness was awe-inspiring. Another thing, you see – or rather the German’s didn’t see – was that out there in the hot, flat, dry there aren’t a lot of reference points. A tiny truck that could cast a shadow the approximate size and shape of a real one was indistinguishable from a full sized one from the air. So Maskelyn and his Magic Gang created a whole miniature Army of tanks, trucks, troops, and even pipelines out of bulrushes and whatever the British Army had laying around. Though had the Nazi’s been flying over at one point they would have seen the surreal sight of Maskelyn and his gang chasing a wicker-work locomotive that had managed to get swept up by a stern breeze.

As the saying goes, read the whole thing.  Hat tip to Jonah Goldberg at The Corner on National Review Online.  ..bruce w..

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Category: Humor, Main

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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  1. Klug says:

    Have you guys seen the after-action report from San Diego County on the fires? Interesting reading. I’m not fully convinced, but I’d love to hear your opinions.