The first magic was performed in ancient Egypt. The Egyptian magician Dedi, who lived about 2700 BCE, gave a performance in which he decapitated two birds and an ox and then restored their heads.

Other Egyptian magicians were noted for their skill with the trick of cups and balls. In this trick small balls seem to pass invisibly from one inverted cup or bowl to another. Finally, they are converted into larger spheres or such unexpected items as oranges or live baby rabbits.

One of the greatest box-office attraction in the history of magic was the feat of appearing to saw a woman in half. In the first performance of this act in London in 1921, the British magician Percy Tibbles, also known as P.T. Selbit, cut through a box that contained a woman assistant. She emerged unharmed.

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