|Chung Ling Soo|
|Died||1918 (age 57)|
Chung Ling Soo was the stage name of American stage magician William Ellsworth Robinson (1861-1918). Year 1861 ( MDCCCLXI) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common Year 1918 ( MCMXVIII) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Year 1861 ( MDCCCLXI) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common Year 1918 ( MCMXVIII) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common He is famous for dying when his bullet catch trick went wrong. The bullet catch is a Conjuring illusion in which a magician appears to catch a bullet fired directly at him &ndash often in his mouth sometimes in his hand
During his early career, William Ellsworth Robinson called himself Robinson, the Man of Mystery. To increase his allure with a touch of exoticism, he changed his name to Chung Ling Soo and took his show to Europe. He took the name as a variation of a real Chinese stage magician - Ching Ling Foo - and performed many of the tricks that Foo had made famous. Ching Ling Foo (1854 - 1922 born Chee Ling Qua (朱連魁 is credited with being the first modern Oriental magician to achieve world fame
Chung Ling Soo maintained his role as a Chinese man scrupulously. He never spoke onstage and always used an interpreter when he spoke to journalists. Only his friends and other stage magicians knew the truth.
In 1905 in London, when both Soo and Foo were performing in different theatres, they developed a public feud - possibly a publicity stunt - referring to themselves as the only "Original Chinese Conjurer" and the other as an impostor. Foo challenged Soo to perform his tricks but did not show up at the appointed time. Whether this was by design is unknown.
Soo's most famous trick — partly because of his death while performing it — was the "Condemned to Death by the Boxers" trick.  In this trick Soo's assistants — sometimes dressed as Boxers — took two guns to the stage. The Boxer Rebellion, or Boxer Movement, was an uprising by members of the Chinese Society of Right and Harmonious Fists against foreign influence Several members of the audience were called on the stage to mark a bullet that was loaded into one of the guns. Attendants fired the gun at Soo, and he seemed to catch the bullets from the air and drop them on a plate he held up in front of him. In some variations he pretended to be hit and spit the bullet onto the plate.
Actually, Soo palmed the bullets, hiding them in his hand during their examination and marking. The muzzle-loaded guns were rigged such that the gunpowder charge fired in the chamber and the bullet would drop into a chamber below the barrel. Gunpowder is a an explosive mixture of Sulfur, Charcoal and Potassium nitrate (also known as saltpetre/saltpeter that burns rapidly producing volumes The bullet in fact never left the gun.
The trick went tragically wrong when Soo was performing in the Wood Green Empire, London, on March 23, 1918. Wood Green is a district in the London Borough of Haringey in North London, England. London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. Events 1174 - Jocelin, Abbot of Melrose, is elected Bishop of Glasgow. Year 1918 ( MCMXVIII) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common Soo never cleaned the gun properly. Over time, the gap that allowed the bullet to drop out of the barrel into the chamber slowly built up a residue from the continued burning of gunpowder. On the fateful night of the accident, the bullet remained in the barrel and was fired in the normal way, hitting Soo in the chest. His last words were spoken on stage that moment, "Oh my God. Something's happened. Lower the curtain. " It was the first (and last) time in 19 years that William "Chung Ling Soo" Robinson had spoken English in public.
Soo was taken to a nearby hospital, but he died the next day. Soo's wife explained the nature of the trick, and the inquest judged the case "accidental death". An inquest is a judicial investigation usually by a group of court-appointed people ( Jury) in Common law Jurisdictions The most common kind of inquest
Some conspiracy-minded theorists suggest that the death was not accidental. In 1955 US stage magician Jack Clarkson claimed that Soo was in debt, that his wife was having an affair with his agent, and that the incident was an elaborate form of suicide. Others have suggested instead that the agent manipulated the gun so that Soo would be killed. Neither theory is supported by solid evidence.