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Lulu Hurst and the Secret That Shook America
The most complete treatise on the magnetic girl act ever produced
414 pages of the real magic and history of a unique and astonishing act
"One of the strongest men on the stage got up, and with the grip of a vise took hold of the cane with each hand and held it out horizontally in front of him...I place one of my hands on the cane, with the palm against it, about midway between his hands.... As we stood thus, the big man grim and solemn...his muscles knotted like corrugated iron...began to quiver, and then to totter, and then to brace himself, and then to lose his balance, and then to dance, and then to jump, and in the next instant he tumbled into a heap in the corner of the stage..." LULU HURST-1897 .
Fourteen-year-old Lulu Hurst liked to play practical jokes, but when one of them got out of hand Lulu suddenly found herself proclaimed "The Wonder of the Nineteenth Century." LULU HURST: THE GEORGIA WONDER. Her act consisted of a number of tests in which she seemed to exude a mysterious force that made her more than a match for men much larger and stronger than herself. Her "Power" gave her a supernatural strength without her showing the least muscular effort. She was able to withstand the pushing of several men without budging or seeming to exert any appreciable counter force- and with one foot raised off the floor. With one hand she pushed renowned athletes around the stage and into the scenery. And she lifted a chair with three large men piled onto it six inches off the ground. All this she accomplished without hidden devices, using just the few ungimmicked props in plain sight-a pool cue or cane, a chair, an umbrella-and a handful of remarkable secrets.
Lulu Hurst's act was one of the most unusual, original and mysterious show-business phenomena of the 1800s. When only fifteen, she hit the road for two sensational years. Playing the biggest theaters in the country, from coast to coast, drawing full houses, she quickly amassed a substantial fortune. Then, after two years of touring to tremendous success, and with the theater doors of England and Europe swinging wide to welcome her, Lulu Hurst, at the age of sixteen, abruptly and mysteriously retired from the stage.
The Georgia Wonder gives an in-depth account of Lulu Hurst's brief and amazing career. The centerpiece of The Georgia Wonder is Lulu Hurst's own 1897 autobiography. With this book Miss Hurst astonished America a second time. Her autobiography is in part a transparently glamorized puff piece for her and her act. But what astonished its readers was Lulu's own forthright exposure of the secrets behind her tests. She explained not only the hidden principles behind her feats, but also the requisite presentation and psychology.
Barry H. Wiley's deep knowledge of the period and the history of spiritualist mediums adds further insight, occasionally debunking Hurst when she embellishes her truly amazing career with a few details that are larger than fact. To Hurst's self-exposé Wiley has compiled newspaper reports, a revealing scientific evaluation and the most comprehensive explanation of Magnetic Girl feats ever assembled.
As Paul Daniels recently proved on his television show, the Hurst act is as amazing and entertaining to modern audiences as it was to those of the past. Barry H. Wiley adds valuable historical corrections and information to complete the chronicle of Lulu Hurst's remarkable story and the secrets of an extraordinary act that remains so to this day.
Pages 414 - Hardbound
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