Being a stage magician seems like a rather fun occupation. Make some coins disappear, pull a rabbit out of a hat, slice a lovely assistant in half. All that to an applause of a delighted audience. Is this your card?
But what happens when good stage magicians... GO BAD?
Meet Erik Jan Hanussen, who claimed to be a Danish aristocrat but in reality was Hermann Steinschneider, a Czech Jew. He started as a stage magician in Germany in the 1920s, but went farther than that. Hanussen dabbled in clairvoyance, astrology, and the paranormal, converting a Berlin mansion into "The Palace of the Occult". Sadly, he didn't stop there.
For all the bored housewives and swanky aristocrats that sought Hanussen's services, there was one client who wanted to know more. A client who Hanussen taught the value of stage presence, dramatic gesturing, and crowd control. A client who used what he learned to win over Germany... and the rest was history.
Sadly for Hanussen, it did not end well. Days after the Nazis took complete control in 1933, Hanussen was assassinated, possibly because of his Jewish origins, possibly because his influence on Hitler was feared by the likes of Goering and Goebbels.
Perhaps he should have stuck with stage magic...