Anyways, Blaine got me thinking about that famed magician of my youth, Doug Henning, otherwise known as the Gallagher of illusion. Whatever happened to him? Turns out he's dead. You'd think a magician would see death coming, but nonethless ...
The toxic duo of Henning (strike three: he wore rainbow suspenders, a la Mork) and David Copperfield kept me from pursuing any interest I might've had in magic. Kids aren't in the habit of imitating geeks, and I was no different. I don't even remember any of Henning's famous feats, just the colorful clothing and his puckish demeanor.
He claimed he could levitate, and in the early 1990s he abandoned performing to pursue the study of transcendental meditation.
He also ran in the 1993 federal election in Canada as a candidate for the Natural Law Party of Canada, which proposed yogic flying as a solution to the problems of the nation. (As the party's most famous candidate, he was so prominently featured in their television ads that many voters mistakenly thought he was the party's leader. The party was in fact led by Dr. Neil Paterson.)
One of Henning's greatest ambitions was never realized in his lifetime. In the 1990s Henning joined forces with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to draft plans for a fantastical billion-dollar project called Maharishi Veda Land that was to "combine astonishing, unique visual and sensory effects, state-of-the-art 3D imagery, and ultra high-tech entertainment technology with his best and most original magic illusion secrets." Maharishi Veda Land was conceived as a magical Himalayan setting where visitors would be wowed with theatrical presentations of ancient Vedic stories and "the deepest secrets of the universe", while munching on organic vegetarian burgers and snacks.
I'd like to find the investors of that project. Maybe they'd be interested in my outhouse that travels through time.
His signature parting words from "The World of Magic" still resonate to his admirers with a heartfelt ring: "Anything the mind can conceive is possible. Nothing is impossible. All you have to do is look within and you can realize your fondest dreams. I would like to wish each one of you all of life's wonders and a joyful age of enlightenment."
Lesson learned: hippies and magic don't mix.