Dear CF,

Coincidences happen, but this one has thrown me for a loop. After posting handless and footless Matthew Buchinger’s writing sample, I was merrily researching a robot exhibition from 1800 in a completely different archive when I stumbled across the name again, this time in a piece in the New York Times here which deals with my robot exhibit too. The Matthew Buchinger in the article is described as “the greatest magician of his time.”

I stare, confused.

I call Mr. Millicent over.

“Could it be the same person?” I ask him.

“No,” he said, “it’s hard to be a magician without hands and feet.”

“Yeah,” I said.

Wow, were we wrong.

The Matthew (or Matthias) Buchinger who wrote that statement wasn’t going to be dictated to by circumstance—which I guess we could’ve guessed by the upside-down and backward lines.

For fun, he built ships in bottles.

He was a famous magician. He could play six different musical instruments. And he was a master engraver. Below is his self-portrait.

As if that weren’t amazing enough, THE CURLS ARE ACTUALLY COMPOSED OF BIBLE PASSAGES RENDERED IN TINY PRINT. Here’s a close-up of the hair:

Mind: blown.





  1. Kip Manley says:

    For further such blowage (though the Little Man from Nuremberg is the cream of any of a number of crops), the oeuvre of one Ricky Jay cannot be recommended highly or often enough.

  2. Carla Fran says:

    All I can say is !!!!. AGOG. !!!!.
    He maybe our oddest saint yet. The kismet of this is so…magical. Think you must now write a novel about him, or at least, have a framed picture of him over your desk.

  3. Elle says:

    Sorry if I dont believe that. This is stuff for naive ppl.

    • gcatino says:

      Elle this man/was is VERY real I have known about him for my whole life and own an ORIGINAL book he wrote and illustrated. there are about 13 or more illustrations such as Jesus. a bible. an illistration of his personal desk in a bottle ( another craft he mastered) self portrait a king etc he used his mouth to draw and write with. I have a very hard time parting with the book as is is one of a kind and was created in 1699. I would love to take photos and put it on here but i see no was you load them here. It’s just so incredible and wonderful.
      anyway he was really amazing and very real. he was very religious and incredibly talented. in my book he also drew a self portrait and signed his backwards. AS you would imagine keep it in a very safe place.

  4. Peter Cook says:

    Anybody that does not believe it had better think again! He was my wife’s great Grandfather six times removed and have studied his remarkable life and can assure you that his life is nearly all
    that people say it was.

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