Lulu Hurst (b. 1869 - 1950)
Georgia Wonder, Electric Girl
Vaudevillian Entertainer, Magician
Place of Birth
Polk County, Georgia, USA
Hurst possessed the ability to manipulate the inertial forces of the human body. She appeared to have superhuman strength and some strange electrical abilities.
She demonstrated her powers by throwing large men across the stage and even make chairs fly through the air like acrobats. In her chair act, Hurst lifted a man seated in a chair right up off the ground.
Two thousand dollars worth of dresses were made for Lulu Hurst before she began her exhibitions at the Wallack's Theater. She has worn a different dress every night. Her outfits were flashy - bright red, or pink, or yellow, decorated with "brilliants" or large corsages of roses.
Lulu Hurst was born in Polk County, Georgia. When she was 14 year old she claimed to have heard rapping and popping in her bedroom one night after a severe thunder storm.
After the storm, she touched a chair - and when someone sat upon it, they were thrown across the room. Hurst seemed to have acquired some strange electrical abilities that night.
In September 1883 she gained local attention by exhibiting these extraordinary abilities. Hurst apparently harnessed electrical powers which can be used to shock and manipulate the inertial force of the human body.
For example, in one of her demonstrations a man of considerable strength would hold a cane horizontally and steadily in both hands.
When Hurst placed her open hands on the cane, the man could no longer hold it steady. In some instances the volunteer himself would be thrown to the floor as if zapped by an invisible force.
Another demonstration of her powers has Hurst holding on to one end of an umbrella while male volunteers from the audience attempted to throw her off balance by grabbing the other end of the umbrella. The result left hapless men thrown onto the floor scratching their heads in disbelief.
Hurst would further demonstrate her uncanny abilities with the use of various props such as umbrellas, canes and chairs.
With the aid of theatrical manager Sanford H. Cohen and newspaper editor Henry Grady, Hurst's vaudeville act soon swept the nation.
Hurst toured the U.S. from 1844 - 1885 and at only fifteen, she was one of the most famous women in the country.
In the fall of 1886 Hurst, tired of touring, cancelled a European tour and retired from performing. She settled down with her husband Paul Atkinson, whom she married while touring.
Hurst refused to discuss her career or divulge her trade secrets until 1897, when she published her autobiography that gave a selective accounts of her tours and explanation of her methods.
Hurst's fame also inspired many imitators, including Mattie Lee Price and mamie Simpson, however the most successful of these performers was Annie May Abbott.
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