Theodore Annemann (1907-1942)
Theodore Annemann was a revolutionary giant in the field of mind reading and psychic performance, publishing over a dozen books, thousands of articles, and an infamous, long-running professional magazine, "The Jinx"
Theodore John Squires
The Enigma, Theo. J. Anneman, Ted
Place of Birth
East Waverly, New York.
Theodore Annemann possessed the uncanny ability to demonstrate mental or intuitive abilities. He was a giant in the art of mentalism and was a specialist in telepathy, clairvoyance, divination, precognition, mind control, memory feats and rapid mathematics.
"Theo." took on his step-father's last name and became, Theo. J. Anneman. In 1930, he added the extra "n" to the end of last name - the spelling with which magicians are now familiar.
Theodore Annemann was born Theodore John Squires in 1907 in East Waverly, New York.
At two years old, Theodore's father Fred Squires, left him and his family. Flavilla, Theodore's Mother, soon remarried to Stanley Anneman.
Theo. "Ted" Annemann was fascinated by magic at the age of 10 when a school friend showed him the "Ball and Vase Trick." Ted was hooked and studied the art day and night.
His mother was so concerned by his obsession with magic and lack of interest in getting a formal education; that she burned all of his magic books one day.
This setback didn't stop Annemann from pursuing his passion and about 15 years later; he sent his mother a bound copy with the first 50 issues of THE JINX with a note stating after she burned his magic books in the furnace, it made him try to "write one" for himself!
The generations of magicians and mentalists that have benefited from Annemann's creative genius and literary legacy still owe a debt of gratitude to his mother.
As a teenager, Annemann began performing magic around Waverly. One of his feature tricks was the Substitution Trunk. He didn't have anyone to help him with his act, so he enlisted the help of his younger brother, Leland.
However, Leland had no particular interest in magic and so, he made Theo. pay him handsomely for his assistance. By 1924, at the age of 17, Theodore Annemann was already contributing to "The Linking Ring" and "The Sphinx."
Although the effects he created often utilized old principles, his methods were original - emphasizing bold and subtle approaches over more complex ones or sleight-of-hand. Annemann knew instinctively, it was the effect that counted above all else.
After working as a railroad clerk as a young man, Annemann broke into show business first as a singer and magician's assistant, and later as a successful performer in his own right.
His interests soon turned to mentalism and he channeled his formidable creative energies in this direction to emerge as one of the leading mentalists of his day, billing himself as Annemann "The Enigma."
When not performing, Annemann kept busy creating magic and mentalism effects, and writing about them. He invented the "Window Envelope," and "Flat Rabbit."
The first book dedicated to his magic was "The Cabinet of Card Miracles" published by Burling Hull.
Two years later in 1931 he would publish his first and last hardcover book, "The Book Without a Name." In 1934, Annemann began editing and publishing the famed magazine "The Jinx."
Although the publication focused primarily on mentalism, it also included some excellent magic effects.
One of Annemann's most talked about feats was his version of the famous "Bullet Catch" illusion - the notoriously dangerous trick that had claimed the lives of numerous other magicians before him, including Chung Ling Soo.
Annemann was scheduled to perform his bullet catch at a full evening show in January 12, 1942. However, two weeks before the performance, he committed suicide.
While no one knows the exact reason why, it is well documented that Annemann had battled with his own personal demons for many years, including bouts with alcohol, severe stage fright and two failed marriages.
He married Margaret (Greta) Abrams in 1927 and in 1935, the couple had a daughter together, Mona Lee. Ted and Greta divorced in 1937.
The following year, he married Jeanette Parr. Ted and Jeanette were estranged at the time of his death. Although Theodore Annemann was just 34 years of age when the final curtain fell, his body of work in the field of mentalism remains unparalleled.
Information courtesy of: TrickShop.com, and The Ecyclopedia of Magic and Magicians.
Photo courtesy of IllusionGenius.com
Return from Theodore Annemann to Magician Biography page