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Monday, August 22, 2011

Educated entertainer wows with words and fire at Heritage DaysEric Scites trades opera for 18th century ‘magic’

NICK ADAMS/The Register-Mail.
Eric Scites of Faire Wynd’s Circus spits fire during Heritage Days at the Rendezvous campsite on Sunday. The circus features traveling performers who reenacted illusions popular during the 1740’s.
By CHARLIE GORNEY The Register-Mail
Posted Aug 21, 2011
GALESBURG — The Fire-King, also known as the Human Salamander, also known as Eric Scites of Pomeroy, Ohio, took the stage to spit fire and perform slight of hand tricks Sunday during the 17th annual Galesburg Heritage Days.
Scites’ show, which he said is meant to be historically accurate, is modeled after the early 18th century traveling entertainer, for to call himself a magician would have been illegal. Nevertheless, his joking, lighthearted tone came out on stage.“I’m a magician,” Scites yelled as he tried to lure in more audience members. “Come watch my hopes and dreams disappear!”
Scites said he strives to do everything that traveling entertainers would have done in the early 18th century, but he does it in a modern way so it can be appreciated.
The show was simple, yet entertaining. Everything Scites used (rope, a ring, cups, balls, small torches) could be easily fit into the average briefcase. He explained that traveling entertainers would use small items with which they could impress people and still travel light.
“The concept of a large, traveling circus is mostly a 20th century idea,” Scites said.
As a final historical tidbit, Scites said traveling entertainers, as a result of their travels, were generally more educated than the average person.
The 10 a.m. Sunday show focused on “misdirection,” or the practice of drawing the audience members’ attention away from the trick as it happens. Though he threw in some fire spitting and swallowing for a “wow” factor, his simpler tricks included tying knots with one hand and tying knots around a rope in midair.
Scites’ wife, Susan Scites, said after the show that this is their full-time job of about 17 years, and though they legally reside in Pomeroy, they rarely find time to make it home while performing in a different location each weekend.
“I got a useless college degree (in opera performance) and tried to make something of it, and this came to me,” Eric Scites said after the show. “It took off, and I had to run with it.”

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