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Morris Nathan Young

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 14 December 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1424

Ophthalmologist, magician, collector, and author of books on Houdini, magic, and memory

Magic dominated Morris Young's life from childhood, even influencing his choice of ophthalmology as a medical specialty. At the age of 17 he met the great escapologist Harry Houdini. Morris showed Houdini that he could make his body rigid, balancing his head on one chair and his toes on another. Morris “was interested in self will to control the body,” said his son, Charles, also an ophthalmologist, “which was a lot of what Houdini did through holding his breath and training. He taught me tricks. He entertained my sister and me at the dinner table.

“He was intrigued with optics, how you could trick the eye. If you move your hand fast enough, the eye doesn't see it because it happened so quickly. He wondered how the eye worked, the association between the tricks of vision and the wonderment of vision.”

Among Dr Young's most highly …

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