A magician who nearly tricked Penn and Teller will be at the Elliot House this weekend.
Jim Turnpaugh of Peru and Caleb Wiles of Indianapolis will perform two magic shows on Saturday. The first performance will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the second at 8 p.m. Turnpaugh said both shows are limited to 30 people.
Wiles’ first encounter with magic—a store-bought magic set his parents bought him—didn’t elicit much enthusiasm. It wasn’t until he was in high school and saw magicians performing on television that he decided to try the craft again. It stuck the second time around, and 22 years later, he’s still doing magic tricks.
Wiles explained that his favorite part of the job is creating new material.
In 2016 and 2020, he developed original tricks to play on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us”. He spent months researching and developing the tricks, performed them for show, and then never showed them again.
Turnpaugh remembered performing magic tricks in restaurants where adults dismissed the tricks as entertainment for children. By the end of his brief performance, the same adults would be more invested in the show than their children.
This desire to remind adults that magic isn’t just for kids is one of the reasons Saturday shows will be limited to people 12 and older.
Another reason, Turnpaugh said, is that none of the magicians do “children’s magic.”
Turnpaugh’s portion of the Saturday magic shows will focus on parlor magic, which is similar to a stage show but with smaller props. He plans to call participants from the public to join his number.
Wiles said his act would be similar to Turnpaugh’s. However, he noted that his performances generally incorporate more misdirection.
It was the performance aspect of the magic that made Turnpaugh stick with the craft. As an introverted child, performing magic tricks for his friends and teachers allowed him to share a passion with other people.
Turnpaugh explained that he planned to perform at the Elliot House, located at 1216 W. Sycamore St., before the COVID-19 outbreak. When the pandemic hit, he was forced to wait for live entertainment to regain popularity.
If the performances are well attended, Turnpaugh said, he would like to do another show at the Seiberling Mansion.
“These are very nice homes,” Turnpaugh said, “And I think they’re places that a lot of people in Kokomo haven’t had a chance to be.”