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Arthur Ainslie the Ghost Writer

Born in 1870, Arthur Ainslie, was the stage name adopted by British author and magician Arthur Wellesley Odell Pain. He emerged as a prominent figure in the early 1900s appearing at Maskelyne’s Theatre of Mysteries in London on numerous occasions and alongside showcasing his own magical effects, Ainslie often presented routines inspired by his idol, David Devant.

Ainslie’s performances were geared towards family-friendly entertainment, with a focus on enchanting the younger members of the audience. While he primarily billed himself as “Arthur Ainslie,” he occasionally performed under variations such as “Ainslee” or “Archer.”

He favoured smaller illusions, especially those he could perform with pet animals such as dogs and cats and in 1913, he was the first to present his original illusion, the production of a dog from a made-up kennel.

He was the ghost writer for several renowned magicians and under the pen name “F. M. Archer,” he penned numerous books and maintained a popular column, “Unsolved Problems,” in Magic Monthly magazine. In this column, he proposed basic ideas for tricks and challenged readers to devise their methods. This proved to be a rich source of ideas for professional magicians with several articles evolving into popular routines including “The Man who Carried a Bag” a trick performed by both Clive and Noel Maskelyne.

In 1922, Ainslie authored the well-received book “Water Wizardry” before retiring from performing in 1926. A devoted family man, he was married to Blanche Julia, and together they had three children: Margery Blanche, Arthur Julian, and Thomas Wellesley. Arthur Ainslie passed away in 1940.