Matthias Buchinger, sometimes called Matthew Buckinger, described himself as "the wonderful Little Man of but 29 inches high, born without Hands, Feet, or Thighs." Despite being born (in Germany in 1674) with limbs "more resembling fins of a fish than arms of a man," he was renowned for his works as a calligrapher and micrographer (remarked for details illustrated in psalms written in characters of different sizes), builder of whimsey bottles (the oldest known "mining bottle"), and called the most extraordinary conjurer of all time. People may have initially gathered to see a tragedy, but instead were presented with an astounding range of impressive skills. [more inside]
Ricky Jay had a TV special in 1989 - Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women - based on the book of the same name, which featured magic, juggling, amazing feats, stunts, and performances, including a musical performance on wine glasses, a human calculator who could determine cube-routes of numbers in her head, and an antique acrobatic clockwork doll. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). (Previously and previously and previouslier)
Ricky Jay's legendary book, "Cards As Weapons," is out of print. Used copies are expensive. Luckily, you can read it here. (The book contains some NSFW content.) I've you're new to Ricky Jay, start here.
Card Throwing. Can ordinary playing cards be used as deadly weapons? Well, no, that myth was already busted in 2004 (but it inspired some self-confessed nerds to build their own card-throwing machines and stage a contest). Even though it's not lethal, card throwing (also known as card shooting and card scaling) is still an interesting and multifaceted skill. Check out some YouTube videos of card throwing champs Ricky Jay and Rick Smith Jr., as well as other efforts.
Dai Vernon chased down card cheats and swindlers to make him a better magician. It paid off. One of the best magicians of the twentieth century, Dai first made his name in 1919 when he became The Man Who Fooled Houdini. Watch his version of the classic routines the cups and balls and the linking rings. Vernon also mentored many magicians throughout his life, including Ricky Jay. Vernon died at the age of 98 after years as the Magician in Residence at Hollywood's Magic Castle.