People have always viewed magicians with a sense of amazement.
The tricks and illusions they perform have held audiences spellbound since the earliest times. Magic is a rare and special thing and when you find a real, live magician living in your own community, it is as startling as discovering a rabbit popping out of a hat.
John Apperson has lived in Granite City since 1963, when he moved there after marrying his wife, Virginia. They raised two sons and have two granddaughters, who he says they get to see regularly. Retiring in 1998 as a sergeant after 25 years with the Granite City Police Department, Apperson is now 74 years old and has been married to Virginia for 52 years.
Starting in 1968, however, Apperson began a fascinating parallel career when he discovered magic.
“A coworker had a coin trick he bought at the magic store in St. Louis and I was just amazed by it,” he explains.
He left work that day and drove directly to the magic shop to purchase some tricks. The rest is history.
Reading and teaching himself as well as learning from others, Apperson gradually developed an act and began performing for groups throughout the area. Over the years he has performed for schools, grand openings, birthday parties, anniversaries and for organizations like the Moose Lodge, the VFW and the Masons.
His wife often was an integral part of the show. The two of them performed for many years as a team. He still performs occasionally and explains his performances have always been designed for all ages.
He characterizes himself as semi-professional because he says he never made the majority of his income from magic. However, that description belies the involvement and influence he has had on magic locally as well as nationally. He started and ran a company for many years called Rings N Things. The company produced top-quality magic items.
Apperson was national president of the Society of American Magicians (SAM) in 2004 and 2005. When he attended national conventions, world-famous magicians such as David Copperfield recognized Apperson by sight. He is currently president of SAM’s St. Louis chapter and also a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
Apperson and his wife travel every year to the annual SAM convention. He says it is held in a different city every time and they have traveled all over the United States to attend.
His house is a treasure trove of collectibles, books and memorabilia about magic. He estimates he has a library of more than 1,000 books. He also has hundreds of collectibles and posters that include many rarities. His collection is the result of almost 50 years of his passionate interest in magic.
As he speaks, he makes a large coin vanish and reappear moments later as if by … well … magic. Seeing the illusion up close and in person is astonishing. He smiles and says closely guarding the secrets behind magic tricks is an important part of the show.
“If I show you how it’s done, it is no longer fun to watch,” he says.
Hobbies, interests and avocations can keep people lively and active well into their golden years. John Apperson is proof that getting old is nothing but an illusion.
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