Early Days

David Berglas was born on the 30th of July, 1926. His father Alfred Berglas, the youngest of four brothers and two sisters, ran the family textile business, empire really, as they had factories throughout Europe. With a business spread over such a large area, David became a globetrotter at an early age, moving with his parents and being educated in a variety of different countries. His first encounter with magic was through his I nele Alex, a glamorous figure who seemed to be everything a young man could aspire to. In business he was a great innovator and a terrific salesman. In his leisure he was an enthusiastic sportsman. I lis other interests were varied and gave rise to a book entitled The Cause and Cure of Cancer and the invention of a device for defrosting the wings of aircraft. He knew more law than most lawyers and more about medicine than your average doctor. He was an accomplished amateur musician who composed music, which was published under his name, and enjoyed the company of many of

David Berglas getting an early start. ("Why do they always leave the blue ball?")

David Berglas

the great bandleaders of the day. And he was a knowledgeable magician too. David recalls his sleight of hand and remembers an animated ventriloquist's dummy called Micky who lived in a cupboard, or so I nele Alex said, and for many years young David truly thought it was alive. All in all, Alex was the uncle that every boy dreamed of: unconventional, talented and adventurous. His influence on young David was profound.

David's family lived in many different European countries but in the 1930s they found themselves in Germany, just at the time that Nazism took hold. Life became difficult. They moved to Holland in 1933 but were persuaded to return to Germany a year later. The situation did not improve and in 1938 they left for the last time, the family dispersing to different parts of Europe. Davids mother, Emmy, took his younger sister. Gaby, to Holland. I lis older sister Ellen-Ruth went to Switzerland while an eleven-year old David Berglas travelled by himself to England.

I le was met at Victoria Station in London by a business friend of his father's who took him to a co-educational school in Surrey called Erensham Heights where he became a boarder. It was some time before the family could get together again. When they did, they met in Newquay, in Cornwall, for a holiday. It was a dramatic reunion and David learned that his immediate family were safe. A few months later his grandparents, who were still in Germany, had the narrowest of escapes, climbing down a fire escape at the back of the building as the Gestapo were knocking at the front door. Some other relatives and many friends were not so fortunate. They were taken to concentration camps and were never seen alive again.

His family decided to settle in England, taking a house in Surrey and eventually mov ing to London. David spent the school terms at Frensham, a place that was to have a big influence on his life. He did not speak one word of English when he arrived, but having been educated in six countries, he had no difficulty in picking it up. Being away from home was complicated by the fact that his father had been interned in an open prison in I iuyton near Liverpool. This temporary imprisonment of foreign nationals was common during wartime but that didn't make it any easier to bear. David was particularly upset over his father's fate and on at least one occasion tried to run away from school and make his way to Huyton. He never got further than the school cricket field!

The headmaster of Frensham I leights, Paul Roberts, was a controversial figure who influenced many pupils' lives. I nder his stewardship the school was very forward thinking and took in a number of refugees from all over Europe. Old Frenshamians seem to be made up of people who seldom settled down to a "normal" job. They went sheep farming in New Zealand or climbing in the Himalayas. They were adventurers, academics or artists but never accountants or shopkeepers. David had no interest in magic at that time but there was a hint of the character he would eventually become. It lay in the books of Leslie Charteris and his crime-busting hero Simon Templar, also known as The Saint. David and his friends spent their time pretending to be the characters from the Charteris novels. Naturally David played the part of Simon Templar, the sophisticated, immaculately dressed hero who could beat card sharps and con men at their own game, fight his way out of any kind of trouble if need be and commanded a loyal band of followers that he could call upon for help. In later years he would be called the James Bond of magic but in reality the credit must be given to the redoubtable Simon Templar.

He spent four years at Frensham and then returned to London and attended ( niversitv Tutorial College, an affiliate of Cambridge I niversity. Further education was not his aim though, the war was still on and David was anxious to do his bit. His Dutch born brother-in-law Mike Einhorn was a Spitfire pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force and David, admiring the smart uniform and the glamour that seemed to go with it. decided that was the serv ice for him. He joined the Air Training Corps, the first foreign national to be accepted, and became a physical training instructor putting together a team that gave gymnastics demonstrations around the country He had good reports from his officers but was too young to graduate from the Air Training Corp to the Royal Air Force. So one day he set about a mission worthy of Simon Templar. 1 le sneaked into the offices and changed the birth date on his papers from 1926 to 1924 then he took the document to the Air Ministry in Kingsway and applied to join the RAF as a pilot, \ccording to the forged papers he w as seventeen years and eleven months old. The joining age was eighteen but they took him anyway.

I le was sent to Redruth in Cornwall to train but his deception was soon unmasked.

David during his time with the U.S. Army (with his dog Hischi).

Performing with cards in an early act.

Pouring any cocktail called for.

One evening, after one too many drinks, he confided his secret to a fellow trainee. The next day he found himself summoned to see the Commanding Officer. He explained that although David could stay in the Air Force he would not he allowed to fly. This was a huge disappointment. The whole point of the deception was to gain him his wings. I le decided to move back to London and figure out what to do next.

At first the options were limited. He could join the unglamorous Pioneer Corps helping with construction tasks and administration duties, or become a 'Bevan Bov' and work in the mines digging for coal. Neither option compared well with being a Spitfire pilot. Then he learned that American Army Intelligence wanted to employ people who had military training and could speak at least two languages including German. There was one catch. You had to be twenty-one years old. 1 Ie was only nineteen!

Nevertheless David went along for the interview. I le was surprised to discover that his age was not the obstacle he had imagined, as they were desperate for recruits. He passed the physical and intelligence tests and was soon on his way to Poissy in France. He trained at an old chateau just north westofParis. ltwasan impressive looking building of typically European design, a many roomed gothic mansion set in expansive grounds. The sort depicted in the movies as being the headquarters of a secret organisation involved in espionage, onI\ this time it was for real. Shortly after that he found himself in Offenbach, Germany, monitoring mail and telephone lines and on the lookout for Nazi activities. This was 1945 and the war was just

Apparatus War

coming to a close. He spent eighteen months there; participated in raids on Nazi hideouts, witnessed the terrible aftermath of the concentration camps and even attended the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

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