Theater of Marvels

Miller & Wilson's Theater of Marvels and
Ring 362 of the International Brotherhood of Magicians
The Perilous Garden
May 29, 2006

Performance 1
Performance 2

Perilous Garden

Photo by Sarah Hinckley

PERILOUS JOURNEY... A blindfolded Paul Szauter of Bar Harbor, aka Dr. Wilson of Wilson and Miller's Theater of Marvels, reaches the end of a course lined with live bear traps on the Bar Island bar on Saturday. He narrowly escaped injury more than once during the stunt — at one point, he fell to one knee, triggering a trap that barely missed snapping closed on his bare foot.

Reprinted with permission of the Mount Desert Islander, issue of June 1, 2006

Amazing feat saves feet from 'The Perilous Garden'

animal traps blindfold
animal traps animal traps
Dr. Wilson, while blindfolded, successfully negotiated a path strewn with bone-crushing animal traps on the sand bar to Bar Island on Saturday afternoon. Here, he memorizes the locations, is blindfolded, makes his way along the path, and successfully reaches the other end.
Photos by Peter Travers.

By Dick Broom

BAR HARBOR — Paul Szauter, a.k.a. Dr. Wilson, achieved both of his objectives last Saturday: He got publicity and he didn't lose a foot.

As about 75 people watched breathlessly, Dr. Wilson walked blindfolded and barefoot along a path strewn with animal traps. Wearing his trademark top hat and tails, he completed what he termed "the perilous garden" walk unscathed.

The free performance took place on the bar to Bar Island at low tide late Saturday afternoon. Dr. Wilson's assistants placed 14 traps, built to catch the likes of beavers and raccoons, along a short path in the sand. Dr. Wilson memorized the location of the traps before being blindfolded.

After finishing his perilous walk, he was asked how confident he had been that he would avoid all the traps.

"Confident enough to get up there and do it, but not so confident that I think it's not dangerous," he said.

Halfway through his walk, he lost his balance and fell to one knee. Near the end, his right foot grazed a trap, which snapped shut on the cuff of his pants. The purpose of the stunt, Dr. Wilson said, was to generate publicity for Miller and Wilson's Theater of Marvels, which will give more than a dozen public performances of magic and feats of daring this summer. The other half of Miller & Wilson is magician Professor Miller.

The two will head an "All-Star Magical Review" at 2 p.m. on July 4 at the Criterion Theatre. The show will also feature vaudeville-style comedy and Middle Eastern dance. Proceeds will benefit Ring 362 of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Miller and Wilson's June 24 performance at the Town Hill Community Hall will benefit the West Eden Village Improvement Society.

Every Saturday evening in July and August, Miller & Wilson will perform at the Otter Creek Community Hall, with proceeds going to the Otter Creek Aid Society, which maintains the historic hall.

Reprinted with permission from the Bar Harbor Times, issue of June 1, 2006.

Special thanks to:
Harley Newman   Training & Advice
Professor Miller   Assistant & Publicity
Randy Von Smith   Trapmaster
Aubrey Smith   Safety
Dayton Salisbury   Morale
Bar Harbor Times   Press coverage
Mount Desert Islander   Press coverage
Meri Fox-Szauter   Unconditional acceptance