From the campfires of ancient tribes to the bright neon lights of Las Vegas, a concise history of illusionists throughout history. Featuring interviews with top magicians of today (such as Lance Burton, Eugene Burger, and Jeff McBride), Masters of Mystery uncovers the origins of the many modern tricks that still make audiences wonder "How did they do that?" Beginning with the magicians of ancient Egypt who translated age-old beliefs into physical acts of illusion, to the religious ceremonies that gave early magic makers their first platform for performance.
Beginning with the 1790s multimedia show phantasmagoria--a performance using a simple magic lantern and wall projections--the documentary provides insight into the early special effects that made magicians legendary.
A healthy dose of Penn and Teller highlight this episode, including their Magnum-enhanced modern version of the bullet-catch trick. As well as historical footage and narrative, including Houdini's Water Torture Cell (an escape that, it is reported, only 12 people in the world have been able to figure out) and many manners of sawing a woman in two.