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L'Homme Masque

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L'Homme Masque

Cover of Genii (2000)
BornJose Antenor de Gago y Zavala
February 15, 1851
Arica, Peru
Diedcirca 1924 (age 73)
most likely in Germany

L'Homme Masqué (1851-c.1924) was born Jose Antenor de Gago y Zavala in Peru. He performed mostly in France, always wearing a mask (thus the stage name which means "Man of the Mask"). He also has performed under the name Marquis d'O or Marquis d'Orighuela.


He married Agnes Martini from Silesia, Germany, who assisted him. She appeared under the name of "Zirka, the Queen of Cigarettes".

Some of his effects were published in Magic without Apparatus by Camille Gaultier translated by Jean Hugard in 1945. It is generally accepted that he created the Downs Palm and taught it to T. Nelson Downs.

He had an imitator "Willy le Masque" who styled himself "The King of Gifts" because we would distribute souvenirs among his audience.

About 1905, he bought a wine farm in Bordeaux.[1]

His death was no sooner then 1924.


  1. Genii 2000 July Cover.
  • The Wizard, Vol. 1, No. 3, November 1905 (Selbit), Current Programs, L’Homme Masque, page 38
  • The Old and the New Magic, by Henry R. Evans, 1906, Magicians I Have Met, by Henry R. Evans, L’Homme Masque, page 302
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 18, No. 5, July 1938, BEHIND MASKS, By Dr. Henry R. Evans, page 289
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 29, No. 8, October 1949, "L’Homme Masque" by John Braun, page 39
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 30. No. 2, April 1950, Of legerdemain and diverse juggling knacks … by John Braun, WHAT BECAME OF L’HOMME MASQUE, page 30
  • Genii Magazine, Vol. 63, No. 7, Jul 2000, The Many Mysteries of L'Homme Masque by MICHAEL EDWARDS AND JERRY CHRISTENSEN, pp. 21-32, The Magic of L'Homme Masque, pp. 33-41
  • El Manuscrito, Vol. 5, No. 19, March 2012, LA MAGIA Y LA MÁSCARA, Los muchos misterios del Hombre Enmascarado, por Michael Edwards y Jerry Christensen, pp. 582-595