“It all started with a ‘throw-away’ comment from my grandfather,” said Hart. “When he was working for the BBC, he made notes in an RAF notebook revealing their methods. The notes were pertinent to his job on the shows. That’s where it all started. I had no idea their methods were unknown.”
The Piddingtons act was the most unfathomable ESP demonstration the world had ever witnessed and many scientists were convinced their powers were real. They performed in theatres across Britain which included the London Palladium. In their act, Sydney Piddington could transmit his thoughts to his wife without talking, even if she was miles away. Today, 70 years on, baffled magicians and scientists are still unable to work out how they did it. Sydney Piddington invented his secret methods during his three-year imprisonment in the Changi POW camp in Singapore during World War II. He later married Lesley Pope and they formed the act in Australia before bringing it to England.
To this day, their methods have remained unfathomed, although many theories have emerged. Magician Penn Jillette attempted to explain their methods on a radio show in New York. Martin says his theories were way off the mark. Magicians across the world have attempted similar tricks but none have ever achieved the standards of realism Sydney Piddington did. Hope of discovering their methods was believed lost when Sydney Piddington died in 1991 and wife Lesley developed Dementia in 2006. They never revealed their secrets, not even to close family. When quizzed, their catch phrase was always the same; “You are the judge.”
Piddington’s grandson Jesse Cox said in a radio documentary, “We will never know how they did it. There will only ever be theories.” However, the actual BBC recordings and film footage from British Pathe, supports the methods in the notebook and clearly shows they are genuine. Martin says once you understand the methods you can spot all their mistakes. Piddington’s surviving family gave Martin Hart permission to publish the secrets as a book and his investigation uncovered an incredibly revealing story behind their cunningly skilful journey to fame. Martin explains that they never used hidden devices, sleight of hand or an audible code to communicate secretly, in fact they were always searched thoroughly before performances. He also adds that the methods could still be used today.
The book is now available through magic shops and online. For more information, visitThePiddingtons.com
Pages 223. 50+ Photos / diagrams. Hardback. 6” by 9”.
YouTube Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d58gx_yKC0E