Who is the most well-known Nigerian magician?

A story of a real legend… The most successful magician of all times! Professor Peller. The full biography and story of creation of his performances and the most popular tricks are here!

well-known magician

People love magic. We are not exception. But who is the most successful Nigerian magician of all times? Who managed to impress not only Nigeria but the whole world? You’ll love the story of this special person!

Professor Peller. Birth And Early Days

professor Peller

A boy was born in late 1941 at Iseyin. His real name was Moshood Folorunsho Abiola. Later he took the nickname ‘Professor Peller’, a mask that stuck to his face like a second skin. He managed to become the most successful magician in Nigeria. When he was growing up, he got a nickname Moshood Olori Pupa (which means Moshood the Red-Headed Boy).

His Magical Shows And Performances

magic show

READ ALSO: What are the easiest magic tricks to fascinate your friends at parties?

When magician Professor Peller was alive, a man was the most magnificent magician in the whole continent. Even talking about his death, Peller still remains the greatest of all. Professor performed not only in front of royal family and also joint kings to his magic shows. In 1972 Femi Oyebode, who is a Professor of Psychiatry at the famous University of Birmingham, described Professor Peller and one of his performances in Lagos:

‘I came to the stadium in order to see Professor Peller, a real magician. People said he was a member of the Magic Circle. Professor Peller wore black tails and a top hat, he had a special wand in his hand,  black shoes and a very cute well-cut hair. He had a perfect look of smart gentleman. Peller was assisted by a beautiful young lady.

magician's tricks

He waved his white handkerchief and beautiful white dove appeared and flew out. Peller pulled his cufflinks and different flowers bloomed under professor’s command. He was very confident, graceful and made a real magic. He managed to levitate his beautiful assistant. Peller cut a lady into two parts any drawing blood. He also locked a woman in the closet, chained several times until she was gone! It was a virtuoso performance. The audience clapped, stretched. We desperately wanted that traditional magician Professor Peller would enthrall and also inspire us to his magic, the mystery of African magic.

 People were very disappointed or should I better say that I was very disappointed. When he went out on stage wearing a loincloth of indeterminate color, so you could hear the people gasp aloud. Was this real African magic? This weird, crude, small, thin man who looked like he had recently woken from the dead?

well-known illusionist

He swallowed the stone and turned his back to us, sliding his loincloth on one side and excreted stone. Awful and shame. He claimed that his stomach to a sharp sword to be cut. But now, the lack of bustle and sophistication turned people against him. The audience poured through the stadium gates. We were disgusted for real. I can say that at the stadium George the V, at the beginning of adult life, I lost two of my childhood dreams.

A master at his performances showing the most powerful spells made some African leaders join, right in their royal palaces.

The most prolific magician shows were: the Escaping Box, Invisible General, the Zigzag and Changing Dresses. One thing with Professor’s performances was that they were executed with maximum excellence and finesse. He was clever, thorough and professional. Maybe, if he had not died, he may have even eclipsed legendary David Copperfield from the USA in fame.

One of Peller’s avourite performances included putting his beloved wife in a ‘magical coffin’ and severing it into two halves. But now it’s obvious, that there is no magic, you can see how the trick is done on this picture:

When Peller was showing his tricks, there was no Internet, which we have today, so it was very easy to fool people. Millions of people! And they always loved to be fooled – to believe in magic, in miracle.

Love, Romance And Marriage

professor peller's wife

In 1980 Peller and his lady performed together as a husband-wife duet of magicians and professional entertainers.  

Peller was often described as a very romantic person. Alhaja Silifat, his wife fell in love with a magician while she was studying in the secondary school. A lady confessed that she had admired Peller and his shows even before their meeting and each time Alhaja watched him performing, her heart quivered with the love to a handsome magician with tribal marks.

It is no wonder that a lot of women felt this enchanting spell of the most famous Nigeria’s magician. He was a very attractive man for many women, so he married a lot of them. Nonetheless, the most well-known one of these ladies was Alhaja Silifat Adeboyin Peller, with whom he made his magic tricks. The whole Nigeria knew her as legendary Lady Peller. Now she is 70 years old, has her husband gone and since then not remarrying, she is tending to her beautiful grandchildren, reminiscing over the glittering surprises and wonders of a great empire of magic that once they created.

The most popular trick. Did he actually cut his wife into two?

well-known Nigerian magician

No. We can not call his magic a lie but we can describe it as a pack of grandiose dramatization, clever performed visual illusion. There is nothing deep spiritual about his magic and also it is nothing but a smart agglomeration of well-skilled tricks. Nonetheless, if they were done well, an excellent, skilled magician can always ‘create something just out of nothing’ or make something weird possible (it is always an illusion, even I it looks like he breaks all the physical or biological laws) in a very confident and convincing manner.

It was in Lagos, at the National Theatre in Iganmu, and Lagos State Governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande was present in the event with the chief Obafemi Awolowo. The event began as planned, but then Peller magic team decided to throw in suspense-filled events like their normal practice, when they have shows following each other every night. The idea was to create so much uncertainty, so that they could draw even more audience the next day. So for the first day, the goal was to create the illusion that it ran into trouble while sawing his wife in half. But then, the next step was the magic ‘revival’ of her. After this ‘cutting’, which was obviously done with a lot of dramatic effects, the audience went into a real rage and began crying: ‘Give us Lady Peller’, ‘We want a lady Peller’. Later, in 2012, when she was 66 year old, Lady Peller gave interview, where she told about the incident, and she insisted that in fact the magician cut her into two parts, and it had even been sustained with some minor injuries.

Family And Children

Professor Peller was a great father and some for his children: Toyin, Saburi, Nike, Saheed and Shina.

Professor Peller Death

Nigerian magician

Yes, Peller was killed. It happened on a fateful day on August 2, 1997. It is interesting that he was killed on the same day, when Fela Ransome Kuti Anikulapo died. Magician was attacked at his private residence in having his evening prayer in Onipanu, Lagos. Peller was fatally wounded by unknown gunmen. Nigeria is known for all kinds of unsolved murders, very brutal and blood-curdling murder. It is applied to the celebrities too.

Top interesting things about Professor Peller

peller magician

- He had the same names (Moshood Abiola) with another very popular Nigerian person, who was the winner of the 1993 Nigerian presidential elections, it was Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.

- Peller was a member of the ‘Magic circle’ (indeed it was International Brotherhood of Magicians), which is a special association for the best magicians in the world. Here is their Magician’s Oath: ‘As a real magician I promise never to reveal any secrets of any illusion to a person, who is non-magician, unless that one swears honestly to uphold our Magician’s Oath in turn. I also promise never to show any illusion for any non-magician without my first practicing the effect until I have an opportunity to perform it well enough to show the illusion of magic’.

- Since his childhood, Peller and well-known Baba Sala, who is a popular Nigerian comedian, became the best friends. Making his movies, Baba Sala often included some of Peller’s magical shows.

- During his life Peller was the most powerful and also influential magician that ever appeared on the Nigerian ground, there was some tale of bitter and huge rivalry with another popular magician and also a herbal medical practitioner from distant Osun State, whose name was Aladokun.

real magician

Their rivalry was not superficial, it also had real traces of collision of principles. Aladokun was a typical African traditional magical while Peller was mostly like ‘foreign’ and Orient-trained magician. Huge competition has led them to even more spectacular manifestations of magic and powerful illusion. In the end, Peller was prevailed. His last wife also said that the rumor that once Peller was swallowed by Aladokun were false.

- Peller became good friends with the late Obafemi Awolowo, also his son, and Wole Fela Anikulapo-Kuti,. They often together enjoyed his shows and gave him lot of support.

- Now professor’s Peller house belongs to a parish of the RCCG (Redeemed Christian Church of God). When the house was on sale, a lot of the prospective buyers escaped hearing that it had belonged to the late famous magician. Nigerians are very funny! Because when Peller was alive, his residence was very attractive for fans and simple travelers. It was a well-known destination for schoolchildren and simple people. A lot of them regularly came to see the massive picture that Peller put in front of his residence. Peller was in all the glory of the attribute of his magic.

flying illusionist

- Although he is a real magic legend in Nigeria, Professor Peller was a devout Muslim, who could not miss his Islamic obligations. He never missed his five daily prayers. His widow proved all the facts connected with the Peller’s Muslim style of life. She also added that Peller made a huge mistake when he told in one interview with some journalists: ‘the only time I am without any magic is when I am praying’. His widow believes that his enemies decided to exploit this. So they murdered him while he was praying.

If to talk about Peller’s own ideas about himself, he was extremely confident person, he Peller told the popular African Guardian Magazines in his honest interview in 1988: ‘there is nothing like failure. I am the last of the world’s great magicians’. Can we doubt it?


peller's tricks

Without any doubts, the late Peller managed to popularize the art of magic in whole Nigeria and polished it to such a huge extent that not even his kids have been able to duplicate. Peller unarguably stays Nigeria’s greatest magician of all times. After getting Nigerian audience with his special skills, he went to the international arena and received the real global acclaim. Saying the name Peller and then the next thing you get in your mind is magic. But, unfortunately, when a legend died on the 2nd of August, it seemed that all magic in Nigeria died together with him. Will there be another Nigerian legend? Will he reveal magic? We will see.

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