“Michigan Spirit Quest”
The Michigan Spirit Quest series of geocaches will take you to a number of historic cemeteries built by MICHIGAN Pioneers. This series is inspired by and a continuation of the Indiana Spirit Quest caches created by SixDogTeam. In just over a year and a half, the SPIRIT QUEST has grown to over five hundred caches and the hiders have grown to Twenty cacher teams, most of which are comprised of Dogs and their Humans. Over 1,000 cachers have logged over 12,500 finds. One cache machine found 102 ISQ caches in a single day (daylight hours only).
(Photos by Wolverine Warriors)
Michigan Spirit Quest #13
Welcome to Lakeside Cemetery in Colon, St. Joseph, Michigan. We found many graves dating from the mid to late 1800's to present day. As you walk the cemetery you will see many veterans of different wars, however there is one very special grave here of men who would entertain those Soldiers. The grave of Harry Bouton Blackstone, Peter Bouton (Harry's brother), Harry Blackstone Jr. and Harry Blackstone III.
Harry Blackstone, Sr. - The Great Blackstone - started it all near the beginning of the 20th Century. The tradition was magnificently carried on by his son, Harry Blackstone Jr., who was continentally celebrated for the most lush and lavish stage illusion show seen since his father's retirement.
The elder Blackstone was born Harry Bouton in Chicago in 1885. Like many youngsters of the age, he received a magic trick as a birthday gift at the age of eight. Later that year, 1893, he did his first amateur performances in a church basement for members of the family congregation, thus embarking upon a magical tradition that dates back 100 years. At the age of twelve, the youngster stood in front of Chicago's McVickers Theater, gazing in complete fascination at the colorful lithographs heralding the Great Kellar, the era's most famous illusionist. The young man was so impressed that he plunked down the few pennies in his pocket for a seat in the theater's topmost gallery. For Harry, the next few hours were pure enchantment. When he climbed down the stairs that long-ago day, the youngster vowed that some day he, too, would be a great magician. As he learned more and more about magic, the youngster ascertained that there were two separate and distinct ways to master the field. One was to spend the hours necessary to perfect difficult slight-of-hand moves with balls, ropes, coins and similar small objects. The other was to build or buy the complicated apparatus needed for a full-scale stage performance. With wisdom that belied his years, he decided to attempt both types of magic, thus inaugurating a unique and very personal style that was to become his trademark throughout his 65-year professional career.
While diligently rehearsing slight-of-hand, Harry secured a series of jobs with cabinet makers and other craftsmen in his neighborhood to perfect the skills needed to construct his own props. Until his retirement, Blackstone and his brother, Pete, a gifted technical genius, designed and built almost every piece of equipment required for the lavish Blackstone show. In 1899 came his first opportunity for a paid engagement. He and his brother, Pete, became regular performers on the club and party circuit, perfecting their art and helping to pay the bills at home. Around 1904, the brothers put together a vaudeville act entitled "Straight and Crooked Magic." Later they appeared under the billing "Fredrik, the Great & Co.," chosen because they were able to purchase, at cut-rates, some fancy lithographs bearing that name. As World War I loomed, Germanic names became quite unpopular. The Bouton brothers changed their names to Blackstone and the rest, as they say, is history!
Around 1915-16, Harry and Pete put together their largest illusion show to date. During a Los Angeles engagement, their show was seen by none other than the Great Kellar himself. The older magician was so impressed by the Blackstone show that he came backstage to tell the younger conjurer that he was the best all-around magician he'd ever seen! Quite a compliment from the man who had inspired Blackstone's interest in magic in the first place.
His performances brought him to Michigan many times during his career. In he bought 208 acres of wooded lands in Colon including footage on Sturgeon Lake. It would become his headquarters, workshop and home where he and his company of performers could relax each summer from their grueling schedule. This was a time when air conditioning was a luxury and most theaters had a limited run of shows during the dog days of summer. Fellow magicians and entertainers often summered with the Blackstones, basking in the lifestyle that a small town can offer weary travelers tired of hotel and restaurant meals.
In 1927, Harry invited a visitor who would have further impact on the town and the world of magic. Percy Abbott came for the fishing and relaxation, but stayed and helped form the Blackstone Magic Company, and when the partnership dissolved, stayed on to continue the business. Today, Abbott's Magic Manufacturing Company is the largest manufacturer of magical implements in the world. Colon is also host to the world's largest annual convention of magicians.
During World War II, under USO auspices, Blackstone, Sr. toured his big illusion show to one hundred and sixty-five military bases. Since many of the camps had no theatrical equipment, the master magician trouped everything from lights to ladders to curtains. It was a rigorous, demanding tour, but one of the show business accomplishments of which Harry Blackstone, Sr. was most proud.
In 1942, The Great Blackstone performed what many people consider his greatest trick: The Vanishing Audience. In Decatur, Illinois, during a performance it was announced that the next trick was so large and spectacular that members of the audience would have to adjourn to the street to see it. The magician supervised an orderly, row-by-row exit of the theater. When they reached the street, the crowd instantly saw what Blackstone had known all along: The theater was on fire! His coolness averted panic and surely saved many lives.
When he finally hung up his white tie and tails and put his rabbits out to pasture after 65 years on the road, Blackstone settled in Hollywood. Harry Blackstone, Sr. passed away in Hollywood, November 16, 1965. Paying tribute to the timeless greatness of the celebrated conjurer, The New Tops, a magician's magazine, wrote: "Harry Blackstone, age 80; occupation: Legend."
Harry Blackstone Jr. was an author, an actor, an inventor, a casino showroom headliner, a TV personality, a teacher, a father, and the creator and performer of the longest running magic and illusion show ever to play Broadway. No magician in history was more honored by his peers than Harry Blackstone Jr. In March 1994, he was named a recipient of the prestigious Masters Fellowship, presented by the Academy of Magical Arts and Sciences. He was named "Magician of the Year" in 1979 and 1985 by the Academy of Magical Arts, and was the "International Ambassador of Magic" for both the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magic at the time of his death in 1997. He was an Honorary Life Member of the Academy of Magical Arts at the Hollywood Magic Castle, a distinction his wife, Gay still holds. Harry Jr. was also the recipient of the coveted "Star of Magic" an honor bestowed to only 11 other magicians in history, including his father. On June 11, 1994 Harry was made an honorary member of the International College of Surgeons. Since the College's founding in 1936, there have been only 14 other honorary members including only one other from the entertainment industry, Bob Hope.
Born in Colon, Michigan, "The Magic Capitol of the World," Harry's career in magic began at the age of six months, appearing and disappearing in his father's illusions. Under the master's watchful eye, young Harry grew up learning the elements of his exacting craft. He continued to perform such world-famous illusions as The Floating Light Bulb, The Vanishing Birdcage, The Dancing Handkerchief, and the frightening Buzzsaw, all of which he learned and perfected with his father's guidance and encouragement.
Far from satisfied with repeating the feats of his father, Harry developed the art of magic into something both uniquely and arrestingly modern, injecting not merely innovation, but transcending the stage barrier to touch his audiences with a presentation which was not only reverent of the past, but very much of the present, of the future and of his own creation. As he put it, "What I am undertaking is the challenging, but delightful task of bringing this magnificent art to even higher levels, building on what has gone before, injecting a modern, innovative presentation that is very much of the present, of the future and of my own creation." Harry proved the popularity of this modern approach in 1980, when after touring the U.S. and setting box office records in 16 major cities, he arrived at the Majestic Theater on Broadway, where to unanimous rave reviews he presented the longest running magic and illusion show in the history of the New York theatre. His show continued to receive rave reviews and standing room only audiences in its worldwide tours.
Harry then set his sights on television. He starred in three of his own magic specials (one for PBS and two for HBO). He also appeared as a guest on numerous other television shows. Harry also magically introduced all 50 contestants for the 1996 Miss America Pageant. To unanimous critical acclaim, Blackstone Jr. presented his unique "Magic of Music and Music of Magic" in symphonic halls throughout the country. This performance was an examination of the four thousand-year history of mystery, with live illusions, full stage graphics and an entire symphony orchestra.
Away from the bright lights, Harry Jr. met with success in a broad spectrum of entertainment-related careers. In 1985 the International Platform Association honored him as "Speaker of the Year". He co-authored three books (The Blackstone Book of Magic and Illusion, There's One Born Every Minute and My Life As A Magician released in the summer of 1991) and re-edited his father's Blackstone's Secrets of Magic. Blackstone Jr. also designed and inaugurated a line of four magic kits, "The Magic World of Blackstone" (manufactured by Pressman Toys), for beginners to advanced, which have become the largest-selling magic items in U.S. history. In 1990, an additional line of beginning, intermediate, and advanced magic items were released (by JAK-PAK INC.) both in the U. S. and overseas.
In 1985, on the anniversary of his father's birth, Harry donated the original floating light bulb, designed and built by Thomas Edison, and the original Casadega Cabinet, used in his father's "The Spirit Handkerchief" illusion to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. It was the first ever donation in the field of magic accepted by the Smithsonian.
Harry Jr. always had a love of education and knowledge. He attended Swarthmore University in Pennsylvania and after a three-year tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Korea, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from University of Southern California. Harry later attended the University of Texas for graduate work in theatre and broadcasting. In May 1993, Harry dedicated the Blackstone Theatre Collection in honor of Harry B. Blackstone III at California State University, San Bernardino. In May 1997 Harry Blackstone Jr. passed away but his legacy continues. Gay Blackstone, his wife of more than 20 years continues to control and direct the flourishing magical production company which was started by Harry in 1971.
FIND LOGS ON THIS CACHE THAT INDICATE NIGHT CACHING WILL BE DELETED WITHOUT NOTICE!
The cache container is a small lock-n-lock container. BYOP. .The cache is not located near a grave... If you find a fallen US flag, please stick it back in the ground or replace it. As always, please be respectful, and cache in, trash out. Say a prayer for our brave troops, fighting overseas. God Bless America!
"MSQ caches are brought to you by the following fellows of GEOMSQ*: SixDogTeam (Earthdog Patrick, Lead Dog, Wheel Dog), Wolverine Warriors, The Outcaches, and SafariBob & Tweety. If you are interested in spreading the Quest to your neck of the woods AND WOULD LIKE TO JOIN US, email Wolverine Warriors.
*Grand Exalted Order of the Michigan Spirit Quest