|of the most vile|
|Dimitri Savant (1531-1589)|
Born to a poor family on the outskirts of Moscow, Dimitriís inclination towards magic began when a visiting cousin taught him a simple trick. The young boy was fascinated by the illusion and began to invent other tricks. In his twenties, he joined a traveling troupe of performers, touring the steppes of Russia with them before returning to Moscow.
|Dimitri became the palace magician for Ivan the Terrible. A skilled hypnotist, he put his young son Arakel into a trance and suggested to the boy that he could fly. Much to the amusement of Ivan and his entourage, Arakel jumped off a second story balcony, flapping his arms furiously. The fall broke both of his legs, and he never walked again. Dimitriís wife left him, and never allowed him to see Arakel again.
He continued as palace magician for Ivan, and allowed his illusions to fail on occasion, resulting in several deaths. Such things always amused Ivan. When Ivan saw a comet in 1584, Savant interpreted it as a portent of death; he was proved correct days later.
The new Czar quickly dismissed Savant. His remaining years were spent on the streets of Moscow, performing odd tricks and illusions for spare change.