In 1913, Rolland Kaestner made a film entitled Der Magier auch Vertrauen sie nie einem Zigeuner (The Magician or Never Trust a Gypsy). The story was about a struggling magician who made an arrangement with a gypsy in order to attain magical powers. Only after the completion of their deal did the magician realize what his desire had cost him: his loving wife and child.

The details as to why it cost him his wife and child, as well as what happens afterward, are unknown. Most of the film was destroyed under mysterious circumstances during the outbreak of World War I. These "mysterious circumstances" are what resulted in Kaestner's death, leaving the film unfinished. All others involved in the making of the film seemed to vanish without a trace, quickly erasing any connection they had to it. That is, everyone but actor Mathias Fleisher, who shortly after completion of the film enrolled with the German military and was killed in combat. All that is known about the film is by what footage was left behind and a brief plot description in Kaestner's journal.

Fast forward to 1931. An American businessman by the name of William K. Moyer, whilst in Berlin, came into possession of the unfinished film from a source he described only as "a dead man". He brought the film back to America to finish editing the only few minutes remaining, to preserve this "curious work of art" and put it to Paul Whiteman's popular song, "Body and Soul". Upon completion, Moyer disappeared. The film was shuffled around movie houses, and despite much talk, was poorly received. It ended up sitting on a shelf in the Stanley Lux Theater in New York City for nearly 75 years before being discovered. The film had gained a certain urban legend status over the years, due to the strange events surrounding it.

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