The secret life of David Berglas

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D.B. book portraitI am delighted to announce my latest project! For decades magician David Berglas amazed the world with a series of seemingly impossible stunts.

David is now in his 90s, and I recently interviewed him about his early years. He experienced some of the most dramatic events of the twentieth century, including living in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power, attending the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and working as a postwar Nazi hunter.

I have produced a website containing his memories. I hope you like it.

To visit the site, click here.

58 comments on “The secret life of David Berglas

  1. Sidney Mouga says:

    Dear Professor Richard

    Thank you very much for this Project.

    I’m living in Mozambique, in Maputo Town (once called “Lourenço Marques”). I remember on one of the EMC – Essential Magic Conference in 2010, organized by Luis de Matos, hearing David Berglas talking about a good memory in a Club in a Town called, guess what… “Lourenço Marques”… where he heard a beautiful song.

    As you are gathering some Memories, I would be willing to try to search for the place where David Berglas was that time here in Maputo (Lourenço Marques) and send you some Pictures (If this place still exist) for the record… and I guess that would be nice for David also.
    That would also contribute for the History of Magic here in Mozambique.

    Hope to hear from you

    Magic Regards

    Sidney Mouga

  2. Richard Wiseman says:

    I am sure he would love that!

    • Sidney Mouga says:

      Thank you for the appreciation.
      from this side we would need more information / description of the place where Mr. Berglas did visit here in Mozambique to facilitate us on the search.
      At the moment we don’t know where to start.

      Regards

  3. Eddie says:

    Suppose we write the positive integers in a continuous string like so: 1234567891011121314….. what is the 1000000th digit in the string?

    • Barry Goddard says:

      It is disappointing @Edie that you chose the obituary thread for a great magician to introduce yet another distracting puzzle.

      The world has few enough true wizards of inestimable power – so to lose one of them is a loss that we all surely should (and some of us do) feel greatly.

      We should respect Mr Wiseman’s choices while quietly to ourselves rejoicing that Mr Berglas’ spirit chose to spend a precious life with us on our humble planet. And still yet we should reflect on what he (indeed both of them) have given us as gifts of their own free will.

      There is a time and a place for meaningless puzzles – the Internet is literally the WORLD wide web and thus there are likely quite many such places. Yet this blog surely (as most of us understand) is not such a time or a place – less indeed a thread such as today’s about the passing of a genius (in the true sense of the word – it derives from genie) of whom we should all be reflective of his life and times.

      Please be mindful of this gentle corrective suggestion for your kind attention.

    • Eddie says:

      David Berglas is still alive.

    • DAve says:

      That is real magic!

    • Sheldon Cooper says:

      Barry, you plonker!

    • Galaxial monobrow says:

      I predict that Barry Goddard is giving himself a couple more days for Mr Berglas to unexpectedly pass away; and if no luck there, the mistake will be ours for our strict and blind adherence to the life/death binary, which of course, he was commenting from beyond. How funny…

    • ChrisR says:

      I make it an 8 (first digit of 85186). Am I right?

      In response, a non-mathematical query, why don’t French people make omelettes out of two or more eggs?

    • Eddie says:

      ChrisR, nearly there, just a slight mistake at the last step. 

    • Eddie says:

      Parce que pour les Francais, un oeuf est enough.

    • ChrisR says:

      I did fail at the final step didn’t I.
      How about a 1 which is the first digit of 185185.#

      And oui.

  4. Sheldon Cooper says:

    … and he is only 89 at the date/time of this posting not “in his 90s”

    • Barry Goddard says:

      I feel @Sheldon Cooper you will find few friends in the true outside world of reality (as opposed to yet higher and far more real than the internet and all it’s shiny distractions) if you endeavour to continue to name-call rather than to use simple human etiquette and engage in proper and polite dialogue.

      My corrective comments directed at @edie remain (despite your attempt to side track the conversation with name calling) remain the substantive issue at hand in this exchange of concepts and ideas. Viz:

      To use a thread to divert attention toward a mere puzzle is in and of itself not a worthy pursuit for any aspiring human. To especially do so in a thread dedicated to the eulogy of a master magician – one whose literally charming feats could uplift us all – is thus far more than doubly unworthy. Perhaps quadrupably or even a higher multiple.

      That Mr Berglas is now alive is as @DAve says (see above) itself a part of the miracle given his previous demise that started this thread. Though such events are not unknown throughout history to have lived to see one of such is a humbling experience that cannot and should not be gainsayed in a mad dash stampede to return to puzzling once more. For here indeed is indeed a great puzzle for all the ages. Let us reflect upon that rather than show poor judgement and begin once more the name calling.

      I believe this is a simple request that we all have longed for and can agree to abide by,

    • Galaxial Monobrow says:

      Here’s a puzzle for you Barry:

      A psychology professor interviews a famous and ageing magician. Is it more likely that the magician (and the professor for that matter) are alive or dead?

    • Barry Goddard says:

      @Galaxial Monobrow – word games and pedantness are not worthy approaches to either truth or even polite conversation.

      I will just once more rehighlight the one simple point I wish to make simply on behalf of all the non-game playing members and visitors to and of this website. If we can all stay on topic that will both further Mr Wiseman’s goals in having invited us here to listen to his wisdom. And it shall honour too those who Mr Wiseman wishes to bring to our conscious attention – such as the grand wizard Mr Berglas.

      We can do neither nor both while playing and posting puzzles and games. Such things are surely for the playground not for a place of intellectual freedom where ideas as diverse as astronomy and homeopathy are given equal weight with consciousness studies and the universe itself.

      And indeed while we are on the topic: let us not propose distasteful bets about who among us is recently deceased or otherwise.

    • DAve says:

      More cobblers from your Barry.

      How about showing some humility for apologising for your original error

  5. Sheldon Cooper says:

    I fully endorse DAve’s post. At no point did Richard indicate or suggest of infer Mr Berlgas’ passing, so why BG went down this blind alley defeats me.

    Mr Goddard please apologise for your stupid error

    • Galaxial Monobrow (alive) says:

      I don’t know about apologise, but at least accept his mistake. But then part of me is rather impressed with his amazing feats of self-delusion. I quite like him like this, it provides an amusing case study of how not to be in life…

  6. Barry Goddard says:

    It is disingenuine to hijack this blog with calls for actions by the one person who has shown by his action and considerate that aim only to add to the quality of the conversation.

    Add to that the name calling and the sneery tone and we can be sure what we are watching is closer to a childs’ playground taunting session than an uplifting and most of all polite and insightful conversation.

    Nethertheless I am not disheartened by this (some would say) characteristic show of behaviour by those who have been here long enough such that if they truly listened with their inner heart to what is being said would surely by now be educated enough to know better.

    For this simply to me shows how much more work is to be done in the process of befriending those who would use the internet for reasons of negative energy and thus through friendship and reasoned debate help lead them into an adult level of human maturity from which they can then gain purchase to pursue the genuine and meaningful spiritual goals to which we all most assuredly truly aspire in our innermost selfs.

    I therefore simply once again as you to read and reflect on my words of concern rather than for you to take up arms of umbrage against that which you have demonstrated but bare little understanding or sympathy.

    Thanks to Mr Wiseman we have the very words of a great wizard to guide us and for this our thanks should be ample and unending for it is not such a gift given often to us – no matter what the tragic circumstances of the giving.

    • DAve says:

      Cut out the verbal diarrhoea. Are you going to acknowledge your error? A simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’

    • Galaxial Monobrow says:

      How funny! He’s created a whole little fictitious world around himself.

    • Barry Goddard says:

      Sad indeed @Galaxial Monobrow. DAve’s little fictitious world is indeed a trap not just for himself – it remains an active trap for anyone destined to fall into the fictitious world that DAve had constructed with his own minds.

      Minds that are addicted to puzzles are apt to construct such traps even as lures to drag others down to the puzzling-mind level that leaves them trapped in a mere rational mode of being that ignores (and ofttimes belittles) the vast grandeur of our universe (to quote one such as no other than Charles Darwin himself).

      Yet we – all of we including DAve himself – can do better. We simply turn our Minds to the higher regions of cognition and consciousness. We align our sense perceptions and thinking abilities with the true reality that surrounds us at every moment of our existence. And then suddenly all the secrets (which never were secret ever) and “puzzles of existence” become opened up to us as if we had always truly known this immense reality that we call our cosmic home.

      This is such a simple process that Shamans and Mystics and meditators of all types have been able to achieve the cognitive breakthroughs that show them reality itself throughout the ages using just simple techniques available to us all.

      Yet many invest years of twisted thinking and “rational science” simply to deny even to themselves that they are unarguably a part of reality itself. This is a cause of great sadness to the sages. And I for one will always be supportative of anyone who takes even the first faltering step on the path to a greater phase of being.

      Thus I am not disheartened by the language used against me on this blog. For I know that many are silently listening and taking action in their own way to bring these realisations to their own personal fulfillment. This is truly for the benefit of the world as a whole and thus I humbly offer myself as a helper in these ways that the world so much needs today.

      I remain as always happy to answer questions on this or any other topic.

  7. Eddie says:

    It’s the Friday journey into the metaphysical…

    Form a square of side length 11 units from five non-overlapping rectangles of short and long sides of lengths taken from 1, 2, 3,4 ,5 , 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 units, with each length used once only.

  8. Adzcliff says:

    Hopefully I can get in first with a Friday puzzle. I came across this in “Gag Mag”, a controversial, pseudo-charitable street pamphlet a few weeks ago. Hope you like it:

    3 guys go for dinner, each buys a £10 steak. At the end of the meal, they collect £30 between the three of them to cover the cost of the meals and give it to the waitress. She goes back to the cash register, where the overlooking manager says “Those dinners are discounted, you need to give them £5 back.” So the waitress gets the £5, and returns to the table. Not knowing how to split £5 between the three of them, she gives £1 to each of the three patrons, and kept two for herself.

    Now if you do the maths, together they paid £30, got £3 back meaning they only paid £27. The waitress kept £2. This totals £29. Where did the last pound go?

    • Barry Goddard says:

      @adzcliff – in this thread we are mourning the passing of a Great Sage while at the same time honouring his life and works. That is Mr Wiseman’s explicit wish when beginning this very same thread. Please show some decorum and pause the insertion of trivial puzzles while we respect and commemorate Mr Berglas’ fulfilling and worthy life.

      That I hope is good advice that others here too may wish to heed and abide by. For great magicians and shaman of the first water are very few in this degenerate age in which we now must find ourselves living in. And thus to respect them and listen with attentiveness to the lessons they and their very lives can offer us is surely one of the least things we can do that would be of great benefit not just to ourselves – also to innumerable others who seek the wisdoms of the ages and have perchance to have alighted on this blog for that very purpose.

    • DAve says:

      Barry. Can you not get into your thick head that David Berglas is NOT dead! Why do you persist with this misguided belief? Do you really want to cause distress both for him and his family and friends by spouting these mistruths?

      What planet are you on? Uranus?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Berglas

    • Horny Astrologer (but not you know who) says:

      Is the waitress wearing a short dress and black stockings?
      If so maybe she put the pound down the top or her left stocking?

    • Gabby Bollard says:

      DAve

      I agree, clearly BG is a fool. Barry why do you persist in stating that Mr Berglas is deceased?

      Please answer in less than 20 words ….. if you can

  9. Eddie says:

    The waitress leaves £25 at the till. Add to this the £3 given to the diners and £2 she keeps = £30😉

    • adzcliff says:

      Cheers for this Eddie.

      I totally get that the maths adds up narrated like that, but I’m honestly befuddled why you get a different result narrated differently? Am I being thick??

    • ChrisR says:

      Alternatively, they paid £9 each which makes £27. That £27 is made up of £25 which went into the till, and £2 which the waitress pocketed.

      Suppose they had started with £20 each (=£60) and the manager realised they were friends so only charged them £9 each and told the waitress to return £33.
      The waitress returned £30 and kept £3 because she knew she wouldn’t get a big tip.
      So they each paid £10 (=£30) of which the manager gets £27 and the waitress £3.
      The original £60 is irrelevant.

    • Adzcliff says:

      Thanks ChrisR

      Again, your answer makes perfect sense to me. Makes me think I have some sort of permanent intellectual blind-spot for this one, as when I look at the last sentence of the puzzle, it is confusing to me all over again. Like a cognitive McGurk effect: no matter how hard I try, I can’t shake off the illusion! Thanks for your efforts though.

    • ChrisR says:

      The nub is that the puzzle *adds* the £2 to the £27 to make £29. There is no reason to do this. The £2 the waitress pocketed is actually part of the £27. .

    • adzcliff says:

      Ah yes, that helps – Cheers ChrisR!

      I’m told there are 3 different types of person in this world: those who can count, and those who can’t. I don’t know which I am….

  10. Barry Goddard says:

    @DAve et al. It is well-known that many otherwise even rational persons shy away from any discussion of the very topic of death. It is not therefore altogether suprising that such a set of people are here posting to this very thread.

    Let us then without pandering to such a limited ability to discuss “distasteful” topics turn instead to a wholesome appreciation of the live of the great magician Mr David Berglas. Surely we can all agree along with Mr Wiseman that such a great magician has much that we can learn from in his wisdom and sagacity and insight into indeed the very human condition itself.

    For it would be such a waste of our human potential – not to speak of the efforts of countless others who have for us created the internet upon which our discourse depends – to sink back into base puzzle setting while set all before us is the life of Mr Berglas and all his innumerable achievements in the spheres of wizardry and such magical talents.

    Let us then return (gingerly it is true avoiding the true facts of death) to the life and example of Mr Berglas. For surely that is indeed a worthywhile pursuit that all of us can agree upon together,

  11. David BeerGlass says:

    I’m still half full mate
    Can someone get that through the head of the dim-witted ArseTrollOgre?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep, the man is a complete waste of space. Piss off Barry

    • Barry Goddard says:

      I fail to see the need for discourteous language in this thread – or indeed anyplace elsewhere on the internet or even beyond.

      You – oh anonymous posters – may be repelled by threads that try to focus on the values in others’ lives. Yet some of us – indeed by obvious introspection – a clear majority of us do indeed wish to read of the lifetime achievements of great sages and wizards.

      I appreciate perhaps that you are locked into what the psychologists inform me is best described as a form of narcissistic personality so thus naturally you feel threatened when the discussion is not solely about you – and thus you lash out with “bad” language in the unconscious hope that a response like this will refocus the discussion on you and your needs.

      Yet that will not happen in this case. Your childishlike tantrums can have no power here. Here we wish to discuss the legacy of Mr Berglas and his accomplishments as a great sage and even greater wizard. Indeed the very title of the thread is “The Life of Mr Berglas”.

      He has left us much to contemplate and so please cease your bad language and in all humbleness and humility please quietly listen to the lessons we can all learn from the life he led.

  12. Eddie says:

    There is never any excuse for insulting people or telling them to ‘**** off’ no matter how they behave. However you’re just as bad as the rest, Barry. You wouldn’t dare stray off your topic/agenda of judging and patronising others and trying to bend them to your ways. You never contribute anything to this site apart from pontificating in your banal and verbose way, and trying to prevent people from expressing their own interests (e.g. puzzles – which were a staple of this site long before you graced it with your bullying style), and for this I brand you a hypocrite. However, live and let live I say – and free speech for all!

    • Galaxial Monobrow says:

      Hear hear! This blog would be a far friendlier and tolerant place without Barry’s constant attempts to belittle and humiliate anyone who doesn’t worship him.

  13. Anonymous says:

    My apologies for the wording in my previous missive. I wanted to use stronger language but held back somewhat

  14. Barry Goddard says:

    @Eddie – thank you for your apology. As you say there is never any excuse for bad language or insults or ad hominid arguments or any of the other techniques that people who are bereft of intellectual skills will stoop to when they get emotional during an otherwise heretofore rational discussion.

    That you can recognise that you went to far and thus backtack far enough to apologise will in time help mark you out from the others who oh to frequently frequent this blog with their bad language and even worse attitudes and their never-ending wish to belittle those who may have more spiritual depth and maturity than they can imagine for fact in a human being.

    Thus those of us who are unfailingly and unflappably polite and courteous and who always take the time to listen and only then to respond in a kind and caring manner are indeed surely the ones who form the mature and nurturing backbone of the community here.

    That is something that no matter how humble we truly are is something we can indeed truly be proud of. The difficult days of the non-responsive puzzler infestation may now indeed truly be over and we can once more discuss matters of true import in a friendly and elevatedly spiritual manner that truly befits a blog of this stature. Mr Berglas I am sure would have been proud of us. Let us help this in becoming part of his enduring legacy.

    • Gabby Bollard says:

      Barry. A direct question and I would appreciate in turn a direct answer.

      What purpose do you serve?

  15. Barry Goddard says:

    @Gabby – People do not serve purposes – that is dehumanisingly utilitarian approach to valuing their lives based solely on some sort of externally subjective criteria which by their very essence can never even remotely scratch the surface of the wonders and mysteries of what it means to be a human alive at this stage in our cosmic journey.

    I think instead in terms like those once expressed by Sir Iassac Newton. We are all alike as children playing on the vast beach of eternity. And scattered here and there are invaluable gems and interesting objects. Also scattered here and there are some humans who see those gems and interesting objects and thus who hold them up and call gently to the others: “behold: look an interesting gem or invaluable object”.

    And that indeed helps engender in those others their own innate sense of wonder and they too begin the journey of noticing the beauty in the world in all its depths and calling out to still yet others too.

    Humbly indeed that is what I try to do with my life. And there are some – indeed many indeed – who do respond with their own questing sense of wonder. And that is indeed a quietly satisfying occurrence. Others – a few indeed but vocal and persistent – respond with illogic and unwise words and unkind comments. They are indeed a small band of bullies who wish it seems to distract our journeyman shaman from exploring the very universe we find ourselves sharing with each other.

    Yet I am never downhearted by the naysayers for I know them to be such a small and unrepresentative sample of the great adventure that is humanity. And thus I try in the best gentle and kind ways that I can marshal to respond to them and help them too to gain a wider perspective on the actual life they are this very day leading.

    That is not a “purpose”. Yet it is a fulfilling way of expressing my gratitude to the cosmos that is our birthplace and indeed our birthright. All right thinking people I know would simply see this as the obvious approach to being human itself.

  16. ChrisR says:

    Are you a betting person?
    A friend challenged me as follows:
    there are two bowls, each initially containing 50 marbles, one set of marbles being white, one set being black.
    I could move the marbles around between the bowls as much as I liked, then I would be blindfolded whilst my friend moved the bowls around.
    I then had to touch a bowl and remove a marble from that bowl.
    If it was white I won £1; if it was black I had to pay him £2.
    Should I take up the challenge and if so, how could I maximise my chances of winning?

    • adzcliff says:

      Thanks for this. So do we have to leave the bowls equally full?

    • ChrisR says:

      no you don’t

    • adzcliff says:

      If I have you right, could I leave 1 white marble in one bowl, and 49 whites and 50 blacks in the other? Would it give me nearly a 2 in 3 chance?

    • ChrisR says:

      I say ‘spot on’ (but not in reply – doh!) but actually, and I confess stats is not my strong point, I reckon it’s more like nearly 3 in 4 …

    • adzcliff says:

      I’m thinking there are 3 possible outcomes:

      1. Pick near-empty bowl, get a white
      2. Pick full bowl, get a white
      3. Pick full bowl, get a black

      Given that I have a near 50-50 of getting either in full bowl (or 49-50 against white), I can’t see why if we were to test the stats I wouldn’t get white very almost 2 times out of 3? …Or can I (because the full bowl 50-50 only occurs 50% of the time )? …I sort of can and sort of can’t. …Ah, perhaps there’s really 4 equal options:

      1a. Pick near-empty bowl, get a white
      1b. Pick near-empty bowl, get a white
      2a. Pick full bowl, get a white
      2b. Pick full bowl, get a black

      As you can tell, I am a professional statistician. We talk/debate like this all the time. I think we’ve nailed it?

  17. ChrisR says:

    spot on

  18. Barry Goddard says:

    Why oh Why be concerned about how many imaginary beads you can grab in a completely non-realistic bead/vase grabbing competition when all around us are the mighty invaluable beads of wisdom and insight that the Universe itself offers us?

    Perhaps today just for once the regular bloggers on this blog who post here could step out of their darkened basement bedrooms and gaze instead in wonderment at the vast sky spread before them that wraps and protects our planet whilst at the same time pointing like a gateway to our vast and unknowable futures.

    That would indeed be a fitting legacy to the great wizard and magician that some here ask that we not even speak about let alone name.

    We are all human. We all live on the same small planet (the third smallest of all known planets in our solar system). Why then cannot we all join into a meaningful joint endevaour to deepen and extend our insight and future happiness? Rather than selling ourselves so short that all we can aspire to do is to play imaginary bead games – so much quite unlike the insightful Glass Bead Game of Henrik Hess so many years ago that many here I suspect from the evidence have not even as yet began even to read.

    • Gary Orwell says:

      Grass Bed Game is a good book, but not as good as my own – Animal Frame

    • ChrisR says:

      Just because I enjoy the mental stimulation and challenges that verbal, logical and mathematical puzzles present (do you ever do a crossword or sudoku?) it doesn’t mean I don’t love to be amazed at the wonders of the universe and worship its Creator – who I believe has a lot more interest and involvement in our lives than those stars and planets that light pollution so frequently stops us seeing.

      And no, I haven’t read the Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse (sic) – but did enjoy Don Quixote recently.

  19. Barry Goddard says:

    To try and male something Positive of all the puzzling that permeates this blog:

    If I have 100 beads each of one of two colours and I pick one at random – then by very definition the chances are 50 and 50 for each of the two colours, That is indeed the nature of selecting an item from a random system.

    And yet the puzzle answer says that a Conscious rearrangement of the random system (by partitioning the beads between the jars) can raise the random chance of one color to almost 85%.

    Thus we must conclude that Consciousness when made a part of a system can indeed literally change the very nature of reality. This is a concrete proof of the reality of Consciousness for those who wish not to understand it and thus dismiss it as “merely an emergent property”.

    A property that “emerges” and takes control of the system at such a level is no “mere” property, It is a powerful quality of the very cosmos itself and deserves careful study and respect and proper analysis.

    This indeed is what the Quantum physicsts have been telling us ever since the Double Slit experiment (analogous of course to the two vases with the beads observable in two states) in which the spin and direction of an electron depends in large part on how it is observed to pass through the slits – just as the selection of the beads depend in large part on how they have been consciously distributed.

    It is clear also that no application of “Natural selection” could distribute the beads in a favourable way at the start of the experiment/puzzle. And thus we can see that Consciousness could not arise through Natural selection. Yet that it exists is obvious with even a moment’s introspection. Thus far from being a “mere” “emergent property” Consciousness must indeed be a preexisting state of the universe.

    This simple puzzle thus has led us to an eye-widening view of the universe that helps set us on the pathways to true enlightenment itself. So for once – just for once – the puzzlers have unconsciously given us all a truly useful gift – that of insight and truth itself.

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