Dean Lahan of Stockport, England calls himself “The Fingerless Magician,” although that moniker is not quite accurate. When he was only 18 months old, he was afflicted with bacterial meningitis and nearly lost his life. The doctors were able to save him by amputating his infected tissue, leaving him with only one leg, two partial thumbs, three partial fingers on his right hand and none on his left. His parents regarded these limbs as a blessing considering that, for a moment, they were not sure if baby Dean would make it at all.
Now, Dean is as hale and hearty as any other person, but he also has the addition of a few tricks up his sleeve. He took up card-based illusions at a young age, and has since gone on to become a viral sensation because of his skill and what many would call an “inspirational story.”
Yet, Dean balks at this title. An interviewer once asked if he would consider himself inspirational. His response? “I just love performing my magic.” And he performs well enough to rival even the most adept mentalist in Miami.
A Unique Magic Method
Dean was drawn to magic at a very young age when a magician performed at his aunt and uncle’s wedding. “I seen this magician, and followed him around all night,” confesses Dean. “He just blew me away. I just thought, ‘That seems impossible. Let’s have a go!’”
When Dean first began, he said he could not even hold a pack of cards, let alone shuffle them or perform tricks. It took him two solid years of practice before he was able to skillfully manipulate the cards to the point where he could successfully accomplish feats. Dean says that when learning tricks, “I rewrote everything to my hands, and each move I learned — I obviously can’t do it in the original way, so I do it my way.”
Now, Dean’s unconventional techniques are sometimes less of a limitation and more of an advantage. “Some card tricks require you to hold a card in a certain way, but because I can’t always do that then I have to come up with new ways,” he tells U.K. news outlet Mirror. As Dean modifies these tried-and-true tricks, his method is disguised even to those who think they are familiar. “Many other magicians can’t figure out how I have done it, which is really good.”
Because of Dean’s atypical hands, he is able to perform sleight of hand tricks in a way that others would find impossible. He says he likes to joke to others that his fingers move so fast that they cannot even be seen.
The Magic of Performance
Dean hopes that his determination to become skilled at magic serves as a lesson to anyone — with disabilities or not — to pursue their dreams. “Anyone who’s performing, like dance, magic or singing, just don’t let anything stop you,” he tells Jonathan Farr of the World Magic Shop. “Obviously, I didn’t. There’s always a way to come out of it.”
Recently, Dean performed at a magic festival in Portugal as well as being a guest speaker at the 2014 Lectures and Magic Dealers convention in Birmingham, England. He also performs on a sledge hockey team — a sport designed for people who have missing limbs. Additionally, he has taken on illustration and hopes to eventually teach art to young children.
Love of Magic Is Universal, Including with a Mentalist in Miami
“I find with magic it almost speaks to pretty much anyone. There’s no sort of age barrier,” Dean professes. Mio, an acclaimed mentalist in Miami, understands this concept better than most. Enjoy a performance of Mio’s astounding pseudo-psychic feats that someone of any age or background could appreciate. You can catch Mio in action by watching a video of his performances live.