Charles Carter (1874–1936), who began his career as a journalist and lawyer, was an American stage magician who performed as “Carter the Great.”
His first theatrical experience occurred at the Herzog’s museum and Pat Harris’ Masonic Temple in Baltimore at the age of 10, where he appeared as “Master Charles Carter the Original Boy Magician”
Due to stiff competition from the number of magic acts on the American stages at the time, Carter opted to pursue his career abroad, where he achieved his greatest fame.
Among the highlights of Carter’s stage performances were the classic “sawing a woman in half” illusion (an elaborate surgical-themed version with “nurses” in attendance), making a live elephant disappear and “cheating the gallows”, where a shrouded Carter would vanish, just as he dropped at the end of a hangman’s noose.
A fictionalized account of his life can be found in Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold (2001).