By: Bill O’Connell
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
Do you believe in magic? Kenneth Ladd of Wauseon certainly does. So much, in fact, he purchased the building at 113 S. Fulton approximately three years ago, refurbished the structure built in 1873 and opened it as a store called the Magic Corner. Behind the store, inside the building, you will find the Birch Theater, named after the late world renown magician MacDonald Birch of McConnelsville, Ohio. And further back is a magic museum filled with relics, artifacts and performance posters ranging from Harry Houdini to Siegfried and Roy.
Magic by any name, stage magic, street magic, illusions or prestidigitation, is one of the world’s oldest performing arts. Dr. Ladd, an ordained minister who, by the way, has a PHD in psychology, has been performing for over forty years. After having dabbled in the sleight of hand for a few years he began to perform in earnest while serving as a chaplain at the Maumee Youth Camp for Boys in the Maumee State Forest near Liberty Center.
“The boys were thirteen to sixteen years old and there were about 120 of them,” Dr. Ladd recalled. “Some Sundays I would have them all by myself so I had to do more than just talk to them. I started using magic to illustrate my sermons so they would remember not only the illusion but why I used it.”
As part of his grand scheme Dr. Ladd will be using his facility to share his wealth of magic with any and all comers by holding day magic camps as well as magic and ventriloquism classes. In addition to his four plus decades of experience he has a doctorate in magic from the Academy of Magic in New York and is a member of several magic-related organizations such as the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians.
It’s those types of impressive credentials which makes Dr. Ladd more than qualified to teach the next generation how to charm, captivate and astonish audiences of the future.
The theater will also be available to the public as a rental hall for just about any occasion and will eventually become a center for the performing arts.
Bill O’Connell may be reached at