An Irish magician who performed for Michael Jackson and his children has spoken about his first hand experience with the King of Pop.
Liam Sheehan was the resident magician at Blackwater Castle in Co Cork in the mid-2000s. He would regularly entertain guests at the castle as part of the visitor experience.
Sheehan spoke to Ryan Tubridy about his most famous ever audience – Michael Jackson and his three children.
For ten days in 2006, Sheehan performed for the pop superstar and his children who were staying at Blackwater to escape the media spotlight.
Sheehan said: “I just got a job by the owner to perform for somebody. I did not realise it was him until I actually entered the castle and saw him there.
“I walked along the corridor of the castle and I saw this guy sitting in front of me at the dining room table who looked exactly like Michael Jackson. I thought it was somebody impersonating him but then the owner said it was him.
“I was as surprised as anybody else to see him. I got a bit of a shock and when the owner came in he said, yes, it is Michael and he would like you to do some magic for him and the kids.”
Sheehan’s experience was certainly a unique one, as he got to watch and interact with Jackson and his children first hand. Sheehan said that behind closed doors in the safe and private surroundings, the family behaved in a very ordinary way and clearly had great mutual affection towards one another.
“It was all very normal. There were no masks in the castle and he was very free and easy with them. I would see them going down to the woods and I would hear them playing hide and go seek.”
Sheehan described one of the tricks he performed for the Jackson family: “It’s a trick I do all the time now. I borrowed a dollar bill, either Michael or the nanny gave it to me. I rolled this dollar bill up and I showed it to everyone and made a little tubular circle in it.
“I said a few magic words and I also gave Paris (Jackson’s daughter) a glass of water. She said ‘abrakadabra’ and she blew on the dollar bill and out comes a goldfish. It’s a very unique trick. She was absolutely gobsmacked.”
The meeting with Jackson gave Sheehan a rare close up impression of the man who was shrouded by mystery for most of his life.
“He just came in and introduced himself, believe it or not. He was fascinated by people who performed magic, more than magic itself. And we did some tricks that I do on a regular basis. They got great enjoyment out of simple magic. It’s not big stage illusion; it’s just close-up magic right in front of your eyes. They got a great kick out of that.
“I think when he got here he discovered that people in Ireland were not as intrusive as in other places. He was a fascinating man.”
Take a look at the video below, with Sheehan performing some of his best tricks. To learn more about Liam Sheehan then visit his website at liamsheehan.ie