25 Years After His Death, Professor Peller's Magical History Remains Evergreen (2023)

25 Years After His Death, Professor Peller's Magical History Remains Evergreen (1)

25 Years After His Death, Professor Peller's Magical History Remains Evergreen (2)

In the early 80s, no one will not say to have known the Iseyin-born popular magician, Professor Peller who was born in September month of 1941 at Iseyin, Oyo State. He was named back then, Moshood Folorunsho Abiola. In his magical journey of life, he picked a stage name of ‘Professor Peller’, an appellation that has stuck to him like a second skin as evident by many eyewitnesses during his lifetime.

In a twist of life event, whatever will do in this life will always stick with us in history, and just like in the case of the world-known magician, Professor Peller, who had his Professor appellate via his stage, and not from the four-wall of academic learning, University, after he only attended Moslem School, Iseyin and later to Native Authority Primary School, Iseyin, before traveling to Ibadan, Oyo and Lagos for his magical performances.
At a stage in his lifetime, he switched occupation from being a magician to a representative of the popular G.B.O, and at a time acted as a trader.

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When his illusionary interest gets on the rise, he went to learn the magical arts in India in 1964 by attending the School of Magical Arts, India. He spent a whole 18 months learning the magics as recorded by some authorities and tactically returned to Liberia, instead of his home country, Nigeria. But why Liberia? Much evidence revealed that he was there to master the practical arts of his magical skills. And had his first magic shot at Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos in 1966.

Away from that, what was Professor Peller’s religion? No one has doubted his religion as a chore and practicing Muslim who never missed any of the five obligatory prayers daily.
25 Years After His Death, Professor Peller's Magical History Remains Evergreen (3)
In a reliable story of tori.ng, it was revealed that, when Professor Peller was alive, he was the most brilliant magician in all of Africa. No one has broken the records. Even after his death 25 years ago, Peller remains the greatest of all.

He performed not only before princes but also held kings spellbound with his magic. Here is how Femi Oyebode, a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Birmingham described Peller and one of his shows in 1972 at the George V Stadium in Lagos (that is the old name of the Onikan Stadium): “My last ever visit the stadium was to see Professor Peller, a magician, and said to be a member of the Magic Circle take on the last of our traditional magicians whose name now escapes me (itself a significant fact). Professor Peller was dressed in black tails, a top hat, a wand in one hand, black shoes, and well-cut hair. He was a perfect picture of a debonair gentleman and was assisted by an attractive young woman. He flicked his white handkerchief, and a white dove flew out. He pulled at his cuff links and flowers bloomed under his command. He was confident, majestic. He was suave and graceful. He levitated his assistant.”

“He cut her in two without drawing blood. He locked her in a cupboard, chained up several times over yet she disappeared! It was a masterly performance. The crowd clapped and hooped. We were seduced against our better judgment. We wished desperately that the traditional magician would enthrall and endear us to his magic, the mysteries of African magic. We were disappointed or shall I say that I was disappointed. When he came on stage dressed only in a loincloth of indeterminate color, you could hear the audience gasp aloud.”

“Was this African magic? This crude, little thin man who seemed recently woken from the dead? He swallowed a stone and turned his backside to us, slipping his loincloth to one side and excreting the stone. Awfulness and shame. He submitted his abdomen to a sharp sword to be sliced open. But by now, the absence of razzmatazz and finesse had turned us against him. The crowd poured through the gates. That was how disgusted we were. You can say that at George V stadium, in early adulthood I lost two of my childhood dreams.”


On another record, as a master at his craft and a consummate entertainer, he cast a most powerful spell on the following African leaders, right in their presidential palaces:

– The late President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo (Eyadema later died after spending 38 years in power, he was the longest-serving ruler in Africa when he died in 2005. His son, Faure, is currently the President of Togo.
25 Years After His Death, Professor Peller's Magical History Remains Evergreen (4)
– The late President Samuel Kanyon Doe of Liberia. There is an interesting story behind his performance for the late strongman of Monrovia. There was a time Peller had a performance in Liberia in the 1970s and the crowd was just too massive. The Liberian government drafted security forces to the venue of the act to control the surging crowd. One of those responsible for maintaining the security that day at Peller’s performance was a young man called Samuel Doe. So when Doe became President, he summoned Peller, Nigeria’s finest magician to come to perform for him. Such was the stellar performance of Peller. Doe said he was busy controlling the surging crowd and he could not witness the event properly as at that time when he was a junior soldier.
– The former President of Benin Republic, Mathieu Kerekou was also one of those who patronized Peller.

Apart from the Presidents mentioned above, Peller also reigned supreme in Nigeria. It was like there was no other conjurer in the land. Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the late Premier of the Western Region was one of those he used to entertain regularly.

Peller was a prolific magician with many shows, some of which were the Invisible General, the Escaping Box, Changing Dresses, and the Zigzag. One thing with Peller’s performances is that they were executed with maximum finesse and excellence. He was thorough and professional. Perhaps, if not for death, he might have even eclipsed David Copperfield of the USA in fame. Copperfield is presently the greatest magician on earth and the first person to make one billion dollars from magic.

While growing up, he was nicknamed Moshood Olori Pupa (Moshood the Red-Headed Boy). One of his classical performances included putting his wife in a ‘magical coffin’ and severing the same coffin into two halves with a ‘magic coffin’.
When Peller was performing, there was no Internet as we have it today, so it was quite easy to fool people in their millions. Now, YouTube is spoiling the show for many magicians except the most ingenious of them.


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He was described as a very romantic man. His most prominent wife, Alhaja Silifat, fell in love with him while she was still in secondary school. She confessed that she had always admired him and his performances even before then and each time she watched him perform, her heart fluttered with affection for the fine magician with tribal marks.

In 1967, Iseyin Grammar School in Oyo State became the place where Peller planted the seed of love even if he was there to perform but was carried away by the ravishing young beauty in the crowd called Silifat. Hear her: “I am sure he must have been attracted to me because of my beauty. So, he just whispered to me: ‘Baby, you are beautiful. ” And I said, ‘Thank you.’ He didn’t ask me out that day. For quite a long time, we were friends.” For a couple of years more, they continued dating and Lady Peller said after two years, she said yes to his advances. They got married in 1971 and they already had a child by then.

For a man who was a showstopper at any event, it is no surprise that not a few women fell for the enchanting spell of Nigeria’s most famous magician. He was a man of many women and married many of them. However, the best known of these ladies, with whom he performed his magic tricks is Alhaja Silifat Adeboyin Peller (see picture). The whole of Nigeria knew her as Lady Peller and she is most famous for the act in which she was ‘sliced’ into pieces by Peller and had a hard time putting her back. Now 66 years of age with her husband gone and not remarrying, she is tending to her grandchildren while reminiscing over the glittering wonders of an empire of magic that once held sway. Lady Peller was born in Kishi, Oyo State where her father was the Chief Imam and had five children for him, while also raising many other stepchildren.
25 Years After His Death, Professor Peller's Magical History Remains Evergreen (5)
However, unknown to many, their rosy marriage later had a deep crack to the extent that they were not staying together anymore. When Peller was killed at his Onipanu residence, he was in Lagos State for a function while Lady Peller was living at the GRA, Ikeja. Although they were not officially separated as they still saw regularly, Peller checked on her in Ikeja but met her absence. At that time, they had already reconciled and were even planning on coming back together before Peller was prematurely silenced by the assassin’s bullets.

Peller left a message for her to check on him as he was not feeling well and was rushed to Ibadan for treatment. Lady Peller was furious as to why he was taken to Ibadan since they had family doctors at the Ajayi Memorial Hospital and the EKO Hospital in Lagos but upon getting to Ibadan, she was simply told that Peller was dead. She fainted immediately only to wake up to a bucket of water and intense fanning by family members. She said: “It was a great shock and I had never seen that kind of thing. I don’t ever wish to go through that kind of thing again.” While he was alive, he also taught her some magic and ensured she got some training in Michigan, USA. Little wonder they always performed together and as far as she is concerned, her religion is not against the brand of magic she performed with her late husband because according to her, ‘it was not fetish’. She still remembers the very good old days and says she will not remarry and will still marry him over and over again, rounding off: They only want to enjoy what Professor Peller was enjoying for several years. But they can’t have it.”


No. I will not call magic a lie, but I will describe it as a well-oiled pack of grandiose dramatization, outright deception, fantastic misdirection, and uncanny slyness. There is nothing spiritual about magic, it is nothing but an agglomeration of well-practiced tricks. However, if done well, an excellent magician can actually ‘create something out of nothing or make the ‘possible from the impossible’ (even if that will look like he or she is going against the established laws of Newtonian physics, it is all an illusion) in a very fluid and convincing manner (in that case, I will call many Nigerian politicians’ magicians). So, what happened that fateful day when Professor Peller allegedly ‘sliced’ his wife into two but could not put her back together and she almost ‘died’?

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It was at the National Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, and the Lagos State Governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande was present at the occasion to represent Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The event started as planned but then the Peller team decided to throw in a suspense-filled event, as their usual practice when they have events following one another every evening. The essence was to create so much suspense so that they will draw in even more crowd by the next day. So for day one, the idea was to create an illusion that he ran into trouble while sawing his wife in half. But then, the next step involved ‘reviving’ her. After the ‘cutting’, which was done with a lot of dramatic effects, the crowd went into a frenzy and began to shout, ‘We want Lady Peller!’, ‘Give us Lady Peller!’.

Later in 2012, the 66-year-old Lady Peller was interviewed and asked about the incident, and she insisted that Peller actually cut her into two and she even sustained some light injuries. If you want to clear your mind on this, just watch the video below. Even in hemicorporectomy in surgery where the entire half of a human is severed, the survival rate is very low.

25 Years After His Death, Professor Peller's Magical History Remains Evergreen (6)


Yes, Peller was assassinated. It was on a fateful day on the 2nd of August 1997. Interestingly, he was killed the same day that Fela Anikulapo-Ransome Kuti also died. Peller was attacked at his residence while observing his evening prayers at Onipanu, Lagos State and he was fatally shot by unknown gunmen. Nigeria and all kinds of unsolved murders, brutal killings, and blood-curdling assassinations.

25 Years After His Death, Professor Peller's Magical History Remains Evergreen (7)

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