Magic and performances of Magic increased in popularity during the 19th century. Ending the century with the works of Harry Houdini. In 1877 Professor Hoffman wrote a treatise on "Modern Magic: A practical treatise on the art of conjuring." For some unknown reason (to me) Spiritualism developed with and along with magicians, as in the case of Harry Houdini. Perhaps it had something to do with a magician's ability to suspend himself/herself in the air.
In adding secondary characters to our novels Magicians, slight of hand artists could be used in a positive entertaining way or as notorious characters who come to town and try to steal the heart of our hero or heroine.
Below is an excerpt from "Modern Magic: A practical treatise on the art of conjuring."
THE MAGIC WAND.
This is a light rod of twelve to fifteen inches in length, and about three-quarters of an inch in diameter. It may be of any material, and decorated in any manner which the fancy of the owner may dietate. To the uninitiated its use may appear a mere affectation, but such is by no means the case. Apart from the prestige derived from the traditional properties of the wand, and its use by the wizards of all ages, it affords a plausible pretext for many necessary movements, which would otherwise appear awkward and unnatural, and would thereby arouse the vigilance of the audience at possibly the most critical period of the trick. Thus, if the performer desires to hold anything concealed in his hand, by holding the wand in the same hand he is able to keep it closed without exciting suspicion. If it is necessary, as frequently happens, to turn his back upon the audience for an instant, the momentary turn to the table, in order to take up or lay down the wand, affords the required opportunity. We most strongly advise the would-be magician to cultivate from the outset the habitual use of the wand. Even where its employment is not absolutely necessary for the purpose of the trick, its use is in strict accordance with the character he professes to fill, and the dainty touch of the wand, for the supposed purpose of operating a magical transformation, assists materially in leading the audience to believe that such transformation did actually take place at that particular moment, instead of having been (as is really the case) secretly effected at an earlier period.