The vanishing wheelchair

When magician Ricky Boone is on stage, he performs an illusion so incredible, you’d think you were in Vegas: he makes his wheelchair vanish right in front of your eyes.

“People often make an instant judgment since he is in a wheelchair,” said Thomas J. Shimeld. “Yet after he is done performing, people have laughed and been amazed. They forget he is in a wheelchair.” 

After Shimeld wrote a biography on Boone, The Four-foot Giant and the Vanishing Wheelchair, the two teamed up to create a charitable nonprofit corporation called The Vanishing Wheelchair Inc. in 2010.

The Vanishing Wheelchair organizes monthly magic shows which showcase the talents of the members.

“[Our] dream is to have a place where [we] can let special needs people come and be a part of a business, be a part of a magic show,” Shimeld said. “Perhaps they could sing, dance, tell jokes, paint, take photographs, or sell tickets.” 

The kid-friendly, hour-and-a-half productions of the “Magic, Mirth & Meaning” shows are hosted by St. Mary’s Church, 337 Charlotte St., Asheville. This month’s show is on Sunday, Oct. 12, at 6:30 p.m.

The proceeds for the show go toward the Vanishing Wheelchair Inc., which is raising money for a hands-on museum for children. The universally accessible museum would be a place for a child to experience what life might be like as a disabled person.

“They may wish to see what it is like to move around in a wheelchair, or on crutches,” Shimeld said. “They may perform activities without the use of their sight or ability to hear. If a child can grow up with an understanding of a person with differing abilities, the world will be a better place.”

The Vanishing Wheelchair was founded “to encourage the world to focus on another’s ability rather than one’s disability,” according to Shimeld. “We guide youth in the discovery of their own talent.”

Tickets for the Oct. 12 show at St. Mary’s Church are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets can be purchased at the door, but can be reserved online as well. Shimeld and Boone will also be available after the show for book signings.

About Micah Wilkins
Micah Wilkins began her time at Mountain Xpress as an intern while a student at Warren Wilson College, where she studied history and creative writing. After graduating in December, 2013, she continued writing for the Xpress as a freelancer.

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