Mr. Testoo, the Spanish Wizard
There is little to record of Mr. Testoo. He advertised a performance as “the celebrated and far-famed Wizard” at Bendigo’s British and American Hotel on March 6, 1857, with a Mons. Adelle, ventriloquist. His act included the Bullet Catching feat, and fire eating.
Of another performance on March 9, the Bendigo Advertiser said:-
“THE SPANISH WIZARD. - Mr. Testoo, a professor of the magic art, gave an entertainment last night at the Royal Hotel, High-street. He really is a most extraordinary person, and performs the usual feats in which the professors of his art excel, very neatly. we left him taking supper off a large piece of blazing tow soaked in turpentine, and he appeared to enjoy his fiery meal. He is well worth seeing, and if he performs again, will probably have a very crowded room to witness his marvellous doings.”
Finally, a report from the “Tarrengower Fields”, a goldrush region, now the township of Maldon, south-east of Bendigo:
Mount Alexander Mail, April 15, 1857 -
“Mr. Testoo, the Spanish wizard, gave several very clever entertainments during the week at Bruce's Royal Hotel. His feats of prestidigitation are excellent, and his manner of catching a bullet fired by any one of the audience from a loaded gun is astonishing. It is fortunate for Mr. T. that he was not born two centuries ago, otherwise his talents, instead of being as now a source of wealth, might have occasioned his being burnt in Smithfield for the amusement of a few and the terror of the many. It is, however, a matter of doubt whether the flames would have had any effect on him, for, when I left the Royal last Saturday evening, he was having a "feed" of blazing tow soaked in turpentine, which he seemed to eat with much gusto. Judging from appearances Mr. Testoo must be one of those salamanders whose existence was till now imagined to be a fable invented by the ancients. I must not omit to mention the ventriloquism of Mr. Adelle, nor the clever performance of Mr. Delaco on different wind instruments.”
Both those hotels still exist today.
From the brevity of his appearances it can be concluded that Mr. Testoo was probably a miner in the goldfields. Likewise, Mons. Adelle was only seen once more, at the Crow Hotel, Silver Creek, on September 5 of the same year, “for the last time in the neighbourhood, other engagements precluding the possibility of a longer stay in the Ovens [district].”