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The young wizard sat in the closet under the stairs and practiced his magic. Unlike a fictional young wizard who was forced to live under the stairs, the real child was there by choice. This special place, an inner sanctum where he could submerse himself in a fascinating world of books full of secrets and unusual mechanical devices that twisted reality, thrilled him. His latest creation was ready. Clutching a magic wand, he slipped quietly out of his lair and approached the woman who was standing with her back to him. She turned, startled by his stealthy approach. He broke into a wide, gap-toothed smile. "Watch this, Mom!" From the day Mike Bent received a Peter Pan magic kit in 1969, at age six, until — well, today, he has been fascinated by the world of monsters, magic, and practical jokes.