Arnold Furst, 83, a magician and hypnotist who entertained and instructed others in using his techniques as therapy, died Feb. 22 in Los Angeles of natural causes after several years of failing health.
Furst began his professional act in 1939 and toured the globe with the USO during World War II, always traveling noticeably with his white rabbit, Oscar. After the war, he worked in vaudeville and had a nightclub act combining magic and hypnotism.
Always popular in schools, Furst also entertained children confined to hospitals. He could pull Oscar out of his hat, chop his turban in two and put it back together, and pull money out of thin air. But he was unable to fulfill the typical request from young patients: "Make my cast disappear."
In 1957, Furst collaborated with Dr. Lester Kashiwa to write the pioneering "Case Histories in Hypnotherapy." His later books included "How to Prepare and Administer Hypnotic Prescriptions," "Famous Magicians of the World," "Great Magic Shows" and "Post-Hypnotic Suggestions: How to Give Post-Hypnotic Suggestions for Therapeutic Purposes."