A Collection of College Words & Customs written by Benjamin Homer Hall in 1856 defines a "wire" as a trick and I'm curious to know if it is of any relation to a magician using invisible wire to trick his audience? Any thoughts?

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    Seems likely that your explanation is apt, both in relation to the stage and to seances. Floating apparitions and knocking sounds have been controlled by wire. – Duckisaduckisaduck Mar 4 '14 at 15:40
  • ...and I believe that kind of stage trickery was very much in vogue back then. – Stew Mar 21 '14 at 5:23

Wire-pulling is associated with trickery: Wire-pulling is defined as political manipulation in The American slang dictionary 1891 and Wire-puller in the political sense is 1848, American English, on the image of pulling the wires that work a puppet.

but a good magician needs to be artful in 'picking your pocket', as well as, adding items to your person, and a wire is a thief with long fingers, expert at picking ladies' pockets. It is reasonable that 'to wire' was 'stolen' from thieves

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    Do you happen to have a reference for "a wire" being "a thief with long fingers"? It's a cool term. – MrHen Apr 14 '14 at 18:31

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