(Britain: 1870 - 18th November 1941)
Stage name of John George Englehart MacLachlan. Pro music-hall magician. Famous for his "The Magic of Japan" act (by 1906). The high spot of his act was juggling a ball of torn paper on a fan which gradually changed into an egg. Played St. George's Hall in 1907. Edited one of the first magical weekly magazines The Magical World 1910-14 and Servais LeRoy's Magical Monthly 1911-13.
Wrote Stillwell's Handkerchief Manipulation Act (1902, 16pp) and Problems in Mystery for Practical Magicians (1909, 56pp).
In 1916 while performing "The Magic of Japan", at the Granville Theatre in Walham Green, all the lights went out. With the fear of a bomb or Zeppelin attack in their minds, the audience became restless. Sterling immediately grasped the seriousness of the situation and to allay the panic which would have ensued called out in his cheeriest tone: "Don't go away, I had this done so that I could deceive you more easily!" and then he continued with more witticisms. The audience began to laugh. Many thought that the darkness was indeed part of the magician's joke. Eventually, the lights were restored and the audience realized that the performer had averted a potential disaster by keeping them in their seats and avoiding a dangerous rush to the doors. At this point, the audience spontaneously gave Mr. Sterling a resounding ovation. This was later echoed by the management of the Granville who was grateful for the magician's presence of mind on what could have proved a potentially perilous occasion.