That is the mystery and beauty of visual effects. Even though visual effects have had such a huge impact on our movie and television viewing habits, most people do not know the first thing about the history of this art form. This paper will serve as a historical look into the history of visual effects from the time of silent films, all the way to the most recent success of visual effects in The Life of Pi. The purpose of this paper is to allow people an inside look into the history of visual effects and how the pioneers had to struggle to create the art form that has almost been perfected in the 21st century thanks to computer graphic imaging. While previous generations may think that visual effects started with the Star Wars Prequel, in reality, these visual effects have a history that goes far back deeper than 1970's Hollywood. It was actually in 1856 when Oscar Rejlander became the first person to successfully use trick photography to create a single image. His special effects breakthrough was done through the use of 30 different sections of negatives, spliced together to create one image. Then in 1985 Alfred Clarke built upon the success of Rejlander by creating the first motion picture special effect for the movie Mary, Queen of Scots. With Clarke instructing an actor to step up and block Mary's costume, an executioner was shown preparing to let his ax fall on her neck. At that point, Clarke ordered all the actors to stop moving while the actor playing Mary was taken off the set. A dummy was placed in her stead and when filming restarted, the ax severed the dummy's head. Thus, the love affair of the cinema with special effects began (“A Brief History of Movie Special Effects”). However, it was not until 1896 when the stop trick method was accidentally discovered by French magician Georges Melies. It was an effect that was created when while filming a street scene in Paris his camera jammed. Upon review, he found that the “stop trick” turned a truck into a hearse, his pedestrians walked in an alternate direction, and men somehow became women. Now being the stage manager at the local Theatre Robert - Houdin, he discovered an inspiration that led him to create more than 500 short films until 1914. He developed the now considered ancient effects techniques of multiple exposure, time lapse, dissolves, and hand painted color. His uncanny ability to create visual effects earned him the nickname “Cinemagician”. When he created his ode to Jule's Vern’s From the Earth to the Moon as Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902), he used a combination of live action, animation, and miniature with matte painting work (“The Grand Illusion: A Century of Special Effects”). Movie masters of this era concede that their special effects were highly influenced by magician stage tricks. Perspective exploitation and forced perspective were but a few of the old stage magic that worked quite well on film. The years from 1910 to 1920 saw the rapid growth of visual effects, particularly the Matte Shots done by Norman Dawn. While the Schuftan Process -- considered modifications of theater illusions, and still photography began to influence the craft in the 1920's and 1930's. This development led to the use of rear projection in cinemas which substituted moving pictures to create moving backgrounds. Visual effects also began to develop facial masks to help along the illusion of visual effects.