Julia McCullough was an assistant to the magician Milton, and appeared in his magic stage show. She was married to another of his assistants, Robert Angier, who helped perform a water cell trick with Alfred Borden.

Borden wanted to use a different knot for the act, but was advised against it by Milton's ingénieur John Cutter. That night, when performing the trick, Julia could not free herself from her bonds. Cutter attempted to save her, but she drowned before he was able to revive her. Her death caused a great rivalry between Angier and Borden, who could not recall which knot he had used.

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