In the Victorian period, there is a famous illusionist named Eisenheim. During one of his acts, Eisenheim recognises his young lover Dutches Von Teshcen. When they were young they were separated because Eisenheim was too poor for the Duchess. During his show, Eisenheim calls for a volunteer and Sophie ie the Duchess accepts. Eisenheim recognises her immediately however the same is not true for Sophie. Later, Eisenheim meets Sophie in a stagecoach telling her the truth about his identity. The Duchess is thrilled, but is already engaged to the Emperor's son who unfortunately watched Eisenheim's show as well. The emperor's son soon invites Eisenheim to perform at his palace where out of his spite of jealousy, Eisenheim starts a feud with the emperor's son.
Later, Sophie and Eisenheim have an affair and suspecting of this, the emperor's son hired private investigator uhl(who also saw the performance) to keep an eye on Eisenheim. Sophie soon confesses to the emperor's son that she was in love with Eisenheim and that she is leaving him. the emperor's son was both filled with rage, and drunk. In his drunkenness, he chased Sophie down an alley, where Sophie was seen riding her horse lying down. the next morning, Sophie's horse is found with a huge spot of blood on its neck, and no Sophie, a search party goes on comprised of Blood Hounds, Uhl, Eisenheim some detectives, and ultimately, the emperor's son. Sophie is found dead with a stab would to her neck, and a small red gem on her presence. Eisenheim instantly tells Uhl that the emperor's son murdered Sophie because without a bride, he could not take the throne in his deceased father's place.
Uhl and Eisenheim become close friends, but then, Eisenheim is fired by his manager due to a lack of money brought in by his performances. Eisenheim then buys a theater, where he starts his new act, of resurrecting spirits from the dead. First, he brings up the entity of a young man called Frankel, followed by many others including, Sophie's. By the order of the emperors son, Uhl is to arrest Eisenheim if he continues these acts. Uhl warns Eisenheim who announces to a band of spectators that the spirits were an illusion, and apologised for any false hope. During his next performance, Eisenheim brings back Sophie and the emperor's son in disguise sets forth the task on Uhl to arrest Eisenheim, his best friend. When Uhl pronounces Eisenheim's crimes to a whole auditorium of spectators, Eisenheim stands up, and vanishes into thin air, and Uhl sets out to look for him.