I’ve had a couple of calls asking if we’re open on Saturday and/or is The Lounge accessible without a boat or scuba gear. Check your local conditions, of course, but we’re fine here (open as usual today, incidentally) no puddles and traffic seems to be moving OK on Parkway. But soothing tea will be available as usual.

June did suggest we offer a 1p discount on all purchases to encourage attendance, but I felt that such an extreme reaction could set a dangerous precedent.

Nevertheless, to err on the safe side, Paul Voodini’s Recollections of a Society Clairvoyant event on Saturday evening has been cancelled. We’ll reschedule when the stars align.

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Coming to the Magick Lounge near you on Thursday 7 November is a lecture by the inimitable Steve Rowe. (Sorry this notification is a bit late but I’ve had to replace my main edit pc, and I’m still in the middle of a long and painful installation process.)

Steve exploded onto the magic scene a few years ago. Not only is his magic practical, it has also been worked and refined to perfection.

“Steve Rowe is a genius – simple as. He is one of the most creative people I know. His standard of work is second to none. Just one of his tricks has revolutionised my wedding set and I’m fairly sure that I use more of his material than anyone else. The magic world is in a much better state with Steve Rowe in it. Long may he continue to share his creations with us. Thank you Steve (and my spectators thank you as well!)” Craig Petty

His unique approach to organic magic is sure to make an impact on your own working set. Every move, every beat, and every word has been thoroughly thought out. Here you will get a real insight into creating props, and structuring your own routines to get the maximum impact possible.

“I use at least one of Steve Rowe’s clever effects at every gig!” Gary Jones

Clear your diary and join us on a fun-packed session delving into the mind of one of the most creative thinkers around.

The venue for this outstanding event is The Magick Lounge 82 Broad Street, Sheffield, S2 5TG. Doors at 7 o’clock as usual and the lecture will start at 7:30. Admission is free to Sheffield Circle members, £10 for visiting magicians and £5 for juniors.

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Following their hugely successful debut at the Bizarre Hauntings convention in Baltimore, USA, Mr Voodini & Madam Celeste return to the UK to present a free preview of their show Recollections of a Society Clairvoyant at Sheffield’s Magick Lounge on Saturday 9 November at 7:30 pm.

This is an enchanting two-person telepathy and second-sight act, combining theatre, stage mind-reading, and ghost stories!

Expect to be amused, bewitched, and bedazzled as you take a journey into the intoxicating world of Victorian Spiritualism in the company of Voodini & Celeste, society clairvoyants par excellence!

The Magick Lounge is at 82 Broad Street, Sheffield, S2 5TG. Doors will open to seekers of esoteric entertainment at 7 of the clock. Attend with an open mind and a keen but willing intellect.

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Coming to a Magick Lounge near you on Wednesday 11 September is a lecture by Kainoa Harbottle, whose magic breathes new life into the tired phrase “right before your very eyes.” His performances represent his wish to share with others, uncanny experiences — events that bring to life our desires. By making money appear from nowhere, reading people’s minds, and proving that (with the right encouragement) anyone can perform the seemingly impossible, Kainoa endeavors to make magical experiences meaningful to all.

Kainoa was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, and began performing magic after spending a good deal of his youth working with a local drama group (excellent training for any would-be magician!). By high school, he was performing semi-professionally, including weekly tablehopping at Curtis Kam’s showroom in Waikiki, as well as in restaurants and private shows for both the business sector and the tourist industry.

After attending college in Los Angeles where he was a Junior Member at the Magic Castle, Kainoa headed east, earning a Ph.D. in English from the University of Delaware. His research is on Victorian performance magic and the connections between the works of Professor Hoffmann and John Nevil Maskelyne with the popular literature and periodicals of the period.

Kainoa has written extensively on coin manipulation as well as how to apply practical theatrical techniques to increase the quality of the audience’s experience.

As I’m sure our eager reader knows, The Magick Lounge is at 82 Broad Street, Sheffield, S2 5TG. Doors will open with surprising precision to the cognoscenti and other magicians at 7 o’clock and the lecture will start at 7:30. Don’t forget that admission is free to Sheffield Circle members, £10 for visiting magicians and £5 for juniors. Come and enjoy a fascinating, entertaining and educational uncanny experience.

Several people have been touch about the Houdini pitch book. To answer the first question, yes it is for sale. It’s not mine, unfortunately, but I have examined it and can put you in touch with the seller.

I posted a scan of the front cover on my last post. Here are a few more scans to give you a better idea of the book. Back cover on the left, inside front cover and first page above right, inside page spread lower right.

Incidentally, a little local interest, one of Houdini’s certificates from “various chiefs of police” (see right hand scan above, lower right) reads:

Chief Constable’s Office,
Sheffield, Jan. 19, 1904.

This is to certify that Mr. Harry Houdini was this day stripped stark naked and locked in the cell which once contained Charles Peace. The cell was searched and triple-locked, But Mr. Houdini released himself and redressed in five minutes, having also opened the iron gate of the corridor.

Charles J. Scott, Commander (R.N.)
Chief Constable, Sheffield,
Witness to the foregoing feat,
George H. Barker, Deputy Chief Constable

Charles Peace? An “infamous murderer”; brief history of his exploits, capture, escape, recapture and execution can be found here.

A few more details of the book:

The book is a soft cover, wire-stitched pitch book entitled Handcuff Tricks Exposed, Illustrated Life and History of Houdini. It was printed by Clegg & Son in 1911 (revised edition).

It has a pictorial yellow wrapper with a bust portrait of Houdini (the “Houdini for President” image) and a reproduced signature. The front cover is worn with minor tears and nicks but it is still attached. The back cover is loose. The last three pages although intact are loose from the staples, the rest are attached.

Overall, considering this paperback is almost 110 years old I feel it has survived in remarkable condition.

The seller has stated, ” I have had this book for many years and it is  only recently that it has surfaced again. I did an amount of research on this particular book and found it to be extremely rare and with a value of around $2000. (That was for bad copies. *) I am open to sensible offers and appreciate this book needs to go to a serious collector.”

* Russell’s note: one copy which went for over $2000 had clear marks of having been folded in half.

Front Cover

I’m offering on behalf of the owner perhaps the rarest of the Houdini pitch books: Handcuff Tricks Exposed: Illustrated Life and History of Houdini, 1911. In good condition for its age; see picture above.

Email me and I’ll put you in touch with the seller who’ll be happy to supply further details.

SC Book Design 1h

In 1992 I was proud to publish Steve Cook‘s first book Point Blank. He’d lectured for The Sheffield Circle and I’d been very impressed by his direct, commercial approach, so I was delighted when he agreed to entrust us with the publication of his first volume of beautifully routined effects.

A modest and self-effacing character, Steve’s reputation at the time was limited to a relatively small group of magicians who had experienced his clear and entertaining approach to magic. Since then, of course, his fame has spread. He has received worldwide acclaim for his effects, such as Symbol, Volition, The Stealth Case, ID, Die-Abolical and many more.

In 2008 I was pleased to help with the editing and design of his book Legend: An Anecdotal Tribute to Ken Brooke, which gave me the opportunity again to appreciate his love for and dedication to the craft of magic and the performers and innovators he respected.

Steve has been a regular visitor to The Magick Lounge over the years, visits which are always keenly anticipated by the ‘Loungers’ who enjoy his entertaining (and mystifying) performances and the wide-reaching magical discussions which follow.

In 2018 Steve approached me to work on the final editing and technical production of Fake Genius. As soon as I received the initial manuscript I knew he had a winner on his hands. I also knew he shared my concern for attention to detail and the highest possible standards in magical publishing. Steve Haresign of Haresign Press was to handle print production; I’ve always been impressed by his work and I was sure that together we could produce a book that the discerning magician would be proud to own.

I believe we have. Fake Genius is now available, and the reviews have been amazing and very gratifying. Copies are now available from Magick.

“Steve Cook IS a genius! WOW! I’m half-way through… I’ll say it again, WOW! I was correct, these are strong, workable effects. Grab this book, it’s going to be a classic.”
Steve Dela

Note that Steve’s book is limited to 500 copies worldwide. It contains twenty real-world worker effects, plus fascinating and invaluable essays, tips and advice on a range of magical topics.

“I rarely read a magic/mentalism book from cover to cover. I can count on one hand how many I have. Until now. Steve Cook may be a ‘Fake Genius’ but his book is full of excellent effects. There is one particular effect, that in my opinion, is worth the price of the book. However, I am not going to tell you what it is. Find out for yourself.” Mike Sullivan