We’re trying to understand the new Covid rules and how they effect us, The Magick Lounge and the Saturday mini-sessions…

It does seem that everyone will need to wear masks all the time except when eating or drinking. Otherwise everything else remains the same:

  • Maintain social distancing.
  • Maximum of four people at the mini-session at the rear of the shop or in the ‘bizarre room’.
  • You can, of course, call in to make a purchase at any time, while wearing a mask.

Should you refuse to wear a mask on the grounds that Covid is:

A) a government conspiracy;

B) the result of mind control by little green men;

C) it was real, has now vanished but Johnson is keeping up the pretence to take attention away from the Brexit cock-up;

D) it is real but you’re young and healthy enough to survive it so bollox to everyone else;

E) any other reason, including selfishness, arrogance, idiocy and belief in some unsubstantiated theory you read on Facebook;

then we accept your decision just so long as you accept ours to refuse to admit you.

Thank you. Stay safe. X

A few years ago Jared Manley’s Bolted was one of our best-sellers. Sadly, it’s not been available for a while. That’s just changed. We received a a new supply a few days ago. Here’s a short video of Jared performing his amazing effect during one of our (pre-covid) Saturday Sessions at The Magick Lounge.

Having a card appear in an impossible location is a staple in magic. The problem that every magician struggles with is, if the object is signed then the location can’t be “impossible”. But if the location is truly impossible, then the object can’t be signed. Now there’s a solution — Bolted!

Bolted allows you to take a randomly signed card, make it disappear, and with no hesitation pull out a locked case with that very same signed card inside. There are many different ways to reveal Bolted, including from a pouch, a tuck case, and even your back pocket.

No forcing
No duplicates
Use it with business cards and predictions
Includes a sleight-free handling for absolute beginners

Bolted contains multiple routines geared towards every skill level. Whether you’re a complete beginner or seasoned professional, perform the routine that works best for you. This is the perfect way to finish any signed card routine, and the best part? You can hand it out immediately afterward, so there is no doubt their signed card is Bolted inside.

Shatters the limits of what’s possible and leave your spectators with a miracle that they can’t explain, with Jared Manley’s Bolted. Available from Magick at £49 plus postage. Or call and pick yours up soon. Order from us and you get a free copy of the original DVD as well as the ubiquitous instructional download!

Tarot decks for magicians, designed by Taylor Imagineering

These are new Tarot decks with special features requested by many bizarre and close-up magicians, and several bizarre close-up magicians.

They are poker-sized to allowing them to be handled easier than standard tarot cards. And the backs incorporate a deceptive marking system.

The cards are boxed in two sets: the Major and Minor Arcanas. Together they form more than a full Tarot deck… much more.

The Ledger Major Arcana Deck contains 55 cards:

  • Two full sets of marked major arcana cards (2 x 22 cards)
  • One unmarked double-back card
  • Four Sun/Death double-faced cards (perform your favourite version of Wild Card with Tarot!)
  • Three extra copies of the Death card
  • Three extra copies of the Sun card

The Ledger Minor Arcana Deck contains 56 cards:

  • Ace through ten, Page, Knight, Queen and King in four suits: Cups, Pentacles, Wands and Swords

The package comes with suggested routines by Christopher Taylor and TC Tahoe. And a velvet drawstring carrying pouch, of course. A limited quantity available ex stock for £52.

We currently have a small stock:

Nowhere in the annals of mentalism has a revelation of such depth been offered to the magic and mentalism/bizarre field. Lee Earle is sharing his vast knowledge and experience earned over 30-plus years as a performer of theatrical séance.

“Lee Earle is the pre-eminent authority on the art of theatrical séance…” Mark Edward

If you have ever wondered what a real séance entails, this book explains all aspects from an over-all view to the most important of minute details. Nothing is held back. In fact, so much detail is shared with the reader that anyone with this knowledge and the spirit to pull it off can present a masterful séance that will guarantee success.

Layout, participant positioning, psychological conditioning, effects to trick the mind and so much more will leave the participants with a feeling of wonder, a feeling of disbelief; some will believe and others will not be sure, but 30 years of research and actual performance will result in achieving the goal of a real séance, without the mundane tricks of a magician.

“BAM” Right out of the starting gate Lee hits you with the major tenets necessary to create a successful séance.” Lary Kuehn/T Everett Bookings, III

This book is not for the curious, it is intended to give the performer of séance real world knowledge that will allow him or her to present an impressive and awe-inspiring theatrical production… In a word… Séance.

The Spirit Guide contains detailed photos, scripts, diagrams, special effects, everything laid bare, nothing held back.

This is a large format hardbound book with dust-jacket. 230 pages. £125, plus postage at cost.

As we are moving towards a slight relaxation of lockdown restrictions we’ve taken another look at how this might affect Magick.

So, from Monday 1 June we’ll be available for collections during our normal opening hours. You will need to ring me during these hours on 0114 276 0482 to check we have what you need in stock. I’ll then get things together for you to collect. Appropriate social distancing will be maintained.

From 15 June we’ll be open for you to call in. Until further notice, one customer at a time, please, and I’m afraid that extended browsing sessions will be discouraged. (And it’s still probably best to ring first.)

This means that there will be no Saturday Sessions at the moment. Sorry about that. I’ll post updates on our blog and Facebook page, where you’ll also find details of new additions to our stock.

Our website is still open, of course, at http://www.magick2go.com and you can still contact us by email: russell@magick2go.com

With love and very best wishes to you all from Russell, June and Julie.

Mermaid Poster-400

When the Doomsday sessions were held in Whitby I was a regular visitor for several years. We always stayed on an extra day or two to enjoy the town and its surroundings. I usually took time, too, to explore the local antique and junk shops for suitable additions to my collection of oddities and strange artefacts.

It was on one such trip that I came across, in the furthest, dustiest reaches of such an emporium, ‘The Whitby Mermaid’. I was immediately intrigued. Of course I’d heard of P T Barnum’s infamous ‘Feejee Mermaid’, reportedly cobbled together from the upper half of a monkey and the lower half of a fish. Its Whitby relative, however, seemed a little better constructed (assuming it was ‘constructed’ and not an example of some hitherto unknown aquatic species!).

I engaged the shopkeeper in conversation, hoping to discover more about this fascinating creature. He told me that he’d purchased it as part of a ‘job lot’ several years ago, and that it had apparently been featured in a small exhibition of ‘fantastic creatures from the sea’ which had closed some time in the 1890s. The ‘mermaid’ and other items had been part of a fairground touring exhibit for a while then eventually ended up back in its home town and had been stored in a warehouse ever since. The stuffed fish, cases of sea-shells and a narwhal’s tusk (apparently labelled ‘Horn of a Sea Unicorn’) had been sold quite quickly (a pity, I’d have liked a narwhal’s tusk) but ‘The Whitby Mermaid’ had been passed over.

He seemed quite eager to get rid of it. In fact before I showed any further interest he offered me a substantial discount — a rare event, I’ve found, in such emporia. He then went on to say that he had a couple of related items he’d throw in with it. Behind the ‘mermaid’ was a tatty brown envelope. He took it out and from inside withdrew a few sheets of even tattier paper. One was a poster advertising ‘The Fantastic Creatures from the Sea Museum’ and another two pages seemed to bear a song or rhyme entitled ‘The Whitby Mermaid’. Unfortunately the latter was torn and bits were missing or illegible. I’ve reproduced below what I was able to discern.

I said I was interested in purchasing the ‘mermaid’ and the accompanying materials, but was keen to hear of any further information he may have. I’ve used an outline of the story he told me to fill in the gaps in the song:

‘Twas one night in Whitby, sir,
The story still is told
A boat set out from Whitby Bay
With crew and captain bold.

The night was dark, the sea ran high
With waves that topped the mast.
“Stand to, my lads,” the captain cried.
“And prepare the nets to cast.”

“This is no night for fishing, sir,”
The bosun soon replied,
“We must return to Whitby Bay
To wait the morning tide.”

“The morning tide will be too late,”
The captain did retort,
“For what we fish, at midnight swims
And rides the waves to sport.”

Apparently this old song refers to a local legend concerning Jack Tyler who, with son, Billy, and crew, sailed from Whitby harbour in his boat ‘Prosper’. Returning late with little to show for his sailing, he ordered the nets to be cast one last time. On hauling them in, the story goes, caught in the meshes was a strange creature, part man and part fish ‘of aweful visage and hellish reek’. This creature leapt thrashing and spitting from the net and latched itself onto the neck of the captain’s son, tearing at the flesh. Before anyone could react, it had drained the lad half of blood and wholly of life.

There is another tale, clearly drawing on the local vampire myths, that states that the boy did not die but over the following nights became transformed into a ‘Whitby Mermaid’ himself before disappearing into the sea… and that the miniature monster later found washed ashore in the neighbouring village of Sandsend following a winter storm was in fact the captain’s own transmogrified son!

Whichever may be nearer the truth, it is said that for many nights thereafter Tyler would sail out seeking revenge on the monster that caused the death — or transformation — of his son. The song ends:

The boat was never seen again,
The wreckage never found,
The crew was listed missing,
Though all presumed them drowned.

The Abbey bells are silent now,
Though when the wind comes from the East
Some say you’ll see the stricken ship
And the mermaids at their feast.

Town Cryer

The photograph above shows the Whitby Town Crier displaying a poster advertising the ‘Fantastic Creatures from the Sea’ poster with its image of the Mermaid.

‘The Whitby Mermaid’ is now on display in our Broad Street studio in Sheffield. You’re welcome to call and take a look when things get back to normal. And you’d be even more welcome if you were able to provide a little more information on this strange creature. I’ve been in touch with The Whitby Gazette but, although the newspaper has been around since 1854, they were unable to throw any further light on the matter. In fact I got the impression that they were somewhat sceptical about the whole subject!

As my regular reader is doubtless aware, 2020 marks the hundredth anniversary of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians. As part of the celebrations we’re running a special series of Centenary Lectures, and I’m proud and delighted to confirm that the first in this series is a rare lecture by our good friend Looch.

Mind Reader and Psychological Magician Looch has become one of the most sought-after acts in the UK. His unique skills combined, with his humour and professionalism have seen him booked for a vast array of events, including weddings, parties and corporate events. He has also made a name for himself as an originator of exciting new ideas in mentalism.

Admired too for his unrivalled creativity, Looch has lectured to thousands of performers throughout the world and has written several best-selling books on Mind Reading and Mentalism. He is considered by his peers to be one of the most talented performers of this kind in the world today.

His books and DVDs include Iris (Visual Themed Mentalism); Retina (Look deep into someone’s eyes, and KNOW what they’re thinking); Looch LIVE (DVD) (A mind-expanding 2-hour live seminar); Close Call (The Blueprint for a Successful Performance!); Looch LIVE 2 (More innovative, clever and practical mentalism); 4.8 min (A Lecture in Minimalism); Here’s To You Mr Robinson (A Theatrical Performance Based on the Psychology of the Criminal); Simple And Direct Mentalism (An important book of practical, simple and direct mentalism); A S.A.D Night in Hamburg (Walk Around Mentalism); Your Thoughts Are Mine (2 DVD Set).

His Read My Mind is a mentalism company set up with a singular goal in mind: to provide performers the world over with the very best mentalism products. There you’ll find such sought-after items as his Master Peek Envelope; L.P.I (Looch Pocket Index); Blink: the Revolutionary new Peek Case; Area 2.0 Book Test; The Score (Bank Nite reinvented) and more.

We are pleased to say that Looch will be lecturing here at the Lounge on Thursday 5 March. Admission is £10, but free to all paid-up members of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians. Doors open at 7.00 p.m., and the event starts at 7.30 at The Magick Lounge, 82 Broad Street, Sheffield S2 5TG. This really is an event not to be missed!

I’ve been around in magic a while, and seen many changes. Let’s look at the instructions provided with a trick, for example. My first magic trick purchases were some time in the early 1950s. I was probably eight or nine at the time. Instructions then consisted mostly of a paragraph (or two, if you were lucky) badly duplicated on a tiny scrap of paper. They outlined the mechanics of the trick; told you how it worked, but not how to perform it. The skills of performance and presentation came largely from (sometimes painful) experience.

I’d long been an avid reader so pestered my local library for as many books on magic as they had or could obtain for me. They were a little more forthcoming on questions of magical performance rather than the demonstration of tricks. The emphasis still tended to be on fooling an audience rather than entertaining and involving them. But perhaps that’s a discussion for another time. (Early on I’d discovered in the playground that people didn’t necessarily want to be ‘fooled’ first and foremost…)

In my teens I began to buy copies of The Gen from my local theatrical shop (The Sign of Four in Nottingham) and discovered the writings of Lewis Ganson and the products of Harry Stanley’s Unique Magic. I was delighted to discover too that the occasional trick I was able to buy actually came with detailed instructions.

Times moved on and soon ‘proper’ instructions became the norm, probably reaching their height with the comprehensive written tutorials provided by the inimitable Ken Brooke.

For me, however, things have taken several backward steps since then, starting with the introduction of the DVD. Don’t get me wrong, videos and DVDs were, and still are, great for teaching magic; we’ve put out a few ourselves, often as book/DVD sets which I feel offers the best of both media.

Many dealers quickly discovered that DVD instructions were a lot easier (and often cheaper) to produce than good printed instructions. All you had to do was to sit someone in front of a camera (or two) and have them perform and explain the trick. No need to spend hours wrestling with the right words to produce something easy to read and understand. And then get a proper proofreader to check the ms before going to print. (Actually, ignore the last sentence; most dealers never bothered with that.)

Of course, for beginners in magic — and perhaps many magic hobbyists in general — the DVD was ideal. You didn’t need to think too much, or even worry about presentation. You just had to copy the guy on the screen. I mean, it’s fine to perform The Amazing So-and-So’s Cups and Balls or Four Ace routine. What is definitely not fine is to turn into a clone of Mr So-and-So while you perform. We probably all start like that, but purely DVD instructions don’t seem to encourage us to move beyond… to become magicians, mystery entertainers, whatever, rather than demonstrators of tricks. (You can see more than enough of that both sides of the stands at conventions.)

Then recently things have taken perhaps the final step backwards. More and more tricks you buy come, as in my youth, in a box or packet with a small scrap of paper, nicely printed, of course, rather than duplicated, and maybe even in full colour on card. But this time the nicely printed card doesn’t even have the most basic of instructions, just a link to an online video. Damn! Instead of being able to sit quietly and read through the instructions with the props in hand, I’ve got to get onto my computer and watch a video, often seemingly put together by a guy more in love with Adobe After Effects than magic.

I know you can watch videos on your phone but I feel you miss much on so small a screen.

This is easy, cheap and convenient for the dealer. But much less convenient for the poor magician. And what about (as has happened to me a couple of times) when you go back to rewatch the video to find it’s no longer there: the link has been deleted or moved? These days I download the video so it’s there for reference should I need it.

Again, DVDs, even online videos, may be great as an additional resource but I strongly believe that for the performing magician nothing can replace comprehensive, well-written, printed instructions.

What do you think? Perhaps next time we buy a trick we should ask, in what form are the instructions? Or maybe we should set up a new international organisation for magicians: the MFPI (Magicians For Proper Instructions.)

Rant over. Normal service will now be resumed.

It’s taken a while but I’ve finished our latest Second Hand Books List (Number 81, for those interested in such niceties). And it’s the biggest yet: 66 pages, a positive cornucopia of conjuring chronicles. You can download it from our website as usual. Or just click here.

We have over 2000 titles in stock, from Percy Abbott’s Magic for Magicians (1934) to Allen Zingg’s The Little Box That Could: The Three Keys to Performance Excellence (2005), with titles in between from almost every major magic author of the past 100+ years. Probably the oldest book is Charades, Enigmas and Riddles by ‘A Cantab’ published by Bell & Dalby in 1865, wherein you’ll doubtless find the origins of many of the patter lines used by magicians today.

For the first time, by fairly popular request, I’ve begun to add magazine listings; mainly complete volumes except for certain rarer items. Most are loose copies, but we have some bound volumes and some in custom boxes. There’s still some way to go with this, but at the moment I reckon we have about 3000 listed.

So if you’re looking for Abra, The Altar Flame, Antinomy, Conjurors’ Magazine, The Gen, Magic Manuscript, Magical Gazette, Magical Nostalgic, Magigram, Minotaur, Pabular, Pentagram, New Pentagram, New Tops, Sphinx, Stanyon’s Magic, or Talisman, let us know. We may be able to help.

I’ll be adding to this section when time allows. (So difficult when going through boxes of magazines not to get sidetracked into reading the odd article or a tempting trick which sounds suspiciously similar to the ‘latest’ from ***********, and then discover a couple of hours have passed and you’ve yet to sort a complete volume…)

Don’t forget, if you want to get all the latest news, special offers and additions to the second-hand catalogue join Jim and Gladys and get your name down on our mailing list. We guarantee not to swamp you daily (or even weekly) with plugs for stuff everyone else is selling. And if you change your mind (although why would you?) it takes but a click to cast yourself back into outer darkness.

How did you do? The winner of the munificent Magick Enterprises voucher got nine out of ten.

1. What magic word is derived from a Latin phrase spoken during the most sacred moment of the Catholic Mass.

Answer: Hocus Pocus. From “Hoc est corpus meum”, meaning “This is my body.” Spoken during the consecration of the Host.

2. Who is the Egyptian goddess of magic?

Answer: Isis. She is also the goddess of marriage, healing, and protection. Isis is the wife and sister of Osiris and the mother and sister of Horus. (Relationships between the Egytian deities tend to be a little complicated.) When Osiris was murdered and dismembered by his evil brother Typhon (usually identified with Set) she magically resurrected him by reattaching his limbs.

3. The 1785 translation of 1001 Nights from French into English gave us a popular phrase used to unlock closed and hidden doorways. Which phrase is it?

Answer: Open Sesame. “Open sesame” comes to us from a translation of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. It was the incantation used by Ali Baba to open his hidden cave of treasure.

4. This magician was awarded longest contract ever given to a Las Vegas performer, even Elvis!

Answer: Lance Burton made a career as a magician, from 1979 to 2010. (I was there when he won the FISM Grand Prix in Lausanne in 1982.) After some TV work in California, Burton moved to Las Vegas and began appearing in various clubs. In 1994 he signed a 13-year contract to perform at the Monte Carlo Resort on the Las Vegas Strip. The resort built a special theatre for him in which he performed over 5,000 shows and earned about 110-million dollars during his tenure there. His contract was extended until 2015 but he retired in 2010.

5. In the Harry Potter series, this governing body is led by Cornelius Fudge through the fifth book.

Answer: The Ministry of Magic.

6. In the tarot each card of the Major Arcana has its own number. The Wheel of Fortune, for example, is generally associated with the number ten. Which card is is traditionally linked to the number one?

Answer: The Magician.

7. Where would you wear a Swami Gimmick?

Answer: This device is normally worn on the thumb.

8. In a famous illusion the magician’s assistant is shackled, put in a bag and locked inside a box or trunk. The magician stands on top of the box and raises a curtain. Then instantly the magician and assistant change places. What is the original name of this illusion?

Answer: Metamorphosis.

9. Which famous magician performed at The Egyptian Hall and was the first Honorary President of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians?

Answer: David Devant.

10. As I’m sure you all know, next year is the Sheffield Circle of Magicians’ centenary year. The first meeting was held in 1920. But in which month?

Answer: May.

Tiebreaker: The inaugural meeting of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians took place in May 1920. But on what date? (If no exact date is given, the nearest takes the prize.)

Answer: 18 May.