Those of us interested in matters arcane and occult will be familiar with the name of Doctor Jacob Tordoff. When we meet he can usually be relied upon to relate some story of strange and ghostly happenings. How many are strictly true I couldn’t say, but there are times when his eyes betray the wild and haunted look of a man who has looked deep into places more rational souls would avoid or deny.

On his last visit he sat in his familar place on the battered chaise longue (formerly the seat of certain others of his ilk now passed to the great beyond; but that’s another story). As I reverently unscrewed the cap of his personal bottle of 18-year-old Triple Cask Macallan, he pulled from his shabby overcoat a small wooden box, tightly bound with string.

He placed the box before him on the table then paused to watch as I poured three fingers of the fragrant amber liquid into his crystal Lalique nosing and tasting glass. Did I perceive a slight tremor in his hand as he picked up the glass and took a deep, appreciative sniff? Was there a story which troubled him that he needed to tell?

He took a small sip, replaced the glass on the table and picked up the curious box, turning it in his hands for what seemed like several minutes before he apparently made a decision. With shaking fingers he undid the knot in the string and unwound it from the box.

“You’ll have heard stories of the hauntings at Borley Rectory?” he remarked.

“Of course,” I replied, relaxing. I’m afraid I’m something of a sceptic when it comes to Borley Rectory stories. Borley Rectory was a Victorian house that became known (or infamous) as ‘the most haunted house in England’ after being described as such by ‘psychic researcher’ Harry Price. Fascinating as the imaginative, or credulous, Mr Price’s stories are, they are now rejected by serious researchers into such matters.

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Paranormal image taken at Borley Rectory

 

“Ah, but this has nothing to do with illicit monastic relationships and bricked-up nuns,” continued Doctor Tordoff, staring down at the box gripped in his calloused hands. His thumbs pressed down on the box lid as if he were afraid that the contents would somehow burst forth from its confines….

What did the box contain? What was Doctor Tordoff’s story? And why was this seasoned dabbler into arcane thaumaturgy so disturbed by such a seemingly innocuous object? For the answer to this and many other questions, come and see us at Blackpool.

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Hypnosis & Belief

Some of you may remember a few years ago we were involved in the Con Art exhibition at Sheffield’s Site Gallery, including hosting exhibits here in The Lounge. We were pleased to hear that the Site Gallery is running a series of events all about ‘Magic and Technology’ this winter.

Tonight’s session (Thursday 8 November) is on Hypnosis and Belief with Sinead McDonald, Mark Pilkington and Nick Davies.

Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer  developed the “Universal Fluid” idea in the 18th Century. He was famous for using steel rods to cure patients, coining the term “Animal Magnetism”. A 1784 debunking panel said the cures were due to the imagination not to magnetism, but as Charles d’Eslon, a pupil of Mesmer said: “If the medicine of imagination is best, why should we not practice the medicine of imagination”.

Multimedia artist Sinead McDonald, hypnotherapist Nick Davies and editor/author Mark Pilkington come together for this vibrant evening of combined talks, performances and workshops. This event will be an interactive exploration of the potential of the unconscious mind, taking a look to the past to see how popular science has always gone hand-in-hand with belief. Does hypnosis work? How much have we really moved on from the historic ‘medicines of the imagination’?

Sinead McDonald will discuss how physical trauma has affected her perception and practice,  hypnotist Nick Davies will be doing some ‘rubber hand illusion’ type demos and talking about re-programming the brain, with Mark Pilkington of Strange Attractor Press talking about weird medical devices past and present.

Strange Attractor Press, incidentally, recently published the fascinating book Lost Envoy: The Tarot Deck of Austin Osman Spare, edited by Jonathan Allen, co-curator of Con Art and an associate curator at The Magic Circle Museum, London.

This is one of a series of magic-related events. I’m particularly looking forward to Magic, Dance and Memory on Thursday 20 December:

Imagination is the door to identity. At least, that’s according to extraordinary scientist-artist performer team Nicola Clayton and Clive Wilkins. Over the course of this quirky and interactive evening, the pair will reveal why memory has evolved in the way that it has, incorporating magic, dance and scientific evidence. Nicky’s studies into animal behaviour shine light on the ways we think both with and without words, while artist and magician Clive questions aspects of consciousness, perception and reality through his myriad creative outputs. This lively event will incorporate live tango dancing, conjuring and plenty of opportunities for participation from you!

Wayne Goodman Event_800

Our November lecturer at The Lounge is Wayne Goodman, a versatile performer known for his fearless approach. He is a creator, author and professional performer. For the last 30 years he has worked across Europe, Scandinavia, Mexico and the USA. His magic follows a simple mantra: Simplicity rules the day.

During the lecture Wayne will demonstrate and explain a number of original effects. These will include some that have been commercially released, some that are going to be released and also a few that will not be released.

Wayne’s commercial releases include ​Look Sharp, Prism, Clone, Lord of the Bling and Asbo 2.0. His publications include Plan, Perpare & Perform, The Expert at the Restaurant Table, The Definitive Guide to Restaurant Magic, The Comedy Magicians Joke File Volumes 1 – 3, The Complete Comedy Magicians Joke File, The Joke File Volume 1 and The Jedi Principle.

This Thursday 1 November at the Magick Lounge you will have the opportunity to experience Wayne’s magic. He’ll be presenting the latest edition of his lecture, including new, never before seen props and effects. Wayne’s approach to magic is fun with the main emphasis on entertainment.

Admission is £5 to SCM members, £10 to visiting magicians. Doors open as usual at 7:00 to give you time to find your seat and relax before the lecture starts at 7:30. First in get the comfy chairs, unless you’re before 7:00 in which case you’ll probably have to wait outside while I finish my dinner.

Andrew Normansell_FB Event_800

Unfortunately Chris Congreave is unwell and will be unable to lecture for us this Thursday, 6 September.

The good news is that Andrew Normansell has agreed to step in at short notice with his new lecture. Andrew is well known to SCM members as a capital author, inventor and performer, so I’m sure we’re in for a great night!

Chris CongreaveOne of the most popular SCM lectures in recent years was by Chris Congreave. We’re pleased to say that Chris is back at The Lounge this month with his brand new lecture.

Those of you who’ve seen him before will need no persuasion to attend. If you haven’t see him before you are in for a real treat! He has been a fixture in the UK magic community as a professional close-up magician for over 15 years. His ingenious creativity has led him to publish a multitude of effects, including Ice Coins, Childsplay, iContact, Dupes, 52 vs Joker, The Light, and many others, as well as presenting a popular ‘At the Table’ lecture.

Chris is known for highly visual sleight-of-hand magic with the emphasis on fun and entertainment. He performs close up and also in cabaret and on stage. As a busy professional entertainer, Chris’ lecture is centred on real-world magic that you could earn a living with.

This is another evening not to be missed. The lecture starts at 7:30 at The Magick Lounge, 82 Broad Street, Sheffield S2 5TG. Doors open at 7:00 p.m, or possibly up to three minutes before if it’s raining. Admission is £10, or £5 to paid-up members of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians.

First Aid For Wizards_600

There is a world that is kept hidden from you for your own safety; it is dark, dangerous and very enticing. In times past people were closer to this world and knew how to stay relatively safe, but as the industrial revolution created the modern world, the old stories and warnings that kept humanity safe have been forgotten. Even worse, they are now used as ‘entertainment’.

The old stories, the fairy tales and the myths are real but do not fear as Professors Ashton Carter and Luke Robson are here to help as they present their new course, First Aid For Wizards.

During this short introductory course these respected magicians will be showing you how to recognise and keep yourself safe from magical creatures. Expect magic, mystery and surprises.

Suitable for all wizards aged 14 to 150. Feel free to dress in your best wizard costume and bring a wand. Young students must be accompanied by a responsible Wizard.

Mark the date in your grimoires: Thursday 26 July. Doors open auspiciously at 19:11 and the course starts at 19:30.

This is a special Magick Lounge preview show before the Professors take their course to the Edinburgh Festival. Scotland abounds with weird and magical creatures, and we have quite a few in Sheffield too, so come along and be prepared!

about-pic

There’s good news and bad news this month. The bad news is that Jon Allen, our scheduled lecturer for Thursday 5 July, has had to cancel for family reasons. The good news is that Craig was able, via his secret top-magician hot-line, to secure the services of the esteemed Noel Qualter!

Fantastic trick Noel. You are on the cutting edge of magic, there really is no precedent for that effect — Penn & Teller, Fool Us

Noel is a full-time professional close-up magician working at top hotels, bars and manor houses in and around London providing table magic in between courses at banquets, weddings, gala dinners, award ceremonies, private parties and product launches.

That’s amazing, I’ve never seen anything like that before. — Jonathan Ross

Noel has performed his snappy sleight of hand and Jedi mind reading tricks all over the UK and has been flown to Dubai, Paris, Monaco and Kuwait to perform for corporate clients. He has acted acted as a magic consultant for the feature film ‘Twist’ and also appeared in ‘The Apprentice’ on BBC TV.

That is fantastic stuff. You’re hired! — Lord Alan Sugar, Apprentice Final

The lecture is at 7:30 pm on Thursday 5 July at The Magic Lounge, 82 Broad Street, Sheffield, S2 5TG. Doors open at 7:00 pm abruptly but with a strangely comforting ‘ding’ a semi-tone above middle C. Comfortable seating to suit all ages and several inclinations. Admission is £5 to Sheffield Circle members, £10 to visiting magicians. What a bargain.