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.

The ever-popular Christmas Magic Quiz featured at last week’s Sheffield Circle Christmas Social. Here are the questions for those who missed it (no Googling please!):

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

2. Who is the Egyptian goddess of magic?

3. The 1785 translation of 1001 Nights from French into English gave us a popular phrase used to unlock closed and hidden doorways. What’s the phrase?

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

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

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?

7. Where would you wear a Swami Gimmick?

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 was the original name of this illusion?

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

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?

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

In a closely-run contest first prize of a £10 Magick token went to Julie Hall with nine correct answers! (And no, she hadn’t seen the questions before.) Luke Robson was runner-up with eight. How well did you do?

Answers next week.

Here are the answers to the Sheffield Circle of Magicians 2017 Christmas Quiz. How many did you get?

1. What magic word was formerly inscribed on pendants worn around the neck as protection from illness and evil.

Answer: Abracadabra.

2. Who invented the Zig Zag Girl?

Answer: Robert Harbin. (Real name Ned Williams.)

3. Who was the Canadian ‘professor’ who was often billed as “The Man Who Fooled Houdini”.

Answer: Dai Vernon. The title came about after the two met and Houdini challenged Vernon, claiming that he could figure out any card trick if he saw someone perform it three times in a row. Dai Vernon proceeded to perform a card trick over seven times without Houdini being able to work out how he did it.

4. What is the connection between Charles Dickens and the disappearance of the Statue of Liberty?

Answer: Magician David Copperfield (real name David Kotkin) performed this illusion on one of his early tv specials.

5. One of Harry Houdini’s most popular escapes involved him hanging upside down from a rope while bound in a Straitjacket. Which Sheffield magician invented this presentation.

Answer: Randini. Real name Randolph Osborne Douglas. The idea was born on one of Houdini’s visits to the Douglas family home when he was playing The Empire Theatre in Sheffield. According to his stepmother, Douglas demonstrated the idea of being suspended upside down in locks, chains and a straitjacket.

6. Balducci, and Asrah are both types of which commonly seen magic effect?

Answer: Levitation.

7. For whom did Thomas Edison design and build the famous “Floating Light Bulb” illusion?

Answer: Harry Blackstone. After Blackstone’s death in 1965, his son (Harry Blackstone, Jr.) donated the actual light bulb to the Smithsonian. The illusion was later licensed to Dutch magician Hans Klok and American illusionist Darren Romeo, a student of Siegfried & Roy.

8. In card magic, what does ATFUS stand for?

Answer: The Anytime Face Up Switch, credited to Edward Marlo.

9. In this illusion the magician makes his assistant vanish from a four-compartment box after apparently penetrating her with several large blades. Clue: Its name references an early American civilisation.

Answer: The Aztec Lady. An assistant steps into a large box. The magician inserts various panels or blades into slots that separate the box into four sections. He then folds the sections apart. The box is then put together again and the front opened to reveal the assistant alive and well. (If you’d like one, I have one for sale…)

10. Once part of a magic duo, The Eldanis, with an act set to rock ’n’ roll music in which they both dressed in lurex, this magician went on to find fame as a solo artist.

Answer: Paul Daniels.

Turkey induced post-prandial somnolence? Here’s a little something to help you engage your brain if you’re feeling the effects of Christmas over-indulgence. Yes, it’s the annual Sheffield Circle of Magicians Christmas Quiz, presented as usual during the SCM Christmas Social earlier this month.

Congratulations to Chris Clarke who won the Magick book voucher with seven perfectly correct answers out of ten. Can you beat his score? Now’s your chance to try. (No reference books or Google, please.)

1. What magic word was formerly inscribed on pendants worn around the neck as protection from illness and evil?

2. Who invented the Zig Zag Girl?

3. Who was the Canadian ‘professor’ who was often billed as “The Man Who Fooled Houdini”.

4. What is the connection between Charles Dickens and the disappearance of the Statue of Liberty?

5. One of Harry Houdini’s most popular escapes involved him hanging upside down from a rope while bound in a straitjacket. Which Sheffield magician invented this presentation?

6. Balducci, and Asrah are both types of which commonly seen magic effect?

7. For whom did Thomas Edison design and build the famous “Floating Light Bulb” illusion?

8. In card magic, what does ATFUS stand for?

9. In this illusion the magician makes his assistant vanish from a four-compartment box after apparently penetrating her with several large blades. Clue: Its name references an early American civilisation.

10. Once part of a magic duo, The Eldanis, with an act set to rock ’n’ roll music in which they both dressed in lurex, this magician went on to find fame as a solo artist.

Answers after Christmas.

I’m sure that by now all my astute readers, and even the less astute one, will have answered most if not all of the questions in this year’s SCM Christmas Quiz. In case you haven’t, here they are:

1. The badge of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians is known as the Scaratika. What two magical symbols does it incorporate?

Answer: A Scarab and a Swastika. To the Ancient Egyptians, the scarab was a symbol of Khepri, a manifestation of the sun god Ra, from an analogy between the beetle’s behaviour of rolling a ball of dung across the ground and Khepri’s task of rolling the sun across the sky. They accordingly held the species to be sacred. The swastika is an ancient Indian religious symbol of peace and continuity. It is considered to be a sacred and auspicious symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism and dates back at least 11,000 years.

2. Bess Houdini held annual séances on Halloween for ten years after her husband’s death in 1926. Which secret phrase did her husband Harry promise to use to prove that his ghost was actually trying to contact her?

a) Flowers do not fade.
b) I am Erik.
c) Rosabelle believe.
d) It’s the kiss that holds the key.

Answer: c). “Rosabelle” was a song that Bess used in her original act at Coney Island. Harry Houdini spent much of his later life trying to disprove spiritualism and expose phony mediums. The agreement with his wife was his ultimate means of proving that a return from the dead was impossible. The séances were supposed to continue each year for the rest of her life.

In 1929 a medium reported that the special phrase had been uttered during a séance, but Bess claimed that the news was false – she had been ill during the séance and the secrecy of the phrase could have been compromised. Bess held annual séances for 10 years, and then gave up on waiting and passed responsibility on to magician William B. Gibson.

3. David Wighton was born in London, England in 1868. He is best known for the Mascot Moth illusion in which a woman vanishes into thin air. What is his stage name?

Answer: David Devant. Incidentally,  Devant was the first Honorary President of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians.

4. Who is generally credited as the inventor of the Sawing in Half illusion?

Answer: P. T. Selbit (Percy Thomas Tibbles). A description of the illusion was published by the great French magician Jean Robert-Houdin in 1858, but Robert-Houdin’s idea remained just that, a written description of an effect. Selbit is generally recognised as the first magician to perform such a trick on a public stage, which he did at the Finsbury Park Empire theatre in London on 17 January 1921. In fact, Selbit had previously performed the illusion in December 1920 before a select audience of promoters and theatrical agents at the St. George’s Hall

5. Considered by many to be the father of modern magic, this French magician was originally a watchmaker but later performed throughout Europe during the 1840s and 1850s. The “Light and Heavy Chest” was one of his most famous tricks.

Answer: Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin.

6.  What was the stage name of famous British magician Newton Edward Daniels?

Answer: Paul Daniels.

7. These two German magicians were famous for their work with big cats.

Answer: Siegfried & Roy.

8. A magician makes a coin vanish from his or her hands. Which European country is connected with this sleight?

Answer: France (French Drop).

9. Invented by Theo Bamberg some time in the early 1900s, this little container is a classic prop for coin magic.

Answer: Okito Coin Box (Okito was Bamberg’s stage name).

10. The inaugural meeting of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians took place on 18 May. But what year?

Answer: 1920.

There was also a tie-breaker question, which we didn’t have to use. It was:

Tie Breaker: Claude Conlin was a mind-reading magician with a disreputable past. He had been married seven, eleven or even fourteen times, depending on who you believe. He was a con man, possibly a murderer and was imprisoned for fraud. Nevertheless, he was probably the highest paid mentalist of his time. What was Conlin’s stage name?

Answer next week.

Last week saw the traditional Christmas party of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians, a social evening for members and their partners. During the ensuing jollity the assembled ‘throng’ enjoyed nibbles, a little magic, and a magic-related quiz. In case you missed it, here’s your chance to compare your score with Luke’s, who won the fairly valuable prize with a confidently grand total of 9-and-a-bit points.

1. The badge of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians is known as the Scaratika. What two magical symbols does it incorporate?

2. Bess Houdini held annual séances on Halloween for ten years after her husband’s death in 1926. Which secret phrase did her husband Harry promise to use to prove that his ghost was actually trying to contact her?

a) Flowers do not fade.
b) I am Erik.
c) Rosabelle believe.
d) It’s the kiss that holds the key.

3. David Wighton was born in London, England in 1868. He is best known for the Mascot Moth illusion in which a woman vanishes into thin air. What is his stage name?

4. Who is generally credited as the inventor of the Sawing in Half illusion?

5. Considered by many to be the father of modern magic, this French magician was originally a watchmaker but later performed throughout Europe during the 1840s and 1850s. The “Light and Heavy Chest” was one of his most famous tricks.

6.  What was the stage name of famous British magician Newton Edward Daniels?

7. These two German magicians were famous for their work with big cats.

8. A magician makes a coin vanish from his or her hands. Which European country is connected with this sleight?

9. Invented by Theo Bamberg some time in the early 1900s, this little container is a classic prop for coin magic.

10. The inaugural meeting of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians took place on 18 May. But what year?

Answers follow next week.

I’m sure my esteemed reader will have answered all the questions correctly. But just in case…

1. Who was the first Honorary President of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians?

Answer: David Devant.

2. What would you use a French Drop for?

Answer: To vanish a coin or other small object.

3. What was Houdini’s real name?

Answer: Erik Weisz.

4. How many cards are there in a standard tarot deck?

Answer: 78. (22 in the Major Arcana, 56 in the Minor.)

5. The motto of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians is “Ars est celare artem”. What does it mean?

Answer: Literally, it is art to conceal art. In other words, true art conceals the means by which it is achieved. (It’s a maxim from Ovid’s Ars Amatoria, which means that in the best works of art the audience is not distracted by the artist’s technique, but responds instead to the power of the work.) T. Nelson Downs also used a similar phrase in The Art of Magic: “Let art conceal art.”

6. Who is generally credited as the inventor of the Olram Subtlety?

Answer: Ed Marlo (Olram is Marlo backwards).

7. Who said, “A conjurer is not a juggler, he is an actor playing the part of a magician.”

Answer: Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin.

8. Who was the Sheffield magician who gave Houdini the idea for the upside-down suspended straitjacket escape?

Answer: Randolph Douglas (Randini). In June 1914 Houdini was appearing at the Nottingham Empire. The teenage Douglas was at the show. Houdini was his hero and they had been corresponding for some time. They met after the show and it seems that Houdini was intrigued with the ideas of this enthusiastic young man. He travelled to Sheffield after his second show, to Carrington Street where Douglas lived with his mother. After supper Randolph took Houdini up to the attic, had himself strapped into a straitjacket, his feet tied, and then winched upside down on a block and tackle which hung from the roof. He struggled out of the jacket, which thudded to the floor leaving the teenage escapologist gently swinging upside down with his arms outstretched… Houdini recognised the image as a surefire publicity icon and continued to use Randolph’s idea throughout his career, as has just about every other escape artist ever since. (Source: Beedham, Ann. Randini: The man who helped Houdini, Youbooks, 2009. Kalush, William, and Sloman, Larry. The Secret Life of Houdini, Atria, 2006.)

9. Who wrote The 13 Steps to Mentalism?

Answer: Tony Corinda.

10. Balducci and Asrah are both types of which commonly seen magic effect?

Answer: Levitation.

11. Under what name did the stage magician, debunker, and scientific skeptic Randall James Hamilton Zwinge perform?

Answer: The Amazing Randi.

12. In magic a ‘restoration’ is an effect in which something is seemingly destroyed or multilated, and then magically reconstituted. What well-known restoration trick was patented by Horace Goldin in 1923?

Answer: The ‘Sawing in Half’ illusion. The first time this was seen, historically, is a matter of discussion. Robert-Houdin wrote in his Memoirs of a magician named Torrini who performed the trick in front of Pope Pius VII in 1809, but there is no other record to support that claim.

Horace Goldin, in an effort to keep exclusive his rendition of the illusion, patented the format that many people would recognize, using a box with the woman’s head and feet showing, and using metal plates to insert into the box at the cut sections. In the end, his patenting efforts only served to document how the trick was performed, rather than maintain its secrecy.

13. Who invented The Curzon Envelope?

Answer: Roger Curzon. (Anyone naming D**** R**** will have two points deducted.)

Tie-Breaker: In what year was the inaugural meeting of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians held?

Answer: 1920 (18 May).

That’s it. How many did you get right?