Many magicians today think of bizarre magick as something new, or perhaps just a fad that will pass. In truth, it is one of the oldest forms of magic and will continue to be with us for a very long time. In days of yore it was used to keep people in line, today it is used to bring back the sense of wonder to the performance of magic. Some call it bizarre, others, storytelling. It is really one in the same. You can't do bizarre magick without a story, and it is the story that holds your audience on the edge of their seat and makes them leave the performance with that sense of wonder.
I can speak of the current trend in bizarre magick only from my point of view. I count myself fortunate indeed. The people I will talk about are all close friends. Sadly, some are no longer with us, except in cherished memories.
Perhaps because I am a Witch, or if you wish, a Pagan, it was easier for me. In the beginning, there were practitioners of bizarre magick who thought they were alone, they had no idea that others were doing it, they thought they were, for some strange reason, unique.
Then in different places in the world they became aware of others. In Germany, Punx was doing stage shows like no others. He like to call himself a Storyteller and his stories would move people while his magic proved his stories were true.
In Scotland, Charles Cameron put out a magazine called "The Cauldron" which contained not only effects and routines of bizarre magick, but also the names of those who created them. He also produced a very spooky show that ran for a long time in an old castle. A dwarf named Igor was the guide. In the course of the tour the guest were led into an open court yard where life size statues of monsters, were standing on pedestals. There was the Wolfman, Dracula, The Frankenstein Monster, and others. Later in the tour, after a number of spooky things to get the nerves on edge, they were led back to the courtyard. Everything was the same, except now the statues came to life. You never saw people run so fast.
Charles also had a long running radio show in Scotland where he told strange stories.
Tony "Doc" Shiels was using ritualistic magic trying to raise the Loch Ness Monster, and getting world wide publicity. Some may call him the ultimate con man but he too keeps the world of wonder alive.
Here in America, Tony Raven brought us together with his publication called "Invocation" filled with things that would create a feeling of awe in an audience, and again the names of the people who created these things. He was also one of the founders of The Psychic Entertainers Association and the first few annual conventions were laced with many bizarre performances. At the first one I got to put a face on Masklyn ye Mage. We had communicated by letters and tapes for a long time and now we finally met. We were kindred spirits. Unknown to each of us, we both set up our rooms with an altar, candles, skulls and very strange looking things. The downside was, housekeeping, after one look at our rooms, they refused to enter them again.
very fortunate that I can claim all of these people as friends.
who knew him well could spend hours telling Andruzzi stories. If I
started on them now it would fill the magazine.
Through Tony Raven I met Punx who became a life long friend.
There were others, and I am going to get into trouble because I failed to mention them all, but the beat goes on. Mary Tomich who puts out a wonderful magazine called "Altar Flame" and is now also publishing books on all phases of Bizarre and Storytelling Magick, one of her most recent is "Restless Plots by Mark Edward" and soon volumes by that great storyteller, Gene Poinc.
Todd Robbins, The Purveyor of Amazement, who keeps alive the magic of the old Ten-in-One shows, a marvelous performer and one of the truly strange.
Jack Camp master of the Pagan Arts....and on and on.
Magus has carried the torch with his writings, as has Christian Chelman,
and of course, Tony "Doc" Shiels' "The Cantrip
Because of the work of these people, we bizarrists got to know each other. When Andruzzi ended the Invocationals, I started the Shadow Network so the friendships we made could be kept alive. It is still going strong with over 200 members from all over the world, and it is a very sharing network.
The Inner Circle of Bizarre Magick (or "I.C.B.M.") was formed in 1991 c.e. by four magicians: Joe Cabral (Grand Magus). A group dedicated to their art. They too have an annual meeting and I have never seen a group so deeply involved in what they do. I've watched young menbers, who they have taken under their wings, develop into fine performers.
England, under the guiding hand of the late man they called "The
Godfather of Bizarre Magick, Charles Cameron, a group called "The Magik
Club" was set up to keep the art alive with their Annual Gatherings
in the wonderful old town of Edinburgh.
To those other most deserving of mention but have been left out, I ask your forgiveness and blame my aging memory. Please place no curses on my head.
America, north, east, south, and west groups are popping up like the
flowers in spring.
There are many misconceptions about Bizarre Magick. Many people feel that it is always performed by candle light, by people in robes chanting strange sounding rituals. Others feel it must be frightening, peopled with ghost and spirits.
These are valid presentations of our form of magic, but there are others. I would like to quote these wise words of Punx.
call me just a magician or conjuror;
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|All the material in this lecture is copyrighted with all rights reserved to Carl Herron, 2000.|