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Topic: Where to begin?
Message: Posted by: Margarette (Apr 24, 2007 08:39AM)
Greetings patrons of the bizarre! I have a question for you. For the past few months, I have contemplated the study of bizarre magic. After a conversation with a fellow magician, I think I want to go ahead with this. The only problem is that I have no idea where to begin. So, can someone point me in the right direction?

Message: Posted by: Mental_Mike (Apr 24, 2007 08:45AM)
Hey Margarette,
I don't have the book but I seen a couple people refer to it but see if you can find a copy of Eugene Burgers "Strange Ceremonies" Then I guess go from there...Some other good ones would be Christian Chelmans two books and Baba Gede Nibo's Vodu Magick and Shanes Pentalogy, I have these three books and they are all very good if you do Bizarre Magick. But I don't do this stuff as much as most on here do so they could probably help you more than I can.

good luck, and Have a good one!

Message: Posted by: gsidhe (Apr 24, 2007 10:00AM)
My advice...
Begin with what you already know how to do, then change the way you present it.

I know you do a lot of escapes. Figure out how to incorperate that into a bizarre piece. Escapes are crucial to a lot of classic Seance type shows. The difference is that they don't see you escape. You are tied up, and the lights go off. The lights go on, and you are still bound. During the darkness, noises are heard, glowing objects are seen to float, people are touched, and there is no way you could have done it.

Turning "regular" magic into bizarre is just a matter of mindset, giving the effect a real reason for happening. Instead of making a coin dissappear from one hand then appearing in the other and saying "Ta-da!" you have an poltergeist that moves it from one place to another, and it will only work if it is present (Poltergeists are known for making coins and metal objects spontaniously appear).

You need to take your magic to a primal level. You are no longer performing "tricks" but pulling up things that we know are impossible on the conscious level, but still ring true on the unconscious. You need to create a direct link to the primitive part of the mind, the part that was trained out of us as children.
You need to remind people that yes...There is a boogyman. They just stopped seeing it.
I love the newer Bizarre books- Baba is one of my magical heros. His book has technique, routining and is a great example of the philosophies behind bizarre magick. It is not gore, it is not gross. What it does is connect emotionaly. That is the real key.
I am a big fan of some of the older books in the Genre. Doc Shiels, Charles Cameron... A lot of the things they describe are nearly impossible to do now (Certain chemicals have become rather difficult to obtain) , but the story and philosophy behind the routines is where the real info is anyways.
Also read through the items on http://www.bizarremagick.com . There are some exellent contributions there (Full routines and methods), as well as inspirational sources.
Read HP Lovecraft stories, watch movies like Gothic (NOT Gothika), Pan's Labrynth, Asian horror films (They have some really really strong horror nowadays, stuff that is so creepy it will make your spine curl) read Grimm's Fairytales (Not the cutesy versions), go to cryptozoological sites on the net, read ghost stories, alien abduction stories, study Native American Folklore.
And while you are watching, reading or studying, look for effects that you could reproduce. Then build your context around them.
So...That is pretty much what I did, and it seems to have worked pretty well so far. Really the most important thing is the philosophy. Once you have that, everything else seems to fall in place.

Are there monsters? No.
But when it is 3 am and the moon is just right, I might give another answer.
Message: Posted by: silverking (Apr 24, 2007 10:07AM)
Christian Chelman's 'Hauntiques' completely changed the way I THINK about ALL magic. It's a great book.

'Midnight at the Dark Museum' is also full of great material focused on Doug Higley's props but useable anywhere.

'The Dark Waltz' by Michael Fraughton is likely exactly what you're looking for, it's a .pdf on Lybrary.com.

'Vu Do Magick' by Baba Gede is a book I can't put down, it's FULL of fantastic ideas and stories.
Message: Posted by: leapinglizards (Apr 24, 2007 10:10AM)
May I recommend you begin at the beginning.... The Complete Invocation.
Message: Posted by: AltonThrash (Apr 24, 2007 10:26AM)
On 2007-04-24 11:07, silverking wrote:
Christian Chelman's 'Hauntiques' completely changed the way I THINK about ALL magic. It's a great book.


Don't forget Chelman's 'Capricornian Tales'. I started (have started) with this and Baba's book. Both are very good.

Message: Posted by: spidey_ak (Apr 24, 2007 10:30AM)
Margarette, you began by asking the right questions & coming to the right area =)... it wasn't long ago that I recently returned to magic & I am very glad & honored to have met the people here.

If you need ideas, the above books are excellent resources to get you started. I just received a copy of Eugene Burger's book, "Spirit Theater," and have to say it was worth every penny I paid for it, even if it were just a collector's item.

Gsidhe hit it right on the head, though. Bizarre magic is a frame of mind and how you present to your audience. The few tricks I've done since returning have been with this philosophy in mind & the results have been astounding. And these are tricks with which I was familiar before!
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Apr 24, 2007 11:51AM)
See beyond the Instructions and envision potential. Hippity Hop Rabbits is probably not the best choice...but The Invisible Deck has possibilities if you do Ghosts. All in YOUR minds eye and how well you can theme (and scheme). The Dark Museum was originally envisioned as an Mentalist 'Adventure' piece but was adopted by Bizarrists who had the ability to see beyond the intended...with your great skill and background even bringing back Houdini with possibly devasting results (He brings some nasty 'others' back with him?) can take escapes into a darker realm. Like Gwyd said, no need to be gross or use gore but the threatening atmosphere that can be generated in an 'escape' situation with some added effects could be very effective. Drama and presentation over rules the effects chosen...like I said, see beyond the instructions. So to begin, look at what you already have...already know....and lower the lights... :)
Message: Posted by: Gotama (Apr 24, 2007 12:28PM)
What Doug and Gwyd said! (Along with the others). Look within yourself for those darker areas that hold the key to your (and our) secret fears and beliefs. If you can design stories and effects that touch on those fears within you, they will also touch others.

Message: Posted by: ufo (Apr 24, 2007 12:56PM)
You have plenty of Twisted Memphis people, places and history to build themes on as well!
Message: Posted by: TEB3 (Apr 24, 2007 03:24PM)
You can always create a ghost...example the ghost of but follow this link for the story


And I'm not talking about the ghost of JoAnn Duck but the founder marching with them across the lobby. So, just create a urban legend and then contact the ghost nightly in the bar.

Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Apr 24, 2007 05:37PM)
This might sound corny - but ask yourself why you want to do bizarre magick - what that means to you - as it can mean many things - but my humble opinion is that it should involve wanting to make the effects mysterious, engaging and powerful
Message: Posted by: ptbeast (Apr 24, 2007 08:04PM)
Think hard on what Gwyd and Doug said, in their few words are some very important ideas. I would like to suggest a different way to approach bizarre magic that may make it less overwhelming. Before you go out and buy all the books on the genre (and some very good ones have been recommended in the posts above) give some thought not only to why you want to do the bizarre -- as Dr. Spector suggested -- but also to who you want to be when you perform.

Will you be a teller of tails? A medium? A collector of strange objects? A wizard? A fortune teller? A psychic investigator? These and many more ideas have been used to create characters in the realm of the bizarre.

I am not saying that you have to lock yourself in to any given character, but once you start to get an idea of who you want to be as a performer, they style of performance and the type of effects that you want to perform will naturally follow.

Since I know that you have done a lot of work with escapes, you may want to start there and work backwards to your character. Remember, however, that an escape need not look like an escape. They have been used at the seance table, in the spirit cabinet and more. I once used an escape as a method to transform into a werewolf. But that is another story. For now let me welcome you over to the darker side of magic. I think you are in for a wonderful ride.

Message: Posted by: Gede Nibo (Apr 24, 2007 08:23PM)

go to the local CATHOLIC CHURCH, have confessions, then bathe in HOLY WATER.

you don't know what youre getting yourself into.
Message: Posted by: spidey_ak (Apr 24, 2007 09:26PM)
ROTFLMAO! leave it to Baba!
Message: Posted by: Bill Ligon (Apr 24, 2007 10:33PM)
This makes two of my squeaky-clean posts that seem to have mysteriously disappeared.

Message: Posted by: handa (Apr 24, 2007 10:37PM)
I started outside of magic with stories that either scared me awake or made me afraid to go asleep lest I dream horrible things. To this day, I have Poe, Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, Rowling, , and even Kipling among others right in the middle of the shelves containing my magic books.

Learning magic was one of many ways to both understand and control this fear through the creation of my own scary things. I've almost always started with a story and worked my way toward methods to accomplish the telling of the tale.

Message: Posted by: Margarette (Apr 25, 2007 10:01AM)
I do have several books by Michael Norman and Beth Scott on true hauntings around the country. Reading several of those stories, which had me turning on all the lights and tv in my apartment so I wouldn't feel like I was by myself, is what got me to thinking about bizarre magic. I thought several of those stories would be great magic routines. I've also visited the site http://www.theshadowlands.net that has some wonderful true hauntings.

I don't want to be "scary", but the idea of telling a great ghost story highly intrigues me. I don't necessarily want to do the seance route. I did have a set of tarot cards at one time, but gave them away because I didn't feel like tarot cards quite fit my. So, instead, I got a set of rune stones. People asked me why I did that, and my response was that tarot cards, to me, conjure up an image of the gypsy with the black hair, black eyes, and olive skin. That's not me (as you can see by my avatar). However, the rune stones are of Norse origin...Vikings...blond hair, blue eyes, and fair skin. THAT is more me! I will admit that I've recently added another set of tarot cards to my collection. People seem more familiar with tarot than they do rune stones.

I will look into some of the books you have mentioned. Also, any advice that anyone wishes to give me, it will be eagerly received!

Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Apr 25, 2007 10:18AM)
Hi M,

Also if youa re going 'ghostly" if you can get Scott Davis's "SEANCE" you will be very happy - plus subscribe to ORACLE.
Message: Posted by: handa (Apr 25, 2007 10:34AM)
As a child, I read Larry Kettlekamp's HAUNTED HOUSES, and both the stories and grainy photographs were enough to put some really vivid pictures into my head. The book written at an elementary school level, which is OK because I was in elementary school! There was also an illustrated book of ghost stories using Will Eisner's character The Spirit as the narrator. I can still see some of those black and white images clearly in my mind. I remember reading things like Poe, Tolkien, Twain, and Jules Verne at that age (sometimes abridged or illustrated versions). All has had a profound impact upon my character as a performer.

Message: Posted by: gothicmagic (Apr 26, 2007 11:03AM)
many have found coming to Our Inner Circle of Bizarre magick Gathering a help in their works as there is time to chat with other Bizarrists from around the country, workshop/lecture and a works in progress session. this all takes place in CT during November.
Message: Posted by: airship (Apr 26, 2007 11:31AM)
As a person of Norse ancestry myself, I like where you're going with your concept, Margarette. I noticed the other day that Barnes & Noble's got a set of runestones on closeout. I may just have to go back there and pick up a set!
Message: Posted by: chmara (Apr 26, 2007 12:13PM)
Bizarre is as bizarre does.

First you need to define bizarre for yourself (personally I think little is as bizarre as a guy in a tux/tails doing doves when compared to the "real world."

Determine your opinion (it will change) of what effects people emotionally - not limiting yourself to vampires, voodoo, ancient Eqypt, Lovecraft or Poe. Stories of love and winter, fright in the night, seeing and not believing can be as bizarre a trip down the path of magic as a spike through the arm. tongue or other regions.

If you want fast, identifiable connection with the audience for shock value -- tha is one small area. Check Brother Kotah's work (Ron Dayton) and look for Brother Shadow's materials.

Look to Blackhart, develop a Dungeons and Dragons theme -- go victorian or X-men -- but make it your own choice. THEN look for stories and effects that blend into your ideal character and back story. It will fall in place.

If yopu go with ONLY standard texts -- you will be standardly bizarre --which to me -- is an oxymoron.
Message: Posted by: Bill Fienning (Apr 26, 2007 09:31PM)
Mary Tomich's magazine, The Altar Flame, is also an excellent source of ideas. Unfortunately, this magazine is out of print and nearly impossible to obtain.

In my opinion, bizarre magic is NOT doing Coins through the Table while telling some sort of ghost story. Bizarre magic is NOT doing the color-changing handkerchief while telling some far-fetched, obviously concocted tale.

Bizarre magic is Magic, as if it were real. It requires a completely different mind set than regular magic, or for that matter, escapes. It is magic as "Theater." It requires strong theatrical/acting abilities. I don't mean to make it sound impossible, just that it is much more difficult to do properly than is regular magic.

Bizarre magic is more closely related to mentalism (not mental magic) than it is to regular magic. For this reason, the Psychic Entertainers Association (of which I am a member) includes both mentalists and bizarre magicians.

Bizarre magic is really fun for the performer because of the audience reaction. Audiences sometimes remember a routine for years after it is performed.

Best of luck in your exploration of this wonderful field.
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Apr 26, 2007 10:40PM)
In addition to the above mentioned works...

Docc Hilford's written a lot of very nice little pamphlets.

His book on "Ball and Tube" is a marvelous discussion about how to make emotional connections with an audience, through the telling of a story (of sorts). It's a quick and easy read, that I go through every couple of months, not because I don't know it, but because it's a great reminder. And I've never even done ball and tube for an audience (and probably won't.)
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Apr 27, 2007 10:31AM)
Hi, Margarette,

Lots of good advice on inspiration so far. Good books and ideas.

What I would do at this point is to read a few of those things and then put it all away for a few days. Let it all stew and simmer inside my head. Sleep on it. Look at myself in the mirror...

Then figure out what about all this is attractive to me, why I want to do it, and what I want to say with it. And make it all very clear in my mind, even if it means letting it stew for a few more days.

At the end of that period, I would have a good idea of who my performing character is. TV cooking shows are a perfect example of this: every TV chef has his or her own personality, and they get their message across differently, even as they're all doing exactly the same thing. Once I know who I am as a performer, then I can go back and choose effects, based on how they fit my personality and style.

Good luck! Keep us posted!
Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Apr 27, 2007 10:44AM)
Hey Margarette,
If you are playing to Memphis audiences, you can definately create material from so many existing ghost stories and hauntings that happen in this soulful place. You have riverboat ghosts, Bluesman ghosts, even Elvis's ghost!

Christian Chelman's "Hauntiques" did much to get my creative juices flowing. I like the idea of connecting a story with a tangeable object. Makes the effect even more scary.

I crave one of Doug Higley's dead Mer-creatures! If I could write the routine that would go where I want it, I would spring for my Mer today!
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Apr 27, 2007 11:29AM)
Autumn...we got you covered on that one! Kotah has written some interesting pieces just for the mers (and so have I) that I make. PM me. :) Get your 'spring ready'. :)

Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Apr 27, 2007 11:52AM)
Hey Doug! Maybe another book is in order?
Message: Posted by: mrehula (Apr 27, 2007 12:16PM)
On 2007-04-24 11:00, gsidhe wrote:
My advice...
Begin with what you already know how to do, then change the way you present it.

You need to take your magic to a primal level. You are no longer performing "tricks" but pulling up things that we know are impossible on the conscious level, but still ring true on the unconscious. You need to create a direct link to the primitive part of the mind, the part that was trained out of us as children.
You need to remind people that yes...There is a boogyman. They just stopped seeing it.
Excellent, Gwyd! Inspiring! Maybe I will 'go Bizzare'!
Message: Posted by: Mystician (Apr 27, 2007 02:04PM)
Just to list one or two other good sources for bizarre routines, Sheherazade and Final Curtain by Borodin.
But I've never believed in doing routines as they are written in books, that's like doing someone else's magic.

I think Bizarre in particular, due to it's "primal" nature - as Gwyd pointed out- needs a personal touch, because believability is so critical. You have to be "you", albeit usually within a character. That is, choose a character that the real you can really get into; something natural, an extension or subset of yourself.
A good many of us identify with the mystics of old; the druids, the shamans, portraying magic as "real", as Bill Flemming said, although the character may be that of a curator of antiquities, for example.
That doesn't mean there's no room for humor, however, if you wish. Be unique, but consistent.

Where most magicians work for "oohs" and "aaahs",or applause and cheers, it is said that the bizarrist values a profound reaction of stunned silence and subsequent reflection above all else.
Message: Posted by: egregor (Apr 28, 2007 01:05AM)
Spend a weekend with me, and you'll know what bizarre is.
Message: Posted by: egregor (Apr 28, 2007 01:06AM)
OK guys go for the jugular.
Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Apr 28, 2007 03:51AM)
Egregor, you give new meaning to the word primal. ;)
Message: Posted by: egregor (Apr 28, 2007 10:11AM)
I deeply apologize for never hitting on you earlier Autumn,but, One of my mentors was a Delaware Indian Shaman, and native american mojo is too powerful for me to repel, and Blackfeet mojo is really potent. So I only tease the newbies.
Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Apr 28, 2007 04:07PM)
Don't let Margarette catch you calling her a newbie...she is president of the magic club in Memphis and I highly suspect she has some powerful Memphis mojo of her own brewing on her barbecue grill.

No problem with not hitting on me earlier. I appreciate the respect shown. That Blackfeet mojo can be pure Elk medicine. Don't ask me to elaborate, except to say it draws a person in like a mosquito to a bug zapper ;)
Message: Posted by: Black Hart (Apr 28, 2007 04:22PM)
You could always take a look here: http://www.blackhart.co.uk

Keith Hart
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Apr 28, 2007 04:23PM)
"I'm an elk! Its elk Season!!!!"

Yes Margarette - the source of mystery magick can come from many places - even from a dark feathered master of madness who has ancient hatreds towards an avatar of the Trickster god (two of a pantheon of chaotic entities that held sway over many people's childhood)
Message: Posted by: Margarette (Apr 28, 2007 08:35PM)
On 2007-04-28 17:07, Autumn Morning Star wrote:
Don't let Margarette catch you calling her a newbie...

Well.....when it comes to bizarre magic, I am a newbie. We all gotta start somewhere!! I have been reading all these responses and making notes. I appreciate all the recommendations and help that everyone is throwing my way!

Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Apr 29, 2007 07:37AM)
TZZZZZZT--!! Was that the bug zapper again?
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Apr 29, 2007 12:04PM)
Read "The Trickster", by Paul Radin.
Message: Posted by: Lantiere (May 13, 2007 11:42AM)
Greetings Margarette,
A nice starting place is my Bizarre Magic Bibliography which I did many years ago, now located at the Dragonskull web site:
Also check out my web site http://www.oldeworldmagick.com
There are a lot of fellow magi who will help you.
Best Witches, Joe Lantiere
Message: Posted by: Silvertongue (May 23, 2007 09:22AM)
As everyones naming books a good author to read how bizarre is put into workable magical practice is Eugine Poinc... but all these books can be expensive... there are some amazing bizarre websites and they are free... google bizarre magic and we will see you in a few months... I advise to check all websites thouroughly these guys have some very clever ideas... genius... good luck...
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (May 23, 2007 02:38PM)
Hey Beavis...the Grammer Hostess said 'TZZZZZZT'.
Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (May 23, 2007 02:50PM)

I'm nut sure what you meant by your first sentence. Do you have a question on Gene Poinc's work? I'm very familiar with it if you do. Gene and I were friends, and I know his one bizarre magic book very well, a bit about the two unreleased sequels (white and Black), and the yet unpublished carnival 2-book set.

Message: Posted by: Mystician (May 23, 2007 03:09PM)
I think he means the Eugene with the magic beard.

The "poinc" part was just a slight attack of tourettes.. you know, like the guy who goes, "Narf ! "
This guy:
Message: Posted by: The Curator (May 23, 2007 03:59PM)
And once again: http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/superhor.htm
Lovecraft'supernatural horror in literature.
A must read.
Message: Posted by: billyboy1957 (May 23, 2007 05:31PM)
Excellent Curator; it is a great piece. Thanks for posting this gem.

Message: Posted by: Silvertongue (May 23, 2007 07:03PM)
Are black and white ever going to be released? I love his scripting it must have been a blessing to have known such a genius... what a great influence...wow I really do attract those grammer nazi's...
Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (May 23, 2007 07:13PM)
No, just Grey.

Don't start with Autumn, she can "TZZZZZZT--!!" a lot more than bugs! :comply:
Message: Posted by: Silvertongue (May 23, 2007 07:26PM)
When I had finished his book a card slipped out of the last page which read' follow your dreams and your nightmares' gene poinc... its one of the best books I've ever read... anything else out there like it?
Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (May 23, 2007 07:35PM)
Yes, but they are hard to find. Look at Ron's work. Gene gave him the nickname KOTAH when they met. A very fitting name.

Gene's other works won't see the light of day because although they were complete and had been delivered to the publisher (Mary Tomich), after he passed, his famly members requested them back. Thinking they could find a better deal and make more money off of his works, they approached a few other publishers, did not like what was said, and that was the end of that. :(

Message: Posted by: Silvertongue (May 23, 2007 07:42PM)
Wow... yes I have ' by darkness influenced' and ' a darker light ' but not read em yet... thanks... who might be some of those hard to find? I am extremely interested...
Message: Posted by: Silvertongue (May 23, 2007 07:44PM)
I just bought garden of the strange, waiting for it... is this a similar approach? I love what I've read of his on the net...
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (May 23, 2007 08:16PM)
You can all drool now...Ron Dayton sends me exclusive little stories to read...I tell him they are terrible so only I will ever get to read them. haha Just kidding...They are not terrible.

T Eye: Autumn knows who I am...on a few levels. :) I'm planning on doing a full size Oil ainting of her avatar.
Message: Posted by: Margarette (May 23, 2007 10:28PM)
I am awaiting the arrival of "Capricornian Tales" and in the meantime, re-reading "Tricks of the Imagination" along with a couple of my hauntings books. I know "Tricks of the Imagination" isn't quite a bizarre magic book, it is great for properly putting together a storytelling routine. Some of the routines in there can easily have a ghost/haunting story adapted to them.

Autumn, don't you think the guys in the Memphis magic club will have a fit when I do my first bizarre routine for them?