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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Bizarre magic...A new world (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of theologian
Hi Mina,
I think that you must read Strange Ceremonies by Burger for the first thing,when you finish it,and you bethinked on
Burger's book,you shoul ask to yorself,I quite want do Bizarre magick?
Marco R.
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Toronto Canada
101 Posts

Profile of Mina
Thank you all!! YOU have all been very very helpful!

I will try to read every book you mentioned!

Thanks again

Mina Smile Smile
OMG Did someone say Richard Sanders!?
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Chicagoland area, IL
191 Posts

Profile of ELS
Like magic, I came across this web site listing a lot of Bizarre Magic Books.

I thought I would post it, as the hardest part is finding the books.

Ed Smile
Were the border between the natural and the supernatural will be nothing any more but fuzzy.
Peter Marucci
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Profile of Peter Marucci
"Bizarre" is apparently the current "buzzword" in magic; so much so that the most mundane of tricks are being peddled as "bizarre".
Bizarre magic has nothing at all to do with the tricks, and everything to do with how you touch the spectator or spectators.
Gimmicked props are even less a help in bizarre than they are in "regular" magic; in bizarre, the point isn't so much to "fool" the audience as it is to "move" them.
Until that is understood by anyone and everyone interested in bizarre, look for the "quickie" dealers to be pushing all sorts of rubbish as "bizarre" tricks.
Sheesh! Smile
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Chicago, IL
287 Posts

Profile of scheda
So Peter, from what I understand about your definition about Bizzare magic is that actually anything can be used as bizzare magic as long as it affects the spectators emotions in a certain matter. Is that correct? So basically I could take say, a coin matrix routine, and use patter to make it bizzare? I'm not meaning this in any disrespectful way at all, just a question that ran thru my mind. Thanks for you r answer in advance.

Coming soon... Who knows!
Peter Marucci
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Profile of Peter Marucci
Basically, you are right.
Almost anything, given the right story line, could be made into bizarre.
Check out the late Gene Poinc's website on The Learned Pig; he takes the most mundane props, things that are found in most kids' magic kits, and weaves a story around them that makes the spectators not remember or not care about the props.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have places like Arlen Studios, with some of the most beautifully crafted props I have ever seen -- perfect for bizarre.
But just trying to stick a bizarre presentation onto any old trick, without understanding what either is about, is not going to work.
Not any more than peddling "odd" effects and calling them "bizarre magic."
Bizarre magic doesn't mean spooky or ghoulish, necessarily.
Check out my Bizarre Bazaar column in the e-zine Visions ( for a couple of examples of "comedy bizarre".
As I say in my current lecture, Bizarre Magic, it really means touching the spectator at a higher emotional level.
Bill Fienning
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635 Posts

Profile of Bill Fienning
I envision three levels of bizarre. At the first level, is the use of storytelling patter with conventional apparatus. For example, telling a story in association with a card trick. (Some of Eugene Burger's effects are in this category.)

At the next level is the storytelling aspect with props (really interesting props) that are similar to those that would have been in the actual happening. If you do Chelman's Psychostacy (The Weighing of the Heart), you cannot, obviously, use the actual scale that the Egyptian gods use for the weighing. Instead, you must use a balance scale that is available.

Finally, at the third level, you have the actual items that were involved with the story that you are telling. I have a Hand of Glory that I use. I also have the actual Finger of Azathoth, not a reproduction or representation. It is that finger that I attempt (and fail) to destroy.

Sometimes, I have some of the "real" artifacts of the story, but must substitute replacements because parts are missing. Sort of a middle ground between my concept of a second and third level of bizarre.
Bill Fienning

"It's More than Tricks"
Caleb Strange
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Manchester UK
676 Posts

Profile of Caleb Strange
I couldn't agree more with Peter's wise words. The effect on the audience is everything. It's interesting to note that bizarre magic books often have four pages of story/presentation/effect, and three lines of method. This is the exact opposite of lots of non bizarre books. And for people starting out, this can be off putting. 'I've paid thirty quid for this book, where's the secrets?' I used to ask.

Now, though, I'm inclined almost to forget method, and start with a story, or a theme that excites me. If it moves me, then it might well affect other people too. Once I've got my story, I then turn to the magic. I try to find something that's consistent with the story, that enhances it theatrically, then I work out a method. Most of us can figure out ways of achieving stuff, once we get a little general reading done. And of course, if you've got something you really like, but can't figure out how to realise it, then there's help at hand, in places like the Café.

Of course, I also like to start with established effects, found in books or whatever, and I leave them sloshing round my head. So when I'm reading an interesting non-magic book, or watching the TV, or whatever, something'll click, and I'll think, 'Yeah, that's how I want to do Koran's medallion'. Scheda suggested using a coin matrix sequence, and I'm sure there are great stories and ideas out there for this. Off the top of my head, you could use the theme of separation and return, implicit in the basic routine. This has potential for romantic stories, or stories about a displaced and scattered people, or even the mystical idea of the pieces of God scattered throughout all the universe, and recovered through a cosmic game of hide and seek.

Think of how you could theatrically enhance your story. There are coins and then there are COINS. Use something beautiful and shiny, for instance, and they can twinkle by candlelight. Indeed, with your coins glittering on a dark rich cloth, the effect is transformed. It's not currency that dances under your hands, but light. Find a creation story that moves you, and they become star fragments. Or find an interesting after-life myth, and souls dance. Leave space for silence, too. Let the clinking of the coins have value. And give people chance to absorb, and reflect. Remember, Eugene Burger turns a piece of cotton thread into the whole universe. And he transforms this old standard, into something that dazzles and moves you.

The final thing I do is to note any cool ideas down. Any weird fact, esoteric secret, any great story or trick. Put it all down. And on those evenings when inspiration fails, read some of your notes. Trust me. It's kind of like reading the best magic book ever written. Because it's full of stuff that switches you on.


Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
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