CONTENTS 04 08 12 16 18
THE ORIGINS OF MAGIC
DISCIPLINES WITHIN MAGIC
THE HISTORY OF THE ALLIANCE
THE MAGICIAN’S OATH
THE ORIGINS Magic is an ancient artform that has been performed for centuries as a means of entertaining the masses. In order to become a member of the alliance, it is important that you have a basic understanding of how it began, evolved and current trends within the practice. In the following pages we outline some of this information. Magic, also known as prestidigitation and conjuring, is the art of entertaining an audience by performing illusions that entertain, baffle and amaze, often by giving the impression that something impossible has been achieved. Yet, this illusion of magic is created entirely by natural means. The practitioners of this mystery art may be called magicians, table magicians, close up magicians, conjurors, illusionists, or prestidigitators. Artists in other media such as theatre, cinema, dance and the visual arts increasingly work using similar means but regard their magical techniques as of secondary importance to the goal of creating a complex cultural performance.
The term â€œmagicâ€? is etymologically derived from the Latin word magi. Performances we would now recognize as conjuring have probably been practiced throughout history. The same level of ingenuity that was used to produce famous ancient deceptions such as the Trojan Horse would also have been used for entertainment, or at least for cheating in money games, since time immemorial. They were also used by various religions from times ancient, and were even known as far back as the early 17th century to be used to frighten uneducated populi. However, the profession of the illusionist gained strength only in the eighteenth century, and has enjoyed several popular vogues.
S OF MAGIC In 1584, Reginald Scot published The Discoverie of Witchcraft. It was written in an attempt to show that witches did not exist, by exposing how (apparently miraculous) feats of magic were done. The book is often deemed the first textbook about conjuring. All obtainable copies were burned on the accession of James I in 1603 and those remaining are now rare. It began to reappear in print in 1651. From 1756 to 1781, Jacob Philadelphia performed feats of magic, sometimes under the guise of scientific exhibitions, throughout Europe and in Russia. Modern entertainment magic owes much to Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (1805–1871), originally a clockmaker, who opened a magic theatre in Paris in the 1840s. His speciality was the construction of mechanical automata which appeared to move and act as if they were alive. The British performer J N Maskelyne and his partner Cooke established their own theatre, the Egyptian Hall in London’s Piccadilly, in 1873. They presented stage magic, exploiting the potential of the stage for hidden mechanisms and assistants, and the control it offers over the audience.
THE ORIGINS OF MAGIC The model for the look of a ‘typical’ magician - a man with wavy hair, a goatee, and a tailcoat - was Alexander Herrmann (February 10, 1844 - December 17, 1896), also known as Herrmann the Great. Herrmann was a French magician and was part of the Herrmann family name that is the ‘first family of magic’. Those who witnessed Herrmann the Great perform considered him to be the greatest magician that they ever saw. The escapologist and magician Harry Houdini took his stage name from Robert-Houdin and developed a range of stage magic tricks, many of them based on escapology (though that word was not used until after Houdini’s death). The son of a Hungarian rabbi, Houdini was genuinely skilled in techniques such as lockpicking and escaping straitjackets, but also made full use of the range of conjuring techniques, including fake equipment and collusion with individuals in the audience. Houdini’s show business savvy was great as well as his performance skill. There is a Houdini Museum dedicated to him in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
audiences. Most TV magicians perform before a live audience, who provide the remote viewer with a reassurance that the illusions are not obtained with post-production visual effects. Many of the principles of stage magic are old. There is an expression, “it’s all done with smoke and mirrors”, used to explain something baffling, but effects seldom use mirrors today, due to the amount of installation work and transport difficulties. For example, the famous Pepper’s Ghost, a stage illusion first used in 19th-century London, required a specially built theatre. Modern performers have vanished objects as large as the Taj Mahal, the Statue of Liberty, and a space shuttle, using other kinds of optical deceptions.
As a form of entertainment, magic easily moved from theatrical venues to television specials, which opened up new opportunities for deceptions, and brought stage magic to huge
THE ORIGINS OF MAGIC
DISCIPLINES WITHIN MAGIC There are several disciplines within magic which make up the underlying effects of a performance. Many magicians choose to focus on one or just a few of these but it is important that you understand each one in order to better yourself as a performer.
The magician produces something from nothing - a rabbit from an empty hat, a fan of cards from thin air, a shower of coins from an empty bucket, a dove from a pan, or the magician him or herself, appearing in a puff of smoke on an empty stage all of these effects are productions.
The magician makes something disappear - a coin, a cage of doves, milk from a newspaper, an assistant from a cabinet, or even the Statue of Liberty. A vanish, being the reverse of a production, may use a similar technique, in reverse.
DISCIPLINES WITHIN MAGIC
The magician transforms something from one state into another - a silk handkerchief changes colour, a lady turns into a tiger, an indifferent card changes to the spectator’s chosen card. A transformation can be seen as a combination of a vanish and a production.
The magician destroys an object, then restores it back to its original state - a rope is cut, a newspaper is torn, a woman is sawn in half, a borrowed watch is smashed to pieces - then they are all restored to their original state.
The magician causes something to move from one place to another - a borrowed ring is found inside a ball of wool, a canary inside a light bulb, an assistant from a cabinet to the back of the theatre. When two objects exchange places, it is called a transposition: a simultaneous, double teleportation.
The magician (an assistant may participate, but the magician himself is by far the most common) is placed in a restraining device (i.e. handcuffs or a straitjacket) or a death trap, and escapes to safety. Examples include being put in a straitjacket and into an overflowing tank of water, and being tied up and placed in a car being sent through a car crusher.
The magician defies gravity, either by making something float in the air, or with the aid of another object (suspension) - a silver ball floats around a cloth, an assistant floats in mid-air, another is suspended from a broom, a scarf dances in a sealed bottle, the magician hovers a few inches off the floor. There are many popular ways to create this illusion of even the magician himself being levitated.
The magician makes a solid object pass through another - a set of steel rings link and unlink, a candle penetrates an arm, swords pass through an assistant in a basket, a saltshaker penetrates the table-top, a man walks through a mirror. This type of magic is sometimes referred to as ‘solid-through-solid’.
DISCIPLINES WITHIN MAGIC
The magician predicts the choice of a spectator, or the outcome of an event under seemingly impossible circumstances - a newspaper headline is predicted, the total amount of loose change in the spectator’s pocket, a picture drawn on a slate. Prediction forms the basis for most “pick-a-card” tricks, where a random card is chosen, then revealed to be known by the performer.
These are performed for large audiences, typically within an auditorium. This type of magic is distinguished by large-scale props, the use of assistants and often exotic animals such as elephants and tigers. This is the most prevalent type of magic.
DISCIPLINES WITHIN MAGIC
This is performed for a medium to large audience. Nightclub magic and comedy club magic are also examples of this form. The use of illusionettes (small tabletop illusions) is common. This genre includes the skilled manipulation of props such as billiard balls, card fans, doves, rabbits, silks, and rope.
Table magic is performed with the audience close to the magician, sometimes even one-on-one. It usually makes use of everyday items as props, such as cards, coins, and seemingly ‘impromptu’ effects. It is often perfomed at restaurants as dinner entertainment.
Escapology is the branch of magic that deals with escaping from confinment or restraints. Some escapologists’ tricks are accomplished through the use of illusionists’ techniques; others are genuine acts of flexibility, strength and daring.
Mentalism creates the impression in the minds of the audience that the performer possesses special powers to read thoughts, predict events, control other minds, and similar feats. It can be presented on a stage, in a cabaret setting, before small close-up groups, or even for one spectator.
Street magic is a form of street performance or busking that employs a hybrid of stage magic, platform and close-up magic, usually performed ‘in the round’ or surrounded by the audience. It is an increasingly popular form of magic. The term has also come to describe a style of ‘guerilla’ performance in which magicians approach and perform for unsuspecting members of the public on the street.
This style of magic uses mystical, horror, fantasy and other similar themes in performance. The main aim of this is to shock the audience. It takes its roots from circus sideshows, in which ‘freakish’ performances were shown to audiences. Common shock magic effects include eating razor blades and putting a needle through an arm.
THE HISTORY OF The Alliance is the more public name of an organisation called Maleficium. This magic circle was founded by the great prestidigitator Terence Raymondo, whose magic act also went by the name Maleficium. This is a word of Latin origin which means magic of a mischievous nature. He chose this name for the magic circle due to an interest in alchemy, with which it has historical links and the nature of his act.
as a magician. His act was renowned around the world and his word held much clout with many organisations who put on magic shows. Therefore he founded Maleficium in 1979. In order to keep the society a relative secret, he gave it two different names. Amongst its members it would be known by its true name of Maleficium. Amongst the general public it would be known as The Alliance.
He wanted to create a society where magicians could share their secrets without fear of them being revealed to the general public which would surely lead to the demise of this art form. He also wanted to punish those who reveal the secrets by banning them from performing and working
Maleficium was co-founded by none other than the talented illusionist Gob Bluth, a longtime friend of Terence Raymondo. Bluth has been instrumental in the promotion of Maleficium and the principles behind the organisation, often putting on demonstrations at televisions studios
F THE ALLIANCE and clubs in protest of those who choose to purposefully break the Magicianâ€™s Oath and reveal the secrets behind the profession. All the members of this society are passionate about the rules put in place by Raymondo and Bluth. The very first Maleficium meetings were held in a hall in Leeds, England. Members who lived further afield travelled from miles around in order to attend. There are now meetings held in several locations within the UK, USA and Japan.
of The Allianceâ€™s most prestigious members. New applicants can take comfort in the fact that every single member has had to complete these same tasks in order to join. However the successful completion of the stages does not actually ensure automatic membership. There can only be a maximum of 300 members at any one time. This is to help keep the society a secret one. There are several more high profile members within the club. They have chosen to speak out about why they became members of Maleficium and what the club means to them.
Becoming a member of Maleficium is no easy task. There are several stages involved from the first application, to the swearing of the Oath, to the performance for a panel
THE HISTORY OF THE ALLIANCE
STEVEN FRAYNE (DYNAMO)
Paul Daniels is a magician and television performer from Middlesbrough, England. He is without doubt one of the most accomplished magicians in the World, and certainly one of the most exciting. Add to that a unique comedy style and you have a complete entertainer and one of the funniest men in show business. He is well known for his stage show It’s Magic, which was the longest running magic show in London, and his own television series The Paul Daniels Magic Show which ran from 1979 until 1994. He joined Maleficium in 1987.
Steven Frayne, better known as Dynamo, is a very successful magician from Bradford, England. He first learned magic from his grandfather and developed his skills during trips to New Orleans. Wanting to innovate, Dynamo combines elements of dance and hip hop culture into his magic routines. As word spread about his magic tricks he soon found himself performing on the celebrity circuit for stars like Paris Hilton and Busta Rhymes. He has appeared in several music videos and was presented an award by the actor Will Smith on behalf of the Princes Trust for his achievements in magic.
Pete Firman is a talented young magician from Middlesbrough, England hailed as ‘the Tommy Cooper for the MySpace generation’. A familiar face on British television, Pete has appeared as presenter, pundit and panel guest on all sorts of programmes, as well as being nominated for a Golden Rose at the Rose d’Or Festival in Montreux. His skill for fusing comedy and magic together has taken him around the world from international comedy festivals, guest television appearances and high profile private events. He is a key proponent of shock magic and is well known for his trick in which he swallows and regurgitates several live goldfish.
THE HISTORY OF THE ALLIANCE
My main aim as a magician is to entertain. If the secrets behind my work were revealed, I would be out of a job. The work of Terence and Gob needs to be commended which is why I am still a practicing member of Maleficium.
Many celebrities ask me to tell them the secrets behind my work after I’ve done a performance. I’ve worked too damn hard to let even them know. I believe in all the principles outlined by Maleficium and I feel it is important that we magicians stick together when it comes to our livelihoods.
I joined Maleficium when I was 11 years old. Without the help of the magicians there I wouldn’t be where I am today. They understand that new members need all the help they can get and have taught me the importance of keeping our secrets secret.
THE MAGICIAN’S OATH
THE MAGICIAN’S OATH
As a magician I promise never to reveal the secret of any illusion to a non-magician, unless that one swears to uphold the Magician’s Oath in turn. I promise never to perform any illusion for any non-magician without first practicing the effect until I can perform it well enough to maintain the illusion of magic.
Secrecy is an integral part of being a practicioner of magic. The purpose of a magic trick is to amuse and create a feeling of wonderment; the audience is generally aware that the magic is performed using trickery, and derives enjoyment from the magician’s skill and cunning. It is important to preserve the secrets behind magic because exposure kills magic as an artform and transforms it into mere intellectual puzzles and riddles. Once the secret of a trick is revealed to a person, that one can no longer fully enjoy subsequent performances of that magic, as the amazement is missing. Sometimes the secret is so simple that the audience feels let down, and feels disappointed it was taken in so easily. Keeping the secrets preserves the mystery of professional magicians.
All members of Maleficium are required to make a solemn commitment to the Magician’s Oath never to reveal the secrets of magic to non-magicians. Once sworn to the Oath at one of our initiation ceremonies, one is considered a magician, and is expected to live up to this promise. Magicians who reveal secrets, either purposely or through insufficient practice, may find that other magicians unwilling to teach them any more secrets. However, it is considered permissible to reveal secrets to individuals who are determined to learn magic and become magicians. This is why we at Maleficium welcome new members and trade our secrets with each other. We actively encourage the learning of magic as a skill and this is why we wish to recruit and nurture new magicians, no matter what their level of skill.
CLUB INFORMATION We are currently actively recruiting for new members. If you are interested in joining please read through the rules and entry requirements. Check the location of your nearest club and send the membership form to that address. We are looking to add some younger members, so if you are a talented magician aged between 15-20 or would be interested in improving your magical abilities, we want to hear from you. If we feel you are suitable for Maleficium we will get in contact with you. Please do not contact us to discuss your application. Good luck.
TERENCE RAYMONDO (PRESIDENT)
GOB BLUTH (VICE-PRESIDENT)
NO. 1 NO. 2 NO. 3 NO. 4 NO. 5 NO. 6
The Magician’s Oath must be followed at all times.
NO. 7 NO. 8
Any person whose membership has lapsed through any cause whatsoever can only rejoin with the approval of the head panel.
Do not use the official name of Maleficium unless in a private discussion with other members of the society. The nature of this club is not to be discussed with nonmembers unless they are truly interested in joining us. If a member of the club asks you for the secret of one of your tricks you must tell them without hesitation. We want to help young magicians, not put them off. Any member using another’s routine without permission may be called before a panel to give an explanation and may be expelled from the circle. There is an initial joining fee and an annual subscription both of which are £15. This is payable in advance on the 1st March in each year. If this amount is not received within three months of that date membership is deemed to have ceased.
Non-magicians are welcome at competitions, social events and other meetings at which magical secrets are not being divulged.
The breaching of these rules will result in your expulsion from Maleficium and you will be automatically rejected from all other magic circles. Your name will be blacklisted and you will be prohibited from performing as a magician or as an assistant. If you cannot follow these simple rules, please do not apply for membership.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS As previously mentioned, there are several stages an applicant must go through in order to become a full member of Maleficium. You will be given further instructions as you complete each stage.
NO. 1 NO. 2 NO. 3 NO. 4 NO. 5
Submit the membership form completed in full to the address of your nearest club location. Memorise and swear the Magicianâ€™s Oath at an initiation ceremony held by the leader of your local club. Complete a multiple choice test based on the history of the club and the basics of magic. Perform a magic act comprised of at least three individual tricks in front of a panel of the clubâ€™s most prestigious members. Undergo an interview with one of the senior members of Maleficium to establish that you have sufficient knowledge and skills.
Please remember that no matter how successfully (or unsuccessfully) you complete these tasks, membership is still at the discretion of the head panel. If you do not manage to get into Maleficium you will still be expected to keep information about the club a secret unless recruiting others who you think would be suitable as members.
CLUB LOCATIONS LONDON
12 STEPHENSON WAY EUSTON LONDON NW1 2HD UK
188 WOODHOUSE LANE LEEDS WEST YORKSHIRE LS2 9DX UK
42 ST VINCENT STREET GLASGOW LANARKSHIRE G2 5TS UK
35 LUDGATE HILL BIRMINGHAM WEST MIDLANDS B3 1EH UK
341 BROOME STREET NEW YORK, NY 10013 USA
7001 FRANKLIN AVENUE HOLLYWOOD, CA 90068 USA
2501 WEST BRADLEY PLACE CHICAGO, IL 60618 USA
3-1-20 SHINJUKU TOKYO 160-0022 JAPAN
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