Bizarre magic

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A portrait of Eugene Burger.
Eugene Burger was an American Bizarre Magician.

Bizarre magic (or bizarre magick) is a branch of stage magic, like stage illusions, sleight of hand, or children's magic. The major difference is that bizarre magic uses storytelling and word play to a much greater degree, and less emphasis is placed on the manual dexterity of the performer or the complexity of his equipment.[1] The experience is intended to be more akin to small, intimate theater than a conventional magic show.[2]

Presentational style[edit]

Bizarre Magicians often use authentic antique or simulated artifacts to enhance their presentations. Storytelling is also employed for a greater sense of theatrical authenticity. Techniques such as these distinguish Bizarre from other types of magic performance. Max Maven has said of Bizarre Magic that it "references a larger magical world beyond the boundaries of the performance."[3]

Bizarre magick often uses horror and supernatural imagery in addition to the standard commercial magic approaches of comedy and wonder.[4] Bizarre magic deliberately utilizes discomfort for theatrical effect.[5] Another methodology employed in performance is the integration of storytelling enhanced by magic.[6] Bizarre Magick is often performed as close-up magic, for a few people at a time, but it can also be performed as a club show or even as a stage act, depending on the routine, the props, and the performer.[citation needed]


The movement of the art of Bizarre Magick began in the late 1960s with Charles Cameron and Tony "Doc" Shiels. Some of the significant artists since that time have been Tony Andruzzi (aka Maskelyn ye Mage), Eugene Burger, Christian Chelman, Robert Neale, and Jeff McBride.

Most of the material on the subject is published privately within the Bizarre Magick community and is not readily available through normal distribution. And many of the important works were either hand-made or published on a very limited basis. So despite being relatively recent publications, many have significant collectible value.

Contemporary British practitioners include Todd Landman, Iain Jay, Nick Brunger, Ashton Carter, Nik Taylor, Tracy Wise and Steve Drury.

The Sacred Riana is an Indonesian bizarre illusionist [7][8][9] who won the second season of Asia's Got Talent in 2017[10] and reached the quarterfinals of season 13 of America's Got Talent in 2018.

Annual events[edit]

There are a few annual events focused on Bizarre Magick. The first event was the now defunct "Invocational" which started a tradition of annual gatherings in honor of the Bizarre. In Edinburgh, Scotland the annual Charles Cameron Gathering is held in October. Also in October is the Magic and Meaning Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. England's most popular convention for bizarre magicians is "Doomsday" - originally held in Dracula's favourite seaside town, Whitby, it moved to Derby in 2019.[11] Since 2015, The East Coast Spirit Sessions is held in January in Myrtle Beach,SC.[12] In 2018, the first annual Mid-Atlantic Bizarre Hauntings Conference was held.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nigel Gordon, Making It Bizarre Vol 1, 1999, The Amagarion Press, Coalville, UK
  2. ^ Burger, Eugene (1989). "A Midnight Talk". The New Invocation (49): 558–593.
  3. ^ Maven, Max. Quoted in Burger, Eugene (1991). “Strange Ceremonies.” Published by Kaufman and Company, Washington D.C. (p, 38).
  4. ^ Taylor, Nik; Nolan, Stuart. "Performing Fabulous Monsters: re-inventing the gothic personae in bizarre magick". Monstrous media/spectral subjects : imaging Gothic from the nineteenth century to the present. Botting, Fred,, Spooner, Catherine, 1974-. Manchester. pp. 128–142. ISBN 9780719098130. OCLC 921217998.
  5. ^ David Parr, Genii Magazine, Oct 2000
  6. ^ What is Bizarre? Nigel Gordon 1998, The Amagarion Press, Coalville UK
  7. ^ "Mengenal Kembali Sosok Riana, Peserta Asia's Got Talent" (in Indonesian). Tribun Jogja. 28 October 2017. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Indonesian illusionist edges out Filipino dance group to win AXN's 'Asia's Got Talent'". Interaksyon. 17 December 2017. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Indonesian magician The Sacred Riana is crowned winner of Asia's Got Talent Season 2". Straits Time. 14 December 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Indonesia's The Sacred Riana beats Filipino dance group DMX to Asia's Got Talent title". Yahoo Lifestyle. 14 December 2017. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Doomsday (home page)".
  12. ^ "East Coast Spirit Sessions (home page)".