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Tony Shiels: Thirteen!

Tony Shiels: Thirteen!

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Although revered as one of the godfathers of bizarre magic, Tony Shiels identifies foremost as an artist, describing his life's work as a surreal form he calls 'surrealchemy'. Born in 1938 in Salford, UK, his artistic journey began at the Heatherley School of Fine Art in London, eventually leading him to St Ives, Cornwall. In 1961 he became of member the committee of the prestigious Penwith Society of Arts following Barbara Hepworth's resignation, and curated the avant-garde 'Steps Gallery'. It wasn't until the late '60s that Tony rediscovered his childhood fascination with magic, initially instilled by his father and grandfather.

Around this time he began to write articles for magic magazines, but the key to his fame in magic was probably the publication of the widely acclaimed books Thirteeen!, Something Strange and Daemons Darklings and Doppelgangers. These have now become classics of bizarre magic literature.

In the '70s Shiels mesmerized audiences as 'Doc Shiels: Wizard of the West' at festivals and fayres. He founded, performed with and wrote plays for 'Tom Fool's Theatre of Tom Foolery'. Around this time he gained much media attention with his 'monster-raising' exploits. His Loch Ness Monster photos made the front page of the Daily Mirror in 1977. Throughout this period and beyond, Shiels continued to paint and exhibit his works.

From the introduction:

THIRTEEN... a devil’s dozen of macabre happenings. The tricks in this small book are designed to hocus, hoax and hoodwink in the most entertainingly supernatural manner.
As far as ‘method’ is concerned we claim no originality; the means by which these deceptions are accomplished should be familiar to most practising mentalists, witch doctors, soothsayers and thaumaturgists.
The effect is everything, so we have concentrated on suggesting a faintly necromantic dressing for what are really quite simple tricks in the ‘Close-up’ or ‘Drawing—room’ category.
The important thing about the weirder side of magic is that, if done well, it should seem like the real thing... not trickery, not deception, but genuine, spell-casting, spook-raising sorcery! This is brought about by a combination of ‘atmosphere’ and acting ability. The routines in this book offer a framework around which you can weave your own style and personality... all of which demands time, energy and (above all) imagination, So, if you like this type of magic, do not waste your time presenting it to an audience of magicians who tend to be more impressed by digital dexterity than dramatic effect; save it for a lay audience... they have more sense!


    1. Here Comes a Candle
    2. The Red Handed League
    3. Teleportation
The Devil's Picturebook
    4. Pigwiggin's Pack
    5. Arcanum
    6. Spellzebub
    7. Chromagic
    8. Mandragora
    9. Ouanga
The Frighteners
    10. Bête Noir
    11. Phantograph
    12. Pandemonium
    13. Fleshcreeper

23 pages wire-stitched paperback. Supreme reprint of the original 1967 edition. Out of print, limited availability.
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