Taylor, Nik (2015) The Fairy Goblet of Eden Hall to Hunting Mammoths in the Rain - experiencing the paraxial through performance magic and mystery entertainment. In: Tales Beyond Borders, 24-25 April 2015, The University of Leeds. (Unpublished)
Abstract

The performance piece Fairy Goblet of Eden Hall appeared in the Annemann's Jinx in 1941, it describes a ritual where each 'guest'' is invited to step forward to experience and share a vision of a past memory revealed to them by Titania's Fairy Goblet in a 'weird and uncanny manner''. Hunting Mammoths in the Rain was published in 2007 and demonstrates how an unearthly symbol discovered on an ancient rock can lead to a primal and olfactory experience for an audience. Both pieces represent key experiments in underground experiential performance magic.

In such pieces the magician (or, more accurately, the mystery entertainer) acts as a facilitator guiding the guests/audience through a form of ostensive magical behaviour. This paper will explore a number of these performance magic experiments drawing on the notion of the ‘paraxial’ (Mangan, 2007), and will examine how the mystery entertainer places themselves in a performative grey area situated between illusion and disillusion. And how the notion of the paraxial has continued to manifest in experiential performance magic in areas such as séance, mystery entertainment, mesmerism and story-telling magic.

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