Taylor, Nik (2016) “Strange Ceremonies”: Creating Imaginative Spaces in Bizarre Magick. The Luminary (7). pp. 54-63. ISSN 2056-9238

The Great God Pan (Raven, 1974) is a performance magic piece aimed at transporting the imagination of an audience out of the magician’s study (where the piece is set) and into fictional realms of fantasy and horror. This type of work is known as Bizarre Magick and is an underground form of performance magic. Many of the pieces in this genre borrow from popular horror fictions and seek to locate Fantastika in everyday physical locations through the creation of a charged sense of space where illusion is played as real. This article examines how these effects, through storytelling, intricate props, and often complex methods, allow practitioners to draw heavily on fictionalised histories of science fiction, horror and the supernatural to create site-specific “strange ceremonies” (Burger, 1991). These experiential theatrical pieces allow the magician (better described as the mage or sorcerer) to act as a facilitator guiding the guests/audience into imaginative spaces where fantastic fictions are made real. This article explores a number of these performance magic experiments and draws on the notion of the “paraxial” (Mangan, 2007) to examine how the performer relocates themselves and their audience in a performative grey area situated between illusion and reality.

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