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Reasons why the purchase of this book is a “no brainer!”
- • The definitive collection from one of the acknowledged masters and pioneers of Bizarre Magick
• Includes 3 out-of-print and hard-to-find books
• Over 70 Original Bizarre Magick presentations
• Over 260 pages
• Available for the first time as a quality hardcover book
Cover Painting: The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli, 1781 – Original artwork by Andrea Fullmontis.
Larry Baukin and Loren Tindale published “The Larry Baukin Anthology” as an e-book in 2010 and, at the time, it was well-received by the community of magicians, mentalists and bizarrists. Containing three of Larry’s books plus various articles he had contributed to The New Invocation, MAGICK, Seance and The Altar Flame, the anthology was an incredible source book for bizarrists (and, in retrospect, ridiculously under-priced). Time marches on, however, and there are undoubtedly new members of that community who haven’t seen the wealth of material contained in the original digital version of Larry’s book — hence, my reaction to his question.
While there is the possibility that some people might not be familiar with Larry Baukin, or the ground-breaking nature of the publications his work appeared in during the 80s and 90s, I suspect that anyone interested in the field of Bizarre Magick has at least heard the name, and possibly read some of his highly intriguing contributions to the art.
Who IS Larry Baukin?
You may know Larry Baukin as the author of “The Unholy Grail” and the co-author (along with Ron Martin) of the essential Martin Baukin book, “Cold Reading — The Classic Book of Techniques”. I first encountered Larry many years ago through his numerous contributions to The New Invocation and MAGICK, and at the time I marveled at the way he was able to craft compelling presentations from a wide array of themes, ranging from voodoo and old-time medicine shows to witchcraft, seances, carnivals and the Bermuda Triangle.
It was obvious to me that Larry was greatly respected by the publishers of The New Invocation and MAGICK (and The Altar Flame and Seance, as well), if only by the sheer number of times he appeared in those pages. In particular, The New Invocation, originally published by Tony Andruzzi (and later by Docc Hilford), exhibited its high regard for Larry by publishing four special One-Man issues devoted to Larry’s work alone.
In recent years, Larry has concentrated on creating innovative reading systems based on traditional oracles such as tea leaves, playing cards and wax drippings (!), all of which he uses in his professional practice. It is rare to find someone who is equally comfortable with both the Tarot and the thumbtip, but then it’s equally challenging to find someone quite like Larry who can write about them in clear, concise and easy-to-understand language.
What’s in Bizarre Magick: The Collector’s Edition
At 264 pages, this book is one of the largest publications published by The Pro Shop, making it an incredible value for bizarrists and mentalists alike. It contains Dr. Fathom’s Amusements, Laughing Souls and Other Bizarre Visitations, and The Book of Aleister Crowley (all three of which are now out of print), plus all of Larry’s contributions to The New Invocation, MAGICK, Seance and The Altar Flame… a total of 71 original presentations, all within a single volume. Here’s a closer look at the contents…
Dr. Fathom’s Amusements
Loren Tindale – “It’s hard for me to pick which of Larry’s books is my favorite, but considering my love of the detective noir genre and my avid interest in the gritty and sometimes surreal world of the carnival, this one is a real contender. Written in a style that brings to mind Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, Dr. Fathom’s Amusements follows the investigation of a psychic detective as he tries to uncover the truth behind a woman’s disappearance, with all clues pointing to a carnival run by the elusive Dr. Fathom.”
“Each of the chapters in the book is actually a self-contained Bizarre routine with a carnival theme, complete with presentation dialogue and full explanations. During the course of the investigation, the reader encounters pickled punks, a magical stripper, the Spider Lady, the Freak Mentalist, a Three-Shell Operator, Abdul the Card-Playing Turk, and other shifty characters. Although you probably wouldn’t want to do all ten routines in one performance (unless you were doing a full evening show), you could easily modify the stories and present three or four of the routines as a suite.”
Laughing Souls and Other Bizarre Visitations
Like the majority of Larry’s material, the presentations in Laughing Souls and Other Bizarre Visitations are easy, practical and versatile. Themes covered in the thirteen routines in this book include Brazilian spirit mediumship, medieval mountebanks, a Salem witch seance, Civil War psychokinesis, a trio of Mexican mysteries, a 19th century medicine show, and three seances from Hitler’s Germany. Be forewarned that most (if not all) of the stories in this collection are potentially quite disturbing and should only be presented to mature audiences — and you should probably exercise discretion even then.
The Book of Aleister Crowley: Nine Dreams in the Life of The Wickedest Man in the World
At the time of its original publication, this book marked the first time Aleister Crowley appeared in the literature of Bizarre Magick, which is in itself another proof of the ground-breaking nature of Larry’s work. Having spent a fair amount of time myself researching the life of Aleister Crowley, I was very interested (and very pleased) to see how effectively Larry had incorporated Bizarre Magick into the Crowleyan mythos. While not a full biography of The Beast, The Book of Aleister Crowley succeeds in conveying a good understanding of the surreal life of one of the most notorious necromancers in history. Each of the nine routines contained in this book is based on actual events in Crowley’s life, and can be staged as a separate presentation or, as Larry suggests, “combined to form an evening with the roguish mage.”
In addition to all of the routines contained in Larry’s three books, there are an additional 38 presentations that ran in the now-legendary New Invocation, MAGICK, Seance and Altar Flame. Many of these routines are structured as seances, calling forth from the Other Side such luminaries as Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, ocean liner gamblers, 17th century witches, Mary Todd Lincoln, Roaring 20s gangsters, New Orleans psychics, 14th century magicians, Inquisition heretics, and (as you have already guessed) many more.
It’s interesting to note how easily Larry was able to tailor his writing from one publication to another, perhaps most notably in the case of Bascom Jones’ MAGICK, which tended to have a more contemporary focus. Within this context, presentations are more streamlined (but no less compelling), and explore topics such as crop circles, hypnosis, pendulums, ESP research and Einstein’s universe.
Perfect For All Levels of Performers…
… who are into Bizarre Magick, of course. Even if you aren’t, this anthology still makes for fascinating reading, and could very well be a textbook for a college-level course on how to craft a compelling presentation.
If you are into the spooky stuff, however, you’ll surely appreciate these creations from the mind of one of the original pioneers of Bizarre Magick, regardless of your own performance level. Amateurs (and remember the literal Latin translation of that word is “lover”) will not only learn new methods and techniques, but will invariably gain understanding of the dramatic and effective elements that go into successful story-based presentations.
Professionals, on the other hand, will find many of Larry’s presentations to have a catalytic effect on their own creative efforts, making this collection the basis for a motherlode of new material with a bizarre theme. Both amateur and professional alike will certainly enjoy reading this anthology for the sheer entertainment value of it, since the majority of the entries read like a self-contained short story, and all of them deal with themes and topics that never fail to be thought-provoking.
I haven’t checked eBay lately, but I imagine that to get all of the three out-of-print and hard-to-find books — plus all of Larry’s contributions to The New Invocation, MAGICK, Seance and The Altar Flame — would prove to be difficult and run quite a bit more than the cost of this updated collector’s edition.
Because Bizarre Magic: The Collector’s Edition is essentially a hard cover version of “The Larry Baukin Anthology”, you may be wondering what’s so special about it. Here are some important points to keep in mind:
• It is a beautifully printed 8-1/2″ x 11″ cloth-covered hardcover book with high-quality cream-colored pages and a glossy dust jacket.
• There are many new illustrations by a professional graphic artist that were specifically created for this collector’s edition.
• Needless to say, it will look great on your bookshelf, right next to your other collectible books.
• It gives you the increasingly-unique experience of actually holding and reading a real book.
• The original digital version of this book has not been available for a couple years now, so this is the only way you can access this treasure trove of classic bizarre magick material.
Published by Pro Shop Enterprises – Loren Tindale 2015.
Here’s my review of Larry’s anthology. It’s a great read and yes, don’t overlook the bonus audio.
Bizarre Magick, The Collector’s Edition
Publisher- Pro Shop Enterprises 2015
Author- Larry Baukin
Available from www.mevproshop.com
Bizarrists and aficionados of that branch of magic that is spelled with a ‘k’ will recognize the name Larry Baukin as one of the pioneers of the art form. This collection not only contains 40 contributions to various magazines he made from the mid 80’s to the mid 90’s, but three complete books as well, adding another 30 routines to this handsomely produced hardbound edition spanning over 260 pages.
The tome begins with the reprint of Laughing Souls And Other Visitations. Stories run the gambit of brothers fighting on different sides of the Civil War, a medicine show pitchman, a touch of Mexican folklore, and my favorite of this booklet, Nazi Germany’s Palace of the Occult. Here we meet, for the first time in magical literature, the man that was Hanussen, the opportunistic clairvoyant who rubbed elbows with dangerous men and paid the price with his life. The three routines centered around this subject dovetail nicely and include an effect with rune stones, another with the Key-R-Rect lock and keys, and ends with a mini séance effect with some index cards in order to contact the spirit of Hanussen.
Next we come to my favorite of the three books, Dr. Fathom’s Amusements. Here we are treated to a fictional character, “H.P. Crowley”, a psychic detective called to a carnival to investigate a murder and a disappearance. Elements of noir and the strange other-worldliness of carny life read like Gresham’s Nightmare Alley. Yet in this case at each attraction he visits, an effect is performed and is then explained before we arrive at the next attraction. Again, with all of Larry’s routines, the story takes center stage and the props are used to add texture and bring the spectators into the strange world the performer has created. Tarot cards, the “Grandmother’s Necklace” effect, flash paper, regular playing cards, a Himber Wallet, the three shell game, blank faced business cards, the Gypsy Switch, the ashes on the hand effect with a clever force of the hand that is revealed with the ash stain, and a great use of the Pegasus Page effect to bring the whole story to a satisfying conclusion.
The third book in the collection is The Book Of Aleister Crowley. Like all of Larry’s routines, these are all set within a thoroughly researched subject, in this case the “World’s Most Dangerous Man”. Effects include a torn and restored cigarette paper, the Haunted Key, the Blister Effect, Spirit Writing, cards changing with the Crowley Tarot Deck among other effects that are used to shed light on this real life character from history. My favorite of this booklet is The Serpent’s Kiss (part 2) where a blister appears on the chosen finger, not from the traditional intense heat source but from the bite of one of Crowley’s disembodied teeth!
As with the other two books, the routines work great together for a complete performance, or can be used separately. The last third of the book contains some 40 routines Larry contributed to bizarre periodicals. While the three books just mentioned tackle a few similar themes, which the reader begins to feel comfortable with, this third section is one surprise after another. We might find ourselves hearing about the Salem Witch Trials in one routine and the next we are finding out what Edgar Allen Poe was doing wandering around the streets of Baltimore the night before he died.
The reader will notice how well edited the routines are throughout the book. Not a single word wasted. Props are also kept to a minimum. What we have here is a master class on how to effectively combine a compelling story with a magic effect to present something that will first create interest and then grab the spectators by the collar and drag them into a strange world that at first seems a little familiar but then leads down them down the rabbit hole.
Once again, Loren Tindall deserves a lot of praise for publishing this collection in hardbound form. During the next dark and stormy night, pull the book off your shelf, grab a snifter of your favorite beverage, and toast Larry and Loren before you crack the book open and read about the real (and some not so real) characters and dark events that have shaped our magical heritage, or as Dr. Fathom told our psychic detective, H.P. Crowley, “We are tricksters, Mr. Crowley. The mountebanks, the mentalists, the freaks, and the jokermen of history. We have always been here. And you, as you are aware, with your unusual talents, are one of us.” Highly Recommended. – Woodfield
“A Conversation with Larry Baukin” Bonus Audio File – 1 hour in length.
Purchasers of the book will also receive a downloadable audio file that contains a telephone interview between the publisher, Loren Tindall, and the author, Larry Baukin.
Even though it’s a telephone conversation, the audio is as clear as if they were both sitting in the same room. There is a lot of good content on this audio and it’s just a heck of a lot of fun to listen to. Subjects include:
1. How Larry got involved in Bizarre Magick
2. Larry’s involvement with Tony Andruzzi, publisher of the New Invocation
3. The commercial way to present Bizarre Magick and the importance of character.
4. Finally, Larry and Loren give the listener insights into Larry’s previous release, The Unholy Grail. A system for tarot card readings that the reader has some control over yet still is flexible to allow his/her intuition to remain in play. Plus, lines that he’s collected (some from shut-eye readers) that he’s found effective in doing readings for some 30 years.
Major highlights for me were:
- Using a bizarre routine as a gateway effect to lead into readings.
- Larry outlined a structure that would work well in a Psychic Home Party
- Why you need to do a live demonstration for agents.
- The difference between trying to look mysterious and actually being mysterious.
And of course the few anecdotes Larry shares that really show the passion he has
for the subject matter. – Woodfield
I was a subscriber to New Invocation magazine, and when issues came out, I looked forward to contributions from Larry Baukin. Much material in the magazine was impractical, but Larry’s storylines were always strong and his methods were practical. Perhaps it was because the author was a trained fiction writer (and now ironically a professional reader). His routines moved quickly to the point and were never too long and drawn out, avoiding the wordiness that has long been the complaint about bizarre magick presentations.
In addition to his contributions to the New Invocation, Séance, Magick, and the Altar Flame, Larry released three books. Dr. Fathom’s Amusements, published by Tony Andruzzi, was originally going to include elaborate illustrations by Tony that were destroyed in the tragic fire at Tony’s apartment. That did not stop the book from being released. It is a take on Carnival ten-in-ones with a flavor of the Circus of Dr. Lao. Laughing Souls and Other Bizarre Visitations, published by Mary Tomich’s Thaumysta Publishing Company, is a collection of bizarre routines on subjects such as Salem witches, Civil War ghosts, Aztec warriors, Day of the Dead, and Nazis, and includes three classics that are ideal for beginning bizarrists, as they are easy, practical and versatile. The Book of Aleister Crowley, also published by Thaumysta Publishing Company, is subtitled Nine Dreams in the Life of the Wickedest Man in the World, and all the routines in it involve the legendary occultist.
Bizarre Magick; the Collector’s Edition is a collection of those three books and Larry’s contributions to New Invocation, Séance magazine, the Altar Flame, and Bascom Jones’ Magick. Reading through the collection, I find the routines are as relevant today as they were when they were created. The story lines are still as strong as any of the material that is being created today, and the methods are practical and have stood the test of time. In “Poe Effect,” the premise is that Poe was seeing a medium the last few missing days of his life, a powerful idea that I have used in routines of my own after reading Larry’s routine in New Invocation. It is followed by a séance routine, a Lovecraft routine, routines on the Devil’s Triangle, witches and the Witchfinder General, Jack the Ripper, zombies, vampires, and much more. Highly recommended to the beginner as well as to the experienced bizarrist. – Jim Magus