Manchester Magic Society

The Manchester Close Up Magic Competition 2019

Tuesday 11th June 2019 saw a group of Manchester Magicians gather at The Irish World Heritage Centre to compete against each other to find out who was to be crowned the best Close Up Magician of the year in Manchester.

Unlike the infamous wizarding Battle of Hogwarts, there were no injuries sustained, and we are pleased to confirm that everyone attending behaved with decorum, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves!

The evening was slightly quieter than usual, due to personal reasons among members, and the fact that David Blaine had inconsiderately decided to perform his show at the Manchester Apollo, just a couple of miles away, on the same evening. However, we must commend our President David Owen for choosing to join us at The Order of The Magi, instead of taking advantage of the complimentary tickets offered to him to see Mr. Blaine’s show. We doubt that was an easy decision!

We’ll not bore you with a list of competitors and their routines, but we can reveal that amongst the offerings were a wide range of magic tricks using Lego, pyramids, poker chips, coins, lottery tickets, and even the “Fork of Death”, as well as the obligatory packs of playing cards. The extremely varied choice of routines by our members is always a great source of wonder and enjoyment to all.

The standard of the evening’s offering by all participants was extremely high, and our Entertainment Secretary reported that it was the closest run competition for many years, with only a small number of points separating all competitors.

The Order of The Magi Close Up Magician 2019

Congratulations to our newly appointed Life Member, Mike Sharples who was awarded the trophy for Best Close-Up Magic Performance 2019. A thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining 15 minutes of trickery, and an award well deserved.

The Order of The Magi Trophy for Best Close Up Magi Performance, awarded to Magician Mike Sharples

The Sly Smith Trophy for Best Card Trick

John “Sly” Smith was unable to attend this year’s Close Up Competition, so the unenviable task of deciding who was to be awarded the trophy for the best card trick of the evening fell upon one of the visiting magicians in the audience. After some deliberation, it was awarded to Adrian Sullivan for his very spooky routine using the hand of an Egyptian Pharaoh to locate a chosen playing card

Order Of The Magi 2019 Award for Best Close Up Card Trick presented to Adrian Sullivan by President David Owen

Congratulations to both Mike and Adrian on their awards.

We would also like to extend our gratitude to all the participants in the competition, members and non-members of The Order of The Magi who turned out to support our performers, and finally, and most importantly to the evening’s Judges.

The very beginning of The Order of The Magi in Manchester 1909

The Order of The Magi is one of the oldest magical societies in the U.K. and has an extensive archive of historical documents dating back to the establishment of the society in 1909.

Members of The Order of The Magi stood outside The Deansgate Hotel, Manchester
(date circa 1909-1914)

Here is a article published in “Wizard Magazine” about inaugural meeting of The Order of The Magi just 1 month after it’s founding:

A Manchester Magical Society

A month ago Mr. G.W. Panter, M.A. (Member of Inner Magic Circle) conceived the idea of forming a Magical Society for Manchester and district.

With this end in view, he arranged with Mr. Waite, magic dealer, of Peter Street, Manchester, to display a notice asking all those willing to join to give in their names.

As a result of this, on the 11th inst. a most enthusiastic meeting was held at the “Cities Hotel,” Deansgate, Manchester, at which about 30 conjurers attended.

It was decided to form a Magical Society, and Mr. G.W. Panter, M.A. was unanimously elected President, Mr. Waite, Hon. Treasurer and Librarian, and Mr. T.H. Halsall, Junr., Hon Sec. (pro tem.).

Mr. Panter spoke about the objects of a magical society, and referred to the success of the British Magical Society, and the Magic Circle; he also read a very interesting letter which he had received from Mr. Fred Walker (Hon. Sec. of the B.M.S.), wishing the new society every success.

Mr. T.H Halsall, Junr, (Hon. Sec.) also read several letters from conjurers anxious to join., but, owing to engaements, unable to attend the meeting.

Speeches were given by Mr. Fredrick W. Collins, Mr. L.M. Varney, Mr. Waite, Mr. Thomas French, Mr. Wildman, Mr. Ritherdon, Mr. J.W. Riley, and others, who all spoke as to the advisability of working together.

Business being suspended, Mr. A. Buckle obliged with a few card tricks, introducing a very pleasing and novel effect by fanning a quantity of cards and making them grow smaller, and finally disappear, bringing them back again to their original position, electing a round of applause for this clever sleight.

Mr J.W. Riley then being called upon gave a monologue, entitled “Oh Memory” in which the speech and mannerisms of an old man were portrayed to the letter.

Mr. Sugden then gave a recital from “The Merchant of Venice,” the rendering of which proved him to be a talented artist.

Mr. E. Wilburt gave the passing of 12 cards from hand to pocket, which as an example of Digital Dexterity left nothing to be desired.

Mr. T.H. Halsall Junr., then presented the passing of coins from left hand to tumbler held in right hand; he proved himself to be a master of coins, and Mr. Whitehead showed no mean ability with cards in the Four Ace Trick.

A few of those present gave their experiences with children in the course of entertaining, which were very amusing.

A meeting of the Council was arranged for the 13th inst., at which Mr Halsall, on account of business, wished to resign the secretaryship, and Mr. J.W. Riley, being asked to take the position (subject to the sanction of the members) decided to accept.

Anyone interested in magic residing in Manchester district, and wishing to join the society, are kindly requested to send in their names to the Hon. Sec., J.W. Riley, De Mcglio, Eccles, Manchester

The Joe Abrahams Stage Competition Trophy

The late and much respected Past President Joe Abrahams

The late and much respected Past President Joe Abrahams

Thanks to all of you who were able to attend last night’s Magic Auction. Whether you were buyers, sellers or runners your participation was greatly appreciated. We received a good figure from the sale of Joe Abraham’s estate which will enable us to purchase a new trophy for the stage competition – “The Joe Abrahams Trophy” to be held later this year. Will you be the first to receive it? You’ve got to be in to win.

Joe was a very active member of the society, Treasurer and Past President, and it seems only fitting that the funds raised from the sale of his magical estate, kindly donated by his family, are used to purchase a new trophy, to remember him by.

We hope to see you all at Geoff Newton’s ‘Key Ring’ lecture on Tuesday 23rd May.

Finally if you are a society member and have not yet let Mike have your mobile number please do so in order that we can send text alerts to announce meetings, new etc.