Hauntiques - The Magic of Christian Chelman

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Hauntiques - The Magic of Christian Chelman

Postby pcwells » Jan 12th, '07, 14:10



Hauntiques - the Magic of Christian Chelman

The Effect
173-page hardcover book of bizarre magic through the concept of haunted antiques.

Cost
£40.00 from www.mpmagic.co.uk

Difficulty
(1=easy to do, 2=No sleights, but not so easy, 3=Some sleights used,
4=Advanced sleights used, 5=Suitable for experienced magicians only)
NA


Review
Christian Chelman's book Hauntiques has been singing to me like a siren ever since I stumbled across it online. On one hand, I'm massively keen to give my magic a context and encourage spectators to suspend their disbelief and just 'go with it' rather than trying to outwit a magician or unravel a puzzle. On the other hand, I'm a sucker for ghost stories and genuinely spooky stuff, and this book just seemed too good to pass up. It was only the £40.00 price tag that kept CUPS at bay - but I finally crumbled and the book arrived on my doorstep a couple of weeks ago (isn't it delightful how PayPal makes it all seem so painless?).

As the title suggests, the book presents readers with a selection of 'magickal' routines, centred around the theme of haunted antiques and bric-a-brac. They're generally well thought out, and delivered with nice subtlety to create an atmosphere of eeriness rather than the somewhat more blunt Lovecraft-style horror you might associate with, say, Docc Hilford. Don't get me wrong, I've spent a small fortune on Hilford's work lately and I absolutely love it, but Chelman's offerings exist in a very different universe altogether - possibly, as the introduction suggests, resulting from the author's European background.

What you get, on the whole, comes across (to me, anyway) as a quiet, reverential attitude, with lots of emotional scope, and the potential to be beautiful and frightening in equal measures.

The idea of haunted antiques isn't a new one to magic. The Book of Haunted Magick covers the same theme in parts, as do others, and when you consider the dominance of this theme in fiction - from classic works such as Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray, or the short stories of MR James, through to modern horror movies (Guillermo del Toro's Cronos, for example) to TV potboilers like Friday's Curse, it's not surprising that magicians have adopted the theme.

The book is divided into five 'journeys' and a conclusion. Each part represents a slight shift in attitude, but in most cases, subtlety prevails - no green glowing auras, ghostly moans or rattling chains here, we're talking about the odd behavious of odd 'things'.

What I love most about Hauntiques is its presentation. The 'Effect' is delivered as the magician's presentation or script, while the 'Method' often looks like a footnote. In this case, I feel that's exactly how it should be - especially when you realise that many of the effects are done with traditional magician's gimmicks. What makes it all so different is the context in which it's presented. My only criticisms about the book's presentation are: The dominant typeface is too spidery for its own good and can be distracting. Also, many 'method' points are poorly explained or not explained at all. We're told, for example, that there are many ways in which a bell can be muted at will, and we should hunt some down. Fair enough, it's not the most arduous task in the world, but this kind of comment appears far too often for my liking - especially in a book with such a hefty price tag.

My other grumble is that a couple of the effects listed appear to be thoroughly off-topic, not to mention inappropriate for the parlour magic environment to which it is clearly pitched. In particular, I'm referring to 'Gumballs' in which the magician correctly predicts the colour of gumball that will drop from a randomly selected machine (and before you get all excited, this is a million miles away from impromptu street magic), and 'Experiment', which is essentially a stage-based, person-appears-in-box illusion, dressed up with a resurrection theme.

Aside from these annoyances, Hauntiques a charm, passion and intensity which I found highly infectious.

Overall
Hauntiques certainly won't be to everyone's taste. It'll be of no great help for table hopping or walk around routines, and I very much doubt that many of the effects would sit well on a large stage. For an intimate presentation of bizarre parlour magic, the contents hold an awful lot of potential. Also be aware that readers will be required to put in a lot of time and legwork before even practicing some of these routines - you can't just grab your deck of cards and start practicing. Much of this time will involve scouring car boot sales and junk shops for very specific knickknacks that appear old and errie but which are cheap enough for you to justify buying them as magic props. And if you can't find exactly the item described by Chelman, you might have to change the theme of the script or even adapt the core effect. And that's all for the good, in my opinion.

9/10

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Postby magicforfun » Apr 13th, '07, 15:28

I stumbled over this book online today and thought I would post a request but only after making use of the search function. :wink: It was something in its spookiness that appealed to me. I got a flashback of some Sherlock Holmes' adventures when I read the prospect. Just a feeling. Anyway, my question is: you've had the book for a few months now. Have you made any practical use of it? How did it go? What were the reactions?

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effects

Postby streetmentalist » Sep 2nd, '08, 06:34

So what kind of effects are in this book? ty

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Postby pcwells » Sep 2nd, '08, 07:45

The material in the book is very strong, but in a 'teach a man to fish' kind of way.

I spent ages trawling through second hand, charity and antique shops, and found it quite difficult to piece together all the bits and pieces needed to do Chelman's routines verbatim, but soon realised that any attempt to do so was robbing me of the value of the book.

Instead, your best approach is to look out for interesting stuff, and use Hauntiques as a source of inspiration for giving that stuff context and meaning and building your own routines around them.

Streetmentalist: It's pretty much impossible to break down the hauntiques routines in terms of raw effect. They're more akin to traditional storytelling - using magic and mentalism techniques to bring bizarre tales into the physical realm. It's not something you can do in casual performance - you need to set a scene, establish an atmosphere and make each presentation the centre of everything.

Hope that helps,

Pete

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Postby memorire » Nov 2nd, '08, 00:15

Hauntiques is a little gem in my collection. I own it only for 4 days now but already had an immensly rewarding input from it.

There are some routines that are more presentable then other some only the author can pull off. But as already someone before me said here its the inspiration for your own presentations and adaptations that you get is that makes it worth every penny.

There are some killer effects there too that are very presentable! Some of them would waste your public.

But if you are more after effects I can recommend Capricornian tales by the same author. Still Hauntiques shouldnt be missed in no library of a bizarrist or someone who wants to make a bit more than pull the rabit out of the hat or saw a woman in half!

greets

memorire
 

Postby the Curator » Dec 4th, '08, 18:56

I'm glad you enjoy the book.
the Surnateum site is complementary to Hauntiques, more stories, more weird artifacts but no "explanation".

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hauntiques

Postby abecedarianmind » Jan 20th, '09, 22:27

just read this book, and I'm not sure...

ok, magic needs good props, unlike the junk you see in most magic shops.

(unlike previous poster - i find the artefacts used are easy to get hold of, but you must invest time learning about antiques)

ok, magic needs a story, but there is something here that doesn't add up

are there any videos of these effects being performed?

have people paid to see them in a theatre?

or, are the audiences made up of friends and magicians?

i can only find one CC video on youtube, and i won't share my humble opinion

also, i find the continual reference to other books annoyin

the book should explain in full how to do something, not half explain

it's too patchy, like it is a collection of notes, not a coherent text

anyway, I'm glad i bought it, but it aint what it could be, by far

i think that the text has been swallowed by transference from the author's psyche - to get to true magic, this needs to be overcome

in sum, buy it...not for the magic, but for the direction of travel

there are some real truths in the book

RECOMENDATION - buy this book

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Postby abecedarianmind » Feb 3rd, '09, 23:53

ok, ive changed my opinion of this book, and i still strongly recomend purchasing

when i first bought it, i felt uneasy, but i've just realised what is happening in book

the curator thinks like a curator, making links throughout history

it explains his style....it is gorgeous, when u get it

we are so used to being spoon fed, self contained dvds that true workmanship is no longer immediately appreciate

so, if you want to have a ground breaking book, that sets the direction for a new form of mentalism buy this classic

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Postby Lenoir » Aug 7th, '09, 22:07

I think you'll find that Christian is a well respected magician, mentalist and author.

"I want to do magic...but I don't want to be referred to as a magician." - A layman chatting to me about magic.
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Postby dat8962 » Aug 8th, '09, 07:35

I've only recently bought this book and have only skipped through it so far. When I finish my current read it will be next on the list.

It does appear to have some very interesting ideas that are obviously away from the traditional conjouring side of magic, which is what interested me in the first place.

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It's not really an optical illusion - it just looks like one!
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Postby the Curator » Sep 11th, '09, 17:51

I'm very happy to announce the parution of Paradise Lost, my most cherished effect and the ultimate variation on my own Pact routine.


Image
Image

The routine will be available at http://www.hauntiques.com/paradiselost.htm and http://www.card-shark.de/index_e.cfm

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Postby dat8962 » Sep 11th, '09, 21:24

Looks very interesting :shock:

Member of the Magic Circle & The 2009 British Isles Close-Up Magician of the Year
It's not really an optical illusion - it just looks like one!
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Postby the Curator » Sep 12th, '09, 06:28

The first version (with red demon and skulls) was handmade in a limited edition of 13. Most of the sets were offered to friends (T.A.Waters had one, after he died the scroll and the cards were separated). The instructions were published on a scroll.

ImageImage

A second set was produced later by joker de luxe, but I never liked it.

Some variations were made on the text: one was a very dramatic theatrical version and another one was written for medieval/Renaissance fairs.

This story offers new handlings an possibilities and the most important aspect of it is the perfect correlation between text and action. It's a reflection about textual misdirection. Plus, the Devil is a believable Mardi Gras character who raise the suspension of disbelieve.
It also shows what bizarre magic has to offer to traditional magic.

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Postby the Curator » Sep 29th, '09, 19:14

Saturday 3th October at 18h30, Paradise Lost will be performed at AT Magic Shop, 45 rue Van Artevelde 1000 Brussels.
The entrance to the demonstration is absolutely free of charges and will be followed by a lecture about the routine. This lecture is reserved to people who own the routine (it seems obvious). If you've the set, take your Red Satan Doubloon with you. It will be the necessary pass to enter the lecture.
The routine will be performed in French.

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