John Field’s talk was a complete contrast to the annual general meeting which had finished moments earlier. It was wide-ranging, encompassing the early history of magic, going back to 3000 BC, its use to control, destroy enemies by labelling them witches, frauds etc.
He postulated that magic as we know it became respectable in the mid-19th century and told us stories of Harry Houdini (originally Eri Houdin), the India Rope Trick and escapology. He talked of the horrors of magic shows for children, at least those over 8. John’s talk was great fun, with all the right patter.
Along the way he showed us a few familiar tricks, including a variation on the three card trick, and a sequence of finding a small ball (in the cup or the pocket), culminating with two larger balls at the end.
One may have an idea how it is done, but still not spot it being done, so good was the sleight of hand