Leeds nostalgia: Leeds hosts national magic contest

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A-Z of Leeds history: M is for... Leeds Magical Society,

Formed in 1919, it is now called Leeds Magic Circle. On October 20, 1930, the YEP reported “wizardry and magic” was in the air at the Blue Triangle Hall, where a seance took place and other conjurers who made wine and beer appear “without any aid but a handkerchief and a half crown”.

In 1934, Leeds hosted the 14 annual national magic competition, it being eight years since the city last hosted the event.

In 1948, one intrepid reporter witnesses the group’s initiation ceremony, which involved incense, the Keeper of the Keys, the Keeper of the Jewels, the Keeper of the Scroll and the Master of the Symbol, guardian of the Lamp of Knowledge, which, in July of that year, had been mislaid and had to be located before the ceremony could begin. The sceptical reporter noted: “Look into the incense bowl and you find a couple of Turkish cigarettes... the key doesn’t open anything, it’s merely symbolic.”

In September 1956, they hosted US Dr Zina Bennett, of Detroit, who apparently used magic to heal patients, albeit more by way of introducing them to the wonders of mental distraction.