Monday, March 05, 2007

A Lifetime Ago...

Once in a while I will be reminded of things I did and people I knew from many years ago. Even though they may be missed dearly, for one reason or another, those things and those people are part of my past and not my present.

As mentioned on occasion, I performed as a mentalist for a good portion of my life. For a short while, I did this professionally. And every once in awhile, I would stage "spirit theater" or seances for special gatherings, friends and clients. And again, for one reason or another, I don't do the mentalist thing much anymore.

In that time, I would write articles for some of the magishing trades, including a quarterly magazine dedicated to spirit theater, entitled "Seance" published by Scott Davis. Scott was an enthusiastic and supportive follower of all things theatrically magickal. One of the issues focused on me as a performer and an elaborate seance I scripted and staged which was entitled "An Evening with Anna Hastings."

The script told of two lovers, separated in life but rejoined in the afterlife. Very sappy, very corny, very melodramatic and very commercial. The seance was relatively successful as a bit of spirit theater performed at fancy schmancy parties in Los Angeles, Newport Beach and Hollywood.

I was honored that Scott would dedicate an entire issue to me since I never held that I was very good at this stuff. But, that's another entry altogether. However, in all, it is a damned good issue and is often referenced by other, much more talented and creative magical practitioners.

The magazine had a moderate following and was certainly Scott's labor of love for several years. Anyone who has or had an interest in unusual and theatrical magic presentations referred to or hunts down old issues of "Seance". There really wasn't anything like it before and nothing like it since. In some professional circles, "Seance" magazine has become as legendary as "The Jinx" or "Magick" magazines of old. It was a bright, mysterious light in the darkened room of spooky magic.

But eventually Scott said all that he and his writers apparently had to say on the subject so he closed publication in the early nineties. Likewise, I lost touch with Scott as I moved onto other pursuits and places in my life.

So it was not but a few weeks ago, that I came upon a reference to the magazine on a magic history website. It mentioned that the rights to the magazine had been purchased by another publisher and that all of the issues were being bound together into a single volume. The combined material would have a new foreword written and publication would be limited to 1000 copies, a true collector's item. All copies had been sold within a year of publication.

Since I had gladly submitted the material to Scott almost 20 years ago willingly and with many blessings, the only regret I had when I found out about the book was that I didn't have an opportunity to buy a copy. My regret turned to discovery after turning to eBay, where I found occasional copies being sold for many, many dollars.

Last week, I bid on a slightly worn copy for more money than I should have spent...and won. It will be delivered to me in a few days.

I'm not sure how I will feel about seeing and reading it, however. Will it be like meeting a former lover for who you've always carried a torch? Or will it be like looking at pictures of your high school prom which cause you to shudder because at one time, you thought leisure suits and white belts were the hottest thing? Ever?

If nothing else, it will be interesting to look back and reminisce a bit and recall the spirits of times and events that seemed so very important and probably were on some level. I know I won't be haunted by those memories, but certainly enchanted. I'll probably read the book a few times, laugh at the audacity of inexperience and naivete and then give it to a friend. I may even think of the young girl to whom the seance was secretly dedicated, Donna Hastings, the very first girl I ever kissed as a very young lad. I'll let you know.

And if I decide to host a seance to bring back the spirit of Anna Hastings, you're invited. You can be the 13th guest...

P.S. I recently found out that "Seance" has been reprinted beyond the 1000 copies originally sold a few years ago. Current price is $75.00 each and is available at only the finer magic shops in your home town.