Tony "Doc" Shiels

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
Guest

Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » August 12th, 2003, 10:53 am

I'm wondering if anyone is aware of any body of info on the British magician Tony "Doc" Shiels? I've read a few snippets here and there-enough to realize that he is one of modern magic's more colorful figures. He (correctly) billed himself as a charlatan and a mountebank and yet he was an innovative magician too and had some positive influence on the "Bizarre" movement.

There was an interesting article years ago in the "Fortean Times" where the author , as part of his assignment, went to live with Tony for a while. After he returnedhe realized that Tony had stolen his money and he nevr got it back!
Apart from that article, I have seen precious little about him and am interested in knowing more about the man and his magic.
One technical detail of his magic I found intriguing, was his enthusiasm for and ingenuity in the use of stooges.

His thoughts on the matter made me think twice about my attitude towards stooges. I had previously dismissed the idea as unfair and somehow "cheating" ?!
but as Tony pointed out, if effect is everything then stooges used intelligently can produce real miracles.

I'm curious about his other ideas- anyone know anything about him?

TIA- Dave Kane

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » August 12th, 2003, 11:19 am

There is a plethora of material about and by the ol Doc and I'm sure you can still lay your hands on some of it. He produced his own video (no effects) just a look at the man and his ideas..really strange. He had 5 or 6 books published including The Cantrip Codex,13,Demons Daemons and Dopplegangers,Bizarre and some others.Tony Raven, publisher of the original Invovcation published Tony's book of advice for the aspiring Psychic Superstar. I'm away from my files right now and I can't recall the title.It's no doubt a collectors piece by now.Several of his pieces were published in a book titled "Then There Were Three" There was also a Martin Breese audio tape of an interview with Tony that was quite interesting.There were also a number of his effects published in "GEN"
STRANGE magazine did a profile of Shiels in Issue #8, in which he discussed his famous/ infamous photo's of Nessie.
Happy hunting and I really hope you find what you're looking for about one of most unusual characters in magic(k).

Best thoughts,
John Smetana

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » August 12th, 2003, 11:21 am

Doc Shiels is now living near Kerry in Ireland. Like Chan Canasta he has turned to painting and no longer performs. He did a lecture for the Cork/Kerry magic society a few years ago. Wild horses wouldn't have kept me away. I'll see if I can find the write up I did for Vibrations magazine. He did no effects but the man was fascinating. He also has the enviable ability of being able to put the fear of God into you. If he had been a preacher there would be no sinners in his congregation and I suspect the weekly collection would havebeen overflowing ;)

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » August 12th, 2003, 11:28 am

Here's the write-up I did on the Doc Shiels lecture

Dan Foley Memorial Lecture
Tuesday 13th March 2001
Presented by Tony "Doc" Shiels


"Doc" Shiels is for me one of magic's living legends. As a teenager I used
read the advertisements for his books in the Supreme catalogue. The ads for
"Thirteen" and "Something Strange" talked about ghosts, spirits, nightmares,
voodoo and the devil's picture book. Des Colgan from Dublin used correspond
with "Doc" and tell me some of the more unprintable stunts he got up to.

"Doc's" contributions appeared in a number of magazines including Magick,
Invocation and the New Jinx. These effects always had a weird or bizarre
twist. Sometimes you might wonder if they'd ever work at all.

Even though he has been living in Ireland for some years I never got to meet
him. He is now retired from performing and like Chan Canasta in later years
spends his time painting. Fortunately Pat Sullivan from the Cork and Kerry
Magic Society discovered him and persuaded him to give this lecture. Doc
agreed but said there would be no tricks.

For me it was like a little kid getting to meet Santa and regardless of
anything else the man is one of that rare breed - a true character. In his
talk he covered his early years in showbusiness, his family of witches and
his fascination with what has become known as bizarre magic which he calls
"presenting ordinary tricks as though they were real". He opened up to
questions. I asked how he became known as "Doc Shiels". "Ever since I got my
Ph.D. from Carleigh University" he replied, adding, "it was the best $5 I
ever spent.

Some were a little disappointed he presented no effects. And yes, it would
have been a treat to see some, but Tony Shiels proves that the magic is the
performer, not the effect.

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » August 12th, 2003, 1:45 pm

Thanks, John and Quentin.
I was familiar with most of the resources you mentioned. Despite those welcome materials, he seems to have existed on the periphery of the magic "establishment" and I can't remember anything in "Magic" or 'Genii" about him.I was rather hoping someone had done (or will do) a biography of him-he certainly seems like a ripe candidate.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that he is still alive-somehow I had heard that he died last year- I wouldn't be surprised if he had started the rumour himself!

I'm also curious about his daughter who, at least for some time, was presenting herself as a professional witch.

Years ago I traveled down to Cornwall just to meet him. I talked to his dad who informed me he had just moved to Ireland. And now once again he remains elusive-I guess that just enhances his legendary status.

Thanks again for your input. :)

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » August 12th, 2003, 2:12 pm

David,
I don't think there was anything in MAGIC about Doc. The magazine referred to was Bascom Jones MAGICK.

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » August 12th, 2003, 5:42 pm

Doc Shiels shows up here and there in written sources. In Roy Fromers "EZ Magic" booklet on cups and bills there's 2 pages by Tony Shiels. He also presents 1 trick in the October 1968 IBM publication The Linking Ring. I've read a number of his known publications (and one day will have them all I hope) and it sounds like he's led an interesting life. I'd say that I envy him, but for the intersting parts I'm sure he's also had to forego the trappings of wealth and yuppiedom, which at this point in my life I'd have a tough time givng up :) . I believe the reference to his daughter being a witch is based on her apparent interest in paganism, though with the Shiels family my impression is that they do what needs to be done to get press, such as Doc Shiels involvement with Nessie as documented in Strange! magazine.

Doc has at time described himself as a montebank. Could be the best summary I've heard (nothing negative implied). A very interesting personality to be sure.

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » August 13th, 2003, 9:31 am

Another followup question. I have a couple of Tony's books and like someone already said, a lot of these read like they wouldn't work. The question is, has anybody here seen Tony actually perform magic, esp. the Bizarre stuff. He doesn't really do anything on his video (well, a rock moves rather strangely and he makes a cloud "vanish") so I'm curious as to how he was as a performer and could he really pull that Bizrare stuff off?

Thanks again- Dave

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » August 13th, 2003, 11:29 am

There was a wonderful issue of Invocation Magazine devoted entirely to Doc. It's in both the first volume of the compliations and the complete collection by our esteemed publisher.

He was a guest speaker at one of the Invocationals as well and someone might have tape on that, but I know I don't.

The tape of him by Martin Breese is quite revealling as it also has a segment on the monster raising program that he did with David Hoy (who is on the tape in a phone conversation done as part of a radio interview on the whole monster thing). The bnig problem with the tape is that it was recorded in a very strong echo chamber effect and is sometimes hard to understand.

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
http://www.leedarrow.com

User avatar
Marco Pusterla
Posts: 457
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Suffolk - UK
Contact:

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Marco Pusterla » August 15th, 2003, 9:03 am

Hi!
I saw Tony lecture last year in London, for the Fortean Times convention ("Un-Convention 2002"). He talked mostly about his sculptures, but also about his life as a magician and a mountebank. A very interesting character, and very, very charismatic.

He didn't perform any magic, but told a couple of stories... they gave me chills, for the way he used his voice, his posture and the words (altough he was already a bit "tipsy"...).

You can find a piece by him in an early "Pabular", the British magazine, about theory behind cups and balls (I don't think anybody mentioned it here yet).

A most interesting (and bizarre!) character.

Ciao!

-- Marco
Marco Pusterla - http://www.mpmagic.com

Ye Olde Magic Mag: magic history and collecting magazine.

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » December 7th, 2005, 11:08 am

I'm delighted to announce that the lecture Doc gave a few years ago in Ireland is now available on DVD, along with a reprint of his long out of print and much sought after book, The Shiels Effect. Details at http://www.TheShielsEffect.com

Bill McFadden
Posts: 621
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Villesville-on-the-Chesapeake

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Bill McFadden » December 7th, 2005, 3:28 pm

My Doc Shiels package arrived today from across the miles in record time. A big, "Thank You" to Quentin for mounting this project, and making it available once again. I'd been on the lookout for a copy of "The Shiels Effect" for a few years - at least ever since Bob Cassidy included it on his list of required reading. I would ask Denny Haney, Andy Greget, and Michael Canick if they could snare me a copy, and they'd just look at me weird and giggle. I get that a lot . . . anyway, the wait is over and a preliminary perusal tells me it's worth it.

So Quentin, can you do the same for the Al Mann and Herb Dewey titles? :rolleyes: :cool: :D

P.S. What's the correct Irish pronunciation for "Niacall O'Siaghail?"

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » December 8th, 2005, 3:53 pm

Let me just add that both the book and lecture are wonderful. Listening to him ramble on, tell stories, especially after you have read the book just makes for a wonderful time to sit with a pint and listen as one does at a convention or get together. Do not buy this if you are looking for the holy grail of bizarre magick BUT if you are interested in the stories, learning through listening to older tales - the real scoop on these things, then get it right away.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
AB Stagecraft
http://www.mindguy.com/store
Makers of miracles for magicians and mentalists

Bill McFadden
Posts: 621
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Villesville-on-the-Chesapeake

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Bill McFadden » December 9th, 2005, 9:16 am

Originally posted by Paul Alberstat:
Do not buy this if you are looking for the holy grail of bizarre magick . . .
That's right, Paul. However, and with no sarcasm intended or implied (on my part), could you please share with us what you do consider to be "the holy grail," whether in "magick" or mentalism?

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » December 9th, 2005, 11:19 am

When I refer to the holy grail, it is a generalization for the people that are searching for that breakthrough methodology that gives you "self-working, no wires, no threads, no carbons, no impressions, no mirrors, no long and short, no...anything" yet still let's them do the apparent miracle. We have all been there as we read the catalogues and adverts, looking for that PERFECT method - hence the Holy Grail. Does that make it clearer?

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
AB Stagecraft
No Holy Grails here, just real world material

Bill McFadden
Posts: 621
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Villesville-on-the-Chesapeake

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Bill McFadden » December 9th, 2005, 11:33 am

Yes it do! ;)

Sincerely,
McF

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » December 9th, 2005, 11:35 am

I know a few Holy Grails in magic. But most magicians overlook them because they are too simple and familiar, hence not new. People wouldn't recognize the Holy Grail when they see them, because they don't know what one really looks like.

Here's an example: the Okito box. This trick is very simple; my 6-year old son is working on it and can almost do the mechanics. It's utterly baffling. The props look ordinary and can be examined before and after the trick. What more can you want? And yet magicians aren't satisfied with making a stack of half dollars penetrate through the box and their hand in the cleanest fashion imaginable. They can't help themselves creating a long routine, with lots of phases that spread the miracle around, thinner and thinner, until it is as thin as every other trick.

Here's another: Harry Lorayne's Moving Pencil. This trick has no sleights at all and requires only a deck of cards and a pencil. And it is an absolute miracle. And just think of all the magicians who know Moving Pencil, and don't use it, and instead perform confusing, complicated, move-y tricks with half the effect, in between sessions where they keep looking for the Holy Grail.

Hope this doesn't sound too crotchety. The Holy Grails are out there. In fact, there's probably a Holy Grail in a book in the room you're sitting in right now. You just have to recognize it.

Bill McFadden
Posts: 621
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Villesville-on-the-Chesapeake

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Bill McFadden » December 9th, 2005, 1:14 pm

Thanks, guys. But I didn't say I was SEEKING whatever the freakin' holy grail is! I merely asked Paul a simple clarification question. For some, the "Holy Grail" might be "13 Steps," or "Practical Mental Effects," or Deddy Corbusier's web site. No need for anyone to be pedantic, or otherwise get one's knickers in a knot. Ya' dig? :eek:

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » December 11th, 2005, 1:33 pm

Originally posted by Bill McFadden:
What's the correct Irish pronunciation for "Niacall O'Siaghail?"
Bill, The nearest phonetic pronunciation would be
"Nickel O'She-el."

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » December 12th, 2005, 4:22 pm

The booklet that Quentin has just re-released and this DVD are an excellent combination. The booklet is dangerous. If too many people take it seriously, it may actually cause the general quality of magic to rise to a new height.

The DVD is almost like icing on the cake. No tricks, just some great stories and one hint about what magic is really all about.

And that is worth the price of admission.

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » December 13th, 2005, 2:58 am

Quentin - nice internet ad copy and layout. I enjoy seeing non-traditional ads for magic related items.

Guest

Re: Tony "Doc" Shiels

Postby Guest » June 27th, 2006, 8:39 am

Gentlemen: If you want to know more about Doc Shiels, buy the book "The Owlman and Others - 30th Anniversary Edition" by Jonathan Downes. It contains a vast wealth of material on Doc and his varied bizarre exploits, and includes reproductions of rare newspaper clippings from the 1970s that really have to be seen to be believed. You can get a copy for a bargain price from the CFZ Shop on Ebay: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/CFZ-THE-CRYPTO ... -Shop.html


Return to “General”