The Master's Hat  

Posted by Shawn Thomas Odyssey in ,

It’s possible that this portrait, by artist John “The Cornish Wonder” Opie (1761-1807), is just what it seems, a depiction of a boy in an ordinary top hat holding his catch of the day. But I have reason to believe that the hat is in fact “the” hat. The fabled “Master’s Hat,” created by Alexis Marbrand, the so-called Bandit Magician of Fife (1416-1478), hundreds of years before the first top hats made their appearances in the world of fashion, near the end of the 18th century.

How many magicians and magical historians have died in the pursuit of this one highly elusive object is unknown, but surely the number must lie in the hundreds. Who the boy is, and what became of him, is quite unknown, though he does bear a surprising resemblance to a young Alfred Monroe (1781-1830), the famed demon hunter of London.

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The Lost Art Of Faerie Spirit Conjuring  

Posted by Shawn Thomas Odyssey in

Is it just me, or is something altogether uncanny happening in this photo?

I came across this striking image while doing research, and I am fairly certain that I have met the man in the New York City, not three years ago, a street magician on the corner of Broadway and 33rd Street...and yet how is that possible? The photo is at least a hundred years old. And what of the boy? The boy knows something. I'm quite sure of it. A secret that he finds both humorous and vaguely diabolical. Indeed, I am not so sure that he is a real boy at all, but perhaps a goblin, or a ghoul in the semblance of a human youth. A changeling henchman, perhaps?

But it is the woman to whom my eye is irrevocably drawn. Upon close scrutiny, it has become my belief that, when this photo was first taken, the woman was not there at all. I am growing more and more convinced that the man's hand, though it appears to rest on the woman's shoulder (or more aptly stated, appears to be supporting the lady, holding her in place), is in actuality clutching a handful of sawdust, chicory leaves, and ancient Celtic rune-stones; a sure sign that this photo is in truth giving us a rare glimpse of the lost art of faerie spirit conjuring.

Then again, I could be mistaken.

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