- Interviews Page

Below is an interview with the author of

Capricorian Tales and Curator of the

"Surnateum", a Natural Museum of the Supernatural.


Mr. Chelman,

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us today.

When did the magic bug first bite?


At first, I didn't want to be a magician, but I was fascinated by James Bond

like character.  I'd love to be a cheater.  I dreamed that I could give any

poker hand from a shuffled deck; and eventually I can do that.  It just took

me 20 years before I could master the technique.




Did you start off doing the regular magic first and grow into the

bizarre or did you jump right into the dark side from the beginning?


I started as a close-up performer, and I still love close-up magic and

classical magic.  I strongly believe that a good bizarrist should first be

an excellent classical magician.  In fact, there are even venues were both

classical and bizarre/storytelling magic may be performed alltogether.  My

"Magic Box" story/show is exactly that: I tell my own initiation in magic

and perform a very bizarre show for kids.




What is the story behind your  choosing the bizarre magick venue to

express your art form?


One day, I entered a kind of occult shop in Brussels and discovered two

voodoo dolls (black and white).  I immediately thought that a "voodoo as I

do" routine should be more entertaining than a classical do-as-I-do.

Some time after, I bought an old Egyptian scarab.  There was so much

emotional magic in that object that I dreamed to be the curator of a Museum

of Magical artifacts, one day.  I always use the real thing for my magic.

That's how bizarre/occult and antiquarian magic came into my life.




Did you have a mentor in the beginning or did you go it alone and

develop your own style?


I didn't have a mentor and created my own style.  But I read anything I

could find and was especially fascinated by the Vernon and Slydini

approaches to magic.

Except the "Collector", but that's another story...




Who were your main influences when you started in the bizarre magick

field (ie. who did you read or watch)?


Reading fantasy and fantastic books: like Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" and

Malpertuis (by Jean Ray, a famous Belgian author).  In fact, almost all the

classics (Frankenstein, Dracula...)  I didn't know that other magicians were

involved in that approach.  I believed in a kind of magic based on

Belgian/European traditions and mythologies.  When I first met T.A.Waters,

he told me about Invocation and Tony Andruzzi.  Later, I read the books of

Tony "Doc" Shiels and Punx.  I have a deep admiration for Punx (Ludwig


But what I did was extremely different.




How do you come up with your effects and stories?  Is there a certain

formulae that you use to produce your bizarre works of art?


Usually, I find an interesting object.  I learn a maximum about it and try

to come up with a routine.  During all those years, I created the

"Surnateum", a Natural Museum of the Supernatural, based on traditionnal

Cabinets of Wonders.  Very close to a contemporary art approach of

Wunderkammern, (the Surnateum is dedicated to the memory of Adalgisa Lugli.)

(An English/american version is at work.) Close minded to m. Wilson's Museum

of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, but very different in the approach.

When I create a story, I hope that I have something intelligent and original

to tell about the subject.




Who do you like in the field of bizarre magick today?


My favorite magicians nowadays is without any hesitation Ricky Jay and Harry

Potter.  Think about that.

I also have a strong admiration for Imam and Mary Tomich.




What words of wisdom would you pass on to those thinking about getting

into or just starting out in the field of bizarre magick?


Study your classical magic first.  Bizarre magic is another way to thing

magic with another background.

And read Punx' books.




There has been a lot of interest of late here in the states for your

Tarot Deck.  Do you sell them direct and if so would you like to give a

plug for them here?  Like do you accept credit card orders or just

international postal money orders?  Can they be ordered over the

internet from you or do they need to send it to you by post (give

address if the latter is true)?  And price for the Deck with english



I don't sell those, but a magic shop in Belgium does.  The "Lewis Magic

Shop" in Brussels.  Their address is : 45 rue Van Artevelde  Brussels


Their phone number: 003225112407




Do you have any other items coming out for the bizarrists in the near

future?  Books?  Videos?  Effects?


Nothing special, we are working a lot on the Surnateum.

Some videos in English may be produced in a short future in Portugal.




What's on the horizon for Christian Chelman?  Any irons in the fire

you'd like to tell us about?


We are bringing the art of magic back in the museum, thanks to Ricky Jay for

showing us the way.

And the Surnateum is the most wonderful tool I ever created for Bizarre

Magic.  You just have to guess how to use it.




Mr. Chelman, I'd like to say thanks again for taking the time to answer

these questions and we look forward to having you around to haunt our

humble site for many years to come.


If you are interested in Christian Chelman's work you

can check out his Surnateum the Natural Museum of the


Click Here!

Look for more interview pages to be added .  

Thanks Christian!

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