Trapdoor opens for ousted king of magicians
Tuesday 08 September 1998
Never before has a president been vanished from the head of the notoriously secretive organisation. They have, until now, only been replaced on their death by a "clear" election.
The end of a long-running battle between the present incumbent, David Berglas, and his reforming challenger, Michael Bailey, ended last night with a 2-to-1 victory for the new man.
Members were said to be "surprised" by the result, announced last night at the annual general meeting at the society's headquarters in Euston, London.
Mr Berglas, who pipped television magician Paul Daniels to the post nine years ago, had said he would not stand for election, preferring to step aside for a newcomer. But he changed his mind and decided to run against Mr Bailey, a retired advertising executive who masterminded a campaign to raise pounds 1.8 million for the Centre of Magic Arts - a Lottery-funded museum and base for the society - which opened three months ago.
Mr Berglas, 72, told The Independent that he had been encouraged to join battle by members anxious to preserve the status quo.
A Magic Circle spokesman last night hinted darkly at behind-the-scenes machinations that had swung the election. He said: "One supporter of Mr Berglas sent out a lot of letters that were condemnatory about Michael Bailey ... but Mr Berglas had no connection with this person. I think whoever it was shot himself in the foot."
The results of the postal vote last night followed speculation of real rivalry between the two contenders. Mr Bailey is said to lead a "reformist" faction which wants to spruce up the society. David Berglas on the other had is a "mentalist", known for his memory skills, who has held the title unchallenged since 1989.
In his victory speech, Mr Bailey vowed to make the Circle more popular, up to date and better known by the public. Some members were said to be unhappy that the secrecy surrounding the society and magic tricks had gone too far.
- 1 School playground evacuated over 'unusually aggressive' grey squirrel
- 2 Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke beats opponent 33 years his junior in exhibition boxing match
- 3 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 4 Today was a bad day for renters, landlords, and democracy
At least 100 dead after Islamists launch attack on Nigerian mosque
Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke beats opponent 33 years his junior in exhibition boxing match
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Russell Brand: 'Katy Perry? I don’t know who that is'
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
David Cameron sets out immigration reforms: We should distrust Ukip and their 'snake-oil of simple solutions'
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...
£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...
£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...
£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...