Mystic Twelve

Mystic Twelve

Mystic Twelve was founded in 1920 in Glasgow. The driving force behind the club was Frederick Randell Burnett whose real name was Sam John Rendall. There is a fuller record of this man in the Magic Circular by E.A.Dawes. The club had only twelve members and potential members had to wait until someone either moved from the area or died. The original members include Frederick Randell Burnett - President, William Jeffrey - Vice President, Nelson Lyford - Secretary, Ernardo Veneri, Charles Dacre, T.J.Anderson, James Bell, J.Loudon Palmer, Fred J.Smith, Harry F.Ashton, Harry Vernon and Allan Peterson.

Later members included James B.Findlay, George McKenzie, Alex Stewart, Richard Armour, John Ramsay, Duncan Johnstone, Drew Masters and possibly Tommy Frederick. The club motto was Fraternity, Fidelity and Progress.

The club met in the house of Frederick Burnett at 22 Hamilton Place, Glasgow. The house is still standing today.

The club had its own distinctive badge. An original of which can be seen in the David Devant room in The Magic Circle H.Q, 12 Stephenson Way, Euston, London, or in the Jim Cuthbert collection of Scottish club badges. See appendix 1/3.

The club was very secretive. Here are two examples: -
Before meetings all members were posted a playing card and had to show this card before being allowed to enter the meeting room, and the appointment of a Tyler, or guard, stationed outside the meeting room (this was Burnett’s butler). I have not come across this post before in relation to magic. It is interesting that when new clubs started in the West of Scotland many included this post as part of their office bearers.

The club was well known in its time as many of their meetings and special events were reported in the Sphinx magazine, particularly in the earlier years.

There were no free rides with this club. Every member was expected to perform an original effect at each meeting. One particular effect described was the talking skull. Members were invited to ask questions and the answers came from the mouth of the skull. This was presented by Burnett. It was just as well that the meetings were held it was in his house. Other members’ wives might have complained about their floors being drilled and pipes connected to the skull and then to a funnel in another room. Obviously the effect was more important than any damage it might do to the floors.

Frederick Burnett was made the Honorary President of the Scottish Conjurers Association in 1924 and remained so until his death in 1940 at the age of 79. The club carried on until 1960 although from 1940 there were only 11 members. This was a sign of respect to the founder and main motivator of the club.

Magic Circular Volume 79 page 376
Sphinx 1926 page 62
Sphinx 1927 page 134
Dex Warren and Roy Walton
Letter from the Burnett family to J.Cuthbert