I still possess some bent cutlery as a souvenir from my housewarming party in 1976 (yes, I did do parties in a previous life!), when Tony “Doc” Shiels, self-ascribed wizard and paranormal aficionado, tried to persuade us that he was a second Uri Geller.
The Doc, long since decamped to Ireland, is probably best known for his links with Morgawr, the legendary Falmouth sea monster, and his claim to have raised Nessie, with photographic “proof” that made it onto the Daily Mirror’s front page.
His Geller act, however, was but one of a number of other unusual talents and activities which he was never too shy to publicise.
This week’s earthquake down Helston way reminded me of a shattering incident that made headlines back in 1986.
This was when he claimed credit for a minor earthquake – his words - in Ponsanooth, where he was living at the time.
He told Falmouth Packet reporter Clare Morgan how it had happened while he was drinking his favourite pint, Guinness, in the Stag Hunt Inn.
“It was unintentional, but I was angry at the time,” he explained. “I was waving my finger at a picture of the Loch Ness Monster when two plate glass shelves split down the middle, optics shattered and bottles fell and broke.”
By way of background information, he told Clare that his wife Chris and three daughters were all witches and that his two sons, naturally, were wizards.
The Doc’s many “careers” had included fire-eating, which he described as the most dangerous, cautioning: “It’s a mistake to do it if you have a beard (as he had) and the wind changes.”
He recalled: “I was doing a big blow-out, which means you fill your gob with petrol. The wind changed and my head exploded! Guinness saved me then because my wife poured a pint on me.”
He extolled the virtues of Guinness in the first edition of a new magicians’ magazine he was publishing, pointing out: “I use it in my incantation; I often draw a magic sign in the creamy froth on the pint when I’m raising monsters.”
Alas, when pressed by Clare to demonstrate his powers, he declined to do so – for fear, he said, of damaging the tape recorder belonging to a journalist from BBC Radio 4, who was also in on the interview.