Magic is the art of deception, and Reverent Bill Wishart of St Martin’s Church, Edinburgh, is a master of pulling the wool over people’s eyes. Quite literally: His tricks almost all involve knitting needles.

The 52-year-old magician, who performs under the stage name “Bill’s Ministry of Magic,” won this year’s Harry Kidd Cup for parlor, stage or stand-up comedy magic after he impressed judges of the West Lothian Magic Circle with his comedy magic routine, The Blades of Death. In the routine, he performed tricks with titles like “The Crochet Needles of Doom,” “Knitty Knitty, Bang, Bang,” and the “Disecto Arm Chopper.”

Wishart is the very image of a minister-turned-magician, performing all his tricks in a sparkling waistcoat accompanied by a podium with his stage name spelled out in Comic Sans. Just looking at him is giving me flashbacks to my days in the Boy Scouts. 

“It’s wonderful that the judges, distinguished fellow club members with many years’ experience of magic, enjoyed my act enough to award me the trophy,” Wishart told the local media. “To say I’m chuffed is an understatement.” 

Wishart is also a keen guitar-player, and often plays gigs with his church band, “Yo Stooshie.” 

It’s a sad fact that the local magic shop is largely a thing of the past, which is perhaps why Tam Shepherd’s Trick Shop – in business for 131 years – was named Glasgow’s Favorite Business for 2017. The shop beat out fellow nominees Glasgow Film Theatre, Scotia Bar, iolla eyewear and Tantrum Doughnuts, much to the delight of the Walton family, who’s run the shop for the past 75 years.

Sarah Cameron, who works in the shop with mum, dad, and sister Julia, explained the shop’s appeal: 

“We get so many people coming in to look at all the jokes, novelties and magic tricks that have been here for a very long time, and we are also fortunate in that we get newer generations coming in, too. Children are really into their technology but this sort of shop is something really different for them. The shop hasn’t changed dramatically in its 130 years. There aren’t many shops left like this one, where you have to have a really good look at everything. You’ll get grandparents coming in here with their grandchildren and telling them, ‘I used to come in here with my dad’ and they’re amazed that we are still going strong”.

Congratulations, Tam Shepherd’s, and here’s to another 131 years of bringing a little magic to the people of Scotland!