TASTE THE BLOOD OF THE ALTAR WINE

All About Performer Cara Hamilton

Cara Hamilton is a performer from Dusseldorf, currently residing Annan, Dumfries and Galloway, and works in Carlisle.
She has built a career off entertaining, provoking, and enlightening audiences with her mind- bending shows, incorporating seance, fear, magic, mesmerism, history, humour, music, and overall exploration into the other worlds we feel alien to.

This all sounds rather heady, so we asked her what makes her tick, what she wants the audience to feel, how she does it, and what her whole deal is.

I want reality. Many people crave reality and we are given what we are told is reality, something that we should be seeing on television, for instance, we should be hearing on the radio?

“Everything’s vetted. And it’s vetted to make things seem acceptable, but it’s a case of acceptable to
who and why. And I felt that from a very young age, because I’m seeing ‘this is what you

should be reading. You should be reading Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys. This is good. Square jawed,
checked shirt, fun.’

“No, sorry. I want to be reading about Alistair Crowley and I want to be looking at The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley. That looks like fun to me.

“Everyone has their own reality, and what we are given as reality by the world at large is never anywhere near accurate.
“And we have to find it ourselves.

“So, over the years, I performed both doing stage magic and doing seances, tarot readings, being a medium on stage, doing both of those separately, and everyone in those got their own reality from it.”

She got into it from the age of 16, but doing that sort of thing wasn’t too cool at the time, as Cara explained.
“I’ve been doing performing since then and tarot reading since 18.

“I thought both of them will actually marry together. There is this feeling you can’t possibly do both together because the rabbit and hat magicians will hate you and the mediums will cast you into the pit.

“Actually, I think it’s the perfect place to be. And since I started doing that, I don’t think in the last
eight years, I have never not had a full house every single time, which tells me there are people out there who want that sense of reality as I am providing.

“They want the chill down the spine. They don’t want it curated by someone wanting to make sure it’s nice and safe for them. Their souls and their body are certainly not under threat from me in any sense.

“People want to know what’s beyond that doorway? And that can be very loaded.”

Why do people want to allow themselves into, frankly, chaos, though? It can be very chaotic to have your whole reality questioned, myself and CJ (who took these photos) had a genuine magical experience while at Cara’s house.

She made CJ feel phantom touches, in the lay, tapped a doll after putting CJ under a trance, and they felt it as if someone was touching their side. I saw it, they felt it, she did it, we drove back feeling ambivalent – haunted and disturbed, but jubilant at the thought of it – a rush.

Cara gave her opinion on why people want this rush: “I must apologise in part because I tend to think about my performances quite metaphysically.

“Let’s say we have this metaphysical geometry lesson, that around me there is a big circle and this is the sphere of what I’m trying to do and around the person is where their expectations are, and at one point they’re both going to cross over.
“And this crossover is the key part. That crossover is where the magic happens. Some of what I do on stage is real, some of what I do isn’t real. I don’t tell people what’s what. I want them to decide for themselves.
“And if someone goes out thinking, I loved it, but it was all fake, I don’t care.

Cara also has a private museum of a variety of objects I will only be able to describe as macabre.

Half a skull she uses to drink red wine out of; a preserved hand that’s hundreds of year’s old with a candle stuck in it called a Hand of Glory – used to keep homeowners at bay while burgling; a possessed doll; a baby’s coffin; a homemade golem; witch’s effigies which were used for sympathetic magic, which sometimes was healing magic, but why? Why these things, and not something boring like stamps or keg badges? Cara said to this, as part of a broader question into why this exploration exists:

“A good friend, Madeleine, gave a comment which I feel answers this question appropriately to me as well.
“Let’s say you go into a religious icon shop. You go into a Roman Catholic icon shop, and when you’re in there, you see these you see a crucifix and it’s on a stand.“This obviously looks like it’s made really nice. It’s all done in gold or whatever. The one thing that people don’t think of is, look in the shadows of the stones.

“What’s there? Even light shining into that. Blood has dripped down from holes and holes and
wrists and so on and crucifixions into there. It looks beautiful in the moonlight. There’s a beauty there.

“Whether it gives people a sense of terror or disgust or taboo, there is a beauty in that taboo as well. And it’s important to appreciate that.

“Every culture has its own taboos. For instance, if we went to Saudi Arabia, a country I
never intend to visit, ever, I could not sit there with a nice glass of absinthe or a champagne cocktail
.
“I would love to do it just for the sake of doing it, of upsetting people, but it wouldn’t be good for my health. But that would be a taboo.

“But for some people seeing that scene, that would be beautiful, beautifully decadent.

“And that’s why I collect these things. There are taboos we all have. But we all must admit we find it alluring at the same time.”

We certainly do, Cara, and for you readers that want to be shown a different reality, Cara is always performing at various venues in the UK and Europe, and sometimes performs in the US. To keep updated, check www.carahamilton.com.

Words Seph Santiago

Photography CJ Pitcher