Magician Myth-busting (Part 3)
Original article for reference: www.mentalfloss.com/article/533621/secrets-of-magicians
Does this count as a ‘secret’?
I mean, you’re welcome to ask. Lots of people do.
Just be prepared for a ‘no’. Like everyone else with a job, we need to be paid for our work otherwise the big, scary men will come and take our furniture away.
If a magician does work for free, they’re probably a hobbyist, know the event host personally, or are doing a charity event.
12) …Or to Explain the Tricks
Again, telling someone not to do something doesn’t constitute a ‘secret’ (at this point I’m just arguing with the writer of this article).
Loads of people ask me how the tricks are done, and I happily turn them down.
The majority of spectators drop the subject when they realise it’s much more fun not to know, and most of the time they’re asking rhetorically as a reaction to what they’ve witnessed.
13) There Isn’t Necessarily a Penalty for Revealing How Tricks Are Done
I agree with this one.
Although I’m not sure if many people assume that there is an official ‘punishment’ for doing so.
The obvious downside to revealing how a trick is done is that whatever incredible feat of mystery the magician just performed would cease to be that – the mystery of how the trick is done vanishes, along with the amazement.
There is an official penalty, however, if you’re a member of the Magic Circle, which is being booted out if they somehow learn you’ve been revealing the tricks of the trade.
It’s fair enough, really.
The entire discipline of magic exists because magicians keep the secrets of the tricks.
No secrets – no magic.
And of course there’s the niggling issue that you’re potentially putting working magicians out of a job if society as a whole starts learning the core methods of loads of magic tricks.
14) They Avoid Using Trick Decks
Yeah… sure we do…
In all seriousness – if we want to perform a particular effect, and a trick deck helps us achieve that effect in the most convincing way possible, then we’ll use one.
But you didn’t hear that from me.
15) Their Tricks Don’t Always Go As Planned
While this isn’t exactly a secret, tricks do go wrong far more often than it seems at first.
It’s happened plenty of times to me.
This is one of the really cool things about close-up magic – when it’s being performed by a magician with a decent amount of experience, they’re able to ‘jazz’.
This essentially means that they exploit the fact that the audience doesn’t know what’s going to happen, and use this to alter the outcome of the trick, or even change what the trick is midway through.
While another magician watching this would probably know exactly what went wrong, from the audience’s perspective, they’re none the wiser.
16) Misdirection is Key
We’ve found the first proper secret of this group of 7!
Well, sort of.
I’m going to be deliberately vague about how I word this, as I don’t want to give away too much of a key principle in magic.
But the truth is, a lot of people I’ve performed for have known about this concept when I mention it in passing.
A layperson’s definition of misdirection is that the magician distracts you while they do something sneaky.
There is a hell of a lot more to it than that – entire books have been written on the subject.
But that’s only about 20% right.
More accurately, misdirection is having confident control of the audience’s attention so that they focus on what the magician wants them to focus on, when the magician wants them to.
They aren’t necessarily ‘distracted’, as that suggests their attention is suddenly diverted away from the trick entirely.
Instead, they’d be watching one part of the trick whilst something else went on under the radar.
The thing is, this completely depends on the trick itself.
Many tricks (including most of what I perform) don’t rely on misdirection whatsoever, and the audience can stare at whatever they wish for as long as they wish, as there’s nothing that needs hiding from them.
In these cases, the secret is usually hiding in plain sight, or is disguised in some other clever way (most good magic is quite clever).
17) Magic Tricks Can Help People Who Have Been Injured or Who Have Disabilities
Instead of being a ‘secret’, as a secret s typically an intentional covering up of something, this is more an interesting piece of information that most people simply don’t know.
Simply put, because magic tricks often uniquely blend complex physical motions with clever psychological techniques, they double as brilliant therapeutic exercises for those with all sorts of disabilities, and have shown to actually help those who struggle with what we see as everyday tasks.
Hooray! We ended with something nice and not something that annoyed me!
Thanks for sticking with me through this journey.
Until next month!