March has been quite a month for me so far.  While speaking on Time Management and Diversity for the first time to different companies, Elena and I got booked to go to The Caribbean on The Celebrity Eclipse Cruise Ship.  Then we will perform at the Four F Convention in New York. I wrote about it in a previous blog.  It’s a convention for magicians, and as you might guess it’s very difficult to fool magicians.  In fact, Penn & Teller have a show called Fool Us devoted to this very idea. Fooling people really comes down to an attitude.  It has less to do with secrets than people think.  A few blogs ago I wrote about magical secrets.  While they most certainly have their place, it’s important for all of you Alexandrites to understand that there are far more important components to the mystery soup.  This blog can be called “Fool Me”.

Because of the nature of the magician’s work, secrecy is important.  The magician depends upon mystery, which in turn depends upon secrets.  Magic is interesting as long as an audience can be puzzled. If you stop and think about it, we’re really making something happen that others know cannot happen.  This is not easy.  Some people want to show their brilliance(?) by performing a mystery and then showing how it’s done.  Muhammed Ali used to do this a lot.

Noted dramatic critic Ashton Stevens once said, “I have faith in magicians and I believe in them – but I was the most disappointed man in the world when Thurston had me come on stage with him and I discovered how one of his mysteries was done.  I would rather believe that magicians perform miracles”.  The magician’s art is to take people to land of mystery.  A land of “Arabian Knights.”  A fairyland of wonder.  In the human mind, in the faculty of reason a three divisions.  Analysis, synthesis and judgment.  Analysis takes things to pieces.  Synthesis puts them back together and judgment weighs the matters at hand.  The interesting thing about synthesis is that once the mind has put things back together and solved them, it loses interest and looks for something else.  Remember this power of synthesis in humans and keep them interested and amazed without giving them the solution to the problem.  Never explain to a lay audience how your mysteries are performed and, protect your fellow magician by protecting his secrets.  In the training I provide you through my free magic tricks the inner secrets of magic are entrusted to your care.  You owe it to your fellow magician as well as to yourself to protect the profession.

Having said that, secrets are not the magic.  They are a tool that serves the magic. As British social critic Malcolm Muggeridge stated, “Secrecy is as essential to Intelligence as vestments and incense to a Mass, or darkness to a spiritualist seance, and must at all costs be maintained, quite irrespective of whether or not it serves any purpose.”  Most people think that if they could just learn the secrets they could do the magic, but this isn’t true.  A little over a decade ago magicians went crazy over those television shows that gave away some of our secrets of magic to an audience that was primarily composed of disinterested onlookers.  Marketing guru Dan Kennedy, who’s special reports sell for hundreds of dollars, sometimes “gives it all away” in webinars that he hosts from time to time.  He doesn’t make a big deal about these webinars, he just puts them out there in plain sight. People still miss it!  Partly because they don’t realize he’s doing it, but also because people only value that which they pay for.  The stuff just seems so darn ordinary that people dismiss it.  But it still works!  The best way to keep a secret is to put it in a book.  So few people read anymore or are willing to dig.

On the cruise ship where I perform, a singer who saw my show said he couldn’t figure out any of my secrets.  Later he added that he had a huge collection of magic PDF’s that some magician had given him and asked if I’d like to see them.  I said I would.  In looking through them, to my shock, he had all of my secrets and more!  I mean there literally was a goldmine of secrets there.  The problem was they were hidden in these tombs and this singer didn’t know what he had.  Hide it in plain sight.  The real gems of magic are especially easy to hide online, because of the barrage of information on the web.  It’s literally a needle in a haystack.  You can go to a certain website right now and see an exposed view of David Copperfield’s appearing car!  But no one ever does, and those who do simply do not know what they’re looking at.  But I like the saying, “there’s gold in the old.”

In our mad scramble to devour the newest magic books and DVDs, we are in danger of forgetting the important things about being magicians. The important things fade from our consciousness as we become lost and tangled in things that are less important.  Discover things for yourself and don’t just rely on what other people say you should be doing. Today this seems rarely valued in the magic community. We appear much more concerned with gossip and politics and finding out what is new and what other people think. We look to others to be our magical authorities. Yet, sadly, if we are always trying to fill our heads with what other people are thinking, there isn’t room for recognizing and appreciating our own thoughts and ideas. I remember reading about misdirection in magic books for months and months as a teenager in Fitzkee’s, Magic By Misdirection.  It didn’t really strike me until I started to experience it’s power to mask the weaknesses of a trick, what it really was all about.

When it comes to secrets, most people really don’t want to know how it’s done, unless they’re pushed into that mindset by a magician who frames his work in a confrontational way. When I was a teenager I used to perform in restaurants and I found it very hard not to be received as a challenge when I performed.  I didn’t understand that being a teenager was the problem.  There’s only so much you can get away with.  I have to laugh when I see young magicians wearing tuxedos or talking about world travel.  It becomes obvious that what they’re saying and doing is false.

Nonetheless, knowing too much can take the fun out of many activities–and magic is clearly one of them.  David Copperfield said, “Most people tell me that they don’t want to know how my magic is done.”  Remember that secrets are only a very small part of the mystery.

Leave a Reply

Sign up for Master List
Join the Alexandrites, my exclusive group of magicians, and receive weekly magic tricks, tips for improving your magic performances, and more!
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!
Upcoming shows