• Is Magic real?

  • June 03, 2019

  • Yes and no. As far as I am concerned, though, Magic is real. It just depends on how you define Magic.

    The reason I think Magic is real is that I see it whenever I perform. I see it whenever I watch great Magic, even when I know the secret behind how it works. You can see it in a person’s eyes when they realise that their brain briefly loses its grip on reality. For me, that is when Magic exists. There is a relatively well-known quote from Arthur C. Clarke,

    “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

    Since one of technology’s definitions is “the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry”, I don’t see why that definition can’t include the methodologies that magicians use to entertain and perform. Magician’s work in the dark, using techniques like misdirection, psychology and social influence to ensure their spectators see Magic. For the spectator in those moments, Magic is very real. The brain can’t fathom how it was done and is left with that suspension of disbelief, allowing them to at least briefly believe Magic is real.

    Too many times have I heard a spectator say, “you sold your soul to the devil”, “that’s some real witchcraft”, “There is just no way that that was possible”, and many more. There are of course the naysayers, who will flat out refuse Magic is real, saying that I must have used sleight of hand, or I lied. They are right of course; Magic in the form of saying a few magical words, making a pact with a demon is just not real. At least, not to my knowledge; there is, after all, a lot I do not know about the world around us, but I have yet to experience anything that would make me believe in the supernatural (great TV show btw).

    Looking at Magic in broader terms, I see it after I’ve finished performing. There was a festival I attended a few years ago where I had brought along every magic effect I could fit into my shoulder bag, along with a ridiculous outfit I put together in honour of the festival. I would perform to other guests at every opportunity, which was quite regularly given the absurd nature what I was wearing, and it seemed to be very well received. It was a five-day festival, and on the third or fourth day, a group of people came running up to me screaming “it’s the white magician!” They explained how much they loved seeing me perform and wanted to see more, so I, of course, obliged with another performance. They enjoyed seeing more, but it was what they said afterwards that really stuck with me.

    “We had been about to go to bed when you performed for us, but after you finished, we ended up continuing our night until sunrise!”

    I had performed that first time around 10 pm, so they must have gone on to have a great night. It was then that I realised that the most visible and vital Magic that a magician can perform is energy manipulation. A magician should walk into a group and raise the energy levels of their audience, waking them up, infusing them with life and energy. After that festival, I knew to look out for it. To this day, it is how I know if I am doing my job as an entertainer, whether I’m performing close up magic on the street, table magic at a restaurant or mix and mingle Magic at a cocktail event.

    The most apparent forms that this presents itself as are people laughing, screaming, jumping around and generally having a good time. Aside from the obvious benefit of showing the person who booked you that you are doing a great job, you can see how it affects your immediate audience, but also the people in the vicinity. It creates a ripple effect through the crowd. As more people have a great time, others will feel like they don’t have to be as reserved, able to let loose somewhat and enjoy themselves. People are always afraid of looking silly and being judged. So if you can get someone to let go of those nagging voices and enjoy themselves, then you can’t tell me Magic isn’t real. You just have to change how you see things.

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