The field of magic can be a fickle and judgmental business with some entertainer looking upon the world of children’s entertainment with scorn from the lofty heights of adult magic. I do not shy away from the fact that I also perform children’s magic and offers different and arguably greater rewards to share in moments of astonishment. If we, as magicians create magic to create astonishment and enjoy that experience from the participants / spectators then we have a more open blank canvas to work with in the form of children – in that (as mentioned previously) their world is still unfolding before their eyes. It is here, that I must interject and say that performing for magic is certainly not easier because of this. In fact it is a completely different dynamic. For children the magical prestige at the end, will certainly garner a higher level of gasp of astonishment – for children it is the entertainment ride and fun on the way to this plateau of astonishment which is the most important element of performing to children.
If you asked “Do you believe in magic? Do you believe in mind reading?”
(to a child:)
The answer would be an unashamed ‘Yes’. When we start absorbing information at our infantile years we can see a bird in the sky. We know a bird flies. We see adults walking around. We know adults walk. Over time we too, stop crawling, start toddling and eventually start walking. We know we can walk but we know we cannot fly. (Except Superman) If we then see someone fly based on our knowledge of the world that human’s cannot fly, this by deduction must be magic.
As we grow older, our reality and beliefs are shaped into what is normal and what is not normal. Everything else, is either impossible – or if you see something as impossible (and discard the belief-limiting sceptical shackles which regards it as a ‘trick’) you a left with pure ‘magic’.
Indulge me for a second.
In 1848, 3 young sisters by the names of Kate, Leah and Margaret Fox, garnered worldwide public acclaim for delivering public séances, and being able to produce rappings and tappings of spirits. Over the years, they held many séances – usually extremely frivolous, giving advice about stocks and shares, love or marital affairs, and alike. Over time, however, their relationships lead to heavy drinking and quarreling and in 1888, after many years of members of the public believing in the magic and mystery shrouding these tappings – their performances were exposed as fraudulent and the sisters exposed how they had been able to create the sound of the raps by cracking their knuckles, joints and toes and the control of the muscles below the leg of the knee which control the tendons of the foot and in turn allow this action of the toe and ankle bone. These techniques were not commonly known and as a result – were perceived as magic or more…..
Keep your eyes peeled for part 4 in my look at astonishment in the world of magic. Next post will look at some people who have attempted to show magic as real to the world. These have cause outrage and upset when debunked, but intrigue, excitement and even a cult following before their lies and myths were blown….we want to believe yet we also want to know the explanation to magic. Part 5 looks at some people, who, just for a moment, made the world believe in magic and Psychic phenomenon.