Monday, September 24, 2018

Magic of Here and Now

by Kantanquer (writer), Los Angeles, January 16, 2007


When I was a working magician I used to play kids parties. I’d play just about anything; birthdays, sweet sixteens, graduations, bar mitzvahs, you name it. I had been taught my magic by a series of mail-order programs. Although not as effective as learning at the knees of Houdini, the mail-order route was practical, low pressure and low cost. The program promised that after two or three levels of study the student would be out in the… real world earning good money. And sure enough, soon as I had finished the level three review and examination, I got my first job. It was a neighbor’s birthday party. I told the kid’s parents I’d work for free just for the experience. But at the end of the show, the kids seemed happy and impressed and so the dad pressed a ten dollar bill into my hand and the mom wrapped a piece of birthday cake in cellophane. I was a working magician.

One of my favorite tricks was the “Re-write Swipe.” This is a trick where I pass out pieces of paper with dates and times printed on them. I ask each kid to look at his paper and memorize their date and time. While they each hold the paper in hand I cast one of my most powerful spells. Then I ask the kids to reveal what their date and time is. As each kid announces his memorized date he shows us the printed slip he’s holding. You can imagine the surprise when their dates are wrong! Not only are they wrong - when the next kid announces his date and time, it is the one next to him! Somehow, while the kids clutched their printed time slips, the dates moved to their neighbor! Now this is the trick that got the most insistent demands for explanation. I would get wide-eyed kids quaking in frustration grabbing me and saying things like, “But I covered my paper with two hands and no one could see it - so how did it change??” One thing the mail order book made clear to us students - never reveal a magic trick a lay person.

The magician should never reveal a trick to anyone but another magician. Usually for money. There have been many documented cases where one magician would buy or sell a trick from another magician. That kept the trick intact and out of the hands of the general public - where if disclosed the trick would become worthless to all. I kept my “Re-write Swipe” trick under tight wraps. Although it required a relative lower level of magic, it became so valuable to me that I took extra precautions. And when a fellow craftsman approached me to purchase the secret - I hesitated. He was a fellow magician who worked another town and represented no real threat to me. But I was wary. One evening we had a cup of tea together and this fellow started to speculate on how the Swipe was done. He assumed that I was using visual deception at the time I handed out the slips. But each child was allowed to look at their slip and then put it in their pocket - there was no chance for a switch or even slight of hand. My friend nodded and looked puzzled.

I subscribe fully to the magician code. There is no need to reveal the workings of a trick - even to another magician. Part of magic is the wonder that is created by illusion or close contact with the unknown. I believe that as we approach the unknown we either expand or contract our consciousness. Expansion is the reaction of most children. With adults - the opposite often occurs. An adult will dismiss magic as nothing more than sophisticated fraud. They are unable to believe in magic and too narrow to subscribe to new dimensions of reality. But I reminded my fellow magician of the Arthur C. Clarke observation: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I don’t think he was satisfied - but it was the closest to the truth that I wanted to go. He was understanding and commented that in a truly multi-dimensional world - times and dates meant nothing. That there is really only the here and now, and nothing more. Turns out he knew more than most magicians.

About the Writer

Kantanquer is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on Magic of Here and Now

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By Credo on September 19, 2013 at 01:42 pm

This was an enjoyable articles.

Keep the presses rolling.:)Credo

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