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Topic: Hardest people to FOOL?
Message: Posted by: ihave (Apr 14, 2014 03:58AM)
Who are the hardest people to fool? Those with high iq's? Highly educated people? Kids? OF note, I had an 80 year old going senile, who instantly knew how I did a trick, which amazed me.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Apr 14, 2014 05:18AM)
Methinks that if "fooling people" is a measure of performance magic there is something wrong with either the presentation or choice of effect for a particular audience. People like to be amazed and astonished -- and even to find a challenging puzzle. No one likes to be "fooled." It is easy to fool anybody -- just run for public office.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 14, 2014 06:40AM)
Amazed YOU? --Obviously, it didn't amaze him!!!

"Fool" them--but, don't make fools of them!
Message: Posted by: BrianMillerMagic (Apr 14, 2014 09:52AM)
Funsway: he didn't say fooling people is [i]the[/i] measure or even [i]a[/i] measure of performing magic. He just asked who is hardest to fool.

In my experience, kids are the hardest to fool. Now admittedly I'm not a kids magician. I've never done a legitimate kids show in my life, but I do have to entertain them for a few minutes at restaurants and family friendly affairs. Perhaps their imaginations are so fertile that they are able to consider crazy possibilities for how something might be done, and thus sometimes guess correctly, in spite of the magician's technique or presentation. Adults, on the other hand, rule so many things out just because of their existing knowledge base that it's harder to imagine how a trick might work.

Accordingly, I find extremely intelligent people the easiest to fool, probably because they really think they know stuff. The more you're convinced you know, the harder it is to imagine that there's something you don't. Especially when it seems like it should be so simple.
Message: Posted by: DWRackley (Apr 14, 2014 02:21PM)
I agree with Brian; It’s kids, hands down! If you think about the things that make magic “work”, we’re usually saying one thing while doing another. We count on them looking one place while the “action” is happening somewhere else. We use ASSUMPTIONS, where people believe they’re seeing something familiar, while what they’re seeing isn’t really what they’re accustomed to.

Kids have no previous assumptions. They need to examine everything. Their eyes are everywhere (as are their hands if you’re not careful!)

One example, if you “casually” turn a can upside down, the adult will assume, since nothing fell out, that the can is empty. A child needs to actually SEE the inside of the can, and even that may not be enough. They may need to actually reach inside the can to believe it’s empty.

Folks who perform Children’s Magic (IF they do it well) have my sincere respect!
Message: Posted by: MGordonB (Apr 14, 2014 05:21PM)
This may be obvious, but people who don't like being fooled.
For example, my best friend John, likes magic but doesn't like being taken in. When I do routines in his presence he intently watches my hands. He's good about not tripping me up during a routine and gives me great feedback on flashes etc. after I'm done.
Message: Posted by: PeterSteele111 (Apr 14, 2014 06:08PM)
I generally find the easier the trick the harder it is to figure out for most people. I wouldn't say it fools them but most people over think even the simplest effects such as broke and restored match stick. I wouldn't say that there are specific groups per say, but I have a lot of kids that can figure out a trick a lot faster than most adults because they don't know any better. I run 7 magic shops and perform all the time for kids as they are my main audeince and I have to constantly crowd control them because little light bulbs go off in thier heads for instance with delights and they immediately want to call you out on it. They figure things out so much faster than adults do. To them it is common sense the way something might work as for an adult they tend to over analyze and come to wild conjuctures. Just my two sense. I agree though never try to "fool" someone just have fun and make it fun for them too.
Message: Posted by: latentimage (Apr 14, 2014 07:15PM)
[quote]On Apr 14, 2014, BrianMillerMagic wrote:

In my experience, kids are the hardest to fool. Now admittedly I'm not a kids magician. I've never done a legitimate kids show in my life, but I do have to entertain them for a few minutes at restaurants and family friendly affairs. Perhaps their imaginations are so fertile that they are able to consider crazy possibilities for how something might be done, and thus sometimes guess correctly, in spite of the magician's technique or presentation. Adults, on the other hand, rule so many things out just because of their existing knowledge base that it's harder to imagine how a trick might work.[/quote]

This is spot on. I agree that kids are the hardest to fool. Magic generally relies on people accepting that they know what is supposed to happen as a result of a certain action. When a quarter is in your right hand and you move the right hand over your left in a dumping motion, adults don't even have to stop and consider what was supposed to have happened there. Their minds are conditioned to accept these things subconsciously. Kids haven't been around as long, and have not yet learned to accept things as "given".
Message: Posted by: bowers (Apr 14, 2014 07:27PM)
I think higher IQ one's are easier to stump.
People with good-old common sense are the hardest
to fool in my opinion.
Todd
Message: Posted by: ihave (Apr 15, 2014 09:22AM)
Does this count as anything, when I pretend to throw a ball, and my dog thinks I really threw it but I didn't? LOL
Message: Posted by: SDMoore1 (Apr 15, 2014 09:33AM)
[quote]On Apr 14, 2014, bowers wrote:
I think higher IQ one's are easier to stump.
People with good-old common sense are the hardest
to fool in my opinion.
Todd [/quote]

I sometimes wonder if there's a bit of left-brained/right-brained element to all this.

Engineer vs. Artist
Scientist vs. Historian
Message: Posted by: Ado (Apr 16, 2014 02:08AM)
[quote]On Apr 14, 2014, bowers wrote:
I think higher IQ one's are easier to stump.
Todd [/quote]

Another thread had someone say that most magicians he knew had a higher IQ. Should we conclude that magicians are the easiest to fool?

I know some extremely intelligent people who'd figure out most magic, and others with similar intellect who couldn't, or didn't want to. It all depends on whether they play the game. Some people will burn your hands all the time, and you may be able to do a secret move as you finally get them to look into your eyes for a split second. They may not have seen the move, you didn't fool them either. Others will gladly let you lead, just to enjoy beeing fooled.

IQs may be strongly correlated to understanding how things are done, I think being easily fooled is more a capacity of going in suspension of disbelief (and being subject to a decent performance).


P!
Message: Posted by: djurmann (Apr 16, 2014 09:08AM)
Family members can be tough too
Message: Posted by: Loual4 (Apr 16, 2014 09:57AM)
[quote]On Apr 16, 2014, Ado wrote:
[quote]On Apr 14, 2014, bowers wrote:
I think higher IQ one's are easier to stump.
Todd [/quote]

Another thread had someone say that most magicians he knew had a higher IQ. Should we conclude that magicians are the easiest to fool?

I know some extremely intelligent people who'd figure out most magic, and others with similar intellect who couldn't, or didn't want to. It all depends on whether they play the game. Some people will burn your hands all the time, and you may be able to do a secret move as you finally get them to look into your eyes for a split second. They may not have seen the move, you didn't fool them either. Others will gladly let you lead, just to enjoy beeing fooled.

IQs may be strongly correlated to understanding how things are done, I think being easily fooled is more a capacity of going in suspension of disbelief (and being subject to a decent performance).


P! [/quote]

This is actually a really interesting comment. Personally, when I watch a magician, I am acutely aware that I may be fooled, and fooled in a big way. However, being a magician, If I can't see how it was done, I can usually see a method that I would use to achieve the same effect. This is due to all the accumulated experience in that particular field. So the questions becomes :" can a high I.Q. magician be easier to fool?" the answer is not necessarily. Other people with high I.Q. may not have this advantage of experience in deception, and therefore could be easier to fool because of their own preconceived notions.
Message: Posted by: scottds80 (Apr 20, 2014 06:15AM)
Engineers and mechanical minded people are hardest to fool for me.
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (Apr 20, 2014 06:27AM)
Another magician.

Someone who knows you really well.

Combined!
Message: Posted by: kekoa1 (Apr 23, 2014 07:38AM)
I agree with most of the replies here that kids are tough. But then again...I'm not a kids magician. I most likely never will be. The people I know who are kids magicians usually perform material strictly geared towards the kid mentality and they have a lot of fun! Whether or not they are "fooled" is another story.

Then there are the parents of those kids. The rare occasion that I perform at a table that happens to have kids on it...the adults usually aren't expecting the magic to be so good that it impresses them. I usually play to the adults and incorporate the kids somehow...and most of the time...I know that the adults are holding back their enthusiasm because they feel that the magic shouldn't be for them in a sense...isn't magic just for kids? The hardest part for me is breaking down that wall and hopefully having the entire table enjoy the magic.
Message: Posted by: RobertlewisIR (Apr 25, 2014 11:35PM)
For me, it depends on the effect. Different effects use different methods, of course, and different groups of people have different experiences. If an effect is mechanically complicated, someone with a lot of mechanical engineering experience may be harder to fool than someone else. That said, I've found a few trends overall that I think are worth noting.

First, intelligent people are generally easier. I think this is for a number of reasons, but I'll suggest a few. 1) I understand how intelligent people think and can easily use their assumptions against them. 2) Intelligent people are generally more polite and reserved, and so easier to control. 3) Because I consider myself an intellectual, I find it easy to get these people on my side because we share interests and common experiences. Those conversations make for good misdirection.

Second, children are hard. Again, several reasons. 1) As has been suggested, kids are naturally curious and imaginative, and I can't rely on their assumptions to lead them down a garden path. 2) Children are wilder, more difficult to control, and more prone to actively seeking the answer. 3) I don't have children, have limited experience with children and don't do kids shows, so I lack the grounding in their experience necessary to understand their thinking.

Third, most people are just average. They're neither easy nor hard to fool. They just do their thing and I do mine, and we all enjoy the show.

Fourth, the drunker they get, the easier they are to fool, until right around drink number four, then they start becoming "that" spectator and start getting harder because they become more and more child-like.

Fifth, people who believe in psychics are easy. They've been so conditioned to think these things are real that even though I emphatically deny that supernatural powers exist, they often convince themselves that I'm some sort of demigod regardless. I could probably load an elephant into my sleeve right in front of them and they'd still insist it was real magic.

Sixth, my mother is the hardest person in the world. She's seen too much magic, actively tries to catch things, actively tries to make conditions more difficult, is immune to any acting I do, and has the sense of hearing of an owl. Mind you, she's only that difficult when I'M performing, but one reaches a point at which it's just not worth the bother anymore.
Message: Posted by: JohnnyPD (Apr 26, 2014 11:55AM)
Sorry Robert, but I'm going to have to disagree with a few of the instances or statements you made regarding those with a higher intelligence quotient and those with a high level of scientific knowledge and understanding (physics). Now first off I think we should clarify that there is a big difference between IQ and education or knowledge of a subject or subject matter. IQ simply measures a person's capacity for intelligence and doesn't actually measure their true intelligence. I've known some pretty stupid people with high IQ's and I think those may be the type mentioned above as those who are easily conned or convinced by an illusion and not able to see or figure out how it was done.

Being one with a physics background and knowing others of like mindedness, I don't see any of them going the route of the "magicians do their tricks thru the power of demons." Don't even get me started on those people, which I really don't understand why they feel that anything they see done by another human that they can't explain MUST have been done thru the power of demons with whom they are in league. It's like they don't even think a human being is capable of enough creativity to create a believable illusion that would appear to be "true magic." I had a conversation with one and even after they were told exactly how the trick was done, they turned around and used an example of another magician doing the exact same trick in the exact same way (which they were previously shown) and because the second magician had better "equipment" and better skills, the person used their better performance that a demon must be involved. Say what? You were just shown how the trick was done, this person did it exactly as you were shown, but because of better props and performance you're now convinced HE did it with a demon?

Most physicists I know, like myself, are skeptics and would never believe in any true magic or demons or supernatural explanations. I also don't' think a modern physicist would be as prone "black and white" viewing and unable to see something that "broke the rules." Modern physics has had to reconcile dark matter, dark energy, and Quantum Physics (which breaks all the laws of physics) with their scientific view of the universe.

Now what I think IS true is that those that think they're really smart, those that think they can't be conned, those that find it necessary for others to know these things about themselves, I do think those people are very receptive to being conned or deceived. The really smart people I know don't even think of themselves that way and would never, ever even suggest that they were to anyone and if anyone were to point out their intelligence, they'd deflect that suggestion with an inarguable point, that they may have done a lot of studying in one field of science or in one area of study, but they've done so to the detriment of other fields or areas of study. They'd suggest that their no smarter than anyone, in fact they probably know less about a lot more things than most people do, which they've traded to know a lot more about one thing than most people do.

It's all relative... but kids? Most definitely kids, cause that's been one of my main target audiences, so I can speak from experience and I think all the reasons given above are valid.

Oh... and I apologize in advance if anything I stated above was taken in any offensive way, because it is strictly my opinion based on my own world view and personal experience and I'll be the first to say that I'm wrong, when I'm wrong and according to my wife I'm wrong most of the time.
Message: Posted by: danhughes (Apr 29, 2014 10:54PM)
A prime example of fooling the super-intelligent: Remember that Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote all those brilliant Sherlock Holmes stories, believed in fairies and spiritualism.

I always found it super-ironic that the absolute master of the clever mystery story could be so easily taken in by the charlatans. Houdini proved to Doyle over and over that it was all fakery, but Doyle stubbornly refused to listen.
Message: Posted by: Kbuck54 (Apr 30, 2014 09:18AM)
KIDS
Message: Posted by: 1KJ (Apr 30, 2014 10:25AM)
[quote]On Apr 14, 2014, funsway wrote:
Methinks that if "fooling people" is a measure of performance magic there is something wrong with either the presentation or choice of effect for a particular audience. People like to be amazed and astonished -- and even to find a challenging puzzle. No one likes to be "fooled." It is easy to fool anybody -- just run for public office. [/quote]

I agree with the spirit of Funsway's answer. I know you are asking who is harder to fool, but I think what Funsway is saying is that if you focus on how you are presenting magic, it can be more about how can have fun and entertain ANYONE. Magic that you see demoed in product ads and on youtube is often presented as a challenge to "fool" the audience. One reason is that it can be presented quicker that way. However, if you watch a magician entertainer working a gig, you will see that they generally spend more time entertaining and less time "fooling". Entertainment comes from creating fun interaction with people.

Here is an example, One of my favorite effects is a variation of Mark Mason's "Stuck up Monte". This is an amazing effect that I think would "fool" most every single person who is not familiar with it's method. If you watch his Penguin Live lecture, you will see he opens with this. He explains how he takes the "challenge" out of the routine with the patter he uses. In the version I do, I don't even present it as a monte explanation, which in itself is a "challenge". I present it as a fun bit about how all magicians always remove the jokers because they will mess things up. I "accidentally" forget to remove the jokers and demonstrate what can happen.

KJ
Message: Posted by: JohnnyPD (Apr 30, 2014 11:00PM)
While I think most of us got the original questioners question or the meaning behind it, since we've discussed some of the folks that are hardest to "fool," but if we DO take you literally then I have to jump on the Funsway ship. I was trying to recall which magician said this and I scanned a couple of books I have, but I'm pretty certain now it was Penn Gillette who said that when performing magic you should never make your audience feel stupid. Penn & Teller are a classic example of this because they would sometimes let you in on the secret or explain the secret to you while they performed a trick. Their classic cup and balls routine with the clear glasses is a great example, because even when you can SEE how it's done, when it's done as skillfully as Teller's performance... you're still left amazed.

When you've been fooled doesn't that make you a fool? That would be making your audience feel stupid and not the kind of feelings you want to conjure up in your audience. You can amaze them, make them feel awe, dazzle them, delight them, and mostly entertain them. I've heard it said from several top magicians of the past and the present say, "It's not what you do, but how you do it." Some have gone on to say that they'd prefer to see a bad/cheap trick done exceptionally, rather than see a fantastically amazing trick done poorly. I think this is a prime example of why new magicians need to stay out of the magic shops and concentrate on making their own magic without the gimmicks.

David Blaine is not very entertaining. He's rather droll and even his speaking tone is very monotonous. He reminds me of the teacher from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," Ben Stine. I do enjoy David's TV specials, but he's not the one entertaining me, it's his audience. Whether it's the reactions of "the guy on the street" or the celebrity in his home, those are the most entertaining things about David's specials. Ricky Gervaais (sp?) reaction when David sticks a big needle thru his arm is priceless. Now, to give David credit, he does get these reactions out of these people. I just have to wonder how entertaining he'd be on a stage with the audience seated and behind the bright lights.

One of the praises that Doug Henning used to receive was that he shared in the awe and wonder of the magic just like his audience. Whenever he performed a trick and it worked, he would almost act surprised or at least delighted and amazed as well. He made magic... magic... cause THAT'S what it's about. It's not about "fooling" anyone or making anyone feel foolish or stupid, it's about amazement, delight, joy, laughter, or we can call it simply, ENTERTAINMENT!

Doug Henning had a famous line that he would quote at the end of each of his specials and I think sums it up quite nicely.

"Anything the mind can conceive is possible. Nothing is impossible. All you have to do is look within, and you can realize your fondest dreams. I would like to wish each one of you all of life's wonders and a joyful age of enlightenment."
Message: Posted by: Ethan Lin (May 1, 2014 12:01PM)
[quote]On Apr 16, 2014, djurmann wrote:
Family members can be tough too [/quote]

Completely agree. When I do tricks for my family, they always want to shuffle the deck, check a card to make sure it is the selection, as soon as the trick is over they inspect the card and the deck (have to clean up really fast). No one else asks to see the deck or shuffle it at the start or double check the face down card I give them is their card no matter how I try to phrase it.

-EL
Message: Posted by: danhughes (May 1, 2014 12:08PM)
I have one family member (brother-in-law) who always wanted to double-inspect everything at every step of the trick.

I finally told him he was ruining the fun for the others, and it would be better if instead of trying to sabotage my tricks, he should watch carefully and quietly and try to figure out why the trick works.

Jerk.
Message: Posted by: Ethan Lin (May 1, 2014 12:12PM)
I have a mate in school like this. If I were to give him a deck to pocket as a prediction he would try and take the cards out and look after I did a trick called "Lucky back flip" (that's the name I associate with it) He also insists I continually do tricks over and over again so he can watch different places to try and find out how I do it. He is one of those people who you would class as thinking they are geniuses (and in fairness to him he is smart enough) and he thinks he cannot be fooled.

Which makes it all the more fun when he is fooled and wants to know how it worked.

-EL
Message: Posted by: Kbuck54 (May 1, 2014 12:24PM)
As I said before, Kids are a tough crowd, or Drunks. Heaven forbid that you have to perform in front of DRUNK KIDS.
Oh, and family, including drunks and kids.
Keith
Message: Posted by: Ethan Lin (May 1, 2014 02:10PM)
There is a growing number of 16 year olds that drink - I should know, most of my year have started now. And I can imagine what it would be like to perform for them. I agree with what you mean by kids but unfortunately I find it difficult to perform for my younger brother and sister because they have just gotten bored of me constantly doing tricks for them - apparently Dr Who is more appealing to them :D

-EL
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (May 1, 2014 09:49PM)
Others magicians. When you run into others at a convention, lecture, club meeting, etc., you will have more of a challenge on your hands.
Message: Posted by: funsway (May 2, 2014 06:22AM)
Perhaps I am "odd man out" in believing that it is not my job to figure out a poster's "meaning behind it," or guess at intent. Here the title word is "FOOL" in caps - indicating that the poster does NOT mean amaze, astonish, entertain, teach or create conditions under which "might be magic" is the intent. It appears to me that many magicians today do so with the intent of fooling people - or getting dates, or bolstering ego or some other reason having little to do with magic as art. No judgment here - just an observation is that you get what you plan and project. (as ye sow so shall ye reap)

If you "do magic tricks" then your intent is to trick people. If you set out to fool people, the measure is whether or not they are fooled. Those who buy a new magic trick, open the box to learn the secret and immediately go out to inflict this trickery on friends get what they deserve. I enjoy sharing puzzles with friends also -- but it isn't magic.

If instead you desire to create an cooperative environment in which both performer and observer participate in the apparently conquering the impossible then terms like "fool" and "trick" have no relevance. The "story told after" does not contain those words. If that story is "some jerk showed me a card trick" then you have failed as a magician no matter is they figured it out or not.

Now - it is a valid question as to how best to achieve this environment with different types of audience, age cohorts and relations. Some, like performing for kids requires different communication techniques that for an Assisted Living Center. None of that has any part of "hard to fool."

...............

regardless, I do not understand references like "he insisted on examining the cards." As a performer, why do you INSIST on observers showing respect, sitting in their chairs and keeping their hands to themselves?

Recall the words of Nate Lipzieg - "I am not an organ-grinder monkey!" Only perform for those prepared to appreciate what you do as astonishment and a journey into the land of the impossible. If you chose to suffer base from others -- at least get paid for it.
Message: Posted by: danhughes (May 2, 2014 09:32AM)
[quote]On May 2, 2014, funsway wrote:

...I do not understand references like "he insisted on examining the cards." As a performer, why do you INSIST on observers showing respect, sitting in their chairs and keeping their hands to themselves?[/quote]

I wasn't speaking of a public performance - this was a spur-of-the-moment thing at the Thanksgiving kitchen table with a few of the relatives who weren't watching the football game, and he wanted to be the center of attention, doing his best to spoil the "performance." I was not the only one displeased with his antics.
Message: Posted by: mndude (May 2, 2014 04:48PM)
Programmers or Engineer types. They have great minds for analyzing things and figuring out how things work. Even if they can't figure out how the trick is done, you'll never get a fun response from them. Rather a "hmmm, I'll have to think about how you did that".
Message: Posted by: Logan Five (May 2, 2014 08:23PM)
[quote]On May 2, 2014, mndude wrote:
Programmers or Engineer types. They have great minds for analyzing things and figuring out how things work. Even if they can't figure out how the trick is done, you'll never get a fun response from them. Rather a "hmmm, I'll have to think about how you did that". [/quote]

Yup my buddy is an engineer, he can spot how a trick works in a second.
Message: Posted by: Ado (May 2, 2014 09:32PM)
[quote]On May 2, 2014, mndude wrote:
Programmers or Engineer types. They have great minds for analyzing things and figuring out how things work. Even if they can't figure out how the trick is done, you'll never get a fun response from them. Rather a "hmmm, I'll have to think about how you did that". [/quote]

Last time I bent spoons to software engineers, they were laughing nervously, and they didn't express the behaviour you mention.

P!
Message: Posted by: Ethan Lin (May 3, 2014 11:26AM)
I would class myself as a decent programmer and although they are good analysts, it depends on their creativity. They can analyse code etc that is placed in front of them because they have all the code in front of them unlike during an effect/trick where the magician might have a duplicate card etc

-EL
Message: Posted by: 1KJ (May 6, 2014 07:03PM)
There are some people who are more likely to analyze an effect rather than just sit back and enjoy it. I think it takes different skills to work with different audiences. That is why some people specialize in children's magic, other's in corporate magic, other's adult, etc.

If you look at those who specialize in different areas, you will see what they do to work best with those groups. For example:

Children: Introduce silly and extreme visual. Keep it simple, and keep it moving.
Analytical people (engineers, programmers, etc): Pick effects that would fool most any magician not familiar with the method (Ex: Mark Mason's "Stuck Up Monte" - If you don't know the method, there is NO way you are going to see that coming. Also, you end by handing them their card, totally clean). You can also play yourself down like David Williamson who pretends the trick has gone wrong early on to throw people off.
Adult (evening magic): Focus on humor or entertainment as much or more than the magic. If you get too serious with a bunch of people drinking, you'll lose them.
Family: Keep it varied to appeal to kids and adults. You don't need the most technically challenging effects because a father or mother is not likely to want to look like a fool calling you out in front of their children.
Family/Friends: I limit what I show. If they have seen too much, then they lose their appreciation for it. I tend to do more magic for family or friends if it is directed at someone who is younger than around 10 yrs old. They are always amazed by good magic, and the younger ones love to watch it over and over and over (and over).

KJ