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Jim Morton
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Profile of Jim Morton
On 2002-01-05 15:27, skabopoewich wrote:

Still the idea of magic being seen as a puzzle makes me a little sick, so I'll keep working on eliminating possible solutions; making it seem even more impossible and flawless, leaving the audience in a state of shock and wonder, without explanation!

A noble, but somewhat Quixotic quest.

Folks who need to try and decrypt every effect as if it is a puzzle will do so no matter how few potential solutions you provide them. When the trick seems completely impossible, these folks will come up with some truly amazing "solutions" and will quickly assure themselves that they are correct, often citing the fact that the magician "didn't deny it" as their proof. (Check out Ricky Jay's Journal of Anomalies for a great example of Charles Dickens doing this very thing after witnessing a learned dog show.)

Perhaps it's a metaphysical issue. Seeing something they cannot explain threatens their entire purview of the cosmos. Instead of feeling wonder they feel dread. A better approach might be to try and reassure these folks that we are not out to destroy their faith in the fabric of the universe, but to bring a little wonder into a sometimes depressingly mundane world. I have noticed that once I get the audience running with the magic of the moment, the puzzle solving quotient goes way down.

Jeb Sherrill
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Quite right Jim. People will always come up with something. Their sense of reality requires it.

A little story:
One night after Robert Houdin had finished his show, a gentleman approached to compliment him on a particular illusion. Houdin had done an early version of the broom suspension with his son and a steel rod (or cane I believe). The gentleman seemed quite impressed with Houdin's ingenuity, particularly his incredible, mechanical boy.

Keep in mind, this was the 1800's and robots were all but unthinkable back then, and this spectator was a refined gentleman (whatever that is). Don't worry about taking away all possibilities. You never can. You never will.

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I don't believe in reincarnation, but I may have in another life.
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