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Brad Burt
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I get great feedback and questions. This next PM addresses a problem with my last posting and it is spot on. It is a problem and following the original post you'll find my answer. I was not unaware of the possible dissonance with the way in which I suggest handling the spectator request to examine my magic props. Here is the interchange....

"Brad, I have recently read all of your articles here on the Café. Quite enlightening. I would like to say that I have enjoyed them intensely. I found that I have learned something from every one of them. I appreciate your time and effort in this endeavor.

I do have a question that I would like to pose to you. In one of your articles you had written never let the audience inspect your props. That I can understand. At one point though you wrote "I'm really sorry, but no, it's a trick." And, I put it away.

Here is what is confusing to me. Wouldn't saying something such as the above still lead them to the "puzzle to be solved" scenario? Also, and perhaps I'm being naive here, but saying to the audience that these are tricks instill in their mind that anyone can do this with the proper props? And wouldn't that also diminish our stature in their mind?

Again maybe I'm being naive here but shouldn't the illusion be that we are creating something that is impossible to do? And with our talents we are able to do the impossible.

Thanks to you for your hard work. I will be looking forward to your next article.


And, my answer....

Dear EDH:

Thanks for the kind comments. I apprediate your taking the time.

Also, good question. I might have dashed that section off a little too fast.

Here is an almost literal conversation I have heard a couple a hundred times. It happens just after a magic trick is completed and goes like this:

Spectator says, "Wow that's cool. Can I see that magic thingy?"

Magician replys, "Er, well, no not really."

Spectator follows with, "Oh, then it's a trick."

The magician dumfounded at the truth of the specator's last statement say, "Oh....NO IT'S NOT!" Making himself look pretty much like a goof.

I truly have seen this over and over and least one version or other.

Now, note my version and it's diabolical brevity:

Spectator, "Wow, that's cool. Can I look at that magic thingy?"

Magician, "Nope it's a trick!" Put's the magic thingy away and off he goes.

Now, you have brought up a great point: If you don't let them see the Magic Thing because you don't want to turn the magic into a puzzle, then why in the heck do you just confess that it's a 'trick'!

The answer is simple, but not necessarily satisfying. It's because that answer leaves the spectator NO PLACE to go without looking like a jerk and generally will get you out of the problem with the least collateral damage. I just have found nothing else that works so well and I have spent years lookin'.

What I mean is this: It does not good and much damage to get into a prolonged argument about why you can't let your Magic Thing be examined, so just cut to the chase and cut the verbal legs out from under the one asking.

There is a second reason: You can NOT let a spectator be in charge of YOUR property. Just because you have performed something in no way gives them the right to look at YOUR stuff anymore that seeing Eric Clapton in concert should entitle you to ask if you can strum a few bars on his guitar.

Magic IS different, but not that different. Also, consider that psychologically tossing off with an admitted flippancy the phrase, "Nope, it's a trick", can be taken much less seriously than if you dither around about why he can't look at your equipment.

Does that help? Any other questions let me know I use them in follow up posts and it frankly relieves me of some of the pressure to find my own topics all the time! LOL... ;-)

All best,
Brad Burt
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