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Northern New Jersey
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Profile of thk5353
There are some people I perform for who can sometimes figure out how a card trick works. The fact that they are really smart and have a high IQ seems to let them get the gist of things. I'm not saying they know the exact method and all but it kind of amazes me for these people to tell I've done that and that.

My older brother is a good example, since he's not interested in magic at all and he has a really good sense and a hawk's eye, he'll be my trial run before I perform a newly-found trick to anyone.

Does anyone else here meet these kinds of people?
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Profile of Mirokai

The fact that they are really smart and have a high IQ seems to let them get the gist of things.

One of the bases of magic is that the more a person is intelligent the easier it is to fool them so my only advice is practice and practice and of course practice. Smile

"Tout ce qui nous arrive de bien et de mal ici-bas était écrit là-haut" Diderot
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Northern New Jersey
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Profile of thk5353
But of the tricks even gaffed tricks are easily detectable, like MacDonald's Aces and the One Card Switches. My brother will point it out.
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Profile of Dbzkid999
If they figured it out, act like you don't know what they are talking about and perform a killer trick after.
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Profile of Magic_Mailman
I think you always run into people who want to figure out the magic instead of enjoying it. I also have to say that performing for family members is hard because they know you and can sense anything that's different about you so...they may be good to try out effects by the same token. If you have put in the practice and can do the effect blindfolded, I'm sure you will have the same aura of confidence that you normally have. Those are just my thoughts.

Thanks, Tony

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Northern New Jersey
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Profile of thk5353
I'm just using him as a tester, even if I offered him the secrets to the trick, he just shuns me.
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Lumberton, NC
147 Posts

Profile of Tspall
My girlfriend is like that. She's got a very sharp eye for my movements. She's my official "test audience". She likes being able to help me improve and will point out what was unusual or that she saw. If she's watching someone else do magic, she won't notice it nearly as much, but my movements she knows very well. If I can fool her, then I know my technique is coming along well.
"It's showtime!!"
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Profile of rcad
First, of course, your performance, not just the sleights, should be flawless. Remember, you've got only one chance to create magic for someone with any trick, so don't waste it...

Second, a bit like Magic_Mailman said, some people are so emotionally "dry" that they can not seem to enjoy magic. Even beauty is considered from a very "vulcan" eye, if you see what I mean. I have met and performed magic for such a person. There were many people assisting, they were all fooled by my trick but she shouted something like: "Oh my GOD! This is so DUMB!" She had just realized how the trick worked. I politely asked her to calm down and not spoil everybody's fun.

Needless to say, the *magic* couldn't happen after that because of course, everybody would have felt foolish to be amazed. It thus remained just a trick. To make matters worse, a few days later, she revealed the trick to my sister-in-law, who then tried to perform it for a friend and failed. That friend learned the trick too while watching her fail.

Do I need to mention I was angry when I learned that? My wife told her sister that I would never perform magic while her friend was there in the future. She was mad too.

That "clever" spectator is an adult. She's smart. She's very pretty. She's usually socially skilled and nice. She's got everything going for her but she is so, so cold, I'm not sure she ever had a real boyfriend. Some people will never see magic in life, whatever they come across.

Others just lack imagination. And again, others have low self-esteem which makes them want to prove all the time that they are smarter than they think you think they are.

I also agree that, like Magic_Mailman mentioned, performing for family is difficult since they know your body language so well. Thus, you may want to adapt your performance for them. For example, I personally simply exaggerate my very real clumsiness (funny that a magician should be clumsy in real life, huh?) and my very real forgetful mind. They think it is really me but it just gives me GREAT misdirection opportunities.

Use traits from your own personality and exaggerate them. The fact that you are performing magic will explain that "natural" exaggeration. If, for example, you are somewhat of a clown, be a real BIG clown when you perform. They will laugh and put that "exaggeration of yourself" on the count of nervousness or on the account of a failed attempt at being a comedian, even if they laugh the whole time. See what I mean?

Mirokai, I must disagree with you. I don't find any evidence that more intelligent people are easier to fool. On the contrary, I believe you have to misdirect more than just their attention. You must also misdirect their "high performing logical brain" for they will catch on what they haven't seen unless you let them think there is also *something else* going on.

By that I mean that during the performance, I often have to pretend I'm doing sleights they can almost catch on but that could never explain what just happened. For example, I might pretend to secretly put something in my right pocket and let them catch me. I simply continue, acting totally unaware of their little "I just caught you" smile and BAM! Something comes out from my LEFT pocket! I've never actually used that particular misdirection but I think it illustrates better what I mean than the actual misdirections I use.

Moreover, I read somewhere that mentalism appeals to intellectual audiences more than visual magic. I suspect that it is due to two things. First of all, I think mentalism offers, in itself, multiple inherent misdirections, the result making it look more magical to them. Secondly, let's not forget that magic is an art form. Intellectuals will usually appreciate any art form on more levels than average. They will get more excited if you provide them with subtle miracles than if you bluntly make something disappear in front of their eyes, for example.

Then again, human behavior can not be explained by only one factor. Mirokai, if you have a different opinion, I'd love to read it. After all, the more we understand how different audiences may react, the more we can manipulate them...

Dbzkid999, I asked a magic teacher what to say to a spectator who points out how I did it. May the spectator be right or wrong, that magic teacher's answer was to agree with him or her. It denies any confrontation that could ruin the show and plants a serious doubt about the "explanation" in everyone's mind... Food for thoughts, huh?

Okay, I'll shut up now, hehe!

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious." Albert Einstein
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Crescent Head Australia
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Profile of troppobob
Giday to you all

Two thoughts:
  1. When working with children I notice that boys age eight to 10 seem to have reached that cognitive developmental level where they are beginning to think abstractly rather than the younger concrete style. I know I am in for a challenge if I pick up a gig for this age group. These are the ones who really do not have a clue about how things work but are just recognizing that it is some slight or misdirection but have not yet developed the social skills to enjoy the entertainment value and allow others to enjoy the mystery.

    These young fellows I believe should be treated carefully as they develop through this difficult stage. It is unfortunate for magicians that they make performing difficult, however, I reckon that challenges are just that, "challenges," and the adventure is to work out how to make it through and, as much as possible, to keep all participants entertained (including myself).

    Sometimes I use a finger chopper for these boys and spend some time with them up front so they can experience what it is like to provide the entertainment. Often they choose not to offer their finger for the guillotine after it effectively cuts the carrot. So we chop my finger and they return to the audience with more respect and with no idea how that one works. Emotion in a learning experience is, in my opinion, an essential component of effective learning.

  2. Some people (adults) continue to develop cognitively but do not adequately develop the social skills to enjoy magical entertainment or to allow others to move to that fantasy world for a while.

    I have a mate who is a highly qualified science teacher who could be like that but he has put a big effort into working on his social skills so that his high level cognitive skills do not wipe out his ability to relate to people efectively. He will often come to me quietly and explain his theory about the working of an effect. Often he is pretty spot on with the logic and mathematics and I remind him that those are the basis of an effect but they do not make it entertaining. He makes a real effort not to ruin it for others.

    Unfortunately I also know some people who are just as likely to grab the cups and balls when performing close-up in a social setting. These days I speak to those people with the same respect I have for those eight-year-olds with the finger chopper and point out to them, that it is against the rules to grab any of my props and that I give them permission to have a good time.
I love how these adults get all excited and have trouble sitting still.

Yes! The greatest value to me from these special people is that they encourage me to make sure that my practice and rehearsal is thorough.
Troppo Bob Smile
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Profile of MagicAndBlackjack

There are some effects where some people notice discrepancies that others might not.
Some of these things are illogical doubles, where when you deal the card off after the turnover, it is, for example, face-up when it should really be face-down.
Richard Osterlind
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Profile of Richard Osterlind
Two things might be kept in mind. First, using a certain amount of humor in the presentation is very disarming and gets the spectator off guard. Secondly, don't be afraid to use self-working magic that doesn't require sleights. Scarne's card magic book is filled with this kind of material.

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Profile of oldguy
I suggest you learn a couple of good sucker tricks. "Design for laughter" in "Royal Road" is good. Also the "Sucker Vanish" in Bobo. But be sure you do them with a good nature. They'll think twice about calling you out again. Tom
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