What Attracts You to Magic?

sic heads

Another great question at the Genii Forum recently! It really got me thinking, and I enjoyed making up my mind and drafting an answer to myself. Maybe you want to consider it, too?

Here’s my take:

Like many others, I also don’t know why, but from early on, long before my first books or magic sets, I have simply been fascinated by magic, mysteries, secrets, riddles, and unanswered questions. I begged my parents to let me watch every magic bit on TV. I once dived into every available bit on Erich von Däniken’s claims about ancient alien astronauts on earth; I read about Area 51, the Bermuda Triangle, the Philadelphia Experiment, secret societies, spies and agents, gamblers and cheaters, fake psychics and the possibility of afterlife. Basically everything beyond our sheltered daily life, our book learnings and our “known knowns,” I guess.

But magic struck the deepest and has stuck the longest. Something just clicked.

Just a romantic thought: Maybe we are not discovering magic; maybe we are being chosen by our Goddess Maja, first as tried and tested disciples, later as conspired keepers of the secrets and worthy bearers of wonder and astonishment? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? A secret, sworn-in league of the knowing, wearing funny ties with playing cards motifs, swaying colorful silks and feather flowers…

I don’t need to see every show and trickster or the latest fad, but I’m fond of and grateful for many magic moments I have experienced (Copperfield’s “Flying” being just one of them). They felt warm and intense, and, for a moment, boundless. What a promise, what a sensation! I long for more of these.

I also don’t need to perform all the time, but I’m happy when I manage to create a small magic moment for a few spectators and see their eyes wide open and their minds racing.

I love the richness and diversity of magic, its universal appeal and the human condition on which it thrives. History, culture, theater, technology, dexterity, psychology and so much more—it’s all there, and I enjoy reading and discovering magic stories, principles, and effects.

I love sharing and discussing these with other magic buffs on a non-competitive level.

I love toying selfishly with props and ideas late at night, fiddling in front of the mirror, cutting and glueing cardboard stuff at the kitchen table, getting into the flow with nothing but my imagination and a pinch of woofledust.

And, sitting in the huge library of the emerging Magic Arts Foundation here in Germany, or browsing through their breath-taking files and boxes of props, I feel happy, I take in the power and beauty of our art and I feel I belong to, at least like a small rhinestone under the twinkling firmament, the mighty magic universe we have to preserve and yet to explore further, without ever fully grasping it.



Some key questions for you if you care to make up your mind, too:

1. How did you get into magic?

2. What is it that still attracts you to magic, after all these years?

3. What do you expect from magic, and what do you enjoy the most?

4. For whom do you do magic?

5. What do you want to express or give back through your magic?

—Your take!


My magic friend Paco from Spain kindly took the time to answer my questions from his perspective. Please click „comments“ below to read his thoughts.

Muchas gracias, amigo!


 

Where Magic and Warfare Meet

EMHC Vienna 2019 Head

Today’s the day! I am humbled and excited to speak at the 8th European Magic History Conference (EMHC) in Vienna, Austria. You can download the full program brochure here.

I’ll be pursuing some of the many roads where magic and warfare intersect, which is quite a fascinating and multi-layered topics. These aspects include

  • the surprisingly military lingo of magicians
  • the constant “wars” some magicians are fighting
  • some magicians who were also involved in military deception (like Robert-Houdin, Jasper Maskelyne, John Mulholland, and Barton Whaley)
  • how, particularly during the Second World War, entire “ghost armies” appeared and disappeared; trucks turned into tanks and vice versa; dummy planes, trains, tanks and explosive sheep (!) helped to mislead or surprise the enemy; and deception plans were used successfully in at least five major operations of the War
  • the fact that the concept of deception has been rooted deeply in strategic and tactical warfare for thousands of years
  • the main similarities and differences between military deception and our friendly art of deception for entertainment purposes
  • some magic victims of warfare and
  • some truly “magical” war anecdotes.

I have read and acquired way too much material to put it all into my 25 minute presentation, so I guess I’ll be sharing quite a few bits and pieces here over time. Stay tuned!

Here’s my favorite picture from the presentation:

TankIllusion