Mentioning the heritage of magic in the previous chapter might have made some of you feel uneasy. You may have been thinking that I am missing the point entirely. Magic is an entertainment art. Most audiences know, of course, you are only pretending to be a real magician. That is true, but let me ask you this. How often has an audience member asked you, "Could you change my one dollar bill into a hundred?" or "Can you tell me what tomorrow's winning lottery number will be?" or "Can you make my wife disappear?" These trivial remarks meant as silly jokes still imply, "If you are a magician, do something that's useful!"
On a very deep emotional level, audiences expect your imitation of real magic to have some of the meaning of real magic. Miracles of the past were always used to accomplish something- not for just showing off Spectators want to give the magician power that many don't want themselves. The lay audience understands the underlying charm of magic that many of today's magicians have done their best to forget!
I have always tried to keep my instinctive feelings about the power of magic intact. My own style of working takes advantage of this principle. As an example, whenever I do an effect with playing cards, I attempt to use some type of gambling theme. I want people to believe that if they had the power I am demonstrating, they could walk into a casino and walk out rich!
Usually, the audience will do this automatically. How often has someone said to you, "I wouldn't want to play cards with you!" even if all you did was an Ambitious Card routine or Card to M&llet effect? You don't even need to perform a gambling routine for someone to suggest you could win at cards. Doesn't that tell you something?
In my work as a mentalist, I encounter questions of this type all the time. "What stocks should I buy?" "^Vho will I marry?" "Can you come to the racetrack with me?" It should not surprise us that people do this. It is only because we have bottlenecked ourselves in our magic books, magic clubs and conventions that we forget where the spectators' state of mind lies. They do not know the secrets (hopefully!) You are doing impossible things. ^Vhy shouldn't you turn your powers towards something useful? Children instinctively think this way. Have you ever had a child say, "Can you make my teacher disappear?"
An odd corollary to this direction of thinking is the complaint I often see lodged against mentalists by magicians. They often say, "Mentalism is too strong and such performers are wrong for leading their audiences into thinking they really have special powers." They are missing the point entirely.
Go back to the references noted in the first chapter and take a look at how many famous men of magic really did what we would call mentalism! Interpreting dreams, foretelling the future, knowing people's hearts, etc. These are common themes since the beginning of time. ^Vhether it is the Bible's Daniel foretelling the future, magi following a star, Nostradamus making predictions of current times or wise men knowing the thoughts of men, these are certainly common themes for the mentalist. If you research both religious and secular literature, you will find this kind of magic to be the most common of all.
It is easy for the spectator to make the short jump to see the benefit of these powers. If, on the other hand, you change a red silk into a green one, it is a bit harder for your audience to find a practical application. It is a show off kind of thing. If your audience would like to learn to do it themselves and also show off, that is fine. You will have their interest. If not, they will think, "So who cares?" Yes, you may receive credit for being a clever guy or good with your hands, but that brings the interest to you instead of them! It is much better when you can get them absorbed and still get the applause!
People read books about things that interest them. They go to movies to see the kind of action they find attractive. Quite often, they like to put themselves into the hero's shoes. They like to think they have the same kind of qualities of the star of the book or movie. Likewise, when your perform your audience should think, "Isn't that won derful! How I would love to have those powers! Think of what I could do in life if I were that kind of magician!" If you can accomplish that, you will certainly be well received.
Personally, I have some definite thoughts about what my audience thinks of my powers. You should know that I never make any claims. I tell my audiences I accomplish everything in my show using everyday abilities we all have. (There will be much more about this topic later.) Still they are enthralled. I believe the means of the effect are not nearly as important as the ends. I believe the audience is thinking, "I don't care even if it was some sort of trick, I would love to be able to know what people are thinking!"
On a related note, I am sure many people believe if David Copperfield were in their own living room, he would be able to float and do his other miracles! Not that they believe that he has some kind of supernatural power, but rather that he is a good enough magician, and clever enough, to be able to get whatever equipment (or stuff) secretly in there to be able to do it.
People want to believe magicians are special and can do things that non-magicians cannot. Audiences are more than willing to go to a fantasyland with you if you will just let them. Please let them!
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.