Magicians Aren’t Real – The Wonder of Magic

I was speaking with a child before a magic show recently and they asked, “Is magic real?” Now, I’m never one to tell someone what to believe, but I do like to suggest that there might be another way of thinking about things that perhaps goes against the grain (maybe it’s my background as a scientist!)

“What do you think?” I asked, and then planting the seed, “Why don’t you let me know what you think at the end of the show.”

You see, great magic creates a sense of wonder and amazement. Often this is described as a “child like” wonder. I think this is thought of as the wonder of not knowing, but I prefer to think of wonder as an experience of knowing something fully and securely and then having the opposite revealed to you. It’s antinomy, the incompatibility of two known laws or facts! I believe this is better thought of as a grown up sense of wonder. It’s the experience that abounds in the discovery of scientific phenomena, as well as the admiration of human achievement.

At another show where a child told me they thought that magic was all just tricks and illusions, it was music to my ears. It meant that I could be the one to reveal the world of magic to them, in a way that wouldn’t be possible if they still believed I actually was magic.

Wonder: a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.

Even for children, I believe this sense of “grown up wonder” exists. Children have knowledge of the world. That’s clear to me when I speak to the children. They know what is real, and what is imaginary or pretend. This helps me to create a great show for them.

The skill of magic is in building on the assumptions of your audience. The wonder of magic lies not in supernatural powers, but in the skill and artful performance of the magician. The ability to engage the audience’s attention, play with their assumptions, and then shatter those assumptions with a surprising twist is at the heart of every great magic trick.

We navigate our daily lives based on assumptions. Assumptions about the world, about people, about cause and effect. These assumptions help us make sense of our surroundings, allowing us to function without being constantly baffled by every little thing. Yet, it’s these very assumptions that become the magician’s playground. They are what makes magic thrilling, captivating, and indeed, magical.

In the realm of magic, the audience is led down a path, their minds unconsciously filling in the gaps based on their assumptions. The magician then takes a sharp, unexpected turn, pulling the proverbial rug out from under their feet. The coin that should be in the magician’s hand suddenly appears behind someone’s ear. The girl who shouldn’t float, now can. The reality that was assumed is dismantled, leaving the audience in a delightful state of surprise and bewilderment.

And then comes the moment, the fleeting moment of “what if?” The moment when, despite everything we know about the world, we entertain the possibility of the impossible. Even though we’re aware that magic isn’t real in the traditional sense, for that brief moment, we indulge in the wonder of the unexplainable. That’s the real magic.

This is what I, as a magician, strive to achieve – not to convince you of the existence of some supernatural power, but to bring you that fleeting moment of wonder, the joyous “what if?” The magic trick is just a tool, a means to an end. The real goal is to create a shared experience, a tiny break from reality where we all can marvel at the mystery and wonder of the world.

So in short, remember, magic is not about defying the laws of nature, but about dancing on the edges of perception, weaving together the threads of anticipation, surprise, and delight. It’s an exploration of what’s possible when we step outside the bounds of our assumptions and let ourselves be carried away by wonder, if only for a few moments. And that, I believe, is the real wonder of magic.

Of course, magic isn’t real, (otherwise, I would be burnt at the stake) but my job isn’t do real magic, it’s simple to make you wonder for a few moments, “what if?”

Like the child in the above example who experienced something, they couldn’t explain. It’s a sobering thought to realise there are a whole load of things you don’t know about. That immediate sense of your reality rapidly expanding is what I call magic. It’s a sobering thought and I think a good one.

Want me to help out by performing a wonder filled magic show at your children’s or family event? click here to email me.