Saturday, February 20, 2010

Unimpressed by magic

I’ve seen magic shows (live, on TV, on web) and I’ve read about them. Because they are magic shows, they are, well, magical and unbelievable. Some stuff just seems impossible, but being magical, is shown to be possible. I’ve read about people being handcuffed and locked in multiple iron boxes and thrown in sea and come out free as a bird few hours later. This is quite unbelievable and more magical than tricks on stage because you don’t have access to equipment and stage itself. I’ve seen people in audience dropping their jaw and going ‘wow’ over magic. I’ve found myself interestingly amused but not blown over. Why?

For first, I am convinced that there is some trick to magic so it’s not real magic but merely an illusion. It’s not a momentous insight but this knowledge doesn’t let me really get into magic because part of being blown over is to believe it as real. Second, being aware that trickery is being performed, and being aware that I don’t know what is it, implies ignorance on my part which is not something I am impressed by. Magic, thus, is thrown in category of things-unexplained-yet-but-there-is-explanation-somewhere-that-i-don’t-know-yet along with God, black holes and what women want. These are the things I am fascinated by but not awestruck by.

What gets me going is though the explanation behind magical tricks. That, of course, is not easy to come by. I’ve read workings of trivial magical tricks in books and on web and seen some of those in movie The Prestige (which is a must watch movie, by the way). A double layered milk bottle which when turned upside down drains its little quantity of milk into oversized bottle stopper thus creating a illusion of whole bottle worth of milk disappearing is simple yet impressive trick for me.

Genius which creates illusion which blows over masses and confuses prowess of brain is worthy of my true admiration, and not it’s creation.

Edit 20/03/2010: Explanation of one of truely amazing tricks:

7 Day Andaman Trip (Neil+Havelock) at Rs. 20,000 per Person

Cross-posted at