Dynamo is one of the latest magicians (or perhaps illusionists is a better term) to appear on TV. I enjoy watching his show, not just to see if I can guess how he performs his tricks, but because I am genuinely impressed by his showmanship.
It is interesting to see how some people respond to his tricks – some just seem to just accept something amazing has happened without trying to work out how it happened. This seems strange to me, I always like to try and work out how things work.
And that is one of the wonderful things about watching Dynamo – not being able to explain how a trick works does not mean that it is magic, it simply means I have not yet discovered the solution – a good thing to remember when it comes to science and pseudoscience. I also suspect some of his tricks rely heavily on science to make them work which is really cool.
My father used to do card tricks for us when I was growing up which I think taught me to be careful not to always take things at face value. The most impressive tricks rely on misdirection, play on the limitations of our minds, and often involve great planning to make the impossible seem possible.
Historically magicians have plays a key role in the skeptics movement. In early tests of psychic abilities, many scientists were duped by their subjects because they did not know how to spot trickery. However, magicians such as James Randi were able to both detect and duplicate “psychic” abilities such as telekinesis, mind reading and talking to the “dead”.