Why I Like Magicians…

By Michael Edmonds 29/09/2013

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”.

0 Responses to “Why I Like Magicians…”

  • Two things to remember with magicians like Dynamo:
    1: At least some of his “audience” are in on the trick.
    2: It’s on TV. Some tricks are obviously edited in post-production.
    That said, some of the better tricks are quite impressive.

    • Shadowmind,

      Yes, with televised tricks it is important to realise how this might affect a trick , for example, how many people did he try a trick with before it was worth using for the tv show.
      Having said that, I most enjoy his close up tricks using misdirections and some fairly adept hand eye co-ordination.
      I also think tricks usch as freezing water fountains and some of his other tricks rely on some clever use of science and engineering.

  • Some people say “don’t take the magic out of tricks, why do you want to know how it’s done?. I say “it’s double magic. Enjoying the trick and learn how it’s done!”

    • Miguel, I agree, knowing how something works doesn’t take away an appreciation for it, rather it increases my appreciation for the skill of the performer