There’s No Such Thing As Magic

The Magician’s Code states that I must keep my secrets to myself.

I can’t tell you how something works—no matter how cool it is.

I can’t let you in on how mind-altering the specific sleight is that I use to control your card to the 14th position in the deck.

I’m not allowed to discuss the combination of observation, psychology, force of will, and luck that led to you selecting the deuce of spades.

It would betray my professional ethics to openly discuss how page 734 of a book written by Roberto Giobbi allowed me to convince you that reality is plastic.

It’s really a shame, because what I and those in my field do is so much more awesome than if it were real magic.

Here is what I can tell you:

A magic show is entertaining on two levels. I say this knowing full-well that you are skeptical of me because magic is my profession. Magicians are liars, and getting the truth out of us is rare. Give me 596 more words, and I’ll see if I can convince you.

On the surface you are seeing something that is simply baffling. Magic is the intersection of proof that something happened and a lack of evidence as to what could have caused it. On a secondary level it is an exhibition of the purest dexterity. A magician who is a skilled technician in sleight of hand can affect objects by moving their bodies less than a fraction of an inch to make it look like they have defied the laws of nature. It takes hard work to be able to do good sleight of hand. Hours of repetition in front of a mirror to make the moves look perfect. Years of practice go into movements that only make sense in context of a magic show. It is nothing less than a ballet of the hands.

You can look at a magic show as a performance mimicking the supernatural. As a magician that’s not how I see it. To me, it’s a demonstration of raw skill for which the audience has no explanation.

I’m a card mechanic. (Let’s leave magic aside for the moment. You aren’t six. I’m not crazy. We both know that what I’m going to show you isn’t real magic).

If there’s one thing common to the human experience, it’s that everyone hates card tricks. When I do my job well you don’t know how it’s done. You feel like I tricked you. It’s an understandable reaction. If I were a card magician, my job would be to lie to you about playing cards. I’m a card mechanic though, so I have a different job. My success is measured in my ability to manipulate playing cards so that they behave in unnatural ways. When you look at it that way, I’m essentially a juggler who has to keep track of 52 balls. My deck has two jokers in it, so let’s call it 54. You may touch the hem of my garments should you so desire.

You may hate it when a magician lies to you, but you’ve got to admit that you’d pay top dollar to see a juggler with more than four dozen balls.

And now, more people are.

Columbus is rapidly becoming a Midwestern powerhouse of magic. You can see the best performers in the world for free every Tuesday night at the P3 Magic Theater. This city is home to world renowned sleight-of-hand artists like Branden Wolf, Nick Locapo, and Dan Harlan. The exceptionally talented Nicholas Lawrence uses the North Campus area as a laboratory for some of the most visual effects ever created. My own show, “Please Shuffle The Cards,” will be playing at The Short North Stage July 6-9 and 13-15. Everyone who walks into the theater will be able to shuffle the deck of cards that is the star of the show before I begin.

(Not to toot my own horn, but the show was very well received the first time I performed it, and it’s only gotten better. You should get tickets now). The people of the 614 have access to the best magicians in the world, because we live in your backyard. Creeping, lurking—lying—but there.

It’s incredibly unfortunate that I can’t tell you how we accomplish our miracles. The method is always more incredible than the effect. The famous mentalist Joseph Dunninger said, “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who don’t, none will suffice.”

He was wrong. For those who believe, the explanation will disappoint them. For those who don’t? You get to enjoy something so much better than those who do.

For more info about “Please Shuffle the Cards,” visit eriktait.com.

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Erik Tait is an international award winning comedian and magician who hosts the comedy trivia show The Quiz Box Podcast. He also is a Russian Tortoise enthusiast.

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