Friday, August 19, 2022

How Magic Has Changed Through The Years

It is often felt that the best possible punishment for a bad illusionist would be to send them back in time to the Salem witch trials or any other historical arena in which witches and wizards were subjected to harsh punishment. Indeed, there was a time when people who showed anything that could be interpreted as “magical powers” were burned, drowned or otherwise subjected to a horrible death.

Fast forward to the present day and magicians are legitimate family entertainment. And the more we come to know, the more we expect from our illusionists. This is the tricky part. An illusionist has to do a heck of a lot to convince us in this day and age. Once upon a time, cutting through a box (and apparently through a scantily-clad female assistant) was enough to sate the masses. Now everyone knows it’s a trick, and the game is tougher.

It will be fascinating to see what illusionists of the future manage to conceive to make us wonder how they are doing it. British illusionist (among other skills) Derren Brown has recently aired a series of TV specials in which he manages to perform seemingly impossible acts such as guessing the winning lottery numbers or playing Russian Roulette (and winning), then revealing how he has done it.

This revelatory aspect is perhaps one of the most useful weapons in the modern illusionist’s armory. If you can manage to perform a trick and then explain it while still having people gape in wonder at your talents, then you have done something genuinely remarkable and deserve all the credit that’s going.

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