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I don't believe in magic anymore (1 Viewer)

StephenP2003

Senior Member
When a masked Val Valentino broke the magician’s code on Fox in 1997, my childhood had ended. I was 12 years old, and up until that point I wanted to be a famous magician and had attempted every low-budget magic trick in the books. But after I saw the Masked Magician show millions of people how it was done, I just wasn’t that impressed anymore.

This was when stage magic died altogether, leaving only a few unique acts in Vegas and a couple “mind over matter” displays on TV. But even the mystery of those could be destroyed with a few keystrokes on Google. We live in a time where nothing is without an answer or at least a few strong theories. Nothing on TV really wows me anymore.

A few years ago, I was at a company picnic at Blue Bayou Water Park. To relive my childhood, I decided to stay and watch a magic show behind that blue slide I was afraid to go on until I was 13.

The magician started off with a few semi-impressive yo-yo tricks before getting to the real magic. During his act, children kept getting up and trying to sabotage his tricks. They would open boxes, look behind him and try to grab whatever he’s holding. The man repeatedly asked the parents to properly restrain their kids.

Before I go into another rant about bad parenting, I’ll get back on subject by pointing out that children no longer seem to possess the ability to suspend belief. They’ve been jaded by people like me, who aspire to suck the mystery out of everything in life. Some say that kids are more curious these days, and that might be true. But we could be raising a generation of uncreative skeptics. The last thing we need is more journalists.

Magic was a big part of my childhood, and I was a nicer person when I believed in it. Magic made me want to question the unknown, but not refute it. And I wanted to believe that I could one day grow up to amaze people as much as Copperfield and others amazed me.

Seeing the secrets of stage magic revealed on national TV didn’t disillusion me; it simply forced me to move on to other interests. The tricks weren’t amazing, and none of them really required that much talent. It pretty much ruined any hope of magic ever being impressive again. Stage magic was over, and the popularity of TV magic skyrocketed.

But all of this was just a long intro to the real reason I’m writing this disorganized column. Criss Angel. Uri Geller. “Phenomenon.”

I can’t watch this anymore. I can’t see another person guess what was written on a big index card. I refuse to watch a man pretend to die or be possessed by a ghost while Raven-Symone gives the best performance of her career.

I don’t pretend to be an authority on the subject of performance magic, but I do know Criss Angel can’t levitate. I don’t think he can even make a live audience believe he’s levitating. I don’t believe that guy on “Phenomenon” can really stop his heart. I doubt that a single “magician” who has appeared on that show (and I emphasize the word “show”) can perform his act without the help of plants – paid actors who pretend to be amazed by his rigged trick. I don’t believe any of it is a real performance, and I challenge someone to prove me wrong.

My mind has never been freaked by Criss Angel’s heavily edited TV show. The only thing about it that baffled me was the seemingly high ratings.

A couple of weeks ago on “Phenomenon,” one of the contestants performed a “trick” where he pretended to be possessed by a ghost who knew the contents of a locked chest on the stage. After this horrible performance, Criss Angel chastised him, and rightfully so. Criss challenged the performer (and Uri Geller, too) to guess what was in the envelope he was holding. He offered them a large sum of his own money if they guessed correctly, and then a staged “fight” ensued. The host happily reiterated that we were watching a live show and none of this was planned. I’m sure.

But we all know what was in the envelope. None other than Criss Angel’s fat check from NBC.

Magic is dead.
 

JohnN

Senior Member
Cool article, as i mentioned on scribblesheet.

What I particularly like about the writing is that it is not stiff, feels like a real person wrote this. I find personal articles about someones own experiences tend to be the best.
 
T

Truth-Teller

Nice rant.

Would be an incredible moving short story, if you ever have the thought of translating it into a fiction work. Maybe have the ending say, only real magic I've ever witnessed exists in the human mind.
 

velo

Retired Supervisor
I liked this and I agree with truth-teller that this could be turned into an excellent short story. The only thing I can really say is that I would have liked to see a little more depth of discussion about the emotional betrayal and loss of innocence to really make this hit home.
 

Loulou

WF Veterans
I liked this too Stephen and also think you could have a great short story if you wanted. It got me thinking. It's funny how we want to solve every mystery, both in magic and life, and when we do we're inevitably disappointed. It's better, perhaps, not to find out.
 

winner

Senior Member
Your doesn't seem like 'writing', but more like someone talking to you. And the points you make are always relatable and thought provoking. It's good.

:4stars:​
 
W

wizdem

I just wanted to say I really enjoyed reading this. I think we can all pinpoint the exact moment when the awe factor stopped and our barrier of innocence came crashing down. What was once amazing turns into the questioning of anythng and everything. And from that point on, cynicism forever clouds our answers.
 
H

Headstuff

Good piece, I'm in agreement with most of it, especially 'Phenomenon' - the show is a joke. However, I write for mentalists (psychological magicians, such as Kreskin,Osterlind, Banachek, etc) and can guarantee that only a very small amount of effects require a stooge. They're still tricks though, obviously:)

H
 
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