I like magic.
I got into it WAY back in the 90’s because I HAD to know how David Blaine was levitating. Sure, we had some form of the internet back then, but I didn’t have a computer back then. This must have been… what 1998? It was 1997 when David Blaine’s first special aired. So… that would put him around his “dating Fiona Apple” days? SIDE NOTE: David Blaine has great taste in women, just like me! I remember asking friends what they thought was the explanation for the tricks. How did he levitate? He did it right in front of people on the street! Now that I think about it, this was back before we truly understood what reality tv was. We know that most reality shows are staged and helped along with proper editing, but back then… man, everything was true.
Anyway, I remember being haunted by David Blaine. He seemed like this normal dude that had extraordinary abilities to bend space and time. To make the impossible very possible. And I HAD to know if he was real or just doing tricks. I think the first thing that clued me in was the quarter trick.
The Quarter Trick
Growing up, my Dad bought little magic tricks here and there. The same tricks you can purchase from a novelties shop (over-the-hill joke products in the front, porn in the back type of store). I’m sure you’ve seen them. The tricks manufactured by the american inventor Soren Sorensen Adams, or S.S. Adams as we all know him. Here’s a few examples. They have that cool swap-meet packaging. The 1-color prints on colored paper. Sometimes they were just in zip-lock baggies with paper surrounding the gimmick so that the secret wasn’t immediately given away. God forbid you figure it out before you hand over 10 dollars for a rubber-band! I’m not hating, I STILL love those tricks.
Anyway, my Dad’s love for tricks then got me visiting the local magic shop in the Mall. Back then, in the late 80’s to early 90’s, it was down to the library or go see the tricks at the magic shop. I went to the Magic Shop and saw the gimmicked quarter.
Years later, that would help me understand what David Blaine was doing. He couldn’t possibly have super-human, extra-sensory abilities if he had to rely on the quarter (which, when I saw it at the shop, it was for the “quarter into a glass bottle” trick).
So David knew magic. Gotcha bitch. I’m onto you.
After about 2 years of secretly reading, learning, practicing, reading, practicing, reading, and then a little more reading, I felt that my grasp of prestidigitation was enough. I understood the mechanics and could figure out any trick, new to me, almost on the spot. Normally, that would take the “magic” out of things, but it only lit a fire on my NEED to know how ALL wonder inducing acts of weird were done.
I wanted to be the guy that could shoot fucking fire out of my hands. The weird dude that could walk this world and the spirit world. I branched out into Mentalism. I wanted to be able to redo all the old seance tricks. I joined local groups that did carnival acts like sword swallowing and fire eating. Anything that I could cull into knowledge of how to do macabre, weird things.
One thing I stayed away from was stage illusions. Props just wasn’t interesting to me. I LOVE stage magic like Cardini’s cards and billiard balls. Jeff McBride’ card handlings. But when it comes to giant, magician’s assistant type shows. Naw. That was too literal for me. I’m not knocking magician’s assistants, though. They are the true magicians. They do all the mechanics and make the magic happen, but you’ll never know them.
And so I learned.
What a waste. I have all this knowledge, and I have done nothing with it. I love knowing it. I hold secrets to the most amazing tricks you have never seen. I’ve dug deep for out-of-print books written by the most random people just to grab that bit of knowledge for one trick that would scare the pants off of the most skeptical magic audience member. One thing I CAN do is make sure the magic never dies. People are still amazed at tricks. It’s still worth knowing. It’s still completely lame and sometimes cringe-inducing when you watch some tricksters, but in the end, it’s there to tickle your senses. Disturb your understanding of things and make you wonder if there’s more. That’s what I feel is the main point of entertaining tricks. Keep the human spirit wondering.
Google the weird. The Creepy. The scary magic. See what you come up with. Ya just might like it.
P.S., someone buy me this.