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Topic: Explain some little trick?
Message: Posted by: olaf911 (Jun 8, 2009 08:25AM)
Well, I do not know whether this is the correct forum to post this. If it is not please direct me to the correct one. Thanks.

Here we go:

I know a female dentist who I owe very much (no, not money!). She helped me when being in great pain (I mean REALLY great pain, as she herself had never seen before. Her own words.). In other words, she spent countless hours helping me without being paid. And she lives in my neighbourhood, a few doorsteps away. So once I told her I am practicing magic and that I am about to join the local magic circle. She was very interested and wanted me to show her some tricks, but naturally, in her presence, I did not feel well enough to do so. After all there always was an unpleasant reason to visit her. :-(

As a little compensation I invited her and her boyfriend to attend my final preparation show before the exam for acceptance to the local magic circle. There she first saw me performing, and I am proud to say that she was blown away.

Why do I tell you? Well, bear with me.

Now, whenever I meet her on the street, she asks me how the hell these sponge balls manage to travel, and how they vanish. She freely admits not to be able to practice sponge ball magic because she lacks the time. But the secret of the sponge balls she persistently wants to know.

I know that as a rule laymen are disappointed when they learn the secrets of magic. But what about this special case? She only wants to know the sponges. Just sponges. And she is a very educated adult who knows what she is doing.

So I am torn. I want to make her happy in a way, but do I reach this goal by telling her, or by NOT telling her?
Message: Posted by: abc (Jun 8, 2009 08:41AM)
You make her happy by not telling her.
The fact that she keeps asking about it means that she was impressed and entertained. It means her happiness comes from being a spectator of good magic. If you tell her you take it all away. This is not only about keeping the secret. She will be friendly to you whether you tell her or not. She will no longer experience it as magic (and yes I know she knows it isn't real magic) if you tell her.
On another point. It is never just the sponges. There are ideas on which sponge magic is based that can be applied to other things and objects.
Message: Posted by: molsen (Jun 8, 2009 10:20AM)
Let her keep the magic. Tell her how much you appreciate her feedback though.

Message: Posted by: MagicRoo (Jun 8, 2009 11:00AM)
People will always ask you to explain your secrets. Even nice, educated adults will do that. By telling them you will exclude them from future magic experience from you (and other magicians).

My advice: keep it for yourself.

By the way: you did join the local magic circle, right? Doesn't their regulation advice you how to deal with such situations? *irony* :)
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Jun 8, 2009 11:32AM)
Chances are that she really does not want to know, but it is her way of complimenting you and your performance by the fact that it still facinates her.

Keep the secret.
Message: Posted by: Bande (Jun 8, 2009 01:07PM)
I usually tell people the truth -- when you know the secret the magic will disappear. Since they really enjoyed the magic, you will not tell them because you do not want to ruin it for them. In fact there are a number of tricks that I have learned where I wish I had never known. :)
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (Jun 8, 2009 01:12PM)
I really don't see anything that makes this a "special case". Here's what I mean. Most often, magicians start out by performing tricks for family and friends. This lady certainly seems to qualify as a friend. In many cases, the family and friends will be naturally curious as to how a trick is done, even if they don't have any intention of ever performing the trick themselves. Again, that certainly seems to be the case here. In almost every case, it starts out with just showing one trick - then it snowballs from there.

Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Jun 8, 2009 01:43PM)
Exposure, just say no.
Message: Posted by: AlienSpaceBat (Jun 8, 2009 02:54PM)
Explaining the secret really does spoil the magic, especially for her.

I recall being pestered by family and caving in a couple of times in the past - all that happens is they are unimpressed once the secret is known, and the effect which they previously loved is forever diminished.

Trust me - she doesn't *actually* want to know ....
Message: Posted by: wackyvorlon (Jun 8, 2009 03:10PM)
Telling her how you did it will rob the experience of all it's luster and joy. She will look back on it, not as a fond moment of wonder, but possibly feeling silly that she was fooled by it.

If she asks, just shrug and say, "It's magic."
Message: Posted by: John Long (Jun 8, 2009 05:41PM)

She could spend just $5 on Amazon.com for a copy of Wilson's Complete Course.

Maybe suggesting a magic book will distinguish between curiostity, and interest.
Message: Posted by: JSpencer (Jun 8, 2009 06:01PM)
John's suggestion is the one I'd be closest to suggesting as well. If she's TRULY interested (beyond a curious spectator level), Tell her to look up Wilson's Complete Course.

If she's truly interested in the how of the trick, she'll pick up the book. If she's just curious, the mystique and entertainment value stays :)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 8, 2009 07:00PM)
Clean her office, make her coffee, mow her grass... bur don't tell her how the trick is done- she will not like you for it...
Message: Posted by: MagikDavid (Jun 8, 2009 10:53PM)
Exposing magic to satisfy one's curiosity is just not ethical. Since she admitted that she "doesn't have the time to practice sponge balls...", there would be nothing to gain from the exposure. Protect your dignity as a magician and don't tell. If she presses you on "Why Not," then explain that just as she is bound by ethical rules in her profession as a dentist... you are also bound by the rules of the magic community. Tell her that if she decides to take up magic as a hobby and is willing to put the time in necessary to perform, then you would welcome the opportunity to share some of your 'secrets.'

Message: Posted by: olaf911 (Jun 9, 2009 01:13AM)

Thank you all for your feedback. I guess I already knew what I would get. In fact I never told anyone my magic secrets before, and I am sure it will stay this way.

This case was a real temptation though. She IS nice, and she does not pester me. She just stays curious. No, "interested" might be a better word for it. If it simply were a "Just tell me! Just tell me!" it were easy to turn her down. And I KNOW she has very little spare time, so magic is out of her reach. Strange as it is, but it was harder for me to decline her than to decline my own wife.

Well, I agree, I do her a favour by not telling her anything, because I want her to be able to experience magic in the future. I had this feeling anyway, but I guess I had to get some support and some reasonable arguments from the magic community to be at ease. Since this inner fight is over now it also will be easier for me in the future, whenever similar situations may occur.

Again, thank you all for your support and for sharing your thoughts in this matter. I suspect that one or another of you have been through some similar experience...
Message: Posted by: Ronald72 (Jun 9, 2009 02:08AM)
Hi Olaf,

We all have the same experience. Never tell the secret. Just make a joke and give them a new experience. Like: instead of telling you my secret I have this for you, and give her new magic. That keep up the fun for both!
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 9, 2009 05:33AM)
Most thoughts of importance have been offered by others, but one ...

her claim to "not having the time" is a matter of choices she is making in her life, and is no more true than for any other person. To 'give in' to her request is to support her lack of discipline and accountability to some extent. As a dentist she does many things for people that they can and should do for themeselves -- and charges for it. This also enables her to do things like help you at no charge. Your performace fueled her curiosity, but to support her being 'out of control' will do little to help her. Show her more magic effects and feed the fire is you feel that is best, but don't throw water on the ember by removing the mystique. She doesn't tell you how she does her magic -- you don't tell her yours. You can chose to go to dentistry school -- she can choose to go to magic school.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 9, 2009 05:38AM)
On 2009-06-08 09:25, olaf911 wrote:

As a little compensation I invited her and her boyfriend to attend my final preparation show before the exam for acceptance to the local magic circle.


Oh that I waih this still occured here in the USA (maybe it does somewhere) In my experience, in the last 20 years or so, anybody can walk into a Magic Circle, do a single sloppy card trick and be admitted as a member. You are fortunate to have mentors there who set a higher standard.
Message: Posted by: Ronald72 (Jun 9, 2009 06:09AM)
I agree with Funsway. Today I talk to a friend on the phone. He is with me in a magic circle in Den Haag. He wants to go to a magic circle near by where he's living. Yesterday evening he has to do exam for entering the circle. There were in total six new magicians. More then three were sloppy, bad technique, and most of all bad performance with even more bad excuses. But here is the real magic trick, they all are accepted as a member!! Unbelievable.

Then he spoked to an older memeber who told him that my friend must not expect to learn here, it was just fun. Huh???

I have learned that it is truth that if you a really serious and you are willing to make the offer then only a mentor will get you to a higher level. Look for a mentor. And still never tell the secret :)
Message: Posted by: olaf911 (Jun 9, 2009 07:16AM)
On 2009-06-09 06:38, funsway wrote:

In my experience, in the last 20 years or so, anybody can walk into a Magic Circle, do a single sloppy card trick and be admitted as a member. You are fortunate to have mentors there who set a higher standard.

This is a sad thing, because then the exam is worth nothing and can be omitted.
I did not attend any magical exam except my own in my life, so I can tell you only from my experience. I had a 60-minute theoretical exam (history, magical theory, basic manipulations, 2 routines) followed by a 20-minute show in front of the gathered magic circle. I took this as a serious challenge which all aspirants have to pass. Some "sloppy card tricks" will not do.

Obviously the criteria for admittance differ from organization to organization. For the german "Magischer Zirkel von Deutschland" this procedure is mandatory, and I am happy to have mastered this challenge.