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Dynamike
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Does anyone know why Doug Henning gave up magic/illusions?
silverking
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He found a personal need for a more spiritual calling, and found it in eastern religion.
It went on to become the driving force in his life.
Dynamike
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Thanks Silverking.
KYTerry
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Doug was heavily involved in the TM movement and quit magic to help develop themeparks based on TM. They were rumored to be called Vedaland.

Just before his death, it was written that Doug had regained his interest in magic and was known to frequent the magic shops in whatever town he was in.

Real loss to magic.
Bill Palmer
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This is really a simplistic view of what happened with Doug. I knew people who were involved in his show, as well as people who were involved with TM. The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi came to the US at a time when many of the young people of my generation were looking for a substitute for the religion of their parents, feeling that they had somehow been betrayed by a hierarchy that would not bend with the times. It is no coincidence that groups like the Unification Church, the TM movement, and the Peoples's Temple all flourished during that time.

If you want some of the inside dope on the TM movement, read what William Poundstone had to say about it in Bigger Secrets.

When Doug decided to leave the show and build Vedaland, he sent his agent two videotapes (so the story goes). He instructed the agent to assemble his crew and play the first tape. The first tape fired the crew and gave them severance pay. The second tape instructed the agent to auction off the Henning show and send the proceeds to Doug, presumably to give to the Maharishi. Then it instructed the agent to fire himself.

The auction was held, and it was fairly well known amongst the bidders that because of the shabby way Doug had fired his help, high bids were not expected. So the Henning show sold for about a dime on the dollar.

Doug had no idea how much animosity this would stir up in the world of magic. He went from being a respected performer to being an object of ridicule. Many of the people who had worked for him hated him. Some of his fans felt deserted. Those close to him felt that he had found a new deep end to jump off of.

When he learned that he was dying, he travelled all over the US, visiting magic shops and, in many cases, making amends.

He was a hard worker and a very creative thinker. But most of us felt he was duped by a major charlatan.

Shortly after he left magic, the buzz that was going around was "Vedaland is there, you just can't see it!"
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MagiClyde
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I remember this period. The Woodstock generation, "Tune in, turn on, and drop out". A lot of people were trying to "find themselves". Cat Stevens did something similar by jumping on the Islamic Peace Train. In that sense, Henning was no different.

It's just a shame that Doug couldn't find a more diplomatic way to part company with his co-workers. Doing it by videotape certainly didn't help matters.
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Bill Palmer
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Actually, I think it was what one might call a reaction to the Woodstock period. The people who dropped out needed a place to go. For some it was the Ashram. For others, it was the commune. For others, it was an odd cult. And the "religiopredators" were all ready for them.

They also covered Europe, and many of the best minds in magic went for this kind of thing. We are still seeing the consequences of it now and then.

Actors are particularly vulnerable to this kind of thing. Many of them think that because they are highly visible, the thing they use to relieve their stress is what everyone else needs. They go on television, act like morons, and give cults a bad name. It's a perfect example of "If you are so rich, why ain't you smart?"

I can't get inside Doug Henning's head. I think he did what he did using the method that he used because he knew that once he got back among his crew, he would have second thoughts.

This must have been a terrible decision for him to make.
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MagiClyde
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They go on television, act like morons, and give cults a bad name.


When have cults ever had a GOOD name? Each time I hear the word "cult", I think of "moonies", jonestown and Scientology. I was even raised to believe that Mormonism is nothing more than a cult. The irony is that some people who have studied religion from an impassioned point of view feel that Christianity may have started as a cult!

At any rate, I sometimes wonder if the knowledge of how magic works tends to jade people in terms of their core beliefs, making them try to seek out real meaning in their lives. It is my guess that this is exactly what happened to Doug.

Well, with this reply I am now officially a "veteran user" of this board. I've rarely dedicated myself to something like I have this Café and magic. Needless to say, I am proud of myself for sticking with it as long as I have. I feel a real sense of comaraderie with all of you in this magical place.

Smile Smile Smile
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Bill Palmer
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I don't believe that the knowledge of how magic works affects the philosophical belief systems of anyone but those with the most fragile faiths. Some would argue that it is learning the truth about Santa Claus has caused more people to become atheists or agnostics than learning how a magic trick is done.

Bad weed may be the cause of it in some people. Smile

It could be that religious freedom has caused people to lose faith. I find that trying to find a single cause to blame loss of faith upon is a matter of trying to find a direct blame and effect situation that may not exist.
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Marshall Thornside
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Doug was a pioneer in firing people by videotape...
because now people get fired by email now.

I still remember when he listed his magic in one
of the TOPS magazine...it wasn't all there either.

there was a couple of illusions missing.
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MagiClyde
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Quote:
Bad weed may be the cause of it in some people.


Really, Bill, I thought it was the bad acid trips! Smile

Quote:
Doug was a pioneer in firing people by videotape...
because now people get fired by email now.


It is precisely this callous attitude by corporations that cause some people to "go postal"! As our society becomes more mechanized and impersonal, I wonder how this will effect the basic human condition. Might there be a return to movements like we witnessed back in the 60's?

Eventually people either become very passive and accept the changes going on around them, even if those changes are very detrimental, or they rebel in some of the most violent or unorthodox ways.
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Jonathan Townsend
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Violent? Unorthodox? Cult...

All the perspective of those who don't accept change.

Words make up a worldview. And as adults you get to choose your words.

What worldview do you wish to propagate?
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Bill Palmer
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Okay, Jonathan, how else would you characterize "The People's Temple?"

The fact that James Jones got his followers to believe that he was the Messiah, and convinced them to drink the Koolaid that Larry Schacht mixed with poison certainly characterizes this particular movement as a violent, unorthodox cult.

Should we accept that?

What about Herff Applewhite and Heaven's Gate? Basically the same thing. Should we accept that?

What about Wahabbis -- within their relgious group, they are considered a violent, unorthodox cult (precisely because THEY are unwilling to accept change.)
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MagiClyde
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I am reminded of the original Star Trek episode where a group of futuristic "hippies" stole the Enterprise in order to find "Eden" and live in paradise without technology. I also think it's the only episode where Spock plays a musical instrument. Really cool and different.

HEADIN' INTO EDEN...YEAH BROTHER!
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ScottRSullivan
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On 2007-04-16 23:13, clynim wrote:
I also think it's the only episode where Spock plays a musical instrument. Really cool and different.


And then he went to sing about Bilbo Baggins!

Ah, the old days.

:D
Jonathan Townsend
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On 2007-04-16 16:45, Bill Palmer wrote:
Okay, Jonathan, how else would you characterize "The People's Temple?"

The fact that James Jones got his followers to believe that he was the Messiah, and convinced them to drink the Koolaid that Larry Schacht mixed with poison certainly characterizes this particular movement as a violent, unorthodox cult...


What does it say about some people that they would be attracted to such places and to such leaders?

Let's not imbue predatory psychopaths with too much honor as leaders or those seeking easy answers with too much respect as sane adults. Sometimes the sick have a way of finding eachother.
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Bill Palmer
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It isn't that simple.

It is very easy to categorize people who have a need for leadership as people who are seeking easy answers. I've seen the devastating effect the destruction of faith can have first-hand.

This is particularly dangerous for people who consider themselves to be intellectually superior to others. They find a belief system that works for them, and when they learn that it is as hypocritical as they felt the one they left behind was, they have a psychological void that needs to be filled. That will be filled by the next "philosopher" who comes along.

It's very much like romance on the rebound.
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Tom G
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If I remember correctly, Henning thought, through TM, that he would actually be able to levitate. It was a while later that some TM people showed up on some talk show, to show the progress in levitating. (Henning wasn't involved.) It was pretty amusing. These guys would sit cross legged on the floor and through the use of some upper body momentum and what must have been killer butt muscles, were able to get a couple of inches off the floor. Sheer physical energy. It wasn't until the host mentioned that it looked like they were just bouncing off of the floor, that I became scared... They couldn't believe for a second that someone could not believe that they were really levitating... Yikes.
silverking
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As a citizen of a free country, Doug did what we all get to do, and that's to lead his life as he saw fit to live it.

Why does an explanation need to be found in excess of the fact that what happened was Doug's personal decision regarding how wanted to live his life?
Illusion77
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Also - I've not heard any other stories about Doug "being an object of ridicule" and "many of the people who had worked for him hated him" as Bill Palmer wrote.

I mean no offense to Mr. Palmer, but everyone I talked to, even former coworkers and employees, had nothing but good things to say about Doug.
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