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Western Massachussetts
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Profile of DanielCoyne
I just did a very simple self-working card prediction for a co-worker, and introduced it with a conversation about psychology and suggestion and some other mumbo-jumbo. Well...he bought it hook line and sinker.

He is such a nice sincere fellow that I'm feeling both devilishly delighted and also a little guilty for getting away with such a out-and-out deception.

Anyone else have this experience?

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Inner circle
Harrisburg, PA
1432 Posts

Profile of mmreed
No need to feel guilty.

You provided entertainment to the person. That is what magicians do. Deception is our tool to accomplish it. People EXPECT deception from those doing magic. The cloaking of your effect in psychological suggestion is merely patter that sweetens the entertainment.

In fact, you should feel proud of pulling it off well. Not guilty.
Mark Reed
Wedding and Event Entertainment
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Profile of sethb
I think this is a fairly common situation, and it can hinder a person's development as a magician if not dealt with.

I also agree 110% with mmreed, there is no logical reason to feel guilty about it. It's a magician's job to deceive, and that's exactly what people expect you to do -- don't disappoint them!! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
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I've grown old after diggin' holes for
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Profile of DomKabala
Kudos to you...don't look back nor feel guilt...keep up the deception!

Dom Smile Smile
We don't stop playing when we grow old...we grow old when we stop playing.

God is enough, let go, let God. Gal 2:20

"Anything of value is not easily attained and those things which are easily attained are not of lasting value."

Smile Smile Smile Smile
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Profile of Cipher
If you feel guilty, just change your patter for the effect. If you feel bad about deceiving him into believing some psychological bs you made up, just create some patter that would still be entertaining, but less believable.
Andreas S.
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Profile of Andreas S.
I had the same feeling on a show I did for my family. It was just something like a try out for new patterns and performances. Just a test.
There was one thing were I felt also a little bit guilty, because they really believed, that I was using the technique, I talked about before. Of course I didn't.

What we are doing is a show and I always try to get this point clear at the beginning.If you go on a stage it is clear. If you go on the streets, performing for strangers, I would also say, it is clear. If I do a show with a more intimate audience like my family, I will make it clear.

If you know, you are doing a show, but still feeling bad, than change the pattern to something, that will fit your personality more.
Carlos Ramos
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Western Massachusetts
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Profile of Carlos Ramos
Magic is about deception. I mean I'm still super-new to the art, but realize that as a spectator, they have certain expectations of you to try to deceive them...and if you do then you're doing what I hope to achieve! But honestly, if it makes you feel bad try what Andreas said and change the pattern, or maybe try it on younger people you know are gullible.
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Charleston, SC
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Profile of mrunge
Nope...don't feel guilty at all. Everyone has fun and no one gets hurt. What's wrong with that?

The Amazing Noobini
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Oslo, Norway
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Profile of The Amazing Noobini
Sinner! Nah, you're alright I think. Nothing to feel guilty about. Your post proves the presence of a conscience which is a rare quality in an entertainer.

However, just to be sure you should chastise yourself with a birch twig while manically chanting apologies.
"Talk about melodrama... and being born in the wrong part of the world." (Raf Robert)
"You, my friend, have a lot to learn." (S. Youell)
"Nonsensical Raving of a lunatic mind..." (Larry)
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It's taken me 10+ years to make
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Profile of Vick
- congratulations!!! You should be devilishly delighted and have earned it

You've entertained, made someone's day (different) by giving (sharing with) them a unique experience

and you've done a huge thing in regards to performing, you "fooled" someone and they enjoyed the experience

Next challenge, what do you do for an encore?

Welcome to being a magician!
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Vaughn Ver Steegt
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Janesville, Iowa
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Profile of Vaughn Ver Steegt
Sounds like you managed to pull off something that others take a long time to accomplish. Just think that if you didn't do such a great job he'd probably would have wanted you to do it again or ask how it was done. By blowing him away even if it was using some deception your magical status probably went up several notches and that's just part of the fun we have. Don't let it bother you. Keep being magical and enjoy yourself while performing.
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Chesapeake, OH
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Profile of MikeyM71
I wouldn't feel guilty. You're a magician, if you didn't deceive him, you weren't doing your job.
<BR>Mikey M.
The Burnaby Kid
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St. John's, Canada
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Profile of The Burnaby Kid
So long as you don't start selling your services in psychology and suggestion and using a card trick as proof of real powers, you should be fine.
JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
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Profile of sethb
Unlike many politicians, bankers, mortgage brokers (who claim to be honest and then deceive), magicians state upfront that they are going to deceive their audience and then proceed to do it. So at least we are being totally honest about it!! Even most mentalists don't claim to have psychic or supernatural powers (John Edwards and Uri Geller excepted).

Any hesitation or doubt about deceiving your spectators can adversely affect your misdirection, which can be deadly to your presentations.

I believe Darwin Ortiz discusses this "deception" issue in his book, "Strong Magic," and I think Michael Ammar also has an essay about "lying" in his book, "The Magic of Michael Ammar."

It's an interesting paradox, but not difficult to resolve once you think about it for a while. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
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Profile of scaevola
I would look at the patter that Jeff McBride and Eugene Burger use. Eugene talks a lot about word choice if you ever read his stuff. I had the priviledge of meeting Jeff and he told me that everything he says is the truth, he just uses careful word choice to create the magic without lying. "You can see a transformation taking place" He doesn't say "its changing" he says that the spectator can see it change which is true. This isn't the best example of this but if you put some more thought into this patter you'll find you don't have to totally lie, you can let the spectator drawn his or her own conclusions.

I do that a lot with my mentalism. I talk about how I feel a connection with the spectator and use the mentalism to "explore that connection" I don't say "hey, I can read your mind" I can't read minds and the spectator would be able to find that out with a simple test, but I can "explore connections" between minds and if the spectator percieves this connection as proof of esp, well, who am I to say that it isn't?
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Western Massachussetts
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Profile of DanielCoyne
Thank everyone for your input. I'm not losing sleep over it, but it's good to read a range of reactions.

Scaevola, I especially like the idea of carefully scripting patter avoid outright lies -- I think this is especially applicable to mentalism type effects.

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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

Profile of magic4u02
I can understand the idea and the feelings one would get. It is quite common to think this way when one starts out creating magical routines. but, like others have said, it comes down to entertainment value. If they are entertained by what you do and if they realize you are not claiming to have supernatural powers to make money off people, then you have done your job and done it well. We are entertainers who just so happen to use magic as our means from which to entertain.

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Des Moines, Iowa, USA
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Profile of nathanallen
Personally, I don't feel guilty WHILE I am deceiving somebody... But the next morning, sometimes I feel guilty. And hung over.
Nathan Allen, The Maniac of Magic

To buy a prop is nothing.
To write a good routine is something.
To really entertain an audience is everything.
Logan Five
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Profile of Logan Five
The more you perform, the quicker you'll get rid of the guilt.
Self concept is destiny..
Mr. Mystoffelees
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Profile of Mr. Mystoffelees
I think the only times you let your specs down are 1) when you disclose the secret, which makes them feel like fools, or 2) when you repeat the effect, which gives them the chance to figure out the secret and feel like fools, or 3) when you perform an effect you have not mastered, which ends like #2 above. Never tell!! Avoid repeating!!! Only show what you have mastered!! Then you can enjoy their respect of your skills!
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
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