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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » What happened, was this... » » Mistaken for real magic... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Wolfgang
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TEXAS
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I did a show yesterday morning at a rehab center, and there was a staff member who was glued to my act.

He was a young man (probably 30 years old) from Haiti. After the show, he came up and spoke with me. He said he had never seen anyone do the kind of things I did. Then he started telling me about his wife and how she doesn't love him anymore.

He asked if I could use my magic to make her love him again. I politely explained that I don't do real magic, just tricks for entertainment. He was terribly disappointed.

Has anyone else had an adult audience member think their act was real witchcraft? It was very freaky.
"Sure, I do Scotch and Soda in every show. What? You mean there's a trick by that name?"
stine
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TN
152 Posts

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Once after performing floating bill a woman across the table kept bowing to me in some sort of martial arts style. I thought it was her way of applauding. She then asked me how long I studied my technique that allowed me to levitate things. What amazed me wasn't so much she thought it was real, but that after seeing someone FLOAT something (she just witnessed a miracle) her response is basically to clap? That's like watching Jesus walk on water and say "not bad, but I saw a magician once.... etc....
Chrystal
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Canada/France
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Hi Wolfgang and Stine,

Both interesting stories.

Wolfgang,a touching story.

I had that happen to me once and it too involved a family from Africa. It's very culturally based as I've had the opportunity to visit Haiti. Magicians may be viewed as shamans or spiritual healers from that part of the world.

Thanks for sharing.
daffydoug
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Eternal Order
Look mom! I've got
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Shamans , Huh? Hmmm. I wonder if that's why David Blaine was so anxious to perform there? LOL Smile But to answer the question, I too have had people accuse me of witchcraft or being in leauge with the devil. In fact one was the pastor of my church. Which was why I quit going there. But that's another thread under gospel the gospel magic section.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Xia
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London, England
286 Posts

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Not me, but a friend of mine who is also a magician had all of his tricks / props/ books thrown out by his flatmate who thought he was in league with the devil!! Smile Smile Smile
"They say time is money...i say time is precious"
"They say the whole is much more than the sum of its Parts...Thats why a man is much more than the sum of his Past!"
Skeptic
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Holland MI
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I was asked to perform at a co-worker's daughters birthday party but he cancelled after complaints from his daughter's friends' parents. Turns out the stricter baptist don't like magic. Oh well.
Dallen
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Maui, Hawaii
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I remember reading a similar story in book 3 of Paul Harris's AOA series. It was an article written by David Abrams and how he went to Asia and there was someone who believed he did real magic. This person was a fisherman and wanted David to use his magic to help him catch fish. Really interesting story, check it out if you haven't already.
marko
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The story Dallen refers to is called "The Other Side of Magic" writen by David Abrams. I agree, a fascinating read.
Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
Matt Graves
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Huntsville, Alabama (USA)
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These people who think that people doing magic tricks are in league with the devil have to be complete idiots. Having said that, if somebody like that threw out all my magic stuff, they would definitely see my devilish side!
Alan Gold
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Key West, FL
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I have had people tell me I was in league with the Devil, I WAS the Devil, they hated me, I sucked, I was possessed, I was a witch, and I just wasn't right. Of course, these were all said in a nonreligious way, and got me telling them that magic is one of the only fields I know where such comments are considered COMPLIMENTS.

But every now and then, I get some people who are JUST a bit too serious. I have had more than one person (though not a whole lot) tell me, "No thank you...that is against my religion." The oddest one of those was a table of two guys where the one guy said sure, show me something, and the other guy told me it was against his religion. So the religious guy turned his head and didn't watch, while I did tricks for his friend. I didn't question it (out loud), but his friend was like, are you kidding dude? It was...interesting.

I do know that last night, when I was doing a multi-card revelation, and got to the last girl, and could not get her card and kept getting the wrong card, she freaked when I told her, well, if I ever lose your Seven of Hearts again (spreading out the cards to show the 7H the only one face up), I'll just give you call at 555-4658. And there was her number, laid out with all the cards I had missed her card with. She was already blown away prior to that...but after that, she was just gone. I did the same trick once for a girl from Pittsburgh, and she went three feet straight back in her chair. Would have gone probably six feet, but there was a wall there. My friend, doing the same trick, had one girl so blown away afterwards that she walked away in a daze...and right off the dock into the water.

But the best is when the adults, not the kids, look at me with that complete wonder, and say, "But...HOW...?" or "But that's IMPOSSIBLE!" or my favorite, "But...but...but..."

Heh. Heh. Freakin' heh.

:)

Alan
Remember: Al G. is just another way to say pond scum.
James F
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Atlanta
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When I was visiting a friend in Florida a few years ago, we went to this girls house. I was playing with some IT and a bill and the girl saw it and like freaked out and told her parents and they kicked me out of their house. They actually thought it was "real" magic and told me I wasnt welcome back at their house. A while after that my friend tried to perform magic in the school talent show and the girl went to the principal. They told my friend he couldn't perform magic in the show. Very weird...

James
Alan Gold
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Key West, FL
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James, sounds like a great community to live in.
Can you let me know where it is so I can make a point of not moving there any time soon?

:)

Alan Gold
Remember: Al G. is just another way to say pond scum.
James F
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Atlanta
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It was Tallahassee Florida. She’s the only one I’ve ever encountered like that. I even offered to explain it because I didn't want to get kicked out and have them have something against me. They wouldn’t even listen to me. Just kicked me out...ha ha.

James
Alan Gold
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Key West, FL
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Well, James, I live in the other end of the state, Key West, and I have to tell you, magic is pretty much accepted down here. ****, we have enough magicians! Then again, as anyone who has ever been here will tell you, Key West IS kind of "different"!

:)

Alan
Remember: Al G. is just another way to say pond scum.
James F
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I’ve actually been to Key West but it was only for a day so I didn't get to really get a feel for it. Glad to hear everything goes well down there.

James
jcards01
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Waterloo, IL
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Yes, circa 1969, Viet Nam, out on a week long patrol we camped out the first night in a Vietnamese village we came across. We actually formed small groups and moved into the huts with the people.

The captain, me (radio operator) and Vietnamese counterparts shared one such hut. The captain, knowing my skill with cards, said I should show the family some things since they were nice enough to share food and their hut with us.

I took out the cards and started performing the card effects I was doing at the time. By the way, this was a different sense of timing, as everything I said or asked had to go through an interpreter first and come back as the tricks were shown.

After about 1/2 hour, nothing, just blank stares on the faces of the people. I asked the interpreter what was wrong, they don't seem to be enjoying this!!!

He said, they think you are black magic. The only magic these people know of is NOT the kind I was doing. I asked the interpreter what card games did they play? He told me Chinese Poker. Things are a little sketchy now, but it was deal out all the cards (there were 4 of us playing) so we each got 13 cards. You divide your cards into three groups of 3, 5 and 5. You must win (high poker hand) 2 out of the 3 hands. Well, I shuffled and dealt out the cards and when I showed my 1st hand as 2, 3, 4 of spades, the 2nd hand of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of spades and the 3rd hand of 10, J, Q, K, A of spades, they erupted in laughter and relaxed and had a great time for the rest of the evening.
Jimmy 'Cards' Molinari
www.jimmycards.com
Leland Stone
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Wolfgang and Skeptic:

I belong to a Baptist church, and most of my fellow congregants experience varying degrees of discomfort at any display of Magic. Eh, que cera, cera; they don't force "Ambrosia" on me at the church potlucks, and I don't force "Voodoo Ashes" on them.

Most of these folks don't actually think what I do is real, or that I'm in league with dark forces. Rather, my pretended display of supernatural powers is simply unsettling to them (what fool demon would bother with twaddle like changing a silk into an egg is completely beside the point, by the way!).

But there have been instances when someone was deeply and profoundly convinced that my stuff was real. I do paranormal shows, and 'received' a 'message' for one of the 'sitters,' which she then personalized and completely 'bought' the effect. Afterwards, she asked for an "interpretation" of what she had just witnessed.
I looked her square in the eyes and told her, "Ma'am, what you've just seen was a theatrical performance, nothing more." Her response? "I don't know what that means."

To those who doubt, no explanation is possible, and for those who believe, it is unnecessary.

Leland Edward Stone
avimagic
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Hollywood, Florida
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There are also religious Jews with aversions to magic. I am an Orthodox Jew myself, and have researched the topic pretty exhaustively.

First, there is the issue of "Black Magic" (witchcraft). Prohibited by Jewish law. Not a problem, because that's not what we're doing, right? Well...

Next, there is a prohibition of doing anything that *looks* like you're violating Jewish law, for fear that you might lead others down your rocky path. For instance, for those who keep kosher, McDonald's is completely off limits. So, it would be wrong for me to walk into McDonalds (even to use the bathroom or just buy a Coke) while wearing my yarmulka (you know, the little skull cap, or beanie we Orthodox Jews wear), since someone might see me go in and think, "Hey, if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me."

Finally, there is the issue of lying. When we refer to a black art box as "empty", we are lying, right?

Now, these three apparent violations of Jewish law would make you think magic is strictly prohibited. But it's really not. Here's why:

(If you ever run into an Orthodox Jew who says magic is against his/her religion, you can completely blow them away with this little tidbit. Major bonus points if you remember the rabbi's name!)

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (pronounced Moe-sheh Fine-steen) was one of the foremost authorities of Jewish law of our generation. He concluded the following:

1. Magicians don't really perform witchcraft, so the first problem is a non-issue.

2. In this day and age, *most* people know there's a trick to what we do, that what they see is an illusion, and that you're not performing witchcraft, so you don't need to worry about the second problem either.

3. Finally, since everyone knows that there is a trick to what we are doing, in effect, PEOPLE COME TO A MAGIC SHOW TO BE LIED TO. It's almost like listening to a storyteller. A storyteller who recounts a fictional tale is not a liar. So neither are we.

Leland-- Do Baptists' aversion to magic stem from the same problems? Would the logic of Rabbi Feinstein's conclusions hold water in the church?

Avi
Leland Stone
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Hi, Avi:

Wow! Your description of the Orthodox Jewish view on Magic -- if the reference to the yarmulka and Rabbi Feinstein were removed -- would be identical to the Evangelical Christian view I've encountered (among both Baptists and other denominations). Not surprising, I suppose, given that my faith is derivative of yours! Smile

I've actually used the analogy between Magic and motion pictures, and typically get two responses: 1) That's different [with no further explanation], and therefore doesn't count; 2) The worldview of the audience must be considered. That is, no one believes that Darth Vader really is Luke Skywalker's dad, because those two aren't real (like your example #2); however, some people do believe in 'REAL' Magic, therefore, in practicing my Art I may be guilty of perpetuating their erroneous beliefs. [If you're familiar with the New Testament, this is the "weaker brother" doctrine established by Paul...Christians may at times abstain from indulging in ________, not because the faith forbids it, but because it may personally offend another believer.]

Because I do bizarre Magic and recreate séances [yes, they're fake, but 'fake séances' is a redundancy], I was ready to concede that Christian critics may have a point there. Until I remembered that millions of fellow Christians regularly commune with the dead...and they call themselves Orthodox Christians!

Thanks so much for the insight!

Leland
avimagic
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Leland:

I have been asked by Orthodox Jewish audiences in the past to do one (or both) of 2 things:

1. Emphasize to the audience that this is illusion, not magic.
2. Explain a trick.

I willingly do #1.

In a situation other than the séance, maybe this is also a good answer for the Baptist groups?

Avi
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