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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Science of Magic » » Historical perceptions of magicians (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Prahlad
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Hi,

Was there any time at which magicians were perceived to have esoteric knowledge of the sciences?

If you have any historical sources, please share them.

Regards
Pop Haydn
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What do you mean by "magicians?"
Prahlad
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Quote:
On Aug 15, 2021, Pop Haydn wrote:
What do you mean by "magicians?"


Performers, conjurers, the kind of people who haunt the Café.

I'm curious whether lay audiences have ever believed that magicians used methods at the forefront of science.
Pop Haydn
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In 100 CE Seneca described seeing the Cups and Balls performers in the streets and being amazed. "Once I learned the secrets of a trick, I lost all interest it."

It is usually charlatans rather than performers who attempt to make people believe their powers are "real." Magicians do a sort of a burlesque of charlatans.
Pop Haydn
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Robert-Houdin made numerous humorous nods to the science and medicine of his day. Floating his son by means of ether, for example. I don't think people were intended to believe that the ether actually created the effect, it was just theatrical dressing. The Turk was supposedly a chess-playing, clockwork automaton and was first exhibited in the 18th Century. It was profoundly perplexing and interesting to the people who saw it, but few actually believed it was real.

The Discovery of Witchcraft was intended to counter widespread belief that marketplace performers used demons and magic in their performances rather than trickery.
Prahlad
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Thank you. I will try to look into Houdin a little more deeply. I am aware that he espoused scientific principles for his methods, and suggested that other magicians also do so.
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