Skepticism In The World Of Magic

Many people are skeptical about magic, particularly stage magic. However, there are many different types of skepticism, and some are more valid as forms of criticism. For example, a lot of people can see what a magician is doing to give the appearance, or the illusion, that magic is being used, and will call attention to it. This is fine, and separates good illusionists from bad.

Then there are others who start from the position that “magic is not real”, and will deride a stage magician for practising their craft without offering any explanation as to how the performance is being carried out. This is a more cowardly form of criticism, since we can all assume that an illusionist is using some form of sleight of hand. Just saying “that’s not real” is not particularly good criticism, since you are offering no alternative explanation.

This is an important distinction. If you were in the cinema watching a movie where, for example, a main character shot a fireball from his or her fingertips, you would not be well advised to stand up and tell the other people watching that “that’s not really happening – it’s just a film!”. Of course it is, but people go along to be impressed by the show.

Picking holes in a magician’s act without having any cold hard facts is a stupid thing to do. Most of the people in the audience have pretty much gathered that the illusionist is using some kind of trick to give the appearance of magic, but they enjoy the show because the tricks are well covered and look authentic. We can all be skeptical from a position of ignorance, but it is only really valid when we come from a position of knowledge.

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When Shall We Three Meet Again?

Although anyone with an appreciation for the author’s craft would have to be in a supremely bad mood to deny the quality of the Harry Potter books, you could forgive someone for being a little bad tempered over the fact that people seem to relate every book about witches and wizards back to them. Witches and wizards have been present in literature since long before JK Rowling put pen to paper, and will continue to be so.

Shakespeare himself uses three witches to compelling effect in perhaps his most famous play, Macbeth, while including such characters elsewhere in his oeuvre. He himself was most likely not the first, as there is a certain fascination to the idea of magic which makes for very entertaining reading. Authors like Philip Pullman and Sir Terry Pratchett have also created fascinating magical worlds.

The upshot of this is, for some, a certain lack of enthusiasm for stage magic. If you have read a book in which magic is used to create new ways of traveling, as a weapon and in other extraordinary ways, as a child you would be forgiven for wondering why the magician in front of you is using it to make a marble disappear. Where’s the shock and awe in that?

Smart illusionists will take this as a challenge. Harry Potter may well be able to produce a corporeal Patronus, and that’s nice and all, but Penn and Teller can catch bullets between their teeth. Stage magic needs to keep improving to keep people interested, and the best illusionists will know what they need to do.

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for $44.99 New from $19.99
For Your Amazing Child MagicianDo you want an amazing magic trick set to provide your child with hours of fun as they delight in entertaining you with their new magic tricks? Uncle Bunny Starter Magic set allows children, of all ages to perform the ... read more
Melissa & Doug Magician Role Play Costume Set - Includes Hat, Cape, Wand, Magic Tricks
for $29.99 $14.98 New from $14.98 Used from $12.28
Abracadabra, hocus-pocus, presto! Young magicians will be delighted with this impressive role play set. Kids can make a coin magically appear and disappear from the secret vest pocket or pull a rabbit out of the top hat's hidden compartment. Set also... read more
Ideal 100-Trick Spectacular Magic Show Suitcase
for $46.50 $39.99 New from $29.99
Ideal 100-Trick Spectacular Magic Show Suitcase lets children wow their audiences and amaze even themselves! Learn the great secrets of illusion from one of the most complete magic sets ever made. This set comes with a magic hat, magic wand, suitcase... read more
Ever Magic Set, 24 Magic Tricks To Master In Minutes, includes: Magic Tricks, Magician's Box and Tutorials
for $19.99 New from $19.99 Used from $14.78
Amaze your audience anywhere introducing the Ever Magic set, exclusively sold by all the way importing. This incredible magic kit includes 24 tricks perfect for adults, teens, and children. Boys and girls alike will be mesmerized by the huge assortme... read more
Melissa & Doug Magic in a Snap! Abracadabra Collection Magic Tricks Set (10 pcs)
for $13.49 New from $13.49 Used from $12.86
It's a snap to learn and perform these professional caliber magic tricks! the tricks in this collection, geared for kids four and older, are simple to master, yet truly amazing to behold. The 10-piece set includes a king-to-queen card, rope cutter, c... read more
Ideal 100-Trick Spectacular Magic Show Set
for $30.99 $39.74 New from $32.98 Used from $10.90
Ideal Spectacular 100-Trick Magic Show is the ultimate set for the aspiring magician. Filled with many easy-to-learn tricks and high quality props. This set will teach children to perform the same tricks as professional magicians such as the disappea... read more
Melissa & Doug Magic In A Snap Magician's Pop-Up Magical Hat with Tricks
for $24.99 $17.60 New from $17.60
Every magician needs a top quality top hat, and this one is top notch! it's a snap to dress the part and learn and perform these professional caliber magic tricks. The hat and tricks in this collection, geared for kids four and older, are simple to m... read more
Color Changing Hanky Magic Trick by Magic Makers - Easy Magic Sure to Amaze
for $5.97 $5.95 New from $5.95
Remember when you were a kid and first became infatuated with magic? That wonderful mysterious excitement you felt when seeing a new magic trick? Enter the color changing hanky by magic makers. This is your first step towards becoming that magician y... read more
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Solid-Wood Magic Set With 10 Classic Tricks
for $29.99 $26.74 New from $26.74
“And for my next trick”…This fantastic set includes ten professional caliber, yet easy-to-master, tricks for beginners! Young magicians will improve their confidence and fine motor skills as they amaze family and friends with exciting tricks and illu... read more
Melissa & Doug Magic in a Snap! Hocus Pocus Collection Magic Tricks Set (12 pcs)
for $14.99 $14.19 New from $14.00
It's a snap to learn and perform these professional caliber magic tricks! the tricks in this collection, geared for kids four and older, are simple to master, yet truly amazing to behold. The 12-piece set includes a coin that magically appears in a m... read more
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Magic In The World Of Entertainment

Part of the difficulty of being a stage magician in this day and age comes from the impossibility of living up to magical phenomena as seen in popular culture. Non-illusionists can only imagine how difficult it was to be a stage magician in the aftermath of the Harry Potter books and movies, as people are likely to be less impressed by a simple card trick when they have seen or read about a person making themselves invisible.

Magic entertains us. JK Rowling has done a particularly good job in making the whole idea accessible to a wider audience by creating a world where there are magical ways of doing just about everything that we do by hand in the non-magical world. It has been beguiling enough to make kids and adults alike feel a little bit cheated that they have not had the opportunity to attend Hogwarts.

One thing that has made the Harry Potter books popular with adults is the darker nature of the later books. Harry grows from a young wizard with no more skill or knowledge than most to being the boy who saves the world, and if that sounds hokey then it is worth reading the books to see how cleverly and how starkly the challenges are conveyed.

We have come a long way since the early characterisations of witches and wizards on TV and in books and movies, where characters were either evil old crones or cheerful and witty. In a world where everyone is magical, the spells are real and magic itself is no advantage, and this is what gives the books their depth.

Starter Magic Tricks Set for Kids - 12 Exciting Magician Items, Instruction DVD - Magic Kit Gift Set
for $44.99 New from $19.99
For Your Amazing Child MagicianDo you want an amazing magic trick set to provide your child with hours of fun as they delight in entertaining you with their new magic tricks? Uncle Bunny Starter Magic set allows children, of all ages to perform the ... read more
Melissa & Doug Magician Role Play Costume Set - Includes Hat, Cape, Wand, Magic Tricks
for $29.99 $14.98 New from $14.98 Used from $12.28
Abracadabra, hocus-pocus, presto! Young magicians will be delighted with this impressive role play set. Kids can make a coin magically appear and disappear from the secret vest pocket or pull a rabbit out of the top hat's hidden compartment. Set also... read more
Ideal 100-Trick Spectacular Magic Show Suitcase
for $46.50 $39.99 New from $29.99
Ideal 100-Trick Spectacular Magic Show Suitcase lets children wow their audiences and amaze even themselves! Learn the great secrets of illusion from one of the most complete magic sets ever made. This set comes with a magic hat, magic wand, suitcase... read more
Ever Magic Set, 24 Magic Tricks To Master In Minutes, includes: Magic Tricks, Magician's Box and Tutorials
for $19.99 New from $19.99 Used from $14.78
Amaze your audience anywhere introducing the Ever Magic set, exclusively sold by all the way importing. This incredible magic kit includes 24 tricks perfect for adults, teens, and children. Boys and girls alike will be mesmerized by the huge assortme... read more
Melissa & Doug Magic in a Snap! Abracadabra Collection Magic Tricks Set (10 pcs)
for $13.49 New from $13.49 Used from $12.86
It's a snap to learn and perform these professional caliber magic tricks! the tricks in this collection, geared for kids four and older, are simple to master, yet truly amazing to behold. The 10-piece set includes a king-to-queen card, rope cutter, c... read more
Ideal 100-Trick Spectacular Magic Show Set
for $30.99 $39.74 New from $32.98 Used from $10.90
Ideal Spectacular 100-Trick Magic Show is the ultimate set for the aspiring magician. Filled with many easy-to-learn tricks and high quality props. This set will teach children to perform the same tricks as professional magicians such as the disappea... read more
Melissa & Doug Magic In A Snap Magician's Pop-Up Magical Hat with Tricks
for $24.99 $17.60 New from $17.60
Every magician needs a top quality top hat, and this one is top notch! it's a snap to dress the part and learn and perform these professional caliber magic tricks. The hat and tricks in this collection, geared for kids four and older, are simple to m... read more
Color Changing Hanky Magic Trick by Magic Makers - Easy Magic Sure to Amaze
for $5.97 $5.95 New from $5.95
Remember when you were a kid and first became infatuated with magic? That wonderful mysterious excitement you felt when seeing a new magic trick? Enter the color changing hanky by magic makers. This is your first step towards becoming that magician y... read more
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Solid-Wood Magic Set With 10 Classic Tricks
for $29.99 $26.74 New from $26.74
“And for my next trick”…This fantastic set includes ten professional caliber, yet easy-to-master, tricks for beginners! Young magicians will improve their confidence and fine motor skills as they amaze family and friends with exciting tricks and illu... read more
Melissa & Doug Magic in a Snap! Hocus Pocus Collection Magic Tricks Set (12 pcs)
for $14.99 $14.19 New from $14.00
It's a snap to learn and perform these professional caliber magic tricks! the tricks in this collection, geared for kids four and older, are simple to master, yet truly amazing to behold. The 12-piece set includes a coin that magically appears in a m... read more
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