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The Magic of Misdirection

Sunday, 17 June 2012


The system of mental and practical techniques known collectively as 'Misdirection' are essential to making your magic tricks really have impact.If you want the 'wow' effect, you need to understand misdirection. It doesn't matter if you've got some fancy gimmick from a magic supplier, if you're employing sponge balls, cards, hanks or nothing more than a simple coin vanish - if you don't understand how to direct and misdirect your spectator's attention, even if you are highly skilled in every other aspect, you will not create magic. Misdirection is what makes magic really seem to happen!

To guide your audience's attention you need to master these 4 powerful methods:

1. The Power of your Eyes.

Yes, your eyes. Not your hands, not your $100 "secrets revealed" dvd and definately not your plastic thumb tip! Your eyes. If you are in conversation with someone and you look away, they will look too. It's a psychological fact. Folks can't help it.

If you want people to look at something, just look at it yourself. If you don't want anyone to look, be sure not even to glance at it!

Look someone in the eye and they will look you in the eye. Human vision has a very limited scope of focus. If you catch a person's eye and keep your hands at waist height, they'll seem just a blur to your viewer. Then you do your move. His response is so quick and natural, he won't notice he looked away from your hands.

2. Natural Curiosity.

Show your spectator something new and I guarantee they will look at it, not whatever else it is you are up to. Everybody looks at the new object. A wand or a silk or maybe a hat are traditional items. This guidess the audience's attention away from the ditched card or sleeved coin, for example.

Never forget that an empty hand or an audience member can serve as your object. As long as you give your attention to it, your public are bound to follow you.

3. Big moves hide little moves.

Sounds obvious maybe, but never to be ignored. You have a coin in your palm, plainly visible for all to see. You would like to make it visibly disappear right in front of your public's eyes. You decide to do Bobo's wrist palm: a subtle move using a quick forward flick of the hand. The action might easily reveal the trick. You need it to appear that your hand rests completely still. So what can you do? You wave your other hand above in a flourish. No need to conceal the coin. The public will focus on the larger gesture and that's when you do the wrist palm. The coin is gone! That is how high impact magic works. To your audience's perception they SAW the coin vanish. That big flourish hid the little flick. You will discover all manner of ways to apply this principle.

4. Magic Words.

You should use verbal misdirection. Storytelling patter makes the story's progress more engaging to the audience than critical judgement, especially with a juvenile audience.

Another way of employing words is to ask someone a question, to think of a number, to tell you if that woman is his wife, etc. Whatever causes him to think will distract him from you and your sleights. Another advantage is that everyone else's attention will be on him, to see his embarassment or discover what he'll answer.

Possibly the very best way of all to using language in magic is to tell a joke, say something that makes folks laugh. While people are laughing their critical capacities are almost zeroed. It's a mental law that you can't think and laugh simultaneously!

You can plain lie, too. Tell the public you're removng the object from the table and placing it in your palm and do the movements but don't really put it there it in there, retain it. Really, you're lying! You can make this more convincing by concealing your lie behind a veil of truths. "This is the coin you selected (true). I'm placing it here (true). I'm turning it over (true) and putting it there (not true)." The truths convince them to accept the lie.

Learn and follow these principles of misdirection, practice them in your routines and you'll find out that you are able to genuinely astound your spectators with what appears to be real magic!

Good luck and share the magic!

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If you want to learn more a great resource for tutorials, downloads, articles, books and more can be found at www.magic-tricks.ws They also consider articles on magic by genuinely knowledgeable authors for publication on the basis of a link exchange. If you're interested see their submission guidelines Austin is a performing magician, entertainer, theatre practioner and writer of many years experience, always keen to share his experience and encourage the novice. He lives and works from homes in Northumberland, UK and Tuscany, Italy with his wife, two children and the family dog. Good luck and share the magic!


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