Odd responses? How long you got? I did an illusion show in Waikiki for 13 years, and eventually gathered a bunch of talented close up magician to work the tables before the show. I used to do it myself when I could, but things got busy as the stage show got more involved.
After the show, I'd go over notes with the "lounge wizards". We'd comiserate over weird responses, and look for themes, and solutions. I learned it's vitally important to understand what they're thinking out there in the dark.
Some things that happened much more often than they should have:
People came up to one of the close up guys (who looks nothing like me) and congratulated him on the fine job he did, first at the table,and then up on stage.
One couple sat there before the show, and politely refused to see any magic. "No, why would we want to see a magic trick?" they'd say. We started reviewing the guys approaches, unitl the staff told us they left when the show started. Apparently, they were there on the wrong day. They were waiting for the Polynesian show.
At one point, the show included a comedy sword through neck, and a hula presentation for the Zig Zag. One lady took her two children outside in the middle of the show. She commented to one of the guys, "He's not going to do any more tricks where he tries to kill people, is he?" Apparently the kids were concerned for the "victims" on stage.
One guy approached a lady sitting by herself, she asked him "what do you do?" He produced a coin, and did a quick vanish and reproduction. "I do this," he said. She looked at him sincerely and asked, "What's the point?"
And one from outside the show. I was watching another magician's illusion show with my dancer/boxjumper/female assistant. When they performed the Origami with the costume change finish, I asked her, "so what do you think?" She was disappointed that the trick was so obvious. She explained, "No one really believes she's in the little box, it's too small. And when she showed up in a different outfit, it was obvious that they snuck her out to change."
These are the Reader's Digest versions of stories I cover in my 2004-2005 lecture. I tell them to make the same point that has been raised here. There's no way to know what your audience is going to think. You have to ask. Clarity of effect is more ellusive than you might imagine.
I have also had the "Very Superstitious" response, too. The first time I sat down to perform for my in-laws, before the first trick was done, my sister-in-law took her kids in the other room to pray until I was done.
I try to make my audiences happy, but I'm convinced (indeed, I've been told directly) that the only way to make some percentage of the audience happy is not to perform. At that point, my obligation is to the folks who hired me, or asked me to perform.
I try to convey the idea that it's all in fun, but I think the battle's mostly lost if you have to stop and issue a disclaimer. Here's one method that sometimes works: I once did a version of Kollassal Killer to great response. Someone asked, "Are you Satan?" I replied, "Why, no, of course not--ACKKKK" And produced a stream of cards from my mouth. If it gets screams and laughs, it worked. If it only gets screams, you're cooked.
One more, to end:
I got a call one night from my other assistant. I had to speak to a relative of hers on the phone. She put him on the line. Turns out that he needed reassurance that David Blaine did not have supernatural powers. He was convinced, not by the levitation, which he thought was a common magic trick, but by the card tricks. He thought Blaine was a force of evil and someone should do something about him.
Well, I suppose I did the right thing by talking him out of it.