Telling lies as a magician.

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performer
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Telling lies as a magician.

Postby performer » November 12th, 2019, 10:20 pm

There was a most wonderful thread in the past here concerning the impropriety of a magician telling lies when performing. Here it is:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=50254&hilit=lies
The thread consisted mainly of J.Keyes arguing with Brad Henderson. I was on the fence over the matter since although as a svengali pitchman I tell lies for a living my instinct was to take the side of J.Keyes even though I secretly suspected he was talking nonsense. However, in my capacity as a psychic reverend I decided to contact the esteemed author Victor Farelli in the spirit world since I had a feeling he had written something concerning the matter. I am delighted to announce that he agreed with Mr. Keyes in every aspect of what he said and stated that he had been correct all along in his assertion that one should avoid telling lies when performing.

Since I get a psychic vibe that many of you are distrusting souls and may doubt the veracity of my tales concerning visits to the spirit world I shall therefore now present supporting evidence concerning the matter which consists of Mr Farelli's own words written when he was in this earthly realm although of course most of you weren't. In fact I suspect none of you were and that includes me. I am referring to "The Odin Rings" a most worthy book which is even more worthy since it was published before 1954. I have often stated that books written before 1954 are of course superior to anything written after that date with of course a few exceptions that I approve of. This book was published in 1931 so naturally must have great wisdom therein.

Victor Farelli devotes THREE pages explaining why it is unwise to tell lies on stage. I will quote four lines only which should give you all a flavour of his reasoning.

"It was the late Owen Clark who first pointed out to me the inadvisability of a magical entertainer telling untruths on the stage. It is not only quite unnecessary to do so but also unwise, inartistic and at times, actually dangerous"

So it seems that J.Keyes was right all along and I am delighted to inform the multitude concerning the matter.

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby Robert77 » November 13th, 2019, 1:40 am

One of those examples of whether you wonder if the poster is insane, or just being a jerk. Sincerely, it's really hard to tell.

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby performer » November 13th, 2019, 10:59 am

I am not sure who you are referring to, old chap. If you are referring to the two people on that thread who are arguing interminably in a most amusing way a cynic would say that one of them is insane and the other is a jerk. However, if you are brave enough to be referring to me, may God have mercy on your soul but before he does I will most certainly confess to madness but you must also remember that madness and genius are very closely connected. I am afraid you will have to take the madness if you want the genius.

Anyway, this is all beside the point which is that there is indeed a strong case for not telling lies on stage. I suggest you expand your knowledge on this matter by reading "The Odin Rings" where there are three pages devoted to the subject. Oh, and you might learn to do the Chinese Rings too while you are at it . Then you can be a genius too.

PavelTheGreat

Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby PavelTheGreat » November 13th, 2019, 5:13 pm

Yes, Art of Magic is to produce illusion, not lie. To say, "I did not steal" is not illusion, is denial. Anyone can lie, but good magician have skills to alter perception of reality with no false statements.

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby performer » November 13th, 2019, 9:53 pm

Yes. That is the point that was made in the Odin Rings book. And it explains the disadvantages of downright lying from a practical standpoint. It doesn't say that you should avoid lies from a moral standpoint. I think that was not really brought out in the thread I referenced. It says rather that you should not lie for very practical reasons. Tongue in cheek falsehoods or tall tales are fine since everyone realises you are talking twaddle. It is downright lies intended to deceive that are objected to.

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby Michael Close » November 15th, 2019, 11:50 am

I have a 55-minute Targeted Training session titled "The Truth about Lying." This is a complex subject; I cover nine major points in my discussion of it. Concerning this training session, I recently received an email from a purchaser who found that the information was extremely useful for both his magic performances and his day job; he is a Federal agent.

You can find more details here:

https://www.michaelclose.com/collection ... ed-webinar

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby performer » November 15th, 2019, 1:37 pm

As a result of the thread in question I did go over my own material and to my great delight I found there wasn't that much in the way of telling lies at all. Implied untruths rather than direct falsehoods on occasion and on many occasions tongue in cheek lies (such as woofle dust etc;) which nobody is expected to believe anyway. However hardly anything in the way of direct untruths. I suppose in my natural genius in these matters I knew instinctively that it was not a wise approach.

Anyway, for those interested you will find the Odin Rings reference to "truth and patter" on pages 54 -56 of said book. It is an excellent book on the Rings. Coincidentally enough I remember years ago selling the book years to a magician who always blushed when he told a lie both onstage and offstage. Catholic guilt or something.

PavelTheGreat

Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby PavelTheGreat » November 15th, 2019, 6:25 pm

Huge difference between telling story and lying. Fiction is art, Magic is art. But lying is cheating. Like running race and taking short path. Example: Three Shell Game. Make it look like pea is under middle shell. This is magical deception. To look under shell and say that it not there is bad performance. Is joke. "S' alright? S' alright!" This kind of thing could inspire crowd to chase swindler out of town in old days.

When you speak to crowd directly, you are asking their trust. Violate this, they will not be amazed, but bored.

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby webbmaster » February 27th, 2020, 11:22 am

Vernon called it creating something that isn't so. Aren't we lying all the time as magicians ? Maybe we shouldn't steal or pick pockets, but I think lying is alright. Or do I ?

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby performer » February 27th, 2020, 5:20 pm

I am amused to see that Pavel the Great has now been exposed as the redoubtable Mr Keyes and this makes sense of his contribution to this thread. I am also delighted to know that he will have now seen my reference to the Victor Farelli book supporting his case. I am also reminded that John Booth once stated that he had never seen a good clergyman performing magic. No doubt he considered himself an exception. He felt that a clergyman would find it difficult to tell lies.

Anyway, since I have discovered that I personally tell very little in the way of lies when performing and since I rather like reading the wisdom of magicians of long ago like Victor Farelli I have decided once and for all that the less lies you tell when on stage the better. Of course when I sell svengali decks I tell as many lies as possible as it is a job requirement after all.

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 28th, 2020, 2:45 am

Webbmaster wrote: "Vernon called it creating something that isn't so. Aren't we lying all the time as magicians ?"

Yes.

Maybe that's why Teller doesn't speak.

If a spouse calls and falsely states, " I have to work late at the office," that's a lie. "Creating something that isn't so" is just a euphemism for lying. When a magician says, "I'll place the blank of blank into the middle of the deck" (and in almost every ambitious card routine I've ever seen this, or something very similar, is said), is that not a lie?

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby performer » February 28th, 2020, 7:30 am

Not really a lie. Just forgetfulness............

Actually I think I CAN see a snag by saying that. I am not sure what else one could say but it makes Farelli's point clearer. A direct statement like that might indeed be a challenge to a certain type of spectator. I think on reflection I would tend to say "hey diddle, diddle---the three goes in the middle" You are still making the direct statement but the silly rhyme might distract them from it a trifle.

Oh, I forgot! I actually DO the Ambitious card. I DON'T quite say that I am placing the card in the middle. No time to tell you what I do say but it seems I have instinctively avoided the direct statement (lie). I imply it rather than say it outright. I must say that I feel very pleased with myself.

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 28th, 2020, 7:40 am

One possible solution among probably many (for those who might even care): They see the card face up on top - and, of course, unbeknownst to them, the card underneath is also face up. As the double is then turned face down and the indifferent card inserted into the center, the magician says only: "Some cards are like some people - really quite ambitious." Magician snaps fingers, waves, or does an Irish jig, and turns over the top card saying, "Quite ambitious indeed!"

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 28th, 2020, 8:01 am

PS As Performer points out, there are those spectators (and they are more than just a few) who will be highly suspicious of any statement of [apparent] fact a magician makes, and/or will see it as a challenge. So when a magician says, "I'll place your card into the center" (or similar), it's kind of like saying, "I have here an ordinary deck of cards." The irony of the latter statement, by the way being that even if it is ordinary, now inordinate suspicion has been aroused...

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby Paco Nagata » February 29th, 2020, 4:12 pm

If you lie for hurting, harming, damaging...
Yes, certainly you are lying.
However, if you lie for helping, educating or creating magical illusions...
No, you are not lying... you are helping, educating or creating magical illusions.
I reckon.
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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby Zig Zagger » February 29th, 2020, 6:31 pm

Yes, Paco, these are sometimes called "white lies"--merciful, helpful lies as opposed to the unabashed, detrimental and rotten ones. White magic = white lies! ;)
(By the way, White Lies is also the name of a pretty cool band from Great Brexitannia).

MagicbyAlfred wrote:PS As Performer points out, there are those spectators (and they are more than just a few) who will be highly suspicious of any statement of [apparent] fact a magician makes, and/or will see it as a challenge. So when a magician says, "I'll place your card into the center" (or similar), it's kind of like saying, "I have here an ordinary deck of cards." The irony of the latter statement, by the way being that even if it is ordinary, now inordinate suspicion has been aroused...

I fully agree with your observation, Alfred. This may be taken as an unnecessary challenge.
Saying something less specific like "Let's lose your card somewhere in here" or just "And there it goes" should do the job unobtrusively.
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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby performer » March 1st, 2020, 7:49 am

You can imply that the card goes in the middle but not actually lie straight out. It all depends on the phrasing. No time to explain what I am getting at. I shall merely say that you can be deceptive without actually telling a lie.

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby Paco Nagata » March 1st, 2020, 3:11 pm

performer wrote:You can imply that the card goes in the middle but not actually lie straight out. It all depends on the phrasing. No time to explain what I am getting at. I shall merely say that you can be deceptive without actually telling a lie.

So to speak, the less things you say regarding what you do, the better. Let's spectators assume things by themselves. When you take out a blue back deck with one red back card on top of them from a red box, spectators would assume that the entire deck is red backed... and you have not said any lie!
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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby performer » March 1st, 2020, 10:15 pm

Paco Nagata wrote:
performer wrote:You can imply that the card goes in the middle but not actually lie straight out. It all depends on the phrasing. No time to explain what I am getting at. I shall merely say that you can be deceptive without actually telling a lie.

So to speak, the less things you say regarding what you do, the better. Let's spectators assume things by themselves. When you take out a blue back deck with one red back card on top of them from a red box, spectators would assume that the entire deck is red backed... and you have not said any lie!


That is indeed my policy on the matter. Let them make false assumptions rather than you stating outright that assumption.

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby Dave Le Fevre » March 2nd, 2020, 2:48 am

There's also a middle path between teling a lie and saying nothing. One can recap inaccurately - "so you could have chosen any card", when in fact you only offered them a choice of a few cards.

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 2nd, 2020, 6:48 am

Fascinating discussion. I think it was in the Royal Road or ECT that I read the magician should not try to "sell" the spectators; otherwise, at some inopportune moment they are likely to take their revenge. Something along those lines anyway. That stuck with me. There is a fine and precarious line between creating astonishment and making a spectator feel like we've "gotten over" on them. There is their pride to consider, as most people want to feel they are at least fairly intelligent. I had an accident this morning: a thought struck me...

The two biggest obstacles for magicians to overcome in being successful performers are their own egos and those of the spectators.

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby performer » March 2nd, 2020, 11:09 am

Some spectators are arrogant. My performing style was a lot quieter when I was younger. I would let them bully me and then turn the tables on them with sucker trick after sucker trick. I seemed to get away with it no matter how many times I did it probably because I was so apparently meek, mild and forgetful. I would lay the trap and let them fall into it of their own accord. Nobody would accuse me of putting one over on them in an arrogant manner because I seemed so apparently incompetent. They eventually realised of course that the incompetence was really disguised cunning.

Nowadays I can't do that quite so much since I am no longer meek and mild (although still forgetful). Your performing style can change over the years along with your personality. That is why it is a good thing to be aware of this as the years go by.

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Re: Telling lies as a magician.

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 2nd, 2020, 1:01 pm

This art form called magic is endlessly fascinating. What other area of the arts, entertainment, hobby or career offers the opportunity for a performer to utilize and incorporate so many, almost unlimited elements and attributes? Diplomacy, Public Speaking, Psychology, Acting, Comedy, Story-Telling, Juggling (with final loads, for example), Music, Manipulative Skill & Dexterity, Mathematics, Origami, Puppeteering (e.g. "Rocky"), Aesthetically-pleasing Flourishes and Manipulations, Audience-participation - even Dance; and also so many branches of the magical tree: Closeup/Sleight of hand, (including cards, coins, bills, sponges, balls, knives, paddles, pens, and more), Grand Illusions, Mind Reading,Telepathy, Predictions, and more...


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