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PhotobucketMovie actors can tell lies and sound convincing.

How many times have we seen love scenes on the screen where actors, playing the characters of lovers, profess love to each other? The viewers believe them, even though the actors are just mouthing lines from a pre-written script and pretending to be in love with their co-stars.

Most magicians are not as good at lying, even though they are supposed to be actors playing the part of a magician.

PhotobucketMagicians can do myriads of difficult things like executing an invisible pass,  or palming quitely 40 coins. But many of them can’t lie convincingly. They often show tell-tale signs of their guilt.

When a magician, for example, tells a lady in the audience, “I can read your mind,” even though, in truth, he is using a swami gimmick to guess the word the lady is thinking of, she will just smile. Or even laugh. She is provoked into laughter, because she knows, deep inside her, that the magician is lying. What he is saying, therefore, sounds like a joke.

There is some truth to the idea that people display or “leak” their genuine feelings when lying. Magicians who don’t practice their trick and their show script are always “leaking” their emotions, thus allowing the audience to feel the moment he does the trick’s evil deed.

According to experts, lying is difficult to pull off, because it takes more mental effort than telling the truth. Lying causes more stress and anxiety—guilt feelings—that gives the lie away.

When lying, people are said to offer shorter responses, make more um’s and ah’s. They blink frequently and fidget more.

PhotobucketIt needs a certain amount of acting to appear natural—and guiltless—when lying.  Since a magic performance is all about lying, acting and looking innocent need practice and rehearsal, as much as sleights-of-hand do.

Lying, fibbing, claiming falsehood as truth to create an illusion and to encourage suspension of disbelief need certain amount of conviction. Thus a magician needs to write a script to attain precision of language and to practice the script to sound convincing.

Failing that, the magician “leaks” his true feeling—that is, he shows signs of guilt.

For example, when performing the vanishing silk handkerchief, he stiffens his thumb behind his palm, as if he has arthritis.

When he palms the chosen card off the deck, he coughs.

When he loads the stolen card into his wallet, he blinks like a boxer seeing an oncoming fist.

When he proclaims his Fantasio Vanishing candle “is an ordinary candle”, fear beclouds his face.

Joel Bauer (in his video on T&R newspaper) is right.  Magician’s guilt is most pronounced in Torn and Restored Newspaper performances. At the end of the restoration, most magicians crumple the restored newspaper. A perplexity! He has just performed a miracle. The newspaper is his masterpiece.  Why crumple his work of marvel?

PhotobucketA painter will not crumple the canvass after he has rendered his obra maestra.  A sculptor will not break into pieces the beautiful statue he has made.  And an architect will not blow up the skyscraper he has just erected.  But a magician will crumple the newspaper he has restored, even though it is the evidence of his miraculous work.


Well, you know why.  The audience also thinks it knows why. It’s a tell-tale sign of magician’s guilt.

Stay magical,