Many beginning magicians in the Philippines suffer from the false belief that their hard-earned sleight-of-hand skill is itself magic.
Sleight-of-hand can produce some very visual magical effects. However, to present it to the audience as the magical effect itself rarely gets appreciative reaction from the audience—except if the audience is made up of magicians.
I once watched a nationally televised program, where the female host had magicians as guests. She asked each magician to perform quick magic tricks. One guest turned a silk handkerchief into a cane, another produced a dove from a Change Bag, and yet another restored a torn newspaper into its original piece.
The youngest guest, however, fished a deck of cards from his pocket and then went into a demonstration of fancy cuts and fans. After his performance, the flustered female host remarked, “What was that all about?”
Yes, she was baffled, but it was not the kind of bafflement that magicians want to elicit from their audience. She was baffled, because she asked the guests to perform magic. Instead, one of them demonstrated his manipulative skills, thinking wrongly that dexterity, all by itself, constitutes magic.
Wrong. Sleight-of-hand, secret moves, expert techniques and manipulative dexterity by themselves are not magic.
They become magical only if the magician presents them in such a way that they hook the audience emotionally and create an illusion that moves spectators to suspend their disbelief.
The audience must not be aware that you lift two cards instead of one off the deck or shift the lower deck and brought it above. What the spectators see is that the magician pushes a card into the middle of the deck, and the card rises to the top.
If they catch the magician move the card from the bottom to the top of the deck, then the rising-card effect wouldn’t be so baffling and magical in the same way that movies wouldn’t be so magical if they put a caption “This is CGI” every time the Incredible Hulk appears on the screen.