Zaney Blaney Takes On Penn Jillette

True Magic

A Message from Walter Zaney Blaney (US)

In a syndicated column in newspapers across the USA on October 13th, The Houston Chronicle and the Atlanta Journal -Constitution to name but two examples, Penn Jillette wrote about how magician’s “misdirection” is used in magic acts to help fool people.

He explains how during one routine in their show he points to Teller across the stage, and at that moment he does “something sneaky” with his left hand, which the audience does not notice. He of course doesn’t tell us what the “sneaky” thing is that he does, as he would not want to reveal the secret of a trick that HE does on HIS show.

He then moves on to explain an example of how misdirection is used in other magician’s shows:

“If you hook some hard-to-see wires to an underweight teenager in a harness, and you lift her up, everyone figures there are wires. But if you then bring out a hoop and pass it around her the audience thinks, ‘Well, there can’t be any wires. Hmm, must be real magic..’

“The misdirection works by having gaps in the hoop so you can pass it over the teenager without hitting the strings…MIT professor Marvin Minsky one time wondered if the hanging woman trick was done using liquid nitrogen to cool everything down to superconductivity. Superconductivity or a gap in the hoop? OK. So I hope I’ve explained the idea of misdirection.”

OK. So I hope I’ve explained the idea of misdirection.”

In…

True Magic

A Message from Walter Zaney Blaney (US)

In a syndicated column in newspapers across the USA on October 13th, The Houston Chronicle and the Atlanta Journal -Constitution to name but two examples, Penn Jillette wrote about how magician’s “misdirection” is used in magic acts to help fool people.

He explains how during one routine in their show he points to Teller across the stage, and at that moment he does “something sneaky” with his left hand, which the audience does not notice. He of course doesn’t tell us what the “sneaky” thing is that he does, as he would not want to reveal the secret of a trick that HE does on HIS show.

He then moves on to explain an example of how misdirection is used in other magician’s shows:

“If you hook some hard-to-see wires to an underweight teenager in a harness, and you lift her up, everyone figures there are wires. But if you then bring out a hoop and pass it around her the audience thinks, ‘Well, there can’t be any wires. Hmm, must be real magic..’

“The misdirection works by having gaps in the hoop so you can pass it over the teenager without hitting the strings…MIT professor Marvin Minsky one time wondered if the hanging woman trick was done using liquid nitrogen to cool everything down to superconductivity. Superconductivity or a gap in the hoop? OK. So I hope I’ve explained the idea of misdirection.”

OK. So I hope I’ve explained the idea of misdirection.”

In trying to fight exposure of magic secrets in public venues the past five years or so, I have found an interesting pattern. The exposer never exposes a secret of the tricks from his own show, for obvious reasons. But he apparently thinks it fair game to expose the secrets that other fellow magicians are using.

For obvious reasons I, and the several hundred magicians around the world who have invested a lot of money to purchase “hoops with gaps in them” cannot be happy with Penn Jillette’s planting the idea in the minds of the general public nationwide. The revelation certainly hits a lot of pocketbooks, and it certainly goes against the number one tenet of magician’s Code of Ethics.

“Bad boys of magic?” You decide.

Walter Zaney Blaney

World Alliance of Magicians

President Emeritus

Advertisements

Leave a Reply