Hey guys! Has this current season been keeping you on your toes? Here in Nevada it’s been gray, windy, chilly cold, beautifully warm, blue skies, dark, rainy, and thunderous; all in the same week! A am just carrying my umbrella everywhere, just in case.
So for this post I want to briefly brush up against yet, another one of the many techniques all magicians use to fool, deceive, and wow your senses. This technique is used in conjunction with, sleight of hand, gimmicks, and misdirection. This skill set stems from the good ol’ fashioned “optical illusion”.
Most of us have already seen a bunch of optical illusion artwork and photos that have been gracing the Internet for a long while.
Here are some examples.
There are fiction, ambiguous, paradox, and distorting illusion subsets that stem from cognitive perceptions. Which are what magicians utilize in a lot of their illusions on stage and the street.
We are for all intensive purposes, a species that has to organize perceptual information from the incoming sensations we experience in life. From the past and in the present, we gather this information so we are able to recall memories of these moments and understand what we are seeing in the future. So in opposition, when we are presented with an image or moment that is contrary to what we have grown up experiencing, our minds can not decide what we are actually seeing (as the examples above, show us). So when a magician says to you, “pay very close attention,” and you then see that magician immediately change into an audience member right in front of you, your mind takes a moment to try and adjust what has just happened and begins to deny that it actually happened. This is how magicians get you to believe they can perform the impossible. We are essentially making your brains doubt what they have experienced their entire lives.
But this is not everything.
There is another, more serious side, which entails pathological illusions. These are primarily the distortion of actual external stimulation. This means that their is a focal dysfunction caused by the brain and sensory organs. This “symptom” creates transient hallucinations of things that are not actually there, like light streaks, objects that grow or shrink in size, the appearance of tiny bright dots streaking across the sky, glowing halo starbursts around objects, and so on. Each phenomena has it’s own clinical name and diagnosis. Suffice to say this type of illusion is not utilized by any magician. Pathological illusions are the result of a possible underlying disease that should always be confirmed by a medical practitioner.
So, that being said. How about I show you how a magician ( myself ) actually presents such a cognitive illusion? Hold on; I won’t tell you how I actually do it. ‘wink’
Pay very close attention…
“Now you see me, now you don’t. Even though I am still standing right there. Or am I?”