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Are Magicians Real?

Are magicians real? I hear the following questions and statements all the time.

“You do know that magic is not real, right?”

“Let me check your sleeves!”

“Those aren’t real cards!”

“Where’s your assistant hiding?”

“Someone is feeding you the information through a hidden microphone!”

The questions above do not bother me in the slightest. In fact, the truth is, by using my accumulated expertise, it actually strengthens my resolve. Coupled with loving a challenge, there is nothing more satisfying than perplexing a cynic.

If we sat down in a formal setting and you began to ask me are magicians real, I would say that contemporary magic is very much a performance-based concept. To clarify, it relies predominantly on sleight of hand, illusion, and/or psychological based strategies.


In a line? Showmanship is the name of the game.

Should someone – or a group – approach you and whisper that they can bring a deceased loved one back to life: this simply cannot be done.  Despite how convincing their sales pitch might be, this is a lie and you will be conned out of a considerable amount of your hard-earned finances to entertain them.

But do not take my humble word for it.

Every year the brightest minds humanity has to offer have spent trillions of Pounds worldwide. Along with thousands of years of research, and thus far, no-one has been able to bring back the dead. Nor has a single individual been able to conclusively provide concrete evidence of life after death.

I have minimal reservations that most of us would do almost anything to spend a few hours with long-lost loved ones: to tell them how much they are missed.

Primarily I would pay good money to speak with United States President, Abraham Lincoln, and ask him how he hid his true calling as a vampire hunter for so long.

What? You wouldn’t ask him the same?

There’s a reason why professional magicians do not moonlight as bank robbers. We cannot phase through solid walls. I cannot scan your mind and steal your pin number. The greatest magician the world has ever produced could never tap their heels together and teleport themselves from London to Kuala Lumpur in the blink of an eye.

Regardless of how much my colleagues and I wish that we all possess the ability to transform into Doctor Strange, I am saddened to report that the powers the Sorcerer Supreme exhibits are strictly confined to that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


Being a professional magician requires years of training, research, practice, and an unwavering dedication to perfect one’s craft.

What would you do to get better at the guitar? Practice.

How would you go about painting a life-sized portrait of your childhood puppy? Love. And practice.

How do you gain a reputation for being the best at what you do? An extensive portfolio with a comprehensive list of satisfied clients.

The truth is if carnal magic could be controlled and manifested by your average professional performer, it is safe to say that the world would be a much different place.

Instead, I implore you to think of performance magic as an art form.

For example, it is no different to observing two boxers battling inside the squared circle, going to the opera on a fancy night out, or trying to get front-row seats to a stand-up comedy performance with hopes of being roasted.

In summary, each professional within the above industries – or any industry, for that matter – has spent their entire life developing and perfecting their skills. You have done the same throughout your life.


Throughout humanity’s existence, we have attributed what we do not understand to that of magic. How do you think our grandparents at our age would react to the latest smartphone? How do you think a prehistoric cave family would behave if they saw a rocket being launched to the Moon?

In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that people believed their soul would be trapped in a photograph. As strange as it may sound, this was a prominent concern throughout the world. To have your picture taken would be – effectively – selling your soul away.

The Black Death, which destroyed a sizable chunk of the civilised world, could have been mitigated and controlled thanks to the continual evolution of modern-day science. Controversially, it became a talking point by the Church as God’s punishment to sinners worldwide.  Want to stay clear of it? Donate half of your land to God…

So is a magician real or just tricks?

Above all, each and every form of performance magic relies on the performer’s strength to carry out their task to the best of their abilities. This could be accomplished by keeping audiences distracted, performance capabilities and speed, culminating with a storied narrative. Ultimately, people want to believe.

In truth, the role of a magician is to create a sense of disbelief and to blur the lines between reality and the seemingly impossible. That is what I do.  No more, and no less. Owing to entertainment and entertainment only.

However should Kevin Feige – the President of Production for Marvel Studios – wish to cast me tomorrow as the next incarnation of the Sorcerer Supreme, you may observe additional powers inserted into my portfolio.

For the time being, however, all I have up my sleeves is decades of training, alongside an unwavering dedication to the craft. As to the question are magicians real, it entirely depends on your perception of “real”. With this in mind, if someone performs a magic trick that feels like real magic, even though you know it is a trick, then is that not enough? In this example, regardless of conjuring techniques, your immediate experience has been one to make you question reality. I’ll leave that with you…