Who am I - and why am I blogging about Magic


My name is Dick (aka Mysterio) - and I have been studying Magic for 30 plus years.
During that time, I have performed magic for birthday parties, school assemblies, hospitals, fund raisers, corporate events, and church socials. I have performed almost every venue from a full stage show with an audience of 300 to those intimate shows with an audience of a few people. While my experience does not qualify me as a full time professional, I do feel that I have learned much over the past 3 decades.

The reason for this blog is that I want to share my knowledge with those who can appreciate it and apply what works for them to the art form that I truly enjoy - Magic!

The Toltec people believed in "Protecting the knowledge."

With that in mind - I ask that you consider carefully your reason for reading these pages.

These writings are intended for those individuals who are truly interested in learning what it takes to perform good magic. So ... If you are truly interested in learning and reading what I have to say, proceed through my posts - and come back often.

If, on the other hand, you are merely curious or want to know how that magician "fooled you" - I respectfully request that exit my blog and not spoil the magic.

Note that exiting my blog will not endanger any known species on the planet. Consider it a contribution to the "National Geographic Society" or "Save the Planet" organization.

Thank you,



What is Magic?

First and foremost, magic is an Art Form.

In some ways it is similar to what you would find in a Museum.
- Paintings and sculptures by the masters of the past can be appreciated for the beauty that was created using paint, brushes, and a canvas or marble, a hammer and a chisel. Taking these simple tools, the masters added their imagination to create the art that so many can now enjoy.

Or, you may think of it to be more like what we see in the movies today.
Spacecraft or Superman traveling at the speed of light.

With magic, people and objects float in mid-air.

Movie magic can only be seen on the screen - in 2 dimensions.

A painting or scultpure can be seen closeup and in person - and you can appreciate the work the artist put in to making what appears before you.

Magic, on the other hand, can be seen closeup and in person as it happens. A full 3 dimension experience.

With magic, you can stretch the immagination to the limits of what is believable by the audience.

Consider this - Who is to say that something is NOT possible?

In the 1400's, people thought that the earth was flat - and that if you sailed past the horizon, you would fall off. A trip the moon? - Without a doubt, impossible.

Today's magic could be tomorrow's reality. And upon this notion, the belief in magic is formed in the minds of the audience.

We want to believe that the magician has found the secret of levitation or dematerialization.

If you've ever seen a good performance of the dancing cane, you'll understand how the audience could believe that it floats - that the magician has access to an extraordinary power that is not available to the ordinary public.

We - the audience who enjoys magic - want to believe it's magic.

- This attitude is covered in another post on "Knowing your Audience."


Psychology of Magic

What makes magic work?
There are many factors that make magic work.
Knowing these can help you take advantage of each
This will make your magic stronger and more entertaining.

With the audience

  • They want to believe that it's magic.
  • There is a visual perception of what they believe they saw.
  • Our minds tend to "fill in the blanks" - What they don't see, they invent.

With the trick:

  • It's an optical illusion
  • It has a surprise ending
  • It's diabolically clever
  • Misdirection at just the right moment allows you to do your "move" without the audience seeing it.

You - the Magician:

  • There are your movements
  • There is your patter
  • You can create the perfectly timed misdirection
  • There is the image presented by you
  • There is your reputation
The setting:

  • There is the setting (stage/props/etc)
  • There is the lighting
  • The music can add to the illusion and entertainment factor

From a scientific point of view -

The human eye is only capable of processing 12 frames a second.
That suggests that anything that takes less than 1/12 of a second is probably not seen.
The mind tends to fill in the "blanks" - with what it suspects has happened during that time.

Did you know that an incandescent light bulb actually flickers on and off 60 times a second when it is turned ON. We don't see the flicker - we only see that the light is ON.  So - the human mind has made up for the "Off" cycles by only being concerned with the "On" cycles. 


Entertainment with Magic

Magic - as a form of entertainment can bring smiles and puzzled expressions to the audience.
Knowing who and what type of people you are performing for can make the difference between a successful performer and one who goes through the motions without entertaining.

Through my blog posts - I will attempt to enlighten you with the knowledge I have gained during my 30 years of studying and performing Magic.

Continue reading and understand -

It's all about Magic!


Develop your character

Develope your personalized character.  Who are you and how do you want to be perceived when ACTING as a magician?

Do you want to be a klutz - where everything you use falls apart - and fails to work?
Don't discount this character - as it worked fine for Karl Balentine for many years.

Do you want to be a suave, debonaire magician in a Tux or Tails?

Do you want to be known as a funny magician - always getting a laugh?

Do you want to be seen as a serious or mysterious magician - presenting effects that amaze your audience?

Watch other magicians work - and learn from them. 
What works for them and what does not.

Don't try to imitate them - but learn from them.

How does the audience react to them?

Are they applauding just to be polite - or are they truly amazed and entertained?

Find the type of magic you like - work on it - and personalize it so it is your magic.

- A word of caution - Don't pick a character that does not fit you.

If you're a young teen - showing up in a tux or tails may look out of place.

Also - consider magic that is current and topical. 
Years ago, cigarette magic was quite popular.
Today, for most audiences, it is not.
That doesn't mean that it isn't good magic,
it just means that it is not poltically correct in some venues.
If you're working a convention for RJ Reynolds, they may be appropriate.

Enough of my rambling on this topic for now.

I may come back and update this later -

~ Mysterio ~


How do you get experience when starting out?

To gain experience, you need to perform in front of a live audience. 
Practicing in front of a mirror is good - but a live audience will give you instant feedback.
They will let you know if they were entertained.
They will let you know, trick by trick, what works and what doesn't.
This is something the mirror can't give.

Now unless you have paying customers lining up at your door, you're going to have to be creative and generous in booking what I call experience shows.

While I found an occassional birthday party to perform was helpful, they were not frequent enough for me to be able to smooth out my magic.
I had to find something more frequent so there could be visible improvements between each show.

Enter the Hospital scene.

Hospitals are a great place to volunteer to put on your show - no matter how big or small - they are always appreciated.

I performed at Children's Hospital once a month for almost 20 years.
I put smiles on many children's faces - and their parents too.
At the same time, I gained significant experience and improved my act.
I found what worked and what didn't.
I found lines of patter that brought guaranteed laughter.
I also found lines of patter that brought a guaranteed groan.
I kept them both in my show for years, because they each got a reaction from the audience.
This means they enjoyed it.
And that is what I set out to do in the first place - To entertain them.

Doing these shows gave me a chance to work in front of a live audience once a month.
As I said - working in front of a live audience is the kind of experience you need most.

So, look for any chance to volunteer to present your talent and entertain people.
It's nice to get paid for a performance, but with every show that you do,
you gain a little more experience.  And that my friend is priceless.

Another source for "experience bookings" is to donate your show
as a door prize or raffle prize for a local fund raiser.
Check with local church groups, hospitals, and schools.
Most would be grateful for the donation.
Go prepared with a Poster for advertising, and gift certificate with your name and contact info - and of course a small stack of business cards.
If the gift will be a door prize, people will scrutinize the door prize table looking for the gift that most suits their need and interest.  Having extra business cards can't hurt.  People are welcome to take them.

So, be creative - look for opportunities to perform - and let each performance bring improvement to your act.
Experience in front of a live audience is worth more than you would ever get paid for the show.

To improve your show - and skills, you need to understand your performance
and the audience reaction to it. Analyze the show afterwards and write down your thoughts on it.
- Again - what worked and what didn't.
Take out anything that didn't work - or change it to make it work.

Stay focused on improving your show - and before long you will be known as a Professional.

~ Mysterio ~


Learn the routine first

Sometimes you can only perform a routine in front of a live audience.
You cannot practice it without an audience.
For these types of effects - you must go over the routine in your head again and again until you understand everything about it to the point where you think you have performed it a hundred times. Only then will it become natural - and appear very smooth and polished.

I once performed a routine such as this to an audience of 120 people - at a dinner. I borrowed a $20 from one person - and convinced everyone that the bill had been burned - by his choice. After some byplay - I offered him a banana in place of the $20 - more byplay - then broke apart the banana only to find his bill. The audience was convinced it was the same bill - as the serial number matched.

I had read and rewrote this routine until I knew it inside and out.
I could visualize it so clearly - that I felt that I had performed it many times before. It went very smooth - everyone was entertained by it - and I had a reputation maker in my bag of tricks. I'm still working on this one - and will have this as my key routine for this type of venue.

Look for this at my next performance - you won't want to miss it.