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I’m all for helping science. But after I share what I know, my neuroscientist friends thank me by showing me eye-tracking and MRI equipment and promising that someday such machinery will help make me a better magician. I have my doubts. Neuroscientists are novices at deception. Magicians have done controlled testing in human perception for thousands of years.
The word sleight, meaning "the use of dexterity or cunning, especially so as to deceive", comes from the Old Norse. The phrase sleight of hand means "quick fingers" or "trickster fingers". Common synonyms of Latin and French include prestidigitation and legerdemain respectively. Seneca the Younger, philosopher of the Silver Age of Latin literature, famously compared rhetorical techniques and illusionist techniques.
In the past five years, magic—normally deemed fit only for children and tourists in Las Vegas—has become shockingly respectable in the scientific world. Even I—not exactly renowned as a public speaker—have been invited to address conferences on neuroscience and perception. I asked a scientist friend (whose identity I must protect), “Why the sudden interest?” He replied that those who fund science research find magicians “sexier than lab rats.”
The One-Hand Cut. Known as a “Charlier” cut, this is when a magician uses a single hand to separate the deck into two portions, flipping the upper half and lower half to switch their positions. It adds a cool flourish to easy card tricks, and it’s a necessary move to progress to a more advanced card trick. Plus, it leaves an empty hand free to perform misdirection or additional sleights.
Bend and re-straighten any spoon instantly. Hold the spoon upside down with the head pressed against a table or similar surface and act like you're gripping the handle firmly in both fists. Instead of actually wrapping your hands around the spoon, loop the pinky finger of your bottom hand around the point on handle directly above the head and keep the rest of your fingers poised just in front of the handle, along with your entire top hand. Push both fists down towards the tabletop as though you're bending the spoon by force while slowly lowering the handle to a horizontal angle. Finish the trick by quickly reversing the motion and magically restoring the spoon to its original shape.