Because of the nature of the magician’s work, secrecy is important. The magician depends upon mystery which in turn depends upon secrecy. Magic is interesting just as long as an audience can be puzzled. The ability to make something happen that others know cannot happen is necessary to the successful magician. The old time magician guarded his mysteries with reverence and awe.
Some people want to show their brilliance(?) by doing a mystery and then telling others how it is done. Such people should realize that an explanation only punctures a balloon of amazement. The world wants miracles, wants to believe in miracles and the nearer a magic mystery looks like a seeming miracle the better.
Ashton Stevens, noted dramatic critic once said, “I have faith in magicians and I believe in them—but I was the most disappointed man in the world when Thurston once had me come upon his stage and I discovered how one of the tricks was performed. I would rather believe that magicians perform miracles.”
Prof. Frank Farquhar, of the University of Kentucky said, “May people never lose their childlike sense of wonderment, reverence and awe. In a world of today we need imagination and inspiration. The magician with his magic is so necessary to bring this about.”
William Saroyan, famous playwright and Pulitzer Prize Winner said, “Dreams are more important than statistics, and life is an art rather than bookkeeping. A man once saved me by teaching me how to believe.”
The magician’s art is to take people to a land of enchantment, a land of “Arabian Nights,” a fairyland of wonder.
In the human mind, in the faculty of reason, are three divisions, analysis, synthesis, and judgment. Analysis takes things to pieces, synthesis puts them together, and judgment weighs the matters at hand.
But the interesting thing about synthesis is that after it has put the pieces of the Jig Saw puzzle together and solved it, it loses interest and looks for something else. Remember this power of synthesis in humans and keep them interested and amazed without giving them the solution to the problem.
Never explain to a lay audience how your mysteries are performed, and protect your brother magician by protecting his secrets. In your training as a magician the inner secrets of the magician are intrusted to your care. You owe it to your brother as well as yourself to protect the profession.
Alois Swoboda, noted wealthy teacher, once said “Secrecy is not only the power of the magician, but the power of the millionaire. Too many people talk themselves poor and waste their energies in useless explanations. There is power in mystery.”
As the actor, upon the stage, makes his character live and thrills an audience, so must you too make the character of the magician live and bring happiness and wonderment to others.
Tarbell, Harlen. Tarbell Course in Magic, Volume 1, pg. XIX. Louis Tannen, 1941.