Thursday, October 16, 2008


Well, I never! Who would have thought such a common word could work magic?
—Peggy Christian, The Bookstore Mouse (2002)
Professional magician Kenton Knepper (The Mystic of Magic) notes, “I feel that every word is magical, for by defining, we create. By labeling anything, we limit it. When we limit something, it becomes a seeming reality. All that is in physical form is a compression, and words do compress a wide range of possibilities of experience into a single thing. Each word has a compression of its own limitation of experience. Limitation is not a bad thing. We must have limitation for anything to exist in any purposeful way. On the other hand, those of us who work in illusion (as well as a hopefully larger perspective) understand very well the deception that occurs by such limitation and labeling. ‘I never want to touch the deck of cards at all’ is something an audience later recalls as truth. But a good card sharp says such a thing as he hands the deck to a person to shuffle. The word ‘never’ creates the false impression that the card sharp never, ever touches the cards. In physical fact, he himself handled the cards as he gave them over for a shuffle. In the process he has marked the cards or abused them in his favorite manner for his later benefit.”*

*Personal correspondence (2005). The Mystic of Magic’s website for magicians only is

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