During a performance by stage magician Nate Staniforth I got a glimpse behind the curtain and experienced something even more magical than the rest of the stunned audience.
Over the past weekend I worked an event selling books at a magic show, as the magician is also an author. Before the event I took a look at his book Here Is Real Magic and was impressed by the first 40 pages I made it through by that time. In it Nate Staniforth discusses his path to stage magic from the age of nine, which has taken him around the world where he continues to learn and perform. His belief that we all need much more uncertainty in our lives resonates deeply with my own ideas and convictions. As is often the case as a bookseller at events, you get to check out part of the show (for free!) and I was excited to see Nate perform.
When I arrived at the Englert Theatre to set up before the doors officially opened, I was glad to hear the show had sold out. My co-worker was also interested in the show, so we took turns watching while the other kept an eye on the book table. It was when I made my second visit to the auditorium that I experienced something I would never have expected and am still amazed to have witnessed.
As I walked in Nate was in the middle of a trick he was building up. I quickly ascertained that the audience and himself had randomly selected a two digit number. This number was to be transferred from a member of the audience, who was already on the stage, to another participant who had been sent out of the main auditorium and was wearing soundproof earphones. Before going in, I had actually seen this participant in the lobby donning the earphones, and seemingly out of the loop. Nate continued to reassure everyone that they had all witnessed the random and/or group-generated selections being made, so as not to imply any conspiracy.
Once everyone had been assured that everything was on the up and up and there were ‘no strings’ Nate told the audience he planned to implant their number in the mind of the participant who had been standing in the lobby with soundproof headphones on. This was going to be accomplished via a visualization exercise in which the participant who had been privy would imagine herself telling the one who hadn’t what the number was, while the second person imagined being told the number. Nate then asked the latter to reveal what number he had imagined hearing.
When the number was said aloud it made me perk up right away because it was one I had on my mind earlier in the day and then had used in a writing just hours before I left to work the event. It was the number 47. Synchronicity!
However, this was not the big reveal of his setup. This act just got the two participants on stage for the shows real crowd stopper, in which he would make one of the two people still seated on the stage disappear right before the audiences eyes.
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