The Ultimate Disappearing Act

Though all of our findings, explorations, and technology, what do we really know about the world?

Photo by Jacob Blodgett

Though all of our findings, explorations, and technology, what do we really know about the world?

From cards to cars, magic has always made people wonder what is behind the smoke and mirrors. The people want to know more, but what if they look to the other side of magic, not the illusions but to real magic? Most would pray to God for protection because they do not understand what it is or how it works. The history of magic is universal: it was a means for ancient people to understand the world around them. All religions have some kind of magical influence in their stories: the Egyptians had charms for the afterlife, the ancient Greeks had oracles who could communicate with the gods and the Aztecs in pre-Colombian times had sacrifices to allow the sun to rise.

To the ancients, magic was a fundamental part of their myths. Gods and Goddesses had control over the magic of their domain: Thor could control lightning and call thunder, Ma’at of Egyptian myth held the Feather of Truth. While some had limited control, some deities had the power to control all magic. Circes, the Greek Goddess of Magic, used sorcery to lure Odysseus’ men to her island and turn them into swine. While the Gods had this power, it was believed that they would share their power with humans, these men were known as priests, men who could call upon the power of the gods and communicate with them. These men were regarded as powerful icons and advisors in their societies. Egyptian priests predicted events to aid the Pharaoh in his life and place charms on him to protect him in death.

As humans evolved, so did the understanding of magic. As the secrets of magic were revealed, it became known as science. The mysteries of the world were being unraveled and the common people were learning the mechanics of it. Magic was reduced to mere tricks of the mind, illusions for money; it became a show for all to enjoy. People learned the tricks and it became a worldwide source of entertainment. The mystery of the old magic was gone and forgotten.

Yet, there are still tricks that shock the public: cars disappearing and floating, men levitating over a famous landmark, and other acts that seem to defy all accounts of science. These acts amaze people and make them wonder what they actually know. Shows by Chris Angel, Penn and Teller, and David Copperfield have captured the attention of American and the world. These real life magicians and Hollywood magic warp our realities, setting our minds free and making us believe once more.

The mystery of magic, while feared by many, is misunderstood. Magic, throughout history, is the same as it is today: all smoke and mirrors. While most say that magic is only confined to movies and fantasy, some know that magic exists and is around us. If we can get away from the technological world for a moment, we can sense a faint energy running through us. Is it our imaginations or is it something more?