Tag Archives: Own Eyes

Keith Barry on TED with some real Magic

Many years ago I watched a performance by David Copperfield on TV. We were sitting together in amazement watching Mr. Copperfield fly. It was a show he performed in Las Vegas in which he freely flew over the cuckoo’s nest – no wait – across the stage.

It was really impossible to fathom how he could do what he did with all the accepted laws of physics in full force. You could imagine strings – but then again – he flew through loops. There was just no way how all this could be possible – but still, we saw it with our own eyes. OK, not quite, there was a camera, lots of technology and a TV screen between us, but this was a life performance from a stage in Vegas and we all discounted the possibility that video tech was used to fool us.

I finally decided that the only possibility was that he was simply able to fly – and why not?

Should I be able to manage that feat now, I could imagine that I would create curiosity in form of a magic show to make some serious money (David Copperfield certainly did, and even managed the magic trick of convincing Claudia Schiffer to marry him.) Curiosity is, after all, the biggest magnet of attention, so if he would have gone around and demonstrated to everybody without a doubt that he could fly, he would have ended up in some government labs and he would have never been able to offer his island for rent for a mere 32,000 dollars a day. So, leaving it open to doubt that he could indeed fly was definitely a smart move.

But I am digressing a bit, I actually wanted to look at the possibility that something that’s not possible, IS possible – like flying! Douglas Adams gives us a simple recipe on how to learn. He teaches us that you just have to throw yourself to the ground – – and miss!

Sounds silly, but I actually believe, it’s true – honestly!

I remembered all this today when I watched another great magician who had demonstrated his abilities on the TED conference in 2004 – Keith Barry. He sampled some amazing tricks that probably keeps lots of people awake trying to figure out how he did it within the framework of accepted physics.

For me again the question was why accept the restriction of accepted physics? There are many things normal to us today that certainly appears to be magic to a person traveling on a time machine from 1500 AD. I am sure that physical laws have changed since then to allow for 400 ton chunks of metal hanging in the air for example. The first who bent and maybe broke the laws a little did it in a crude way, but they opened the floodgates for the changes.

Just take a look at what he amazes us with and tell me that this is NOT real magic…