Thursday, June 02, 2005

The War Magician

Ever thought that what can a magician do during war? Think magic is just an entertainment? Read this:

"Jasper Maskelyne, was born in 1902 in England, a music hall conjurer, never fired a shot in battle, but his amazing feats played a key role in the Allied victory in Africa. Among his many triumphs, Maskelyne “hid” the Suez Canal and conjured up illusions of armies and battleships, fooling German forces led by General Erwin Rommel into retreat. The grandson of John Nevil Maskelyne, one of the founding fathers of British magic, Maskelyne was a celebrated stage magician before the war. Convinced he could use his skills to help the army, Maskelyne wooed sceptical officials by creating the illusion of a German warship floating down the Thames using mirrors and a model. He was placed in charge of the Royal Engineers Camouflage Corps and sent to Egypt where he performed some genuine mission impossibles. Asked to prevent the Germans from bombing Alexandria Harbour, the conjurer redirected the bombers by recreating the harbour’s exact lighting pattern three miles away. He “vanished” the Suez Canal by building a series of spinning strobe lights to put pilots off their bearings. Maskelyne’s greatest triumph came in 1942 when he successfully convinced Rommel that the British Eighth Army was in the south of the Egyptian desert and that the Alamein attack would begin there rather than in the north. Although praised privately by Churchill and hunted by Hitler, Maskelyne ended his days in relative obscurity as a farmer in Kenya and died in 1973."

Click here to know more about him.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

My Thoughts on Magic

           Magic, an art that brings wonders, mysteries and astonishment. I was so fortunate to come across the opportunity to learn this art some years ago, and it has been one of my biggest passion ever since then. I learn it with the sheer interest that for all the time I had been so amazed by the concept, delicate arrangement, wisdom and skills involved in this mysterious art. Since I was a child, magic has always been a fanciful art to me, an art that is so unique and enthralling, and piques my interest and curiosity to search for its deeper meaning, and the secrets behind its mystical fa├žade. Along the way of learning, the knowledge that I gained has really opened my mind to a new realm of imagination. The more I touch this art, the more I get impressed and fascinated by it. Magic undeniably comprises broad, profound and wonderful knowledge.

          Allow me to explain more about magic. JC Sum, a world-class Singaporean Magician defines magic as, "An enchanting and entertaining experience which stirs up feelings of amazement, wonder, awe and the feeling of experiencing the impossible." I couldn’t agree less. Magic is not merely a performing art and entertainment. It is an art comprised by human’s utmost imagination, creativity, psychology and the most important element, a belief that nothing is impossible or beyond hope. It exudes unbridled possibilities, like flying, walking through a wall, making something disappear and reappear…there are myriad of instances. All the audiences are returned to a place of wonder where anything is possible. David Copperfield says, “At this age when the media bombards us with information about everything and everyone, we need some mystery. We want to be relieved every once in a while of the burden of knowing.” Magic brings an intangible feeling, a complex of irreplaceable amazement, awe, unrealistic, and inexplicable wonder. That is the magic of, magic.

         In the next few posts I'll share some of my favourite magicians and some interesting facts bout magic. Here I'll end with quote from Copperfield, "Magic has no limits, never consider anything impossible." That's truly the spirit of magic!

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