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Hypnosis and The Neuroscience of Magic

Author: William Jamaal Fort

All great magic tricks are based on psychology. Every type of illusion from the simple to the grand, from a basic card trick to a disappearing elephant are all based on psychological illusions. Mentalism also referred to as brain magic is particularly rooted in this idea. The sense of awe that is evoked from a deftly performed mind reading or “second sight ” performance is fueled by the experience of the trick revealing itself inside the spectators own mind.

Magicians throughout the ages have cloistered their secrets away among the initiated and stories of a strictly enforced “magicians code” have circulated in and around their communities for years. Every magician knows that they should teach their craft only to those that are passionate about it as well as those that are truly committed to its survival. At the pinnacle of all magical knowledge exists the secret of secrets. An understanding so simple and yet so profound that it has supported and sustained the magical arts and other esoteric disciplines for millennia. That secret is an understanding of the mechanisms of human perception, of our primitive behavioral wiring and of the manipulation of attention.

Long before the term Neuroscience had been coined, magicians, had through careful observation and trial an error deciphered the critical keys to human behavior. Perhaps hunters were observed by ancient shamans who discerned that when human attention becomes fixed on its prey, peripheral vision becomes dimmed leaving around it a twilight netherworld ripe for manipulation.

A flickering fla