S01 E03 - Creating Chaos

Theory & Thoughts for Magicians by Ryan Pilling

Magicians strive to control every detail of a performance, yet the more you control, the weaker the magic becomes. What happens when you let more chaos into your presentations? How can you make your process feel more random?

Mar 21 2022

Magical effects are either impossible or improbable. They either break the physical laws of the universe, or bend them against the odds. We tend to think of magic tricks as always being impossible, but a good amount of them are just varying degrees of improbable.

Most card tricks, where a chosen card is found on top, or on bottom, or anywhere else in the deck, basically boil down to a 1 in 52 chance. One of the cards had to be in that spot, and it just happens to be yours.

Finding 1 out of 52 is a long enough long shot to entertain audiences. However, there are many magic tricks, particularly in mentalism, which have successful odds of 1 in 6, determined by a roll of a die, 1 in 5, a chosen ESP symbol, or even 1 in 3 chances of getting it right.

If you take an objective step back, it’s

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