My 18 y.o. son and I were arguing last night about this “magician”- Criss Angel. He insisted this guy really did saw himself and the table in half. I insisted IF he really did there would be blood everywhere and he’d be dead. He said, “No, because the blade was moving so fast that it cauderized the area.” Then how the hell did he become one again without any freaking nerve damage? We argued over all this so called magicians tricks that I told him, “OK, let me get the “Think Tank” together and I’ll have the scientific and/or real answers that you don’t believe exist, and blow this guy out of the water here in a couple days. He’s angry because I don’t believe this guy really did these things on the show and called me a tight-ass because I keep insisting there is a REAL and rational answer behind this insane guy.
Trick one- is sawing himself in half (and the table) where everyone could see it, instead of in the traditional box.
Trick two- Walking on water (my son denies there were any theatrical wires above him because an audience member shook his hand.) Right. I say there were wires or something above him to make him walk on water, because he’s not Jesus Christ Freaking Jr. with a fictional father that’s 1/2 man and 1/2 god.
Trick three- He had this woman pulled apart, like tug-o-war, into two halves, like she had been sawed in half.
There were other tricks too, but I didn’t write them all down. I figured the most extreme tricks needed busting more than any others. My 18 y.o. believes they are REAL illusions and the man was really cut in half and really walked on water, etc etc. He’s mad now because I won’t buy it.
Anyone have any answers as to how the guy really did these things? Has anyone else seen this magician even?
Well, he’s 18. I don’t know many people who want to adopt an 18 y.o. And here I thought he had an IQ of 146. Every now and then, I think the evaluator messed up on the math. Sigh… Still need an answer to give him though, besides what I have given him, though. When I get it, I’m printing it out and taking it home with me to show him (yes, I’m still in the market for a new comp. :( ). Still, my boy needs to be educated and I can’t send him to Camp Quest at his age. :(
99% of what Criss Angel does would not fool anybody if they were not just watching him on TV. He’s actually demonstrated how a few of his tricks are done, including the one where he floats. In the demo, you can clearly see the whole trick from behind, yet on normal shows where he’s doing it to “strangers” at random, they seem to be behind him and still fooled. Clearly, they are actors.
How frustrating for you! I hate to sound like a pessimist, but I find that the willingness to believe is rarely touched by actual facts. It’s fine to try and figure out how such things were done (though given the necessarily secreetive nature of magic, you may not be able to) and to present this to your son. But you’ve probably presented “just the facts” to many religious believers and not seen any anti-epiphanies. It’s not about intelliogence, it’s about epistemology, deciding what constitutes proff and what doesn’t, and also about wanting to believe, for whatever reason (including irritating one’s parent, perhaps?). If he is willing to read anything that comes from you, you might give him Skeptical Inquirer, of Thomas Kida’s Don’t Believe Everything You Think, or even some basic magic how-to books. The idea is to pick away gradually at his approach to knowledge, since just showing him why specific beliefs are false by itself probably won’t budge him. Hope I’m wrong, but it sounds like a lot of the true believers who have unconverted and participate here report gradual changes in ways of thinking and believing with much internal resistance, and even devestating rational arguments by themselves aren’t often enough, at least in the short ter\m
I agree Aerik, it is. One cannot impell themselves on a spike and live. They didn’t even survive it when Vlad impelled them and chopped off their heads. They were dead in most cases before he chopped their heads off. So, you know Criss Angel is BS when he does that trick.
Thanks Brennen. He’s read those children’s magic books when he was younger, but he seems to believe this guy’s illusion are really real, because no one could figure out how he did these things. He’s that way with Buddha too. Don’t get me started on that one, since right now we are talking about the bogus Criss Angel and not Buddha. I think he’s gone and lost his mind. :(
Your son is eighteen. Wait until he falls in love (happily) and ask him again. Hitchens (not Freud! ) in his book speculates that people who are religious are this way because they are not satisfied in their sexual relationship…
In some ways, I think he is trying to think critically. To oppose your parents view is to assert your own, and however wrong you may be, I think it can be a step towards thinking for yourself. That’s the way I see my teen years which weren’t that far away. I didn’t care if I was wrong, I’d rather be wrong than agree with an authority just becaues they say so. It’s one of the reason’s I turned to the church when I did. My parents weren’t church goers and they told me how foolish what I was learning was. But I didn’t care - I thought they were too rational and not willing to open their minds…
In time I worked out things for myself and then after struggling with leaving the church it was like an after thought…. my crazy stubborn parents who wouldn’t go to church were right all along…. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH LOL
But my rebellious attitude with my parents was the same one I needed to get myself the heck out of the church when I needed to do the opposite of what the authorities there were telling me. So maybe it was practice. Although I realize the irony that if I hadn’t rebelled against my parents I wouldn’t have needed to rebel against the church….. but somewhere someone would have tried to tell me ‘the truth’ so i still see my teenage rebellion as training grounds for critical thinking.
The woman has been on the discovery channel, she was born a half woman
Baisically in all of angel’s TV stunts, everyone is in on it to make it look real, many of the so called spectators are in fact actors, The cameraman is always in on it and chris has many helpers that are in cahoots. Its sad sometimes that he lies blatantly on TV and says that these are “random” people he picked off the street. He never asks regular people, they are usually always young pretty well dressed actors…
If you watch some of his stuff on youtube or where ever, it does seem that everyone there is an actor.
Someone else mentioned regarding the above video that that lady could sure move fast on her arms after she was pulled apart and crawled away - like she was used to using them like that.
Your son is probably responding to the “coolness factor” that many young people have with celebrities – heightened among his demographic group by those with tattoos and who wear black T-shirts like Angel. Plus he may not be aware that Angel is in a long line of magicians who have been doing similar things since long before he or Angel were ever born.
Criss Angel is not the first person to do a Buzz Saw Illusion. The first Buzz Saw Illusion was invented by a magician by the name of Barbour and was made famous by a magician by the name of Horace Goldin (1874 – 1939). Ever since then other magicians have been adding improvements and other touches to the trick so that there are various versions around today.
Perhaps if you showed him someone he thought was not as cool as Angel doing a Buzz Saw Illusion, that might bring him back to reality that magicians (even the so-called “street” ones) use any means necessary to create their tricks.
Click here to see Harry Blackstone Jr. doing a Buzz Saw Illusion.
Get him to watch Saw and ask him if that’s real as well. Also, get him to watch the masked magician, penn and teller and derren brown - they will explain how to do most of these tricks.
On the supernatural and religious stuff he’s into, why not ask him what’s the most dangerous thing you can do in playing with dark supernatural powers and what the outcome will be. When he tells you, perform the act that he’s mentioned and show him that nothing happens. My personal favourite is saying the Lord’s prayer backwards in front of a mirror. It’s perfectly safe to do so, and it winds a lot of peple up.
I don’t know whether your son saw Criss on TV, movie, or a stage. If it was either of the first two, sawing oneself in half is mild stuff compared to the other fantastic graphic effects that occur in such films as Spiderman, Harry Potter, etc. If on the stage, they can still do amazing special effects.
I recall in high school a kid who did sleight of hand that was unbelievable. Even when he showed me how he did it at very slow speed, it was still difficult to see because he was so smooth. He asked if he could copy my final exam in advanced algebra. Since the teacher was an obnoxious rectal cavity, with an ego and destructive attitude toward students that far exceeded his IQ or teaching skills, I said, “OK, but how will you do it?”
He said, “When you’re finished, just put your answer sheet face down on the left side of your desk.” I did that, and suddenly it was gone. In three minutes it magically reappeared on my desk. He was extremely skilled at misdirection.
Ten years later I read in the local paper where he had been shot and killed in Saint Louis during a card game. The person who killed him said, he didn’t see him cheat, but he knew no one could have as much good luck as my classmate had.
I can understand your son’s feelings. I haven’t the slightest idea how magicians do it, and I’m completely dazzled, but I have faith in the rules of our environment on earth, and I know what they do violates those rules. So, because of that, I don’t accept that what they did is what it appeared to be. Your son has not yet developed enough faith in the rules of our physical world to reject or at least question his observations, or to believe he can be fooled.
I forgot about Penn and Teller. I saw them recently, and I love their cable show “B***SH**. They are exactly the sort to get through to someone your son’s age. Very cool, no patience for people who claim their magic or psychic powers are real, and also very clear that what they do is totally fake, but they’re so good at it you can’t figure it out even when they tell you that. And that should make anyone stop and think about their ability to detect fakery.
Do not let him see past the 7:10 point in the video. Then ask him if he can figure out how it was done. When he gives up, allow him to watch the rest of the video past the 7:10 point. When he sees the entire video, ask him that since he couldn’t figure out this one - yet there turned out to be a perfectly logical explanation - then why should any other magician he sees be any different. Just because he can’t figure out an explanation, doesn’t mean there isn’t a logical explanation.
Does Chris Angel claim that what he does is diferent from magician tricks?.
I think the point on your son, Mriana, is to show him that what our senses could, sometimes, fool us. Not allways, but sometimes they can do that. You could find a lot of examples where you cannot believe what you see (trivial examples as the delusion of water on the route, or even the sky)
And, do not feel frustrated. I guess many of us reached the critical thinking after 20s.