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My mystical magic tour

Esther J. Cepeda on

CHICAGO -- My New Year's resolution this year was to learn close-up card magic. Now, here we are at least a month past the point when most people let their good intentions fall by the wayside, and I can cut to the aces or find your Gemini twins in a deck of shuffled cards.

I can make your iPhone's Siri function "roll dice" until the card you picked at random finds its way back into your hand.

I can even -- abracadabra! -- make a stack of (fake) baby bunnies materialize in your hand.

Let it not be said that I faltered ... but a tiny part of me kind of wishes I had.

I knew it just two weeks into my wonderful class at the gorgeous Chicago Magic Lounge, which is decked out in giant posters of magic legends like Harry Houdini, Harry Kellar, Howard Thurston and Carter the Great.

My fellow classmates and I were gathered around a bar for a preparatory demonstration of close-up coin, handkerchief and small-object magic (this is where the bunnies came in). As the instructor blew our minds not one foot from our faces, breaths were held, jaws dropped, grown men gasped audibly.

 

And then we filed into the small theater where class was held, and the teacher unveiled the tragically simple secrets of the tricks we'd witnessed. Then came the deconstruction and practice with our clumsy, graceless hands.

I cannot overstate the beauty of the moment in which you are presented with an alternative version of reality being played out right before your eyes, the feeling of knowing -- knowing! -- what is in your very own hand and then opening it to find something you couldn't have even anticipated.

Similarly, the disappointment in learning that the magic was merely ... well, I can't tell, because I signed a magician's oath to never reveal the secret of any illusion to non-magicians. But suffice it to say that I died a little inside when I found out how all those little bunnies appeared.

This is not to say that I didn't love the experience -- it absolutely enriched my life in ways I probably can't begin to quantify, and I met a bunch of people with similar interests.

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