“…misleading the spectator’s senses, in order to screen from detection certain details for which secrecy is required.”
(Nevil Maskelyne on Misdirection Our Magic, page 117, second edition copyright 1946)
The term is used to describe either the effect (the victim’s focus on an unimportant object) or the sleight of hand or patter (the magician’s speech) that creates it.
There are two basic ways to “misdirect” your audience; one is time-sensitive, the other isn’t.
The time-sensitive approach encourages the audience to look away for a fleeting moment, so that the sleight or move may be accomplished undetected.
The other approach has much to do with re-framing the audiences perception, and perhaps very little to do with the senses. The minds of the audience members are distracted into thinking that an extraneous factor has much to do with the accomplishment of the feat, whereas it really doesn’t have any bearing on the effect at all. ”The true skill of the magician is in the skill he exhibits in influencing the spectators mind.” (Dariel Fitzkee, Magic by Misdirection, pg. 33, copyright 1975).
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