Somehow, I didn’t think that a magic show sponsored by the Skeptics track would be quite as popular as it was, but the Grand West ballroom in the Hilton was full Saturday night to see Curt Anderson and Matt Dillahunty perform an abbreviated portion of their stage shows. The evening of magic was hosted by Jamie Swiss, who claimed “not to be as good as the other guys” but provided us with magic and delight all the same.
There was no audio or video recording allowed, but the illusions ranged from simple card tricks, escape tricks, and exercises of mentalism. At one point, Anderson invited a volunteer up on stage to help him try to rip a deck of cards in half. Easily one of the biggest and most muscular men I had ever seen in real life made the attempt but was unable to tear even half of the deck in two. Anderson, however, tore not one but two decks clean in half.
Dillahunty also asked for volunteers to help him. His tricks were more of a mental, rather than physical, feat. Three volunteers chose words at random from flip books that Dillahunty had previously prepared, then he asked them to mentally send the words to him for identification. It took a little doing, but Dillahunty managed to correctly identify all three words by the end.
Magic is delightful entertainment, and as Swiss pointed out, it doesn’t really need to be explained away. Delight is too rare of a commodity to constantly be squashed and examined. But he added, “If you think this stuff is real, you’re a congregation, not an audience.”