Misdirection

From Academic Kids

Misdirection is a form of deception, where one feints in a particular course, and then exploits the misled pursuer's mistake to escape, or remain undetected. The study of close-up magic is a wonderful introduction to misdirection. Without giving away any magic secrets, the limits of the human mind can be used to give the wrong picture and memory. The mind can only concentrate on one thing at a time. The magician uses this and the "victim's" picture of how the world is supposed to be, against him. Some of the results are most startling. A coin can actually be seen to dissolve in the air; and yet it was never there. The face of a card that was not seen is seen. Things can be torn that are not torn.

An example of misdirection in magic might be as simple as a magician rolling up his sleeves and saying "nothing up my sleeve" and then 'magically' producing an object that in no conceivable way could have been 'up his sleeve'. The audience instinctively scrutinizes the magician's arms but ignores the location where the object-to-be-magically-produced is hidden.

Memory can be manipulated in this way: an audience member may 'remember' a coin which -- lying on the magician's palm, first wobbles and then stands on edge -- as having floated into the air, or any other exaggeration which the mind may make while being misdirected.

In such a way, a group of Jeeps with plywood coverings painted to resemble tanks may misdirect an enemy General into ignoring a fleet of trucks (which are actually tank transports disguised as grocery trucks etc.) and paying close scrutiny to the movement and activity of the fake tanks. The real tanks, suddenly disembarked on his flank may be remembered by the General as appearing 'out of thin air' as if by magic.

See also

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