"HEALING WITH MAGICV
a good magician can do something shouldn't make you right away jump
to the conclusion that it's a real phenomenon."
It might seem unusual that a magician would be bothered by someone claiming to have "magic powers." The majority of magicians take exception to such behavior, howver. There is an understanding, though often unspoken, that the magician is creating illusion for entertainment, and the audience may choose to believe or not.
Unfortunately, there are others who claim false powers such as precognition, pschokinesis and the ability to heal. By their deception and arrogance, they give a bad name to magicians.
Uri Gellar was one such fraud. He surfaced in the 1960's and convinced many people he could bend metal and move objects with his mind. Strangely though, he could never perform in front of a professional magician or under tightly controlled conditions. Indeed, James Randi, a professional magician exposed him as a fake. If Gellar had merely done his tricks and left the audience to decide for itself what was real and what was illusion, no magician would have bothered him. His claiming a power that did not exist raised him to the level of charlatan and put a black eye on legitimate magicians.
Today there continues to be a constant parade of frauds claiming powers they certainly do not have while performing tricks most experienced magicians can easily copy. As James Randi said, "If Uri Geller bends spoons with divine powers, then he's doing it the hard way."
You find these tricksters claiming to be psychics, fortune tellers, and sadly faith healers.
Psychics like Sylvia, Wendy and Jon Edwards use simple methods of cold-reading, and other tricks of the trade to convince their fans of their special powers. Yet time and again, they prove to be wrong as often as they are right. The local library has books that expose these tricks.
Even worse are the faith healers. Comedian Andy Kaufmann spent money on a so-called psychic surgeon who was supposed to heal his cancer with knife-less surgery. The Phillipines especially seem to be a hotbed for these con men.
In America we have hucksters like Benny Hinn, Oral Roberts and the late Kathryn Kuhlman who fleece their followers ought of hundreds of thousands of dollars with their healing services. Not one of these or any faith healer has ever been able to produce even one person that has been cured of an organic disease at their hands. Benny Hinn has even claimed to raise a dead man back to life, yet oddly the man does not exist to substantiate this claim.
Many have died after stopping taking their medicine when one of these con artists convinces them they are healed. Truly sick and crippled people have been ignored at thier crusdaes and left broken-hearted, while the faith healer's shills are paraded before the crowd.
If you haven't seen Steve Martin's movie "Leap Of Faith," rent it from Blockbuster. It shows many of the tricks used by these hucksters. Tricks used by Peter Popoff before he was exposed as a conman in the 1970's.
Do I believe God heals? Yes, absolutely. But the tricks, scams and mass hypnosis techniques these so-called faith healers use hurt the true man of God who preaches the truth. They hurt their followers. They cheat honest people out hard-earned money. The psychics cause almost as much damage at times.
It is an offense to myself and other magicians when the art of mystery is used to hurt and cheat others. I hope James Randi and others like him will continue to expose these frauds.
you have any questions about someone claiming to have supernatural powers,
please let me know. I'll answer those I can. Additionally, the listed
links have much more information on psychic healers and other frauds.
Dennis Regling is a professional magician, author and lecturer. He performs educational programs at over 250 elementary and junior high schools every year. Additionally, he performs gospel magic programs at church camps, Vacation Bible Schools and other church events. Dennis has authored over 12 books for magicians. Dennis currently resides in Freeport, Ohio and performs throughout the east and midwest.
Disclaimer:The opinions expressed in this or any of our columns represent the opinions of the writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Magic Web Channel or it's Esteemed Panel of Magic Advisors. (The lawyers made us say that.)
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