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Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society

"Le doute n'est pas une condition agréable, mais la certitude est absurde."


Master of Illusion: Copperfield

SAPS takes a closer look at world-famous magicians

David Copperfield is one of the most famous American magicians, and his illusions are some of the most well-regarded there are. He began his career in magic at the age of twelve, and became the youngest person ever admitted to the Society of American Magicians. While still in his teens, he began teaching magic at New York University.

The first trick Copperfield was ever shown, by his grandfather, was an illusion with cards. This began his interest in magic, at the age of seven. Though Copperfield was influenced by some of the more famous magicians, his stage shows are inspired by Fred Astaire, and his shows are more like stories than tricks.

Copperfield has also been involved in humanitarian efforts, including his own "Project Magic", a physical rehabilitation therapy that involves teaching sleight-of-hand tricks to patients in order to regain dexterity. Over 1000 centers worldwide use Project Magic's rehabilitation program since its inception in 1982. Copperfield also adds that giving disabled patients a skill that no one else has strengthens their self-esteem and resolve.

Copperfield, in interviews, repeatedly refers to his skills as "illusions", and to magic as an "art". He never claims that there is anything mystical about what he does, or that it is impossible to duplicate. His shows are intended, even by him, to be entertainment for an audience. He also donated money to open the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts in an attempt to keep the art of magic alive for future generations.

David Copperfield is most famous for making the Statue of Liberty disappear.

Disappearing Statue of Liberty (Spoiler)

There are many theories as to how David Copperfield made it appear as though the Statue of Liberty disappeared. As the secret has never truly been revealed, no one actually knows. Some people believe it was a trick of the lighting, making the base of the Statue visable while the actual Statue was hidden from view. Others say that the stage the audience sat in to watch the illusion was silently rotated to face the crowd out to sea, with the Statue, in actuality, behind them. While both explanations have their issues (Spotlights are shone across the base of the Statue, and do not reveal it. If the audience was rotated, wouldn't someone turn around?) the true mechanism will probably never be revealed.

See the Statue disappear:

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Spoiler Statue of Liberty links:

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