The Science of Magic
Hello and welcome to a sneak peek at the science of magic! My name is Sean Lee Ying, I'm a Researcher Programmer at the Ontario Science Centre, and the host for today's jam-packed event! We'll be explaining the science behind stage magic with creator of Illusionarium, Jamie Allan, focus on the importance of perception, perspective and commonly used tricks that create convincing illusions with Experimental Psychologist, Professor Richard Wiseman, and he will teach you some tricks you can share with your family and friends, courtesy of our magicians at Illusionarium. After, you'll want to stick around before the end because we're going to have a grand finale trick, live from Illusionarium in downtown Toronto. To our viewers, we would love to hear from you, so when you think of the word magic, what one or two words come to your mind? Please add those comments in the chat below and any other questions you may have for our magicians throughout the presentation, and we'll try to get to as many questions as possible. I would like to
start with the land acknowledgement. I acknowledge that the magicians of Illusionarium and I are participating in this event on Aboriginal land that has been inhabited by Indigenous people from the beginning. We are speaking to you today from the city of Toronto. We acknowledge that the land we live on is the traditional territory of many Nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat Peoples, and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. I acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13, signed with
the Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Williams Treaties, signed with multiple Mississaugas and Chippewa bands. Acknowledging this relationship to the land is an ancient practice, and today, as we discuss the science of magic to express our gratitude and the opportunity to be here, and we thank all generations of people who have taken care of this land since time immemorial. Thank you. And now, to start things off, we are going to head to downtown Toronto at Illusionarium, and start off with an astounding trick. Here are the world-renowned magicians of Illusionarium! Now that was amazing! Please show our love and your love for the magicians of Illusionarium in our chat, and thank you so much! We'll see them later as they will show us and teach us some science magic tricks. Now, we're going to head over to the United Kingdom
with our special guest, the creator of Illusionarium, Jamie Allan! Jamie Allan world-renowned magician, now using magic with high-tech technology. Many people call him the eye magician or the high-tech Houdini, and for good reason! He is the UK's original technology magician, performing and designing incredible modern illusions using leading edge technology and innovative methods; incorporating iPads, holograms, laser beams, and lots, lots more. In 2017, he was bestowed the highest honor of the Magic Circle, becoming one of the very few members of the Inner Magic Circle, joining the ranks of Harry Houdini and David Copperfield in this internationally acclaimed and historic society. At this time, I'd like to share with you a clip of how Jamie Allan has merged technology and magic together.
Mixing technology with magic, Jamie Allan has performed for millions of people all over the world. The most televised British illusionist of the last decade, Jamie Allan is the market leader in high technology theatrical illusion, augmented reality, motion tracking, hologram simulations, iMagician's first shows in the USA in Chicago broke records for the most amount of tickets ever sold for a magic show. Jamie Allan is considered to be one of the most innovative magicians in the world today, creating stunning and beautiful digital illusions which will reignite your childhood sense of wonder. iMagician, the world's leading technology illusion spectacular. Please join me in welcoming Jamie Allan! Hi Sean, how are you doing? Hi thanks, how are you doing, Jamie? Thank you for joining us today! Oh you're welcome, we almost got the time wrong! You had daylight savings the other day, we all thought it was seven o'clock! It's gonna be a very short show for you, Sean. I would have to do all the tricks myself!
We just, you know we all just saw this incredible video of you, I'm curious, what inspired you to do magic? I've always done magic, since as long as I can remember. I was five years old, most magicians start off with a magic kit, and I'm not that different. I did get one but my parents used to run a cabaret theater, they were performers themselves, and then I had to go to school so they decided to settle down and give me a normal life, and so they did the only thing they were capable of, Sean, and they bought a pub and they figured this would be a really good upbringing for me. They moved into this pub and they knocked out part of it to make a small theater, and in this theater I saw a magician when I was five, and he made a person levitate and I saw it with my own eyes, it was like effectively in my living room, you know, because I always hung out in the theater, and I went to my dad afterwards like how how could that be possible? You know, and my dad rather than telling me "it's magic, Jamie", which is the correct dad answer, he told me how the trick was done, and I was fascinated by the gadgetry and this idea that "what? You can fool people like this?", and I was just hooked, and I've never looked back. I got a magic set this Christmas and
I did my first show when I was eight years old, and I've been professional since I was 16. So I've never really known anything else, it's just always been in my blood. Oh wow that's incredible, I love how your family and your dad was teaching you the gadgetry and incorporating the technology, and you carry that throughout your shows, in fact. Actually I have a question for our viewers who are watching, when we talk about magic, sometimes we have to change those words magic and illusions.
Jamie can you tell me if there's a difference between magic and illusions? So there is more of a difference - well there's two ways of looking at this. Sure, I mean, first of all in our business, we consider that a magician is more kind of sleight of hand, more coins, cards ,comedy, and an illusionist is a lot more money. This is the only difference. It costs a lot more money and it's a lot of logistics, but that's usually because in our business, we perceive an illusionist with the big boxes and the big show. But the truth of it is really magic, if you consider magic sleight of hand, then illusion is something that is like an optical illusion or something that just appears to be happening when it's not, I would say that was the clear distinction. But we're not offended if you get the titles mixed up, you know, I'm called a magician and an illusionist, and that's that's okay by me. That's awesome,
that's awesome. And well we're here to discuss the relationship between science and magic, and there are many similarities, like the process of performing a trick and the process of carrying out experiments are basically the same thing. At the Science Centre, I know that when we describe the process of science is, well on my shirt it says "Ask, test and repeat". Can you share your thoughts on this relationship between science and magic for us? Yeah I can! And first of all, I wanted to touch on what the rules of magic are, because these all relate back to this, Sean, you know because there are very we're drawing here from a very limited pool. Science is so broad, but magic is limited to very, very few effects. There are only really five things that you can
do with magic. If it's okay, I'm going to try and demonstrate a couple of them for you, because I know we've got a few kids watching this, so you'll really get a kick out of this. Behind me, it's kind of out of focus, but this is like my mini museum. It's like a magic shop that I built for
a grown-up, and it's housing a lot of old magic books and old magic tricks, but I'm a collector of these tricks called tenyo magic tricks from Japan. They're kind of plasticky and they're kind of gadgety, but they use a lot of scientific principles in them, so I thought it'd be fun to explain the five rules of magic. Rule one: you can only make something appear, that's the first thing you can do. So let me show you something here on this other camera. And we've got a little box,
and this really is genuinely science, this box, it's very thin walled, it's kind of translucent, you can see through it, and it sits in front of this kind of stripy background so that you can see the stripes then through the box so it gives you some kind of perspective. This is like a David Copperfield illusion in miniature. Remember when he made the Statue of Liberty disappear? If you watch, this will make the Statue of Liberty actually appear! Oh wow! See it there, it's real. And that's the rule one, you can make something appear. I love playing with these gadgets, these are like my toys, so this is a really good day for me. You can make something disappear, Sean! So we're going to try it with this pen. Now just making a pen disappear, that's a pretty
standard magic trick, so we're going to make it slightly more scientific, we're going to use one of these, branded curiously, an invisible zone. You see as the pen, it's going to fit inside, let me see if I can just jimmy, the hole is exact, it's going to go inside of the invisible zone. Interestingly when you open it, it looks like you can see through because of this mechanism in the middle, but if I remove the mechanism, you get a much clearer view right the way through inside, but as I remove it, you can see that the pen comes clean out, and that's all the gadgety trick.
You can cause something to levitate, Sean, you can cause me to defy the rules of gravity. So here we've got a little picture, and on this picture, let me bring this really close to the camera, if you were here with me Sean I'd give you this so you can check it out, it's a very, very old trick. There's no guarantee this is going to work, but it'll be entertaining regardless. This is printed, it's got a magician and his assistant printed on this little background, it seems kind of funny when you look at it like this, but if I put into this little theater, you can see inside the theater. If you watch the magician, rule three levitation, you can see right off of the picture the little person actually floats up in the air, but yet that really is printed on there, that's that's rule three, that's levitation. And if you hang around viewers, to the end of this show,
you're gonna see ... maybe, maybe if you're lucky you might see a big version of this at the end of the show, live, revolutionary, which is getting really cool! Rule four is you can cause something to pass through a solid object. Now I have like a jewelry case here that's a little ring, this is solid, we've got a little miniature magician sword. I love these tricks, they're so tiny.
We're so used to working with all these big boxes, these are really gadgety and cute, and these are so many science principles. The ring sits inside of the box and we lock it in, and I've got a little tube here which I don't know if you can see in there, maybe you can see inside, there's nothing inside anyway, there's nothing like on the top. And the little sword, let me turn this around a bit so that you can see, the little sword goes through the box. Can you see that Sean?
Yes, perfectly. I'm gonna rest the sword on the top and it happens on three. One, two, three. And as we push down, now you'll see that- check this out- the little sword has gone all the way through the plastic and indeed the ring and, rule five! Rule five, the last one, all magic tricks are based on: you can make something appear, you can make something disappear, you can cause something to levitate, you can pass a solid object through a solid object, or lastly you can break something and you can put it back together again. Now this was recently celebrated because this was invented by P.T. Selbit, who's the man who invented the idea of cutting a person in half, and this was recently 100 years old. And we're not going to do that illusion for you, but I'll show you how we do it in a scientific way. A little petri dish here with
a playing card in, and which I've sliced up with an Exacto knife. Rule 5 is called, let me see if I can show you this up close, you see rule five will actually cause this playing card to restore itself back to its original form, and every magic trick is based- excuse the little demonstration of my toys here, but it's a good excuse to get them out- those are the five rules of magic. Now you were asking how it applies to science, to magic, and you were talking about ask, test, repeat. That was right, Sean? Yeah, yes, that's correct, yeah. Yeah, now ask, test, repeat, I'm going to demonstrate this using a deck of cards, and this is no gadgetry now, we're going to be using sleight of hand and some optical techniques. Now ask, test, repeat. So first of all we're going to ask, so asking you Sean to name a playing card
from this deck and that's going to form our test subject. So which card would you like us to use today, Sean? How about the three of hearts? Three of hearts, it's right here, nice and easy to see. Okay that's good, the three of hearts, now we genuinely haven't set this up but it really does not matter for this because it's not really to do with the card itself. Let me just find here a pen, I have one, and Sean do you want to tell me a three digit number and I'm going to write it on this card. Eight, one, two. Eight, one, two, okay so we're gonna put the eight, one, two on, now some of the people that have seen magic tricks before you might think this number is gonna become relevant later, like it's a prediction or something, but it is not, it's just simply to demonstrate that this is now the only three of hearts that looks like this, because otherwise I could have a deck made up all of three of hearts, I do not. Ask, test, repeat. The test in this case is going to be to try and get the card from a location in the middle of the deck to somewhere where I can find it. The test is to get it to rise to the top without touching it.
And the repeat is to be able to do this again with different methods and achieve the same exact result each time. Watch, I'm going to put it in face up so you'll see how it works. It goes in face up against all the face down cards. We'll take the ten of spades, second from top, and it becomes the three. We can we can increase this experiment a little bit actually by
marking the card so you can see it. We're going to put a little bend inside so that you'll be able to see the card when it's inside the centre of the deck, I don't know if you can see it there, I could see that, I can see that, it's right in the middle. You'll see the magic happen Sean, look. Now this of course is slowly devolving more into what we would say is sleight of hand, but I want to show you a scientific way of doing this same trick, and it uses one of these. This is a camera
filter, I'm talking to you on a DSLR camera and these are the kind of filters that drop in front of the lens just here, and this is a diffusion filter, it's a harsh light. I'll put it on the on the close-up camera so that you can see. And you genuinely can see right through it, you really can. Yeah. I'll just see if- you can see that on the camera can't you, Sean? Perfectly, we could see right through, and as you split those harsh lights too. Yeah exactly, yeah exactly, now we're going to take the three, let's see if we can take that bend out a little bit, I don't want to cheat. Well I am cheating, but I don't want you to see how. And watch the three, it's going to go in
face up against all of the face down cards. We put it in quite low down. Let me get the camera in really close on it. You saw the card continually rising up in the pack Sean. You saw that. This will create the illusion of that happening, watch that top card. Watch it.
You see and it's not an illusion, it genuinely is here, and it has risen all the way back up through the deck and that is how we would describe the relationship ask, test, repeat. Wow that was incredible! And our audience at home, I can see they just absolutely love it, thanks for sharing that with us! And it does always be that process of science, and in fact, we actually have a viewer question and it's directly related to this, how does magic that related to science help us with innovating? And I think that you demonstrated that with that trick over there. Like I mentioned earlier, we're drawing from a very small pool, Sean. So I mean in the case of that trick, I actually didn't invent that trick, a friend of mine invented it and they allowed me to perform it. I create most of my own magic now for our stage show iMagician, which is a touring theater show, that blends magic and technology. So we're trying to use innovations before they become so much in the public knowledge. We do magic with technology, not because
we're just trying to be modern but because we're trying to be relevant, and we try to do magic with things that people are familiar with. And in the old days a magician would wear a top hat or the audience would have top hats so they could borrow one and produce things from it, maybe even a rabbit in days gone by, and nowadays, that would seem - pardon the pun - very old hat. So instead, everybody's carrying an iPhone in their pockets, so magicians are constantly innovating, but by looking at new technologies and science, and maybe we'll talk about Robert Hudan if there's time, there was a great story with him when he used the electromagnet first. To be honest, that we don't mind if we reveal this trick, are we sure this be okay? I think it's okay, yes, I think it's okay. It's a very, very old trick, and if you if you did this as a magic trick today, everybody in the audience would know how it was done. But but take yourself back to the 1800s
and you're sat in a theater in Paris and a man comes out with a wooden chest, puts it on the ground, and he says that anybody can lift it - a small child can lift the chest. He gets the strongest person from the audience and takes all their power from them and they try as hard as they can and they cannot lift the chest off the floor, but yet the child can lift it again, and how was it done? It was an electromagnet. They put a steel plate on the bottom of the trunk and under the stage they had a powerful electromagnet, and if you're listening to this you probably think well that's so easy anybody would know. But if you didn't know about electromagnets and they hadn't
really been invented, most people had didn't even know about magnets, so it seemed like a miracle, but then very quickly, magicians have always had to evolve. Yeah and it's constantly evolving, and we're always applying those five rules or one of those five rules of magic, as you said before, and actually what's really neat is we were talking earlier, when viewers watch a magic tricks, they could view it in two different ways. Either they view it as "oh I'm part of the magic trick, I'm taken in, you create the wonder, the magic, you're surrounded by that magical moment". Others just look at the trick and then they say themselves "I know how he did that" or "I'm going to figure out how to do that trick", and what I like about mad magic is that it lets people follow that scientific method. If you want to figure out the trick, you have to do these test conditions. You
have to try to replicate it, and many times when they try to replicate those tricks, they find different ways of doing those tricks. Sometimes even better, sometimes not the exact same way. But you do a lot of stage illusions and you're talking about technology, one of the coolest technologies that I think has been incorporated into magic is something called the Pepper's Ghost effect, and Jamie, I hope you don't mind do you mind, do you mind if I share a Pepper's Ghost effect that the Science Centre has created? No, no, please! Absolutely. So we have this transparent- and this is something that our viewers at home can make, but I just have this transparent sheet and I'm going to place it onto my phone, just like this, and as I place it on my phone, I'm just going to use a black background, but it appears as if the world, oops, is... I don't know if you can see that, but it appears as if the earth is on - let's go - can you see that Jamie? Yeah I can see it, yeah, and if you were able to turn that round without it falling down, you'd be able to see it from all sides as well, that there would be a three-dimensional little globe that's floating on the top of the phone. Yes, yeah,
exactly, and this is really, really neat, and what's happening is that I have the image on my phone of the Earth, and all I'm doing is I'm just placing it and it's reflecting off the surface to create and make it look like that the earth is right inside that little glass, and it's neat how we can throw these images in different places. You've used the Pepper's Ghost effect in your stage magic and it's been used throughout history. Can you tell our audience a little bit about the advancements of this Pepper's Ghost effect? Absolutely, I mean Pepper's Ghost has more of an impact on society than you would realize. I mean it was invented by Henry Pepper back in the 1800s. He was certainly the first person to patent it. He created it with a guy called Dircks. There's
a long story there, too long for us to get into the actual invention of this, but but basically, I mean Pepper's Ghost is nothing more than when you're in your house at night time and there's lights on and say your kitchen and you're looking out through a patio door and you see your own reflection back at you, and it doesn't appear to be reflected in there like a mirror, it appears to be some distance from it. It's the same distance away from the glass as you are, so it appears if you are two feet away from the glass the image would be two feet behind the glass. And although that just seems like an everyday occurrence, Pepper realized that if he could fit the glass in a certain way, at a certain angle, and hide the glass from view, because it was perfectly clear and nobody knew it was there in the first place, he could create this image of ghosts on stage, and it absolutely took the world by storm. It took London by storm and he had a patent on it. Now since then, this same technology is being used constantly in everyday life. Like teleprompters
for reading scripts, you know this uses what is effectively a Pepper's Ghost. It's an angled piece of glass and there's a television monitor below it and it's reflecting the words, and because it's in front of the lens, the lens is looking through the glass and it appears clear from there. It's used as a head-up display in a car, you know we all see those things where they appear floating, and these car manufacturers, they hark it around as some new technology, and even years after in the old days, we used to use Pepper's Ghost by having actors lying on their back in the orchestra pit, being reflected by this glass, pretending to be kept against a black background, and it was very hot down there, you know with the incredible light they had to have. And nowadays, it's been reinvented a lot for concert technology. When you see it now pitched out as a hologram, no longer as Pepper's Ghost, it's now a hologram.
I actually have the very first, I believe this is the very first description of it in a magic book. This is a first edition of Robert Houdan's The Secrets of Stage Conjuring. He didn't actually invent this, I'll see if I can put this page up for you, but you can see here how the person was below the stage, this picture is actually wrong. If they were standing at that angle, they wouldn't be reflected correctly, but it's purely for illustrated purposes. And you can see where the glass is and where the performer appears to be on stage with a ghost standing next to them. So it's
a fascinating thing, and if you're into this kind of thing, you can look up this, it's available to the general public, it's called The Science Behind the Ghost by Jim Steinmeyer, and this has the entire history and all these diagrams, and it even has a Pepper's Ghost in the back that you can try. We have been using modern technologies to combine it with the old technology of Pepper's Ghost, and now we've achieved a system where we can have multiple layers of projection - in fact we can play a little video of one of my early versions of that - we can put that up on the screen so everybody can see. And you can see how here we're using a traditional Pepper's Ghost set up, but the screen is invisible to the audience, and we don't present it as a magic trick you know, we tell the audience how it works. In fact in my presentation, I say this is exactly how this is going to work but that will not stop it looking like magic. But of course, what we've done is worked out how we can interact with real world props and things within it, so if we make a person appear floating on the hologram, then we make them into a real person and that real person floats up and out of the hologram. In fact if this video stays running, you'll probably see that moment
in a minute. And at Illusionarium we've devised an entirely new system again, which we don't know it's been done before, but we we think it might be the first time that we've created this dual layer hologram system. So it really now looks like a three-dimensional movie and we've recreated Harry Houdini in Illusionarium, so you get to meet Houdini and see him standing before you and telling you about the history of magic. Here we are, you can see this is a real person now, and it was a hologram a moment ago. And and you'll see how they float up and away and at the end they
disappear back into the hologram technology. But it's amazing how it's still being used to this day and it's still entertaining people and this is a great example, Sean, of how a magic trick does not have to fool people. This is not a magic trick but it looks miraculous and it feels wonderous and that's really what the magician's job is, Sean, is to make you have that sense of wonder that we have when we're children and to just to watch the impossible unfold before your eyes, that's really what the magician's job is, not to not to trick you, we don't want to trick you. No you create that sense of wonder is exactly what magicians do, and we're seeing that over and over again today, and our viewers love it. Actually I do have a quick viewer question, they want to know where you learned magic? Where did you learn magic? Books. Nearly everything that I learned, I learned from books. A great magician once said to me "if you want to keep a secret write it in a book,
nobody will read it". All of the best magic tricks are hidden away in some of the oldest magic books and I get a lot of inspiration from those and I'll take some of those tricks and we'll try and find a new way of doing them for a modern audience, you know, and try and completely reinvent them so they don't even sometimes recognize the original trick in there. But yeah the best way I think to learn magic is by books, and I say that because when you read it and you digest it, you remember it. Whereas if you just watch it on a video and try to repeat it, you might be able
to do it in the moment but you forget it. And so my recommendation is always old magic books. Now before we move on to our next guest, thank you so much for joining us. One last question: any advice or words of encouragement for future budding magicians? Do you know, I almost just touched on it then, is looking at the past. If you are into magic and you're watching this stream, and magic dealers would hate me and they they have a lot of really cool new stuff out, and it's always fun to play with, but if you want it to be original and you want to get on with it, I think it's better to try and either create your own magic, and if you can't do that look for old magic that nobody's doing anymore. These pages behind me are filled with hundreds and hundreds of thousands of tricks that are just waiting to be rediscovered, and I would say look to the past and find a way to bring it back up to date, and practice and practice, practice, unlike I did with the plasticky tricks at the start here, Sean, I was just pulling these things off my shelf at the start of the show thinking this will be fun.
A lot of fun! Well thank you so much, Jamie, for joining us! It's been an honor and our pleasure to have you with us and, thank you for giving us your time. Oh it's my pleasure Sean, we hope to see you down at Illusionarium when we open. Yes, take care Jamie! Oh, an absolute pleasure, thanks everybody! And now we're going to move on to our next special guest who's also from the UK, from Scotland, Professor Richard Wiseman! And he is one of the most innovative, interesting, experimental psychologists in the world. He has books that have sold over 3 million copies and he regularly appears in media. In fact, he holds Britain's only professorship in the public understanding of psychology at the University of Hartfordshire, and he's a close friend of Jamie's, and some of his famed visual puzzles are actually in Illusionarium. Also he's a member of the Inner Magic Circle and has created psychology-based YouTube videos that have attracted over half a billion - billion! - views. And here's one of those videos, it's called Assumptions.
Hi Professor Wiseman, thank you for joining us today all the way from Scotland! We're delighted to have you here. And you're a magician and celebrated experimental psychologist, so you study magic and science. You kind of put them together, can you tell our audience how science and magic are integrated together and how you came to study magic? I studied magic through my grandfather who showed me a coin trick many, many years ago. I wanted to know how it was done so I did what Jamie did, I went to the library, I read books and eventually found out the secret and I got hooked on magic. So yeah, get into books, get into reading. In terms of the relationship between magic and science, well magicians are kind of scientists.
They go out and they do experiments and those experiments have to work all the time under pretty much every circumstance and fool the people in the room! And if they don't work and someone sees how the trick's done, then they go back and change the experiment and try it again until it works, and that's kind of how science works as well. So lots of similarities there. That's great, and there are many similarities and parallels between magic and science, but when people hear magic or illusions, they think of deception or being deceived. But another way of looking at this is looking at perception and how the magician can guide us through a trick. Can you explain the difference between like deception and perception, or just explain them and highlight how magicians use these in illusions? Yeah magicians have to be good psychologists, they have to know where you put your attention, they have to know how you see the world, they have to know how you remember the world in order to fool you. But what's the real difference between
illusions and magic is that magic needs a magician, it's needed for someone to put a coin into their hand to blow on it and to make it disappear. Where illusions, well everyone can experience on their own. You can go into a gallery or a room and see some optical illusions. So magic really depends on that magician, but yes they have to understand psychology. If you don't understand how the mind works, you're not going to be a great magician. And actually some of your famed puzzles and illusions are actually featured in Illusionarium.
Can you show us some fun optical illusions or illusions and explain the psychology behind them, like what's happening inside our brains when we see them? Yeah certainly, I can do. I don't think it'll work actually on on the camera so you'll have to tell me, but this is one of my favorites here. So you're seeing a big mask of Albert Einstein, obviously a scientist, and when I move it my hope is that he moves in a rather weird kind of way. He sort of moves in the opposite way to the way you'd expect him to. Yes! And the reason that is that - it's very straightforward - if I turn him around you'll, see that you're actually looking at a mask that goes in. Oh wow! Yeah, I can actually put my hand right inside there, it's a kind of hollow mask. It's really, really weird, and that allows it to move in all sorts of ways.
And that tells us huge amounts about the human mind. You normally see a face that comes out, so when you see something that looks like that, you assume that's the case, and in fact you're looking at a mask that goes in. And so you kind of fool yourselves with that illusion. Really, really simple, but tells us a lot about how your mind's working. Yeah, do you have any
other illusions you could share with our viewers? No it's just the one. No no, I'm just kidding! I've got a few others here. So again, now let me see if I can see myself here, so that's good, hopefully that's looking like six circles there. Six cylinders. You ever got those? Now all I'm going to do, I'll try and keep this in shot, is just turn it around, and it changes. What? Four to eight. Eight kind of squares. Let me just turn that around again. Oh
okay, we had ... well it's like changing shape before ... it's like morphing! It's very, very clever. Very, very clever. Now this was invented by a Japanese illusionist, and it's so smart it's, it's very difficult to see this kind of wavy surface there, you put it in shot, there's a wavy surface which means from certain angles it looks like six cylinders, other angles it looks like eight squares. So again, this is all to do with perception, you know, it depends the angle of which you're looking at something means the way in which you see it, and so it's actually useful in life because you've got a certain perspective on life, you see the world in a certain way, other people's have other perspectives, they see the world their way. And often that can lead to lots of arguments and so on, you're often looking at the same thing from different perspectives, and that's what that illusion is all about. And that's pretty neat that
magicians could play on people's assumptions of how they're used to viewing the world to trick them into seeing or viewing things in a different way, and that's really fascinating. Yeah I mean we don't realize we have these assumptions, I mean that's why magic works a lot of the time. We think we're pretty good observers and we're really seeing what's in front of our eyes, but to do that, to process all that visual information, would require a brain the size of the planet. So what our brain does is really smart, it makes assumptions, it assumes that when you see a face it's a face that's going out towards you and 99.9 percent of the time, that's right. But once in a while, we trip ourselves up, that's what illusions celebrate, it what's magic celebrates.
I can show you one other one here, I hope ... I have seen reflections on this, I'm hoping if I can just ... that's got it. Looks like a fairly normal face. Yeah! Let's just turn it around Okay, I'll turn it back now I've got that angle about right.
So it transforms from a fairly normal looking face into something quite bizarre, and that tells you something fundamental about the way in which you process faces. When it's one way up, you must be using some part of your brain, when it's another way up, you're using a different part of your brain. And actually it turns out that when we see a face the right way up, as it were, we actually focus in on the details. You're seeing the eyes and the mouth have been reversed, it's all a bit
weird. When a face is upside down, our brain flips to a different type of processing, a more holistic processing where we see the whole picture, we don't focus in on details, and we decide that it's the sort of face we see all the time, a normal sort of face. So it's a really simple illusion, but it tells you so much about what's going on in your head right now. That's that's so impressive, I'm just curious, is there a favorite illusion that you have that you want to show our audience? Yeah, it's probably more of a little stunt than an illusion, because one of the first things I ever learned, this is a bottle here and I've got a 20 euro note, but it works with any note at all, and you put the coins on top here and the little stunt, you tell your friends is you have to remove the note but without disturbing the coins, and if you understand anything about science, what they might try and do is pull the note this way in which case the coins are going to go everywhere. What you do being a very clever scientist is you strike down with one finger on the note, and that flips it out from under the coins, and leaves the coins bouncing on the bottle. That's the theory, I haven't done it for about a decade,
so fingers crossed on it. Here we go. Oh no, no it failed! Right, okay, I'm gonna try again like a good scientist. Here we go, all right, here we go. Whoa! So that's a good lesson there, if your experiments don't work first time round, keep trying. So it's a lovely little stunt when it works, and it does most of the time, and it's just a nice way of kind of explaining a little bit about physics but also, again, that counter-intuitive idea you think you pull the note, actually you strike down. Yeah and I love how you mentioned that we have stunts because a lot of magicians incorporate stunts into their performance, whether they're going to hold their breath for a lot longer than the average human could hold their breath, or they need to escape from the chains and stuff, do you know what what they're thinking about incorporating stunts into magic versus, like, just continuously making things disappear and reappear. Why do you think they've done that, is there ... Well you possibly answered your own question there
the word continuously, I mean once you've seen a coin go into the hand and it disappears, how many more coins do you want to see vanish? And so what magicians have to do is really attract a crowd, and they do that by doing dramatic things, and sometimes some of those dramatic things haven't worked out very well for them and they've injured themselves in various ways, you should be very careful with these things, but yes we do like that that sense of drama. Houdini, one of the world's greatest magicians, would have been locked up in straight jackets and so on, hung upside down, he'd always managed to escape. So I think that sense of drama speaks to that, but also psychologically, my goodness seeing somebody do something that's so inspirational, I think as audience members, we get very excited about that, inspires us. Magic inspires us to be greater than we are. Yeah and I think that's a great note that magic is inspiration, before you go, is there any tips or advice you want to share with our audience? I would say get get into magic, it's wonderful for building confidence, it's about lateral problem solving, it helps you socially, and it's just a really wonderful thing to be into.
But remember, the secret to most magic tricks is really, really simple, and if you tell people that secret, it kind of ruins all the magic for them. So magicians hold on to their secrets, not because they just want to hold on to secrets, it's because it's good for the audience to do that. So don't tell people how you're doing the tricks, and treat them like science experiments. When they don't work, get on that horse again and try it again, and keep going until you get it right.
Well thank you so much for joining us, Dr. Wiseman, it's such a pleasure and honor to have you with us, and our viewers really appreciate all the illusions you shared with us as well. So thank you, I hope you have a wonderful day! Pleasure, thank you very much! Take care. And now we're going to head back to downtown Toronto and Illusionarium, and please join me in welcoming Cameron Gibson, Neil Croswell, and Kaitlyn McKinnon. Hello, hello, hi everyone! How are we getting on? Hi Sean, how's it going? Hi thanks, hi everyone! How are all of you doing today? Hey! We're great, we're great. I want to just give a little bit of
a background to each of you, what each of you have done in the magic worlds for our audience, so they get to get to know you a little bit more. We're going to start with Cameron, because Cameron is a world-class magician and a mind reader that has recently moved to Toronto from Edinburgh, Scotland. He is a member of London's renowned Magic Circle, has traveled around the world, and also Cameron has been featured at many events, especially the one for the International Brotherhood of Magicians, sold out multiple shows for four consecutive years at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is the largest arts festival on the planet. Next we have Neil, and Neil, in 2010, actually became the youngest person in history to win gold at the Canadian championships of magic, and has been hailed as the king of magic in Toronto. Over the next decade,
he went on to perform and complete tours in Asia, Africa, North America, Europe, and to date, he has completed eight headlining Canadian tours bringing his illusion to countless cities and eight provinces. Also, he's been seen on masters of illusion and pen and tellers. And finally, we have Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn Mckinnon is an assistant magician demonstrator, and is delighted to be part of the magical world of Illusionarium. A graduate from Feng Shui College Theater Arts program, Kaitlyn now lives in Toronto where she continues to train, and her passions of dancing, acting, and singing makes her a triple threat. Some of her credits include What a Wonderful World, Picnic, Legally Blonde, and A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline, and these are just some of the performances she's been part of. So welcome Kaitlyn, and thank you for joining us. And I believe you have a trick you like to show us,
isn't there? Yes I do, thank you so much for the lovely introduction, Sean, and this next experiment is one that you can try at your at your home, so let's get started! This is great! Awesome so all we need for this little trick is a sealable bag, some pencils, and water. And also if this is your first time going for it, I do recommend maybe having a bucket nearby just in case. So what you're going to do is you're going to take your bag and pour some water in it, and I always recommend doing probably just about over half, let's see how we did there. Oh yeah that's perfect.
All right so in this hand I have a bag of water and in this hand I have a very, very sharp pencil. So what do you think would happen if I just struck this bag really hard with my pencil? Water would go everywhere, right? Yes definitely. Well let's see what happens. It went all the way through, there's a little bit of a drip, but the water's not going anywhere! Let's see what happens if we do another one! Look at that, all the way through. Now I'm the magician here, Sean, but I think you're more in the science end, can you explain to us how this happens? Oh for sure, that is a fun trick to do, putting all those pencils through the water, and it's because of the bag and the make of the bag. It's made up of something called polymers, which are long strands, in fact if we looked at un looked at polymers under a microscope, we see long chains of molecules like this piece of yarn. When you took your pencil and shoved
it right through the yarn, what happens is all those strands actually sealed around the pencil, keeping a water tight seal, so not allowing the water to fall out, which is so much fun this is a great trick to do. And a pros tip, if you're trying this trick out, you don't want to use one of those hexagonal pencils as much, you may want to try one of those clear pencils, uh, circular pencils I should say, because they go in a lot smoother. But it forms that seal, which is fantastic! Thank you for sharing that trick with us! Amazing thank you so much Sean. That's great, so make sure you try this at home everyone, and we actually have a video of the same trick on the Ontario Science Centre website. But next, I want to head over to Cameron, because Cameron,
I believe you have another trick that you like to show our audience. Yes Sean, at Illusionarium, we love it when our science looks a little bit like magic, so I have something here for you. I spent hours practicing this, and a little bit like Dr. Wiseman earlier, didn't go so well earlier, so let's cross our fingers and toes for me. So for this again, you can do this at home, you can do this wherever you are right now, and all you need is a couple of really simple things. So the first thing you need is a normal balloon, a normal latex balloon, so I'm going to blow that up.
There we go, and now this is the hardest part of the entire experiment. You have to actually tie the balloon in a knot, I know a lot of people struggle with that, but yeah I'm a pro, there we go. So you need a balloon. The next thing you need is you need just a bag from the grocery store, a plastic bag like this, and a pair of scissors. So do get an adult to help you with the scissors if you need to. And all you're going to do is you're going to cut a strip from the middle of the plastic bag, now just to save a bit of time I actually did one earlier, you can see it here, when you cut a strip it turns into this this loop of plastic like this. The final thing you will need for this experiment is either
your hair, but I spent like four hours doing my hair this morning, so instead I've got a cotton towel. I didn't actually spend that long do my hair, I know a lot of you at home will be sitting there thinking "really? Four hours for that?", but you need a towel or or your hair. So what you do is you take the cotton towel with your loop of plastic bag, and what you're going to do is you're going to rub it nice and hard like this with your cotton towel, that should do it, and then you're going to take the same towel and do the exact same thing with your balloon. Give it a good kind of a good rub like this, apologies for any awkward balloon scratching sounds, it's a horrible sound in the world, right? It's like nails on a blackboard. There we go, that feels about right, and hopefully if you get it right, this is where you need to cross your fingers and toes for me, hopefully you should be able to take the loop of plastic like this, put it above the balloon, oh I nearly had it, let's try it again, and you should be able ... well I think maybe we need a little bit more ... I'll tell you what I actually have a bigger balloon, which I tried a little second ago, which worked well, let's try it one more time with my big silver balloon, the trusty silver balloon, rub it nice and hard with the towel.
And then we're gonna try one more time with the silver balloon. This balloon is my best friend at the moment. And hopefully, again fingers and toes crossed, I feel good about this one. Here we go, there we go. Wow! Get it to levitate, actually I don't know if Patrick's getting that on camera there because it's levitating so high.
Yeah we can see it! Try and bring it back into the shot, and that looks like real magic, right? Yeah! You're creating levitation and what's happening here is we're using the principles of static electricity, so when you are rubbing the plastic hoop or loop and the balloon, what you're doing is you're building up negative charges on the surface of the balloon and the hoop, and that's stuck right now, and completely disappeared. Exactly, and those like charges, well they don't like each other, so they repel, they push far away, so that loop is pushing away from the balloon, and that's creating that levitation effect. That was incredible, I hope our viewers try that at home, I'm definitely going to try this at home. And everyone's been waiting for this grand illusion trick! So Cameron, I want to turn it over to you and the stage is yours! Perfect, yeah, so as I said with that levitation, we love a science that looks a little bit like magic, and I know that Jamie got to show off some of his toys earlier on, but I actually brought one of my own toys here to Illusionarum with us today.
Now you may have seen these before, but it's a kind of similar idea as the plastic bag there, but this actually uses magnetic levitation, so it uses magnets and this base here to hopefully levitate this bulb. It looks absolutely amazing, although it is completely science. If you find just the right spot, you can actually make the bulb completely levitating. Now just so you can see I've got this pencil, I'm gonna pass it underneath, the bulb is actually levitating there, and hopefully you can maybe even see it spinning. What's even more amazing is that
you can actually turn the bulb on. Now this uses a scientific principle called magnetic induction, but we don't have time to go into that today. You can ask your teachers about that, that's a very interesting principle that we use every day today. But as Jamie and Dr. Wiseman said to you earlier, magicians love it when we can take inspiration from technology, or we can use magic to inspire science, to maybe make things a little bit more interesting. But what if we took this concept of magnetic levitation and made it a little bit bigger? A little bit grander? And we as magicians applied our knowledge of magic to maybe make it a little bit more interesting. I think that
would look pretty amazing, pretty cool. In fact, it would probably look a little bit like this. I'm going to tell you the secret of this next illusion before we begin. And this is it, levitation. It's the most magical of all illusions, and quantum levitation, also
known as magnetic levitation. It's the real thing. It's a technology that has never been perfected, or has it? Here in our Illusionarium, we experimented with quantum levitation, but much bigger than is scientifically possible. If we were trying to hide the science and make this appear like a magic trick, we would use everyday objects. Here we have a real-life hoverboard. Or do we? Sure, right now it just looks like a plank of wood, but it will hover, and so will anything that is put on the top. If this is done with technology, then a magician would wish to disguise it with all the trappings of a magic trick, like a tablecloth.
Under test conditions, we want to show you a truly impossible levitation, and we ask this question from you: is this science and technology, or is it magic? That's for you to decide. That was incredible, so amazing! Please show your love for the magicians in the chat. Thank you so much Nneil Croswall, Kaitlyn Mckinnon and Cameron Gibson for sharing us some of those cool science magic experiments, and that great grand finale, and to the rest of you viewing viewing this program, we would love to hear about your thoughts of today's events, so take a couple of minutes at the end of this program to fill out that short survey, and the link is being posted in the comments. So on behalf of myself, I just want to remind you that you can purchase tickets for Illusionarium at illusionarium.ca and make sure to check out their social channels for updates,
also, for magical science activities you can do at home please visit the Ontario Science Centre's social channels, or ontariosciencecentre.ca. I'm Sean, and on behalf of Jamie Allan, professor Richard Wiseman, Cameron, Neil and Kaitlyn, we'd like to thank everyone for joining us, and I want to leave you with a sneak peek into Illusionarium.