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The Hand Is Quicker Than The Eye Myth: Debunked

Have you heard the expression that the hand is quicker than the eye? It’s said by magicians a lot. It’s also used by non magicians (muggles!) who are trying to explain how magic works.

The concept behind this saying is that the magicians hand was so quick that the spectator didn’t see the move that was used to accomplishing trick.

In this blog we will debunk the myth that the hand is quicker than the eye and more importantly tell you exactly how a good magician will fool you over and over again.

A title in blue saying 'So Why Isn't The Hand Quicker Than The Eye?' for a magic blog

Think about this for a minute. How fast would a performer have to move in order for a spectator not see them. When a car drives past you at 70 MPH you see it drive past don’t you. It’s not like the car becomes invisible at a certain speed - you can see it!

If the hand truly was faster than the eye the entire performance would be unnatural. You would be aware that something sneaky had happened. Trust us when we say that the magicians hand is not faster than the eye.

a header which says 'So How Do Magicians Manage To Fool Me?' used for a magicians blog

The thing all great magicians have in common is that they have mastered the art of making their moves seem natural. The key to fooling someone with sleight of hand is to make the secret moves look just like a natural gesture that would happen normally.

So for example if a magician is going to make a coin vanish they will study what it looks like to hold a coin in their hand. They will then practice until the move they are using looks identical in every way. Natural movement is the key. The best magicians hide their moves in plain sight by making them look as natural as possible.

Watch this video of Craig doing a coin trick. It shows how moves can be made to look very natural. Notice that at no point does Craig move quickly and in an unnatural manor 👇

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The other key to a successful magic performance is misdirection. Misdirection means making you look somewhere else. A move becomes invisible if you aren’t even watching when the move happens. Now we are not just talking about pointing to another part of the room and saying “look over there!” Misdirection is more subtle.

They key thing with misdirection is that while you are looking at the right hand the move is happening in the left hand. While you are looking at the table the magic is taking place somewhere completely different.

Watch this video of our founder Craig performing a routine at a wedding. It’s the perfect example of misdirection. When is the playing card going under the box? When the audience aren’t looking! 👇

a blue header that says 'So What?'

So why should you care? Well, firstly when you are booking a magician make sure they understand how to perform magic properly. Have you ever heard someone say they watched a magician who was terrible? Have you have watched a magician and worked out how he does his tricks?

You need to make sure that the magician you hire adds value to your event and isn’t an embarrassment. The way to do this is to make sure you have watched lots of videos of them in action. Watch the reactions by the spectators on the video and make sure they are enjoying the performance. And if your potential magician hasn’t got any videos to show you then that should ring alarm bells. In this day and age it is so easy to get video footage just using your phone.

So there you have it! If you have always wondered how a magician does his tricks remember the hand IS NOT faster than the eye!


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