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Light As A Feather, Stiff As A Board

Updated: Jul 18, 2021

"The Party Game That Often Deceives"

I'm a professional Magician who educates people on how easy it is to be deceived and reveal the truth.

Imagine that your at a sleep over with your friends and you decide to make it a very exciting night by telling ghost stories, but one of your friends starts to tell you that he/she believes in ghosts and to prove it he/she asks you to Imagine that you are dead and then asks to imagine it as actually happening. You are then asked to lie flat on the floor and five participants each places two fingers under you. All four participants are spaced evenly around your body. In the room the lights are dimmed and candles are placed around the room to simulate a seance. All five participants are instructed to lift your body with only their two fingers, nothing happens until they are instructed in unison to chant "light as a feather, stiff as a board, light as a feather, stiff as a board, light as a feather, stiff as a board....This is repeated several times until your body becomes lighter, and lighter, and lighter...and then you begin to feel yourself floating off the floor. What the other participants are seeing is that you with the aid of only two fingers each are being lifted actually off the floor. How can this be possible? Does the use of demonic influence cause the person to be lifted of the ground. Are there spirits picking you up in the air? The above game has been played since the 17th century during the plague outbreak. Samuel Pepys, who was a naval administrator noted this game being performed as some sort of ward against the disease. In his conversation with his friend on July 31, 1665, Pepys reported,

"I saw four little girls, very young ones, all kneeling, each of them, upon one knee; and one begun the first line, whispering in the ear of the next, and the second to the third, and the third to the fourth, and she to the first. Then the first begun the second line, and so round quite through, and putting each one finger only to a boy that lay flat upon his back on the ground, as if he was dead; at the end of the words, they did with their four fingers raise this boy high as they could reach, and my friend, Mr. Brisband being there, and wondering at it, as also being afraid to see it, for they would have had him to have bore a part in saying the words, in the room of one of the little girls that was so young that they could hardly make her learn to repeat the words, did, for fear there might be some sleight used in it by the boy, or that the boy might be light, call the cook of the house, a very lusty fellow, as Sir G. Carteret's cook, who is very big, and they did raise him in just the same manner."

Pepys also spoke of the chant that accompanied this performance which goes like this,

"Voici un corps mort Raide comme un bâton,Froid comme le marbre Léger comme un esprit, Lève-toi au nom de Jésus-Christ!"

(Here is a dead body Stiff as a stick, Cold as marble Light as a spirit, Lift yourself, in the name of Jesus Christ!)

The phenomenon has been observed into modern times, often being described as a form of spiritualism or seance and considered anathema by some religious groups. It is widely considered a simple spooky party game along the lines of Bloody Mary and the telling of ghost stories.

Here is a link to a Youtube video demonstrating a version of that trick.

Here's a little comedy piece about Light as a Feather Stiff As a Board.

A few years ago I was talking with a Christian gentleman who had noticed a manuscript that I had written titled “Magic and the Bible.” This gentlemen walked by me and under his breath he said “oooo magic.” It's amazing that when people see the word "magic" and especially if they know that you are a Christian, they have to make a remark. I could have had a book titled "There is Magic in The Air" and that one word "magic" just seems to immediately draw the Christian's eye to question the use of that word. My field of work is rather interesting as an entertainer, an evangelist, and a skeptic. Yes, I said skeptic. I responded to this gentlemen by saying, "well not just magic, it’s not a learn how to do your favorite magic trick book either, but rather it is an expose of what God says about the subject of magic and people who claim to possess supernatural powers." The statement I made immediately put me on his radar. This gentleman commented back “Why don’t you believe in real magic?” I began to explain to him my being a skeptic mainly because I have been in the field of studying the art of deception for 35 years, which pretty much makes me a master of deception. He kind of laughed and said "Ya, how's that?" I explained to him why I can call myself a master of deception. I can spot the slightest deception, lie, or false claim of the supernatural that most non trained people can't spot. Any professional magician can do the same thing as well, because they have been through years and years of training. It would be no different than telling a brain surgeon that a complete brain transplant is real and you know it because you saw it performed. A brain surgeon will probably laugh at that statement, because any trained brain surgeon knows that it is not possible for the brain to survive and you try to argue the point with the brain surgeon. According to Joyce Schenkein who is a Neuropsychologist, College Professor, and Vision Scientist, this is what she says, "The problem is that severed nerves in the Central Nervous System do not reconnect, so the detached brain would not get any sensory input- Since sensory input is necessary for maintaining cortical tone, this drastic loss would lead to a total deterioration of function, in addition, tissue rejection would probably kill whatever didn't die already." You have to sit back and think that the man writing this blog is known for trickery. He is a stage magician, a sleight of hand artist and a well trained manipulator. You know for a fact that he employs trickery, you may have seen his performances before because that person is me, so what if I tell you I am going to do a card trick in which I can't possibly manipulate the cards. In fact, In this trick, you will do all of the card handling. I won't touch the cards at all.

I instruct you to cut the deck into four piles. You do so. I then tell you that you are going to randomize the order of the cards by shuffling them around and moving cards from one pile to another. Pointing to a pile of cards, I instruct you to take the top three cards and place them at the bottom of that pile. Then, take the next three cards and place them, one each, on top of the three piles remaining on the table. You repeat the procedure with all four piles of cards. The cards should now be very well mixed.

I then begin my patter in earnest. I ask you to confirm the fact that I have not touched the cards. You agree. In no way could I have manipulated how you would cut the cards or handle them. Again, you agree. With a smile, I ask you to turn over the top card from each pile. You are amazed. The four aces sit at the top of each of the four piles of cards. For a moment, your mind might actually entertain the possibility that real magic has been performed, though you "know" you've been duped. The fact is, this trick can be taught in a couple of minutes to any child capable of understanding the instructions. It requires no fine motor skills for clever card handling since the performer does not even handle the deck. The only thing required is setting up the deck before the trick is performed and being able to do a little sales patter in which you get the audience to agree to a statement that is blatantly false.

Take a moment and see if you can identify the lie that makes the trick believable. Everything I say is true with one exception. The trick is based completely on a facet of human psychology that most people--stage magicians, salesmen and politicians aside--don't understand. When a person is given a number of facts that are demonstrably true, they will tend to group all statements in that group together, agreeing to everything said, including an embedded lie. 1. I asked you to agree that I did not touch the cards during the trick: True 2. I asked you to agree that I did not influence you in any way in how the cards were cut: True 3. I asked you to agree that in no way did I manipulate you in the handling of the cards: FALSE

In fact, the only thing I did was manipulate you while creating the illusion in your mind that you were making free choices. If you don't see the deception yet, read through the description of the trick again. I did not allow you to choose how the cards would be shuffled once they were cut into four piles. Instead, I guided you through a pre-programmed series of moves--three cards to the bottom then three cards on top of the remaining piles--designed to move the four aces to the top of the four piles from their pre-placed position at the top of the deck! If you want to understand the mechanics of the trick, grab a deck of cards and try it. Just put the four aces at the top of the deck then simply follow the trick as outlined above. Once you understand how the trick is done, you'll realize it is a very cheap bit of manipulation. If you found your mind reeling at the description of the trick, you'll probably feel a bit of a fool at how easily you could be duped. The trick really is a child's game and a very old one, at that. Yet, people are still fooled by it. I deceived you into believing that you had a free choice and that you were in control the whole time. Once you've convinced someone they are making a free choice, they will provide the evidence of the freedom of their choice for you. If human beings didn't possess this peculiar bit of psychology, stage magic wouldn't work. It wouldn't matter what I said. The forced choice would be seen for precisely what it is: forced. Instead, a little salesmanship on my part convinces the audience of what is to come before the trick is performed. The audience then dutifully sees exactly what they were told to see and that I am free to manipulate the events to my favor. And here we see that a subtle variation of the trick, also used in stage magic, has been employed to divert your attention. You have been given two possible scenarios that contradict the official story. One of them is blatantly silly, one is not. Yet, as any stage magician, salesman or professional politician knows, your mind will group the statements together and dismiss the second with the first. In other words, the truth about the trick has been told openly, but in such a way that you will reject the truth, sending you down any number of dead-end blind alleys searching for the secret of how it was done.

Take a moment again to review what you were told and what you actually saw with your own eyes. If you want to see how the trick is done, do not accept anything that I tell you at face value. I am a liar. My job is to give you as much truth and openness as possible, for the purpose of proving to you that I am not manipulating events in any way, so that the critical lie that makes the trick work will go undetected by the average observer. This is why I'm the master of deception and the same applies to any other professional magicians that have years of experience. I had to take a stand on my belief as to why I’m such a skeptic about real magic or supernatural powers. Because in all my years as a magician, I have never seen real legitimate magic performed only the appearance of.

So back to the gentlemen that I was talking to earlier, He then asks, “what about light as a feather, stiff as a board?” I said “what about it?” He said, "well I saw it before, and there is no possible way that two fingers can lift a chair with a person sitting on it.” “It had to be the work of demons.” I explained to him that it is just a trick based on physics and that there is no real supernatural powers behind it. He then retorted back saying “What do you mean it’s just a trick!” as if he were shocked that I said that.

In my work as an entertaining magician that at times presents an evangelistic message, I face a lot of controversy, mainly with Christians. Let’s face it, the word “magician” or “magic” freaks a few people out. In my manuscript I quote famous French magician Robert Houdin “A magician is nothing more than an actor playing the role of a magician,” and then also quoted by Ehrich Weiss also known as Houdini. There is nothing supernatural about my performance, as well as David Copperfield, Chris Angel, David Blain, Andre Kole. or any other magician on the face of this planet only the appearance of the supernatural.

Some magician acts that we see today can be a bit dark and the character comes across demonic looking, or the type of illusions they perform, e.g. Chris Angel, Dan Sperry, or David Blain But non the less, they are actors that play their part well and that there is nothing supernatural in their performances. Granted some magicians as well as some of our world today do not know Jesus Christ but that does not mean they possess these powers, they never have and they never will. They play that type of character and they do it well.

Several people have tried to argue this point by telling me that I am not an actor. To pull off the illusion of Light As A Feather and Stiff As A Board, you would have to add in some acting, set the mood (Candles). So you would have to stop and wonder where some people actually get their education from, never studying the history behind the meaning of a word or they never look up the proper definition of the word. Here is some wisdom, before you place any sort of judgment or assume, do some research and study the meaning of words. First let me define the word “Actor” from the Merriam Webster Dictionary this is the definition. 1. One who acts 2. a) one who represents a character in a dramatic production. b) a theatrical performer. c) one who behaves as if acting a part. 3. One who takes part in any affair.

Now if you have seen any part of my show or all of my show. I perform in front of an audience, in some cases on large stages or any stage for that matter. My job is to pull the audience in to a world of the make believe. How do I do that? I first off have to create the illusion that the trick that I am presenting comes across as a miracle. People want to see miracles, so I bring them that and I also bring them laughter. I also tell stories which in most cases are not true stories 85% of the time, but I tell stories to enhance the routine. I utilize special effects which add an element of fantasy to my show. I have the ability to make people laugh, cry, and gasp all while sitting in there seat. I use music, lighting, and scripting to bring out all the elements of the show that I need to accomplish a miracle and make myself in people’s eyes, a magician.

I joke with my audience by telling them that I have the only job in the world where I can lie, cheat, and steal, and get away with it, outside of politicians. In the end and in the beginning, I really do tell people the truth, “Everything that you see me do is just a trick.” Scott Christopher Walsh (Master Of Fine Arts In Physical Theater in his thesis "The Magician Is An Actor" wrote " I believe it is also fair to say that magicians are a group that, on the whole, has developed their fingers at the expense of the rest of their bodies. Creating a deceptive illusion on stage requires a mastery of the entire body – not only the fingers – as well as a deep theatrical understanding of storytelling, dramatic construction, and acting."

The term actor invokes a thought of script and stage. You have to look at not only the quote, but the art as it was presented when the quote was delivered. In the early 1900's most if not all magic was presented either largely in theaters or auditoriums, or in its smallest sense, a parlor. If a magician did a trick or stunt outside one of these venues it was usually to advertise for one of these venues in which he would later appear. In those terms,. the word "actor" I think, is used to describe a stage performer, someone who takes on a role, and presents it to a paying audience in a theater setting.

Did Ehrich Weiss (Houdini) have magic powers? No. Did the character Harry Houdini have magical powers? To his audience, Yes, his role was Houdini; his script was his patter and presentation, his props, his venue, and so on and so on. Does the quote apply today? I think so.

You see, as magicians we know the result of our effects, we’ve seen them a million times. We act like this is just something we can do naturally (or unnaturally I guess) but any case. It’s not. it’s something we've spent hours, weeks, even years on perfecting.

I have spent the past 40 years perfecting my artistry as a professional magician. I had to develop my character as "Scott Wolf", On stage I come across as hyper, energetic, comedic, sometimes mysterious. I can be witty and in tune with my audience. This is not me for the most part in person. Yes, my personality exudes from my entertaining style, but it is more amplified on stage or in front of a crowd. It's because I'm acting and playing a part, and I play it well because I have spent years sharpening my character. I don't live the part I visit the part. I live through my audience.

I love Daniel Day-Lewis, but he doesn't live his parts...he visits them. He sees the world through their eyes briefly so we can see it through their eyes immortally, in film. And while we live magic and breathe magic, without the audience we're just guys with cards. We visit the world of magic with, and through, our audience. And then we go back... To just sitting in front of a mirror....Alone......with our cards.”

Moving on to my discussion with this gentleman, He asked me how the trick was done if it isn't real magic? I explained to him that it was done by using physics, I used to teach physics in several schools across the country when I worked for the Bureau of Lectures. I could tell that he started to get frustrated and he said “no way it's physics” “It has to be witchcraft. So I had to educate him on physics, let's take a look. Physics is the natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through space and time, along with related concepts such as energy and force. In the case of Lighter than a Feather, Stiffer than a Board, energy and force are applied to create the illusion of 0 gravity.

When I took Wing Chun several years ago, which is a concept-based on traditional Southern Chinese Kung fu (wushu) style and a form of self-defense, that requires quick arm movements and strong legs to defeat opponents, I was taught to defend my self up close and personal to my opponent and how to punch with just 6" of force and I can knock my opponent off balance.

Wing Chun favors a relatively high, narrow stance with the elbows close to the body. Within the stance, arms are generally positioned across the vitals of the centerline with hands in a vertical "wu sau" ("protecting hand" position). This style positions the practitioner to make readily placed blocks and fast-moving blows to vital striking points down the center of the body; neck, chest, belly and groin. Shifting or turning within a stance is done on the heels, balls, or middle of the foot, depending on lineage. Some Wing Chun styles discourage the use of high kicks because this risks counter-attacks to the groin. The practice of "settling" one's opponent to brace them more effectively against the ground helps one deliver as much force as possible to them. This is basically physics and mastering energy and force.

My best friend Rod Robison who is a comedy mentalist/magician and lives in Tucson, Arizona takes a solid Table, which is used during the show to hold his props, and the table begins to rise, it starts floating and even a volunteer can examine the Table while it floats. no strings, no magnets, and no balloons, or helium, just a solid table. The trick is absolutely convincing, but it is still a trick, and even engineers came up after one of his performances asking him how, and that there was no possible way or explanation that a solid table can just take off the ground defying all odds of gravity. Engineers people, these are the guys who think stuff up and use mathematical equations to come up with the most complex ideas. It's because professions like Doctors and Engineers think to logically, they don't think simplicity.

One evening I did a show for a bunch of doctors at a company party and I had a doctor come up to assist me with a trick. I had him feel my pulse in my wrist and when he has my pulse I asked him to take his index finger on the opposite hand and start tapping at the beat of my pulse. When he did that, his tapping became slower, slower, slower, and then eventually he stopped. His eyes told me that there is no way I could have stopped my pulse, but in his eyes...I did, in his eyes and the rest of the medical staff...I did stop my pulse and in their eyes, I had some sort of supernatural power to fully stop my pulse as if I were dead but standing. I assure you, it's a trick. However, because with all of their medical training and they were thinking to logically and not simplicity, they were completely stunned.

To further my discussion with this gentlemen, I assured him that it was just a mere trick that anyone can accomplish with practice if they knew the secret. He asked me what the secret was and I politely told him that as a magician I am sworn to secrecy and then he commented back “well, if you can’t tell me, than it has to be witchcraft.” As a professional magician I belong to a magic club called The Society of American Magicians and over the centuries, honorable and serious illusionists and magicians have been, in one form or another, committed to The Magician’s Oath and The Magician’s Code of Ethics, two very simple ideas connecting all respected magicians:

The Magician’s Oath

"As a magician I promise never to reveal the secret of any illusion to a non-magician, unless that one swears to uphold the Magician's Oath in turn. I promise never to perform any illusion for any non-magician without first practicing the effect until I can perform it well enough to maintain the illusion of magic"

The secret of an Illusion should never be revealed – unless to a student of magic who also takes this Oath.” It is commonly known among magicians that the outcome of sharing a secret of magic with a non-magician is usually disappointment. Once a secret is revealed, the fire of amazement in the eyes of your audience will quickly burn out. Embracing The Magician’s Oath empowers you to serve people as the best magician you can be, and supports the work of other magicians as well. Breaking The Magician’s Oath weakens your own effectiveness as a magician and hurts magicians of good will everywhere. If someone asks you, “How did you do that?” you are not permitted, by tradition, to reveal the secret. But if a student of magic asks to be your student, then you have an obligation to accept the student as your student too. Everybody knows that magicians keep secrets. What isn't understood is why magicians keep secrets. Some people think magicians do it to make it seem like they are smarter, that they have some special knowledge that most people don't have. In a sense that is true and there are some magicians who walk around deluding themselves that they are somehow better for possessing this knowledge.

So do you see that telling people how it is done you are destroying the magic that exists in their minds. I always hear stories from people that for years they have wanted to find out how a trick was done and when they eventually do find out they almost always wish that they had never been told. The magic has disappeared. That other reason magicians keep secrets is that magic demands that there is the element of surprise. You are not sure where the trick is leading and then voila! It is the same as jokes; the first time they are funny because the punch line comes as a surprise. Rarely do we get to laugh at a joke the second time around. So if a magician is keeping their work secret from you, then quietly thank them because they are doing you a big favor. The simple truth is that without secrets there would be no magic. Let me explain... Magicians do tricks; most of the times with physical objects and sometimes with your thoughts. These tricks create an illusion. I describe an illusion as where your eyes tell you one thing but your brain tells you another. You see it happening with your eyes but your mind tells you it can't be real but you are still seeing it with your eyes. A terrific magician named Pop Hayden describes this as being hoisted on the horns of a dilemma. When you are in this sudden state of confusion between your eyes and your mind, this is what I describe as magic. Magic to me is a feeling, that moment you let out a little gasp when your world has just for a second been turned upside down, that moment you think to yourself, 'how is that possible?' Take a good look at the pictures below. The picture from Uzbekistan is of me performing a coin trick in where I take a 50 cent piece and it visually turns to a giant 50 cent piece. take a good look at the lady in the white. See how her hand is up to her mouth? I just turned her whole world upside down as well as the rest in this crowd as they try to figure out how I did it. The second picture is taken in Uganda in a village. This gentlemen is laughing because he thought I had messed up by drawing the wrong card on a pad a paper, what he doesn't realize is what comes next, when I actually make his card rise out of the picture. This village actually thought that I was some sort of god from the sea by the way.

Uzbekistan Gulu, Uganda

The reality is that the trick you are witnessing is most times achieved by a few simple methods and techniques put together and presented by someone who knows how to deceive you with a smile on their face. Magic tricks as you know them are not created by some secret law of physics that only magicians and NASA scientists know about. Most people are so let down when they find out how a trick is done. "You're kidding me, is that all there is to it?!' is a common response.

Magicians in all retrospect are scientist and psychologists, they know more about science than some scientist do and they know more about psychology than some psychologist do. Here is a 2009 article of the Scientific American "What Can Magicians Teach Us about the Brain?" says. A magician tosses a ball into the air once, twice, three times. Suddenly, the ball vanishes in mid-flight. What happened? Don’t worry, the laws of physics haven’t been broken. Magicians do not have supernatural powers; rather, they are masters of exploiting nuances of human perception, attention, and awareness. In light of this, a recent Nature Reviews Neuroscience paper, coauthored by a combination of neuroscientists (Stephen L. Macknik, Susana Martinez-Conde, both at the Barrows Neurological Institute) and magicians (Mac King, James Randi, Apollo Robbins, Teller, John Thompson), describes various ways magicians manipulate our perceptions, and proposes that these methods should inform and aid the neuroscientific study of attention and awareness.

Magicians Secrets Reveale

The underlying concept of using quirks in human perception to learn about how the mind works is an old one. Visual, auditory and multisensory illusions, in which people’s perceptions contradict the physical properties of the stimuli, have long been used by psychologists to study the mechanisms of sensory processing. Magicians use such sensory illusions in their tricks, but they also heavily use cognitive illusions, manipulating people’s attention, trains of logic and even memory. Although magicians probably haven’t studied these phenomena with the scientific method—they don’t do controlled experiments—their techniques have been tested over time, perfected by practice and performed under conditions of high scrutiny by skeptical audiences looking to spot the trick.

An example of a visual illusion used by magicians is spoon bending, in which a rigid horizontal spoon appears flexible when shaken up and down at a certain rate. This effect occurs because of how different parts of objects (in this case, the spoon) are represented in the brain. Certain neurons are responsive to the ends/corners of the object, whereas others respond to the bars/edges; the end-responsive neurons respond differently to motion than do the bar-responsive neurons, such that the ends and the center of the spoon seem misaligned when in motion.

Attention can greatly affect what we see—this fact has been demonstrated in psychological studies of inattentional blindness. To misdirect people’s attention and create this effect, magicians have an arsenal of methods ranging from grand gestures (such as releasing a dove in the theater to distract attention), to more subtle techniques (for instance, using social miscues). An example of the latter can be found in the Vanishing Ball Illusion described above. At the last toss, the magician does not actually release the ball from his or her hand. Crucially, however, the magician’s gaze follows the trajectory the ball would have made had it been tossed. The magician’s eye and head movement serves as a subtle social cue that (falsely) suggests a trajectory the audience then also expects.

A recent study examining what factors produced this effect suggests that the miscuing of the attentional spotlight is the primary factor, and not the motion of the eyes. In fact, the eyes aren’t fooled by this trick—they don’t follow the illusory trajectory! Interestingly, comedy is also an important tool used by magicians to manipulate attention in time. In addition to adding to the entertainment value of the show, bouts of laughter can diffuse attention at critical time points.

Magicians can also manipulate the audience’s memory, thus making it difficult to mentally reconstruct what happened. In the cognitive science literature, it is now established that providing misinformation about past events can reduce memory accuracy and create false memories, a fact magicians have intuitively known for centuries. Consider this trick: a person is shown pairs of photographs and asked to choose the more attractive face. After he makes a choice, the magician slyly switches several of the chosen faces for the rejected faces. Then, the subject is asked to explain his preferences. According to a recent experiment, even when people are shown faces they rejected, they still tend to invent explanations for why that face was more attractive. In other words, they make up a false narrative to explain away the sleight of hand they couldn’t detect. Magic’s Role in Neuroscience Cognitive neuroscience can explain many magic techniques; this article proposes, however, that neuroscientists should use magicians’ knowledge to inform their research. For example, perhaps cognitive scientists could have learned about important false memory effects earlier if they had considered magicians’ intuitions on the topic. More concretely, the use of cognitive illusions—for example, during brain imaging—could serve to identify neural circuits underlying specific cognitive processes. They could also be used to map neural correlates of consciousness (the areas of the brain that are active when we are processing a given aspect of consciousness) by dissociating activity corresponding to processing of actual physical events from the activity corresponding to the conscious processing. Indeed, scientists too often become too entrenched in their own circumscribed area of expertise; they do need reminding that a wealth of insight can be found in unexpected places. Recently, there has been an increasing acknowledgment by the scientific community of the insights that artists have had throughout the history about human perceptual mechanisms. For example, painters intuitively knew about pictorial depth cues and opponent processes in color perception long before these notions were established in vision science. We wonder though, how practical this idea of using magic in research will turn out to be. Magicians spend years perfecting their skills. Will researchers be able to perform such tricks adequately? And most crucially, other than this paper’s magician coauthors, will magicians give their secrets away to researchers?

I honestly believe that answer to that question is maybe we can help scientist discover new methods! Magicians have closely guarded their secrets for centuries, most if not would never disclose everything they know now? But wait one second Scott, you just did disclose some secretive information. For the sake of educating the deceived and the curious of wanting to understand, I have opened up the door to some methods that magicians use. I'm sure that if you are reading this article you are familiar with Penn & Teller. The duo magicians that host "Fool Us." Teller is the quiet one of the two and this is what he says. "I’m all for helping science. But after I share what I know, my neuroscientist friends thank me by showing me eye-tracking and MRI equipment, and promising that someday such machinery will help make me a better magician. I have my doubts. Neuroscientists are novices at deception. Magicians have done controlled testing in human perception for thousands of years.

But what about not exposing the trick Lighter Than a Feather, Stiffer Than a Board to this gentlemen. First I believe he probably won't study or research the truth and also I believe that he has already made up his mind that such powers exist. By not telling this man how the trick was done is not being deceptive by any means, I’m only maintaining a level of confidentiality. Is it deceptive for a CEO of a company to not discus certain employee matters with another employee? Is it deceptive for a chef not to share his secret ingredient with the public? Not at all, we are only protecting our trade secret and if any person has the desire to be a magician than they would have to go through the work that we have had to do to get to where we are now. It takes money to purchase the trick, the rights to perform it, and the explanation. It even takes commitment and countless hours of study to learn all the different techniques, sleights, and methods to present the trick.

So than this gentleman reverted back with the question, “I don’t see how Light As a Feather, Stiff As A Board is a trick.” I commented that the unexplained is merely the un-examined so to examine what he saw and claims to be real witchcraft, I have included my research on this trick. Remember that I have been in this field of deception for 35 years and I’m well trained at spotting the slightest deception. I don’t pretend to know a whole lot about theology but there is one subject that I know a great deal about and that is the subject of magic and I can assure you that no human being or demon for that matter has the ability to possess the same attributes of God. Like I tell most people I come across and have this discussion with, Satan and his fallen minions are created beings and the creature cannot create something from nothing, they cannot possess inanimate objects, (humans and animals yes) not anything else, they cannot predict the future, and they cannot be in all places at one time. In fact Satan and his minions have to use a Bic Lighter just like the rest of us to produce fire. Basically “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board” is a party game most often strongly associated with ghosts, the paranormal, demons other odd things. This is mainly due to the portrayal of levitation in Hollywood horror films such as The Craft, The Exorcist and Ghostbusters II where a possessed person can be seen levitating up in the air on their own. But what is it really? The most common thought by most teenagers and other young people is that ghosts or something else supernatural and spooky is somehow picking up the person and levitating them up in the air which is just a simple party trick that anyone can do.

This levitating trick is really quite scientific and not paranormal in nature. The Point of the Game: 4-5 of you will be able to lift a friend with just two fingers each. You try the first time and discover he or she is way too heavy and about to break your fragile fingers off. But yet, after a simple incantation and mystical chant, you will be able to lift your friend with just two fingers, almost like they are levitating or a spirit was lifting them up. There are a number of theories about why the game works so well, well enough to amaze countless teens into thinking that they had somehow evoked a dead spirit or suddenly become super strong. Theory 1- Group Focus The first time you try to lift your friend, the group lacks focus. Usually there is giggling and skepticism, especially if you are a bunch of 10-year-old girls amped up on Diet Coke and pizza. Plus, your friend in the middle is likely still very awake and nervous about what is about to be done to them. By the second time you attempt the lift, everyone is highly tuned into the task at hand, incredibly focused on the act of lifting. The chanting helps to unite the movements. And the weight will likely be more evenly distributed about all of the participants. Theory 2- It’s All About the Tension Ever tried to lift a mattress? Sucks, right? A mattress is completely limp and just because you can hoist up one side with ease does not keep the other side from flopping on the ground. But yet, something of a similar weight- say the bed’s box spring- seems a lot easier to carry. That is because the material is doing a bunch of the work for you. Whereas the mattress has no structure and just slumps when not supported in all places, the wood or metal allows you to pick up just one section, and the rest will follow maintaining the shape. The same rule applies to your “dead” friend laying in the middle of the group. Upon the first attempt, they are relaxed. Just because you try to wedge your two fingers under their shoulders and push towards the heavens does not mean the rest of their body will follow. But after the incantation, they are stiff and focused. Without realizing it, they are doing a lot of the work for you by keeping their muscles rigid allowing you to lift them with only a few points of contact.

Theory 3- You Really, Really Want It To Work! When doing this at a party onetime, the people there thought that there was something special happening. They really wanted this to work!! It was awesome. It was something bigger than them, something mystical and unknown. Whereas I now approach mysticism and ghosts with immediate skepticism, during those formidable years the idea that we could in some way evoke a spirit or some sort of super powers was monumental. Thus, we were more likely to try a lot harder the second time. Our united goal of preforming this spiritual task helped vault that body skyward!

Theory 4- Satan Did It. OK, it was all just witchcraft. Maybe the devil, and your friend is really possessed by the spirit of a dead person. Satan is eating up all the attention at this moment.

This is exactly the kind of attention he wants. He's like a little terrorist that takes credit for everything even if he didn't do it. He does it to create fear in gullible people who fall for such nonsense.

The basis of some people’s Christianity is if a miracle takes place, it is sufficient evidence for them to believe it is from God. They never check it out or test it; something that God commands us to do. The Bible teaches us that Satan uses this method to deceive the naive, the immature, and the ignorant to remove them from walking in the truth of the word. Falling into the trap of assumption every time you witness something that you cannot explain and argues the fact that what they saw is real powers or a real miracle without first examining the claim is already open to deception. To avoid testing is to neglect many of the Bibles commands for our safety. Jesus warns us about a movement in the last days that will be done by many coming in his name (Mt.24:5-6) and include miraculous signs taking place.

  • Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. For false christ's and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” If a Christian neglects this they will be deceived. Matthew 24:23-25

  • Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time” (Luke 4:5).

Not all things supernatural experiences are from God. Many are from some one deceiving the public and elevating themselves to high position of attention. Just because one receives a dream or vision does not mean it is from God. Satan can give dreams and visions, he even did to Jesus to tempt him to receive his inheritance by a short cut.

The misconception is that if it is from Satan, it's always going to look evil, when it is more often the opposite.

  • “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Satan can look like the real deal and the only way to protect oneself from his deception is to discern, by testing him with the word of God. Satan is nothing more than an actor playing the part of God.

  • “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10

The power and energy exhibited by Jesus in his miracles will be counterfeited by the Devil, in the meantime before he shows up his servants that look like men of righteousness are at work among us. What is real does not always mean it is true or authentic. People judge the authenticity because of what they perceive are healing and miracles; exactly what the Devil likes to see happen. Because if they judged by doctrine – the word of God and not just what they see they would come to a very different conclusion. Satan is not just a counterfeiter––he is an inventor, especially when it comes to religious-spiritual practices. He uses clever deceptive means to get us from one level of deception to the next. Satan has a counterfeit program involving signs and wonders that he has used throughout history. Contrary to popular belief that we need signs and wonders in order to convince people, it changed very few hearts in Moses’ time and Jesus’ day and it is no different today. People are motivated by selfishness to seek a sign and wonder and have a supernatural experience like mystic adepts. Signs for the most part were for unbelievers to attest what to believe,not for believers. The signs were to move the people to pay attention to what Jesus spoke not what He did. Jesus scolded them saying,

  • “Except you see signs and wonders you will not believe” (John 4:48).

He made it clear that it is an evil generation that seeks a sign! Nothing has changed in the word of God nor in the heart of man. It is my desire to educate in these areas of deception. The enemy wants us to believe that these things are real and that they exist. He wants you to believe that he and his minions can posses these awesome powers when in fact they don't and they never will. Satan is a liar, he has been since the beginning of time. The next time you witness a supernatural experience or someone claims they have supernatural powers and the ability to do things that are impossible, call on your local magician and I would be willing to bet that the deception will be exposed.

Magicians, Society of American, Joint Ethics Guidelines, ______________________ Mather, Julian, Why Do Magicians Keep Secrets, 2012 ELLUSIONIST "Magic Beyond Belief" 2010, ______________________ Light as a feather, stiff as a board, wikipedia,,_stiff_as_a_board ______________________ Light As A Feather, Stiff As A Board, Castle of Spirits, 2001, ______________________ Joyce Schenkein, Neuropsychologist, College Professor, Is a brain transplant theoretically possible?, Quora, 2015, h

ttps:// ______________________ McKendry, Rebekah, Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board,, January 2oth, 2016, ______________________ Let Us Reason Ministries, To Be Forewarned Is To Be Forearmed, 2009, http://www. ______________________ merriam, Definition of "Actor",

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