View Full Version : Magic, illusions and mind tricks - tools for psychological operations?

vortex surfer
5th January 2014, 23:33
So I was watching a programme with magician David Blaine, doing card tricks, illusions and that sort of stuff. I got me thinking about the connection between magic and illusions, and mind manipulation.

Of course, hidden suggestions and distractions are well known tricks of the trade, making you concentrate on one thing while the real trick is being played somewhere else, or even right under your nose.

But it makes me wonder to what degree this type of illusions could be used (or are used) in connection with psychological operations or other types of manipulation?

To me, it would not seem too far fetched that some government agency or other covert groups deploying psychological operations tactics would benefit greatly from having skilled magicians or illusionists at hand - or just simply knowing how the tricks work.

Or maybe it's not about the tricks at all, just knowing the tendencies or state of mind of your participant(s), to read them and keep them occupied, and employing the needed adjustments so that they will perceive your relative simple trick as something real.

We all like to think of magic and illusions as fun, entertaining and mind-blowing. But as I watched that programme I couldn't help but get a sinister feeling about how this kind of stuff can be used to deceive people and distort what is what is real verus what "they" want you to think is real.

I would welcome other thoughts on this subject, or information if anyone knows more about it.

5th January 2014, 23:41
Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige"."


6th January 2014, 00:05
Thank you Vortex Surfer for starting this thread, and Wind for hitting it on the head.

People inherently want to be seduced. This is my perception which I do not allege it as being 'true' or all-encompassing, but has occurred with such a consistency that I can state it as a verifiable phenomenon.

How many people have wandered into a sales department and found themselves purchasing more than was sufficient, necessary, or specified? Not Avalonians of course,....

I've heard tons of 'good' salesmen talk of being able to sell anyone anything, and I do not contest their ability to perform good salesmanship, but the onus in sales is on the consumer. At an electronics warehouse, I observed one friend who is articulate and knowledgeable about computers and who responds to customer requests with direction and succinctness. He does merely okay. Then, there's another guy who doesn't speak much English and can't articulate points well, but he says "No, that one newer, better" with a degree of conviction that the customer responds to because inherently they want to. He does famously.

Further, many want to be dazzled and amazed beyond just mental misdirection or distraction. They want to see that there is something unexplainable in the basic and banal, even if they don't "get it", and as Wind points out, "getting it" dispels the illusion which most do not want.

If you want to see a master at work (or perhaps the figurehead that is seen atop one or more masters), look to the US President. Say what you will about him, but he is a master at taking something banal (Yes We Can, Change, etc.) and turn it into something mystifying that - while being unable to hold up against critical analysis - creates the seduced effect in a people who don't want to really "get" the trick being played on them.

Bottom line: when choosing between Fantasy and Reality, there is an observable percentage that will choose Fantasy every time and yes VS, the establishment is quite able, willing, methodical, and practiced at it.

Closing question: Which do YOU choose and where on the "bell curve" does that place you?

6th January 2014, 01:36
Agencies and organisations of course use tactics to manipulate any being they think they need to.
I was told once that even Mensa has a higher level that thinks it's so above most of the populace that members do their tests ( mind games) on the public!
I call them mind games but these games can do real damage to the unsuspecting/unprepared.
I was told this once and a few days after I was at a bus stop and noticed a man approaching. Now back then I was very in tune so I just knew this guy wasn't right.

(Before I say more when I used to have to wait at this bus stop I had a little trick, I could see when the bus was coming before it was insight! I did this by seeing it's reflection in a upper floor street window which aloud me to see round the corner)

So this guy wasn't right, I could tell he was going to try something on? and he did.
He Said hello and then went on to ask me a simple, normal question 'Is this the stop for the Number 65 bus?' and as I started to politely answer him, he all of sudden started to say unrelated words. These words are used to put your mind in a confused loop, until the full punch line would be delivered! Luckily I was in-front of his game and looked over his shoulder and said 'You will have to excuse me because the my bus is here now!' he glanced around and didn't' see any bus, so he started his words again. The words if you start to listen will grab you, and it was hard waiting for the few seconds I needed! Then I broke away and got on the bus saying bye-bye .
As I drew away I could see his face, I left this guy in the sort of condition he wanted me to be in, perplexed and confused :)

So if anyone approaches you and starts to say nonsense break his pattern and get out of there quick!
This is a simple trick, but if used skilfully very effective in stunning your mind. The best person I've seen who uses these tricks/skills is Derren Brown, a master!

6th January 2014, 01:58
The best person I've seen who uses these tricks/skills is Derren Brown, a master!

Yes, he uses NLP (neuro-linguistic programming)!