National Smoke and Mirrors Day 2023: Although the origin of National Smoke and Mirrors Day on March 29 is unknown, its purpose is likely to promote appreciation for the art and skill of illusionist magicians and to remind us all to be wary of deceptive practises in everyday life. Today, “smoke and mirrors” typically refers to an attempt to deceive us into believing something is true or functional when it is not. It serves as a reminder that, unlike Dorothy, we shouldn’t wait until the end to see if what we believed to be true is actually masterful deception.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL SMOKE AND MIRRORS DAY
For centuries, skill, secrecy, and deception have driven the practise of the arcane arts. Archaeologists have discovered a depiction of the simple cup and ball technique on the wall of an Egyptian tomb. Priests were the primary practitioners of magic in pharaonic Egypt, where they were viewed as guardians of a secret knowledge given to humanity by the gods in order to ‘deflect the blows of destiny.
Real lector priests performed magical rites to safeguard their monarch and aid the rebirth of the dead. By the first millennium B.C., it appeared that magicians had assumed their role. (hekau). Amulets were a source of magical power that could be obtained from male or female “protection-makers.” Some practitioners of magic carried metal wands bearing the image of the serpent deity Great of Magic.
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By the 1770s, the classic technique of “smoke and mirrors” was in use in Germany. Johann Georg Schropfer manipulated these elements to create the illusion of a flying entity. Schropfer created images using a magic lantern, a primitive precursor to the slide projector consisting of a concave mirror, convex optics, and a lit candle.
Schropfer had founded a Freemason lodge in Leipzig on the premise that only he and his group knew the true Masonic truths and could communicate with the spirit world. He purchased a coffeehouse and renovated it so that he could hold séances there. After his passing, other entertainers continued to perform what became known as Phantasmagoria performances. These programmes focused on paranormal sensationalism.
Colonel Stodare popularised one of the most famous mirror tricks, the Sphinx Illusion, which was devised by a British academic in 1865. The illusion purported to disclose the disembodied head of the Sphinx, which a pharaoh had cursed. The basis of the illusion consists of two contiguous mirrors angled so that they reflect the surrounding background material, while the subject merely kneels behind and presents their head above the entire ruse. The cranium appears to be floating. This fundamental principle of reflection continues to be indispensable to deception.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN NATIONAL SMOKE AND MIRRORS DAY
Display some techniques
Every municipality once had a magic shop where children could purchase their first tricks and develop their manual dexterity. Never is it too late to learn! The majority of the shops have closed, but you can view a video online to learn the Spoon Bending trick and other classics.
Watch a dazzling film.
There are numerous films about magic that you can view alone or with friends. Movies like “Now You See Me” and “Now You See Me 2” or even series like “Lupin.”
Watch a magic performance.
Spectacles of enchantment are truly magical and can alter your conceptions of illusions. A live magic show is a fantastic way to celebrate the holiday, so go out, maintain an open mind, and be prepared to be enchanted.
Five facts about magicians that will astound you
- Houdini was duped by Dai Vernon.
He boasted that no one could deceive him with the same trick three times in a row, but Dai Vernon managed to fool him eight times in a row.
- Houdini ingested keys.
Many of Harry Houdini’s escapes from handcuffs involved regurgitating keys that he had ingested backstage.
- Criss Angel ranks first on YouTube
Criss Angel is the most popular magician on YouTube, with over sixty million people observing his “Walk on Water” trick.
- David Copperfield earns more money
David Copperfield is the most commercially successful magician currently working, having won 18 Emmy Awards for his television specials.
- Siegfried and Roy produced animated films.
The illusionists who wowed Las Vegas with their large cats were executive producers of the NBC animated sitcom “Father of the Pride,” about a white lion who joins the famous act.
NATIONAL SMOKE AND MIRRORS DAY DATES