A stocky man in a long black coat and a green silk vest stands alone at the edge of the stage. He holds up a long piece of rope for the audience, which waits with bated breath. He sprinkles imaginary “pixie dust” on the rope and speaks the magic words, “Sim Salabam!” And voila, the rope is magically cut into three separate pieces in the twinkling of an eye.
This is Whit Haydn, a professional magician who was the star of a magic show on the main stage of the Auditorium Tuesday. Haydn was invited
by the Associated Students of GCC (ASGCC) to perform his tricks on campus as a post-Halloween treat.
Haydn began the show with the traditional trick of pulling a red scarf from an egg. Under the pretense of divulging the secrets of his magic to the audience and “explaining how things are done,” Haydn said that the trick was to “get all of [the scarf] inside your hand – and leave a hole in the eggshell the size of your thumb.”
Having stuffed the scarf inside the hole in the egg, Haydn then peels off the red spot which is supposedly the “hole” where through which the scarf can still be seen the “hole” had transformed into a round red sticker, which Haydn then stuck on his forehead. He then shows the audience a completely intact egg, and cracks it on a glass to prove that the scarf is not inside it.
“It’s what we magicians call ‘the element of surprise,'” Haydn said.
The next trick was the rope trick. “This secret comes from an ancient knot,” Haydn said as he held up a long white rope. “It’s called the ‘Mongolian Pop Knot.”
For this trick, Haydn twisted the long piece of rope, pulled it tight and sprinkled some imaginary pixie dust on it. When he released the rope from one hand, it had become three separate pieces of the same length. After pronouncing the magic words again, the three pieces had magically changed into three different lengths.
The magician’s tricks were enhanced by his lively, animated demeanor and jokes. When asked by a member of the audience where he gets his “pixie dust,” Haydn assumed an expression of mock severity.
“I grind my own,” Haydn replied. “I need to send my children out of the house because pixies make a hell of a noise in the blender.”
Haydn also kept the audience involved by asking for volunteers to assist him with his tricks. For his “Chinese linking rings” trick, Haydn had a female student hold the large steel hoops as he mysteriously interlocks them by just running one hoop through another.
For his card tricks, he approached members of the audience and asked them to pick a card that would magically appear on top of the deck, in the magician’s pocket or underneath the volunteer’s shoe.
Another trick was performed using a transistor radio-like contraption that Haydn said he had invented. Haydn asked a member of the audience for a dollar bill and stuck it on the tip of the contraption’s antenna, and after a few seconds the tip of the antenna had erupted into flames that consumed the bill.
Haydn then picked up a lemon, sliced it down the middle, and lo and behold, there was the dollar bill with the same serial number as the one that had been “burned.”
“You guys are a wonderful audience,” Haydn said. “I only wish I had a better act.” All of the magician’s tricks and jokes were met with much laughter and applause.
When asked how long he has been performing magic, Haydn replies, “Since I was 10 years old.”
“I found out then that I had a natural talent for fraud and deception,” he said. “That was 46 years ago.”
Members of the audience said that they loved the show and would like to see more magic shows on campus. “It was funny and very entertaining,” one student said.