How Well Guarded Are Top Secrets

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kingdamian1, Feb 27, 2018.

  1. I am wondering, how closely guarded are some of top magic secrets? Are magicians VERY reluctant to publish the methods/reveal them? How different are they from stuff that is already freely available? Thank you
    Gabriel Z. likes this.
  2. I remember hearing somewhere that there's a really high percentage of proper secrets still out there something like 70-80% or something which is amazing to think about.
    Kind of like how we've only explored 5% of the ocean.
  3. The answers are out there you just have to go searching for them.
  4. I mean all magician "secrets" are published somewhere. We aren't exactly guarding the stuff in an underground temple.

    "If you want to hide something, put it in a book".

    It's like a textbook. No one actively goes and buys a textbook about a subject unless they want to.

    There are only a few that are guarded, and we will never know which ones they are, because the creator will or is planning on dying as the only one knowing it.
  5. As far as methods go I don't think it's very many. I mean people release moves that are just variations of other moves often. Or maybe instead of cards the prop is coins, applying similar principals to different objects. After a while it's just splitting hairs.

    That's the easy work, learning moves and such. The hard work is making something out of that.

    Things that are "secret" are often what are used as closers or maybe signature tricks. A magician may be loathe to share some of their bread and butter tricks unless they are done with them for some reason.

    Like maybe it doesn't fit their routine anymore, bored with it, or maybe other magicians do similar performances.

    That being said many of those secrets effects can be replicated by other magicians. Maybe it's not the exact method but is a close enough approximation that a layperson wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
  6. I remember watching Grand Illusions the story of magic. Where Fielding West was telling the story of when he was starting out. His Grandfather told him, "I'm going to show you where the secrets are kept. The next day, his Grandfather took him to the New York public library. Fielding West said to his Grandfather. "Anyone and go in and borrow these books." His Grandfather replied "No One Reads".

    They would like them to remain guarded. But is mostly too late. I remember David Coppefield tried to sue Herbert Becker to keep his secrets as Herbert was about to publish a book full of them. But it was of no use.
  7. Depends what you consider a "top secret".

    It seems to me that the most well guarded magic secrets would be the ones that are never published anywhere, filmed, or told to anyone else. So the only person who knows how it's done, is the magician who created it. And even then, it wouldn't be that well guarded necessarily. Sure the exact method may be kept secret but you could probably piece together the method to any trick if you're dedicated enough. It may not be spelled out for you, but most modern tricks are based on old concepts anyway so it would take a bit more effort to find.
    I think Penn Jillette explained it best on BS! when talking about the bullet catch. He said something along the lines of "It's not real magic, and if we figured it out, you can too. We just won't tell you if you get it right."
  8. Wrong on both counts.
  9. Lemme fix that:
    All magician "secrets" are published somewhere except for those that the creators chose not to publish, thus nullifying them from the
    "biggest effect list" (in almost all cases), as well as the one's that are only taught in person. Also those that we keep in the secret underground magic temples which I was told not to talk abou --Oh. Dang it.
  10. Well considering the fact that David Copperfield's flying illusion and sawing in half illusion can be found on wikipedia, it isn't hard to imagine why some think that way... That being said, can you expand a little? What do you mean? Don't magicians publish their effects somewhere? I mean, maybe some small variations are not, but even the MOST complex books detailing some of the rarest illusions are out there for ANYONE
  11. I'm pretty sure those illusions were released by Copperfield himself. And there are still plenty of his effects that haven't been published anywhere. Not all magicians publish their biggest effects. In fact, most of them don't. Penn and Teller's bullet catch secret has never been published by them or anyone anywhere (I'm using this as an example again because imo it's almost a perfect trick).

    Like I said, you can figure out any trick if you're dedicated enough. It's not real magic so if they figured it out, you can too. It'll just take more work than simply finding it spelled out in a single book.

    Btw, this is starting to go back to the whole exposure discussion...
  12. Ricky Jay has a huge library of books and secrets that he takes care of. I wonder what will happen to them when he passes.
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  13. There is a conference in Los Angeles every other year that attempts to figure out and replicate historical magic effects where the secret died with the performer.

    Most performers do not sell their signature material. Wayne Houchin has a multiple needle swallowing routine that you will never see on video or in print.

    Less than .01% of magic that is in print is revealed on YouTube. I am approaching 200 magic books and I would say that they include less than 1% of magic effects and methods that have been published.

    Some of those books cost $100 or more. Some of them are out of print. I'd guess I've spent at least $7,500 on those books.

    The guarded underground temple is not a place but a person - more accurately a number of people. Those are the Oracles that know where to find something that is buried in print. Max Maven, Jim Steinmeyer, Ricky Jay, Jack Gaughn, Bill Kalush and more. And maybe it is a place. I've been to places that hold thousands of magic books going back centuries. So many secrets are there, but they are just difficult to find without dedication, study and mentors.

    There is material that is underground. Limited editions that have high price tags and restrictions on resale. There are the secrets that never get published but are shown to select magicians late at night at Denny's. There are invitation only conventions and meet-ups.

    Finally, there are effects for sale with price tags that discourage the secret seeker and typical amateur. Someone would only put out that much money if they are going to perform the effect.
  14. No, they aren't.

    That sounds really familiar. It's almost like multiple people on these very forums have mentioned that this mindset is caused ... by ... something ... what was it again? I swear it's on the tip of my tongue ...

    Talk about a temple.

    Copperfield will probably buy it. Wouldn't be the first time he'd bought a library Ricky Jay was taking care of.
  15. Are there really effects that magicians know about that weren't taught in person or published somewhere?

    And if so, what, and how do we know?

    (Not contradicting you, genuinely curious)
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  16. As you network more, and establish a reputation, some people will start to let you in on things.

    There are many rooms in the house of magic. Some of them require a secret knock.
  17. I don't know if this is a quote from something but I really like it!
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  18. "There are many rooms in the house of magic" is Eugene Burger's. The second sentence was mine.
    Theris, Mattxdfa and Antonio Diavolo like this.

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