On top of Quidditch and Gothic architecture, Yalies have another reason to relate to Harry Potter: the newly formed Yale Undergraduate Magic Society.
Three members of the Magic Society — Jen Kramer ’14, Micah Johnson ’13 and Seth Thompson ’14 — performed magic tricks for an enthusiastic crowd of over 60 people in the Pierson master’s house Tuesday afternoon.
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“We’re here today to show you some magic/ We won’t cut you in half/ That would be kind of tragic,” rapped Kramer as she introduced her group, and some members of the audience beat-boxed along with her. Kramer described magic as something that “takes the impossible and makes it possible.” The magicians focused mainly on card tricks that drew applause and sounds of amazement from the audience. Several magic tricks — or “magic effects,” as Kramer called them — stood out to audience members.
Johnson performed a trick titled “The Best Card Trick in the World,” with Pierson College Master Harvey Goldblatt GRD ’77 as a volunteer. Johnson read Goldblatt a list of instructions from a card and showed the audience the writing on the card. Goldblatt was instructed to choose and sign a playing card and place it back in the deck. Goldblatt then put a rubber band around the deck and placed it in Johnson’s pocket. Then, to the crowd’s surprise, Johnson showed that the card he was reading from was the same card Goldblatt chose.
An impressed audience member yelled, “Stop it!” in response.
Later in the tea, Rheaya Willis ’14 took a playing card from a newly opened deck and let the audience see the card. Willis gave the card back to Kramer. Then, Kramer put the card back in Willis’ hand. When Willis flipped the card over, she was shocked by what she found — it was not the card she originally selected. The actual card had somehow been transported to the other side of the room in seconds, without any of the magicians moving. An audience member found the card behind a picture frame on the far wall.
But not all of the tricks went off without a hitch.
“I’m known for my dangerous magic,” Thompson said before launching into a trick using blindfolds and scissors.
Three audience members selected cards and returned them to the deck, which Thompson placed on top of a cardboard box. Thompson had an audience member blindfold him and “shuffled” the cards using the tips of a pair of scissors. While still blindfolded, Thompson speared a card and showed it to the audience, but it was not one of the three selected cards. Thompson found one of the audience’s cards on his second attempt.
Kramer explained that she first started practicing magic at age 10 because she thought the tricks were “cool.” Kramer said that as she practiced more, she realized that magic is “not about deception, but about that great childlike sense of wonder.”
“Magic can make a positive difference in people’s lives,” Kramer said.
Many members of the audience left impressed with the magicians. Jake Keaney ’14 said he enjoyed seeing a Master’s Tea that featured his peers, and described the performance as “high quality,”
Austin Czarnecki ’14, a magician himself, said he enjoyed watching magicians his own age perform.
“It was fun for me to see other magicians my age who are really, really good,” Czarnecki said. “I was totally baffled by their tricks.”
Kramer founded the Yale Undergraduate Magic Society this fall.