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For my next trick

Magic is no longer about sparkly shirts and pulling rabbits from hats, says Laura Marsh. Modern illusionists give audiences an insight into their own minds

By Laura Marsh   May 2012

Derren Brown among his audience: the masks were for an experiment on the loss of individuality

Over a Coke in an Essex pub, Todd Landman is rummaging through his satchel. “Now, you’ve seen one of these before,” he says, producing a blue crystal on a long silver chain. He is showing me the pendulum trick, a staple of beginner’s guides to magic. A volunteer holds one end of the chain, while the illusionist commands the weight to swing, apparently by sheer psychic force—though any textbook will tell you the volunteer’s tiny, unconscious muscle movements are really responsible. This effect, Landman…

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