What makes effective experimentation in magic

Posted on November 21, 2011
Filed Under Experiments, Magic, Taylor Ellwood | Leave a Comment

When I think about effective experimentation in magic, I think that its essential to have a group of people who are willing to test your experiment. These people don’t even need to know each other, but they need to be people who are willing¬† to give your experiment a try and provide honest feedback. Anyone can come up with an idea, and an idea can even be developed into a process that the person extensively works on and fine tunes. But until that person has shared the the process with other people, so that they can test it, its fair to say it’s not an effective experiment.

Effective experimentation calls for feedback and input from other people that aren’t familiar with the technique and are willing to test it with the appropriate balance of skepticism and open mindedness that is needed for effective experimentation. As an example, when I experimented with a technique to contact neurotransmitters, I knew that to truly test its effectiveness, I needed to find other people who could verify if the technique worked. I ended up having a variety of people experiment with the technique. Some were from the U.K. and some were from the states, so they didn’t all know each other. The consistent results that they achieved was what verified the technique and made an effective experiment.

You also need to be able to explain how your process works, so that other people can duplicate it. If a reader just gets lots of vague theories about how it works, but there isn’t any practical instructions then what you have is more of an armchair approach to magic. Sounds great in theory, but can I implement it?

Perhaps what is most vital to effective experimentation is curiosity. You have to be curious and open to exploring what’s around you. My curiosity is what has motivated my exploration of magic. I’ve always wanted to know what the real limits of magic are, as well as what my limits are. So if I can test something out, I will, in order to see what I can do, but then I’ll bring it to other people and ask them to test it, to see what they can do. Naturally the people I look for are curious as well.

Effective experimentation is about developing a consistent process that can be done again and again and again, with the achievement of consistent results. Its as simple as that, and yet that simplicity demands careful attention to detail, to ensure your process does work.