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Jerry Andrus: messing with your wonderful brain
September 12, 2011 12:55 PM   Subscribe

"A wonderful brain interprets something differently from what it actually is, but it doesn't mean it's made a mistake. It took the information it had and did it's best job." Those are but two tricks from Jerry Andrus (1918-2007), self-taught magician and illusionist, and one of great renown amongst other magicians. But he was more than a slight-of-hand man: he was also a poet, philosopher, inventor, humanist, agnostic, and skeptic. There are an impressive number of videos of him online, these are but a few to get you started down the rabbit hole: Jerry Andrus is visual poetry (Google video / YT, 28 minutes) :: Jerry Andrus at the Magic Castle (G.vid, 49 min), Jerry Andrus at 83 his Optical Illusions (G.vid, 41 min) :: Jerry Andrus and Ray Hyman on Uri Geller (YT, 26 min) :: James Randi on Jerry Andrus (YT, 5 min) :: James Randi - who was Jerry Andrus? :: James Randi describes Jerry Andrus. The last two clips are from Rex Young, a young illusionist who has recreated many of Andrus' illusions on his YouTube channel, and made some of his own.
posted by filthy light thief (25 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
A very apt post, seeing as how it is coming from someone who stole our light.

but I don't hold a grudge
posted by davejay at 1:01 PM on September 12, 2011


just a candle
posted by davejay at 1:02 PM on September 12, 2011


It took the information it had and did it's best job.

Sorry, not good enough.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:04 PM on September 12, 2011


Never have I been so tempted (or tempted at all) to write some James Randi/Jerry Andrus slashfic.
posted by cmoj at 1:06 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


A wonderful brain interprets something differently from what it actually is, but it doesn't mean it's made a mistake.

...but "what it actually is" is interpreted by another brain, right?
posted by goethean at 1:09 PM on September 12, 2011


TRI ZONE SPACE WARPER!
posted by koeselitz at 1:11 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: These represent two large, brass nuts.
posted by TheRedArmy at 1:12 PM on September 12, 2011


I had such a pretty mind!
posted by nola at 1:12 PM on September 12, 2011


whoa...
posted by blue_beetle at 1:14 PM on September 12, 2011


davejay: "just a candle"

I prefer to curse the darkness. "Damn darkness!"
posted by Splunge at 1:16 PM on September 12, 2011


Yeah, the "tri zone space warper" sounded like a bit of TimeCubery, but damned if it didn't work. That sky really did boil for a moment.

blue beetle, that effect is in the first clip, and the camera moves to show you how it was built. He makes illusions, and shows you how they're done, which is pretty keen.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:17 PM on September 12, 2011


a slight-of-hand man

I guess he didn't eat enough finger food.

No, I will never tire of that terrible joke. The word is sleight.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:28 PM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


filthy light thief: “Yeah, the "tri zone space warper" sounded like a bit of TimeCubery, but damned if it didn't work. That sky really did boil for a moment.”

Heh. Yeah, I just thought it sounded really cool. And it did work. This guy is awesome.
posted by koeselitz at 1:32 PM on September 12, 2011


Sys Rq: No, I will never tire of that terrible joke. The word is sleight.

Spell check has made me a lazy man. Homophones, what are homophones? Thanks for the correction.

posted by filthy light thief at 1:47 PM on September 12, 2011


Are homophones allowed to marry in California?

It's interesting how many Masters of Illusion are serious agnostics/atheists and skeptics. Thankfully, because they could easily use their skills to start their own religion.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:44 PM on September 12, 2011


I think there's a great book waiting to be written about magicians and skepticism. Again and again, the great magicians respect your intelligence and the hacks insult it.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:54 PM on September 12, 2011


Er, what onefellswoop said.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:55 PM on September 12, 2011


Or whatever your name is.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:55 PM on September 12, 2011


Years ago, I was in Eugene, Oregon and went to a meeting of local conjurers and aficionados of magic. Jerry Andrus was there and showed us some tricks. Ray Hyman was there and talked about the psychology of conjuring. Then it was the turn of a particularly flashy professional magician to show off an illusion. He needed some prop for the illusion and he went out to his car to get it. While he was gone, somehow we all decided - there were dozens of us - to leave the room and hide elsewhere in the building so when the magician came back he would find that the audience had disappeared. Best trick I've ever been a part of.

Jerry was a great guy, very kind. I haven't thought about him in years and didn't realize that he had done the ultimate vanish in 2007. Thanks for the post.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:32 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have not had time to click on these links, however I feel compelled to note that the post has made me nostalgic for The Great Brain.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:52 PM on September 12, 2011


Are homophones allowed to marry in California?

I can't see why not, as long as the partners are equally sound.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:43 PM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here Be Dragons! designed by Jerry Andrus for Gathering for Gardner 3 - an annual gathering for mathemagicians in Atlanta.
posted by root beer tastes like fire ants smell at 9:08 PM on September 12, 2011


At 21:42 of the Jerry Andrus and Ray Hyman on Uri Geller link he is BEE'S DICK away from going ass over tit off the back of the stage.

But then at 21:43 her checks. Bah!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:01 PM on September 12, 2011


"he" checks. Double bah.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:03 PM on September 12, 2011


All brains always interpret all things differently from what they actually are, because our eyes are pretty bad at perceiving quantum foam, counting electrons, and so forth.
posted by LogicalDash at 5:36 AM on September 13, 2011


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