Broken Wand : Charles Reynolds

Charles Reynolds, 78, who described his business as providing “chaste, charming, weird, wonderful, and supernatural illusions” – and who proved it by coming up with two entirely different ways to make an elephant disappear – died Nov. 4 at his home in Manhattan.The cause was liver cancer, said his wife, Regina, who is his only survivor.

Mr. Reynolds belonged to the circumspect, virtually invisible world of “backroom boys” who help magicians refine their acts.

In Merlin, a 1983 Broadway musical starring Doug Henning, he figured out how to make a live white horse and rider vanish into thin air.

He wrote or helped write a half-dozen books on magic, one of which provided insight on how to saw a woman in half with a rope. Among many honors, he was the 2004 magician of the year and was named one of the 100 most influential figures of 20th-century magic in a Magic magazine poll.

– N.Y. Times News Service

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Any one going ? Send me the lecture notes…

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – on Dec. 1 at 4:30 p.m. at the University of California, Riverside. Vision and cognition researchers Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde will address “Sleights of Mind: The Neuroscience of Magic” – how the visual and cognitive illusions developed by artists and magicians can be applied to the study of neural bases of consciousness and perception.

Their presentation will be in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Building 1128. The event is free and open to the public. Parking costs $5. Macknik and Martinez-Conde co-authored with New York Times science correspondent Sandra Blakeslee “Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions,” published this month by Henry Holt and Company.

The book is the first written about the neuroscience of magic. “All our life, every object we see, every person we know and every incident we experience are derived from brain processes, and not necessarily the result of an event in the real world,” Macknik and Martinez-Conde wrote. “The same neural machinery that interprets the sensory inputs also creates our thoughts, imaginations and dreams; thus the world we experience and the world we imagine have the same physical bases in the brain. Just as physicists study the most minute subatomic particles and the largest galactic conglomerates to understand the universe, neuroscientists must examine the cerebral processes to understand how the brain builds our experience of reality. Likewise, the principles developed by magicians and illusionists throughout history can be very useful to manipulate attention and awareness in the laboratory.”

The Barrow Neurological Institute of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz., is known worldwide as a leader in neurological research and patient care. The event is sponsored by the UC Riverside Center for Ideas and Society.