That Ol’ Black Magic………

4 Sep


No – this is not a post about the come-from-behind skills of New Zealand’s rugby team.

It is about a master magician and hypnotist, his adoring posturing assistant, and a young man who comes from the audience to be hypnotised. Once on the stage, the lovely assistant plants a kiss on the young man’s cheek – he blushes and his heart melts.

The hypnotist clicks his fingers, and the young man  begins to make donkey noises. “Eeeyorr….snortle, snortle..” Someone shouts: “You’re making an ass of yourself!”

Someone less kind, but just as predictable: “Asshole!”

The audience  screams with laughter. After a few minutes he clicks the fingers again, and the young man instantly stops assing around, returns to his senses, open mouthed and bewildered.

Another kiss from the glamourous lady, and he returns to his seat, to the rapturous applause of  the crowd. Well most of the crowd. Not everyone in the audience is so convinced or appreciative.

Harry didn’t want to go to the show.

“Bloody nonsense…clearly a  fix. I saw them together in the foyer. Money changed hands.”

Harry’s wife Thelma was altogether more charitable ‘Don’t be so suspicious , Harry. Admit it, magic happens. I just wish it would happen more between us.  Anyway, did you record Coro Street.”

Harry nods.

The show ends, the gushing audience, many of them unknowingly under their own lifelong hypnosis, go home with their silent condition fed and reinforced.

At home, Harry switches on the MySky – Thelma has always been confused by the buttons. They watch the very same stage magician  introduce the show.

“Told you he was all right. Famous too” says Thelma.

Harry grunts .”Cup of tea dear?”

“That would be lovely Harry.”

Thelma slips into her happy weekly Coro-hypnosis state. Harry nods off.

Now Harry can’t be hypnotised (several therapists have tried), but Harry can nod off at the drop of a hat, and has vivid dreams. Like this one:

 Harry’s Dream: 


Harry dreams not of a theatre but of a courtroom. The magician is the defendant. The glamourous assistant is his defence lawyer. His subject – his potential hypnotee – wears a judge’s gown and wig.

The judge leaves the bench, approaches the defence lawyer, bends down and kisses her on her cheek. The judge then turns his gaze towards the defendant, who gazes back in a fixed stare. The defendant clicks his fingers. All eyes in the court are now on the judge.

Gasps and laughter breaks through the previously stifling atmosphere. Because…through his wig, two donkey ears spout upwards, only to flop to the side once fully emerged.

Someone shouts out: “I’d heard you’ve been doing this for donkey’s ears, your honour!”

“Order, order” shouts the judge, but instead all that comes out is “eeyore, eeyore.”

The prosecution lawyer starts his cross examines of the defendant, who swears with one hand on the bible, but continues to fix his stare on the judge – who has now, to the dismay of the court attendees, turned completely into Christopher Robin’s Eeyore, and who yawns and mutters repeatedly ‘why bother, why bother?”  

Harry, a stickler for detail even in his dreams, notices a dusty old book on the judge’s bench titled “The Law is an Ass – What Every Judge Should Know.”

The cross examination ends. The defendant stops staring at the judge, but does not click his fingers.

The judge returns home  – his wife and family are somewhat perplexed by his appearance, his long floppy ears, his new-found fondness for hay sandwiches, and the mantra ‘why bother’ now repeated from dawn till dusk…. but on balance see the whole thing as an improvement.

His fellow judges however do not seem to be aware of the changes. In fact, in their weekly meeting at their Old Boys Club, they all just sit there as usual yawning, reading their well thumbed ‘The Law is an Ass’ books, mumbling ‘why bother..?’ often in unison throughout the evening. Somehow, they still manage to drink their port (there are clefts in their front hooves perfectly designed to hold port glasses. These details are perfectly acceptable in dreams.) Their eeyores, groans and mumblings now evolve into a low pitched cacophony of  strange noises, somehow harmonising  to become the dirgy Coronation Street theme……………. 

Thelma gives Harry a nudge.

“Wake up, Harry. You missed Coro. You’ll never guess, Ken’s having a sex change.”

Harry opens his eyes. “It’s not real, you know Thelma.”

” Y’know, there are times it seems more real than our own lives” Thelma sighs. “Let’s go to bed.”

“Thelma, forget Coro, I just had this dream about….”

“Shhh. Time for bed, Harry……”

End of story.


At the risk of revealing a disturbing Messiah complex, this blog is in the form of a parable. Jesus, a marked man, had to be careful that his message reached only his required market. And so a parable was the way to go. Had they been available at the time, Jesus would definitely have had a Twitter account. But only for stuff like: “JC gig at Mount. Sunday 7th. 1230pm. Lunch provided. BYO tartare source.” But for the real messages of unconditional love and hope, The Prodigal Son, The Good Samaritan etc., he would have undoubtedly blogged.

Great story telling should require no explanation. Hence it follows that this piece definitely does. Thanks goes to Thomas Sheridan, the Irish bard and artist, who explained in a YouTube presentation how magic works – how the magician or hypnotist relies totally on the adulation of willing subjects. The magician can only do his magic if someone volunteers to watch or participate.

This works for all magic, from white to black. From the fun and games, to the serious deceptions. Deceptive advertising, and confidence trickery will only work if there are people to believe. Black magic relies on the deceived.

The judge in our case, as in Harry’s dream, was conflicted. He was on one level or other under the deceptive spell of the magician – in this case the defendant – and his defence lawyer.

Like Harry, I am not easily hypnotised. This is not something to boast about – just a fact. And like Harry I make a note of my dreams – although most remain completely nonsensical. However, some carry many more searching  truths than the barrage of deceptive  messages that are constantly imposed on us through the media and advertising – messages that we too willingly accept, absorbing them in a trance.

We are now fighting for those who have been living in a cultural hypnotic trance for years, encouraging them to wake up to reality. To a place and a mindset in which they can have true power.

We sometimes wish this was as easy as simply clicking our fingers.









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