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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow LA GRANDE MAN DELIVERS THE WONDERS OF MAGIC

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LA GRANDE MAN DELIVERS THE WONDERS OF MAGIC

MIND TRICK: Graham Hicks demonstrates a mental magic trick with the help of Natalie Zeigler of La Grande. (Observer photos/LAURA MACKIE-HANCOCK).
MIND TRICK: Graham Hicks demonstrates a mental magic trick with the help of Natalie Zeigler of La Grande. (Observer photos/LAURA MACKIE-HANCOCK).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

Magic is as timeless as human nature, more fleeting than a look of wonderment on a child's face.

Graham Hicks of La Grande understands this well. He has long been a fan of magic and has been performing magic tricks for almost 25 years.

On Monday the amateur magician delighted and amazed while putting on a magic show for children at the Think Link Discovery Museum.

"You don't need a jacket in here; this is a hot show,'' Hicks told one child with a smile minutes before the Think Link class began.

Hicks was referring to his "Hot Tricks'' book that he showed students at the start of the class. A flame emerges when Hicks opens the book.

Hicks performed as Master Magician McDougal Funfeller. He was quick to point out to the students that the title is an exaggeration.

"I am not really a master magician. I just have a lot of fun with magic,'' Hicks said.

McDougal Funfeller delighted the children by making lollipops disappear from a bag and handkerchiefs vanish. He also taught rope, card and coin tricks. Children were taught how to make a nickel seemingly vanish only to reappear in someone's ear.

Children learned that the key to magic is getting people to focus on one hand while the other is pulling off the trick.

"Misdirection is 80 percent of magic,'' Hicks said.

Teaching children magic tricks can be harder because they have shorter attention spans and don't always have the finger dexterity that's needed, Hicks said.

Still, the amateur magician likes nothing better than to perform for and teach children. He delights in helping children discover that they have the skill they need to do card and rope tricks

"What do you mean you couldn't do it? You did it!" he told one child after successfully completing a rope trick.

Hicks, who is closely involved with Think Link, never tires of helping children discover their capabilities.

"The greatest thing in my life is to hear a child say, ‘Oh, I see!' '' Hicks said.

The Think Link students were encouraged not to share their magic secrets.

"... You want to make them think that it is magic. As soon as you reveal it, the magic is lost. It is not there anymore,'' Hicks said.

Hicks began learning about magic in 1978 while stationed with the Navy at Norfolk, Va. He found a magic shop and became a frequent visitor.

"I must have purchased almost $600 worth of items,'' Hicks said.

He has many of these items today.

"I am still adding to my collection,'' Hicks said.

A self-taught magician, Hicks, believes that anyone can learn the craft if they have a minimum amount of dexterity. Skin that isn't dry and long fingers also help. Moist skin makes it easier to do things like hold items in the palm of your hand. Hicks has dry skin and sometimes puts on hand lotion before a performance.

Hicks understands many of magic's mysteries — but not all of them. He hopes that he never does.

"It is more fun to be fooled.... I love to be fooled,'' Hicks said.

"I like nothing better than to sit back and watch a magic show.''

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