Routine for You: Reflect (By Duane Laflin)

Routine_ Reflect

The cost of props is a concern to me. I realize that many readers are not professional performers and therefore must be extra careful about what they spend on magic.  It is a hobby, not a job, so they spend what we used to call “mad money” on their magic.  In other words, it is money they have designated for fun. Such money only exists if they happen to have funds left over after regular bills are paid.

On the other hand, there are readers who are serious about the magic business and serious about performing.  To them, magic is much more than a toy.  It is a tool.

Tools can be expensive.  A mechanic must invest in some pricey equipment if he is going to have what he needs to repair vehicles.  Now and then a magician must look at a higher ticket item because it will be a benefit in his presentation of shows.  As a full time performer I make some serous investments in my work.  It is necessary to doing what I do.

This matter brings me to the following routine and prop involved.  The apparatus is something known as the “Melting Mirror.”

A first thing to say about the Melting Mirror is do not buy an inferior version of this effect just because it is cheaper.  I have tried and tested most of the “silk through mirror” props on the market.  A few work great, but are over priced (even more expensive than the Melting Mirror).  The rest are junk!  They do not work correctly, or their design reduces the power of the effect, or, in some cases they have both problems.  They look bad and they do not work.

The best Melting Mirror I have found, and the version I have used for years, will cost you somewhere close to $250.  It is worth it.

I have used the prop in church programs and school shows.  I especially like the school show lesson.

What happens?

A silk handkerchief passes through the center of a mirror.

How is it done?

The mirror is gimmicked to slide in a way that secretly creates an opening. After the handkerchief passes through, the opening is slid back out of view. The apparatus is clever and deceptive.





Have you ever considered the value of reflecting?”

Show the mirror.

“I am not talking about reflecting as does a mirror.  One definition of reflect is that of throwing back an image rather than absorbing it.  When we look into a mirror it throws back an image for us to see.  We call that reflection.”

Hold the mirror so you can see the audience reflected in it.

“Right now this mirror is reflecting you as an audience.  However, that is not what I want to talk about.

“Another definition of reflect is that of thinking deeply and carefully.  We are reflecting on an idea in the sense that our mind keeps throwing it back at us so we ponder it over and over again.

“It is good to do that.  It is good to take time to think about things.

“In these days in which we live, it is easy to let others do our thinking for us.  We watch TV, or look at the internet, or walk around with a phone or digital device plugged into our ears and we really are not thinking as much as we are just hearing and seeing.  Sometimes it seems as if we are walking around with our minds on autopilot and we are hardly paying attention to life.

“When is the last time you took time just to think something over and maybe even try to create something new?”

Show the silk and prepare to do the trick.  Pretend to clean the mirror with the silk handkerchief.

“There is a story about an illusionist who once looked into a mirror and did more than see his reflection. He also reflected.

“He wondered about things. He thought over possibilities. In fact, he even asked himself a question. “Would it be possible to take this handkerchief, that I use for cleaning the mirror, and create an illusion with it?”

“Then he did exactly that. He created the illusion that the handkerchief passed right through the mirror.  It looked like this.”

Make the handkerchief pass through the mirror.

“It looked impossible, but he had figured out a way to do it. His idea became a wonderful effect that was even shown on national television by a magician named Doug Henning.

“It was a great discovery that came about because he did not just look into a mirror. He reflected about the mirror.

“Someone has said the secret to creativity is not found in having the ability to think of something that is entirely new and different. Instead it is found in looking at what is already there and then asking the question no else has asked, or in thinking the thought that no one else has thought.

“Taking time to think, to reflect, and to wonder about things is a way to make discoveries.  If you want to do something special with your life, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to reflect. ”


One of my favorite quotes is credited to a man named Albert Szent-Gyorgyi.  He was a Hungarian physiologist who, among other things, is credited with the discover of vitamin C. He said this, “Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.”

The statement I make in the mirror routine about the secret to creativity is based on his words.  If the audience is older, I sometimes state Mr. Szent-Gyorgyi’s name (quite a feat to pronounce) and directly use his quote.  Most of the time it seems better to put things into my own words.

The concept is a good one to communicate to young people.  Beyond that, it is a good thing for all of us.

On this same subject I have heard others comment to the effect that “The biggest misconception about creativity is that it involves a moment of magical creation when the incredible appears out of thin air.”  They go on to explain that everything comes from somewhere. There is always a source of inspiration.

This means that, in order to be creative, we need to be students of that which already exists.  I think a good way to come up with new magic routines is by reading through many old ones. The more we know about what has already been done in the world of magic, the more opportunity we give ourselves to develop something new.

For me, it has often happened.  While paging through a book written decades ago I will see something that “kicks my mind into a new gear.”  Were it not for the attention I have given to the work of hundreds of magicians who have gone before me, there is no way I could come up with new articles for this GRAND MAGIC publication month after month.  Maybe we could say “the more you already know, the more you can invent.”

Albert Einstein said, “The secret to creativity is hiding your sources.”  That remark was partly a joke and partly the truth.  He was humbly stating that his accomplishments would not have been possible where it not for the accomplishments of others.  He built on what others had done.

I have elaborated on this concept, because you may want to expand the “reflect concept” beyond what is written here in the mirror routine.  It is something about which much can be said.


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