Of gaining publicity… and social responsibility

Magician predicted terrible earthquake

December 29, 2004 11:58

NORWICH magician Geraldini claimed last night he had predicted a national disaster — days before the tsunami terror hit south-east Asia, killing tens of thousands of people.

More than one week ago he said he could forecast the headlines on the front page of the Evening News on Tuesday December 28.

He wrote down his predictions — he was the only one to see them — and put them in a box on Graham Barnard’s breakfast show on Radio Norfolk.

The box was then padlocked and kept by the presenter until last night, when it was taken along to the opening night of A Cavalcade of Mystery, Magic and Illusion at St Peter’s Theatre, Park Lane, Norwich.

Before the start of the show Geraldini — real name Gerald Morter — invited Graham Barnard and Derek James of the Evening News on to the stage.

He then asked Graham to open the box. Inside was another box containing a small brown envelope.

The magician handed over the envelope, saying it was the one he put in the box on Monday, December 20, to the radio presenter who then read out what was written on it.

It said: “I, Geraldini, predict that the front page of the Evening News dated Tuesday, December 28 December, 2004 will reveal the worst under-sea earthquake to hit Thailand and Asia. This quake will cause great damage and loss of life.”

The front page of the Evening News told the tragic story of how a Norfolk mother-of-four was swept to her death as the immense wave hit her in Thailand.

When asked how he had done it he said: “I can’t say. I am sorry it is such a sad and tragic story.”

From Evening News 24, UK

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Magicians have to owe moral responsibility for actions that they carry out. A prediction of this nature defeats the very purpose of staging a “prediction act”.

The one question that will find a place in every reader’s mind is: Why divulge a prediction of such a disaster, AFTER the event has taken place?

In simple words, because it is a magic effect, and NOT a psychical (sic) prediction.

This kind of a prediction fails logic, and thus loses ALL magical properties. Worse, it can be seem as being sick, and sadistic.

A similar unfortunate incident happened to a friend of mine here in India, a couple of years back. He was doing a prediction for the local newspapers. And bang! One of the worst train accidents occurred… And he ended up “predicting” the same.

Sadly, a good performer had to avoid the public eye for quite a long while, as there were many a people who questioned his social responsibility…

Does that mean magicians have to avoid utilizing this otherwise excellent publicity stunt? For like in the case of these magicians, you NEVER know when disaster is going to strike… (unless you are a ‘real’ psychic!) and thus strike a blow to one’s entertainment career too.

IMHO, No. We can still go ahead and use this excellent publicity gimmick. Only that in the event of such calamities, we HAVE TO AVOID including that as the prediction. “Predict” some other headline… not the bad one. Stick with some good news….

At least that way you have an “out” that this was the only one you saw… And did not “foresee” the other (calamity). That way, at least you will NOT have lynch mobs looking for you…

Just a thought. And I may be wrong.

Nakul