Skip to content

WTF Is A Pseudo-Method?

Your favourite TV magicians use these...

Now and then, I send out a thread asking you what you want to see covered in future posts. There seems to be a fun divide between people wanting creative posts and those craving more theory. I’m going to explore a crucial theory today and publish a creative post next week.

What even is a pseudo-anything?

Here’s the dictionary definition of pseudo-:

The prefix pseudo- (from Greek ψευδής, pseudes, "lying, false") is used to mark something that superficially appears to be (or behaves like) one thing, but is something else. Subject to context, pseudo may connote coincidence, imitation, intentional deception, or a combination thereof.

When it comes to magic, a pseudo-method is a seemingly genuine method given to an audience, obvious or otherwise, for a magical effect. Probably the most common pseudo-method is telling a spectator you’re reading their mind when you’re just doing a pinky-break.

Derren Brown Secret Painting Trick

When should you use a pseudo-method?

Well, spoiler alert, the end of the post will explain why I think you should always use a pseudo-method — but let’s start with the reasons why magicians historically will choose to use a pseudo-method…

Continue reading and unlock 200+ member-only posts

Support independent magic writing


Already have an account? Sign In