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Alex McAleer on the darker side of mentalism - Genii Online

The Champions of Magic is an excellent five-person act currently touring the UK that features mentalist, Alex McAleer, Kayla Drescher, Fernando Velasco and illusionists, Young & Strange. The Sussex Newspaper managed to snag interviews with Velasco and McAleer, with the latter interview veering into some dark territory. To wit:   

The Sussex Newspaper: "What is the difference between someone who is creating an illusion and someone who is pretending to create an illusion?" 

Alex McAleer: "Ooh, that’s a very good question. I think it’s the intention, it’s the reason behind the lie. There is a 'lie' when you saw a woman in half because, quite obviously, after the illusion she is fine and no one goes away thinking that someone actually died, but with things like some 'psychic mediums' who pretend to talk to the dead, well their lies are a bit more unsavoury because, if it’s not true, you could sully someone’s memory and it also calls into question the existence of 'another realm' with all the implications there."

TSN: And it’s not good entertainment when you’re playing with people’s feelings.

AMA: "Exactly, and that’s all it is because, in too many cases, the entertainment comes from someone crying about something terrible that happened to them, or to a loved one. I use a lot of the same techniques, but not in a fraudulent way, and the worst thing for me is when the so-called medium isn’t actually very good at using those techniques."

McAleer is continuing a long tradition of magicians showing disdain for mediums, psychics, faith-healers and the like. 

Mexican-born Fernando Velasco got his start in magic when his father took a job as a busboy at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. Now, at just twenty-years-old, he's the Champions' most physical performer. His interview was a bit lighter. After achieving success in his field at such a young age, what remains for the young performer?

"I wanna take my magic all over the world," he said. "My big dream is to take my magic to South America, to Mexico, and all those Latin countries and, obviously, after I do that, my vision is to have my own show in Las Vegas and then a world tour. Magic makes people forget about their problems, wherever they are in the world. You're in a fantasy world for 30 minutes, or an hour, or two hours and it totally surrounds you."  

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