Vanish Magic Magazine Dangerfest SPECIAL EDITION - Page 6

“ Magicians used to spend a thousand hours — not even a consideration, but the pure truth of their understanding of their craft — to develop illusions that would provide for their lifetime...” KNIFE THROWING The knife thrower can throw a knife without spinning, or rotationally, over hand, back hand, underhand or a blind shot over the shoulder not seeing the target with the eyes. I kid you not, I know knife throwers who can throw a knife with their elbow. Seems to me like the magician who can pluck his loads from an invisible space is very similar to the knife thrower who runs, dives headfirst into a tuck and roll and comes upright and then launches a knife whatever distance to the intended target—sock, pow, done like dinner. Assurity. Because you are reading this article, it is highly unlikely you will spend the time and money to attend Dangerfest 2020. But, I can assure you, with what happened at Dangerfest 2019, there will be another, and it will be bigger, better, and go to even greater levels. Now, what “levels” would we be talking about? Magicians used to spend a thousand hours — not even a consideration, but the pure truth of their understanding of their craft — to develop illusions that would provide for their lifetime. But today, so- called “magicians” click on a video for six-seconds (maybe) and then have business cards printed, or develop a website, saying they are “internationally renowned” even if that only means their friend’s grandmother had the magician do one trick at a wedding on some island. In knife throwing there is no BS. You can either do it, or you can’t. It can take thousands of hours, thousands of dollars (or nothing at all we shall explain) to attain a goal. That goal btw is a secret. Only the knife thrower knows the goal. And that goal is a factor of an unspoken language with a secret and hidden perception. Wait a minute; what is this about? A theatrical example: in Las Vegas there is a juggler named Anthony Gatto. I’ve seen him many times juggle nine balls. He can juggle without using his eyes to throw and catch because he knows what he is doing with muscle memory and a heightened awareness. Can you sniff that goal yet? I know jugglers with both The Big Apple Circus (New York), and the Moscow Circus who have juggled as many as twelve small hoops; kept all airborne, doing their dance, and then caught all twelve and placed the hoops around their neck; executed, blindfolded. Now, do that with knives. Goal achieved: you are in the Dangerfest state of mind. 6 SPECIAL | 2020 The magician with a short attention span is not a magician. The knife thrower that cannot stick the knife — where they desire — is not a knife thrower. In fact, among those that attend DANGERFEST, most would use the term “knife thrower” rather cautiously. People who make comments like, “I’m not too crazy about all these puppy mill black belt organizations out there” are the real deal that are unseen, and, yes, serious, if not dangerous. People who call themselves “magicians” and do not provide a wondrous experience are not magicians. Those who do not put in the time, blood, sweat, carry wood, learn knife making, balance, breath, stance, and attain unspeakable talents, but talents nonetheless, are not knife throwers. Knife throwers are usually, I have found, highly intelligent. They can feel the air. Spacial acuity is like breathing. Instinctive. Intuitive. Developed. Extraordinary. I had the good fortune of knowing the famous Fortean writer John A. Keel (1930—2009). Keel brought the world The Mothman, and investigated alien contact before there was The X-Files. Keel said “mountain climbers are very special people.” I learned he was right, because he was one, and because he and Dr. John N. Booth (1912—2009) inspired me to tackle Mount Everest in 1989. (I ascended to the Base Camp, 17,800 ft.) This brings us back to Dangerfest. Special people at a special place doing something special. FALLING BACKWARD I fell backward into this world while ascending though my sixth decade. I looked at my notebook of material I sought to produce and returned to an idea I had in 1981 that I never acted on. In November of 2016, I initiated that idea by plugging “knife throwing” into and found four people: Adam Celadin from The Czech Republic (previously profiled in VANISH), Kimberly Mitchell (USA, who co-founded Kick Ass Knife Throwers on Facebook), Jason Willard Johnson (USA, world’s fastest knife thrower) and Leigh Maulson (Canada, a great visual artist, friend, and the greatest trick shot knife artist alive). There are others too. One called, “The Wolf.” Another, “Nesto.” One guy I call Maniac because that is what his last name almost sounds like. I swear there’s another chap I refer to as “Population Control” and he accepts this with glee. And shortly into my journey, I met Danger. Danger and Mrs. Danger run Dangerfest. You’ve stepped, amazingly, gingerly, into a wondrous Chaplin’s original TRAMP suit from THE KID