Pulling a rabbit out of a hat, or tricks of a similar ilk, may have dazzled generations of children.
But the future of live magic could be under threat, thanks to the rise of the YouTube magician.
The rising popularity of online videos is leading to a loss of key skills which could damage the very existence of live magic in years to come, a leading Magic Circle member has warned.
Jamie Raven, who belongs to the prestigious inner magic circle, said amateur magicians are increasingly learning their trade behind the camera, perfecting one trick on film to post for “likes”.
But while YouTube and social media may spark an interest in magic, he warned essential skills such as interacting with real people to control or misdirect their attention are being lost.
If the current obsession for online profile continues, he said, in generations to come “there will be no magic shows, there will be no live interaction”.
Raven will soon embark on a series of live shows inside the headquarters of the Magic Circle in London in a bid to inspire young magicians away from their screens and the bad technique it teaches.
He told The Telegraph : “When they first start learning, if their sole aim of the game is to get likes and views and shares, technically there are issues.
“Magic can suffer in the long run with this.
“For future generations, if they learn just how to point a camera they learn tricks but will never learn what magic is.”
In particular, Raven said, online magic has taught people to perform tricks from a particular angle with as many attempts to perfect it as they like.
But once they build their fame and profile, and start getting asked to perform in real life, any pretence of magic is likely to fall by the wayside.
“Fundamentally, they’re learning the wrong skill,” said Raven, who once appeared on Britain’s Got Talent . “You’re not learning what magic is, which is interacting with people and understanding where their attention lies.
He added: “This is my real concern.
“The internet is written in stone: what is on the internet will always be on the internet. So if people want to see magic, they will always be able to find it.
“But if we fast-forward, if every magician who takes up magic thinks that the best thing is to learn a trick, post it online, and that is all they do, give it 100 years and there will be no magic shows, there will be no live interaction.”
But Will Houstoun, a fellow member of the Magic Circle and editor of its monthly magazine who has a PhD in the history of magic, said the internet should not cause too much worry.
“There’s a lot of concern about the way YouTube impacts on magic at the moment,” he said. “But looking at the Victorian period, when books about how to do magic were coming out, everyone thought it was a disaster and would ruin magic.
“Then when instructional videos and television magic came along, people thought it would be the death of magic again.
“I suspect the same think will happen with streamed online content; we’re just yet to work out how to use it at its best.
“It’s an opportunity, not a death knell.”
- 10 magical acts to see at South Shields festival
- Trump’s art of quitting a bad deal wins some Afghan support
- Ghouls, goals and rock 'n' roll at Cannes
- Paul McCartney on being the 'Grandude'
- Why Mirga sings while she conducts
- The David Cameron story
- 'To See Paris and Die: The Soviet Lives of Western Culture'
- UK's reputation takes global hit with Parliament shutdown
- Who is Carrie Symonds
- Confessions of an Islamic State fighter
- 'Becoming a witch changed my life', says Plymouth mum-of-five
- Shen Yun: Fighting Communism
- Hot 100: The biggest tickets for this autumn
- 20 things to do over May half term in Norfolk
- Brit savagely beaten by group of men on busy Benidorm street
- Britain's Got Talent second semi-final line-up confirmed
- Man Utd 1999 Treble: Near misses, determination & 'pure luck'
- Sunday shows round-up: Raab sets out his leadership pitch
- Writers blocked: Even fantasy fiction is now offensive
- The top 100 books to read this summer
Magic tricks on YouTube are in danger of killing the art, warns its inner circle have 697 words, post on www.telegraph.co.uk at October 9, 2016. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.