The Corner

Deceiving the Eye

As the reader who sent me this story remarked: Where’s Ben Stein when you need him?

A substitute teacher in Pasco County [Florida] has lost his job after being accused of wizardry. Teacher Jim Piculas does a magic trick where a toothpick disappears and then reappears. Piculas recently did the 30-second trick in front of a classroom at Rushe Middle School in Land ‘O Lakes. Piculas said he then got a call from the supervisor of teachers, saying he’d been accused of wizardry.

“I get a call the middle of the day from head supervisor of substitute teachers. He says, ‘Jim, we have a huge issue, you can’t take any more assignments you need to come in right away,’” said Piculas. He added that he did not know of any other accusations that would have led to the action. The teacher said he is concerned that the incident may prevent him from getting future jobs.

Well, at least they didn’t burn him at the stake. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too scornful, though. When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first saw Harry Houdini perform the Metamorphosis illusion, he declared that there could be no natural explanation, the thing must have been done by actual magic.

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