Every year, the Magic Dove Magic Shop in Cocoa, Florida hosts a competition looking for the best and brightest names in Florida magic. Dozens of performers come to the Cocoa Village Playhouse and put on their best acts over the past weekend, and after a stiff competition, the winners have been chosen. The 2018 Florida Magicians of the Year for each division are: Megan Waryk (Junior), Autumn VanVorhis (Youth), and Tood Bogue (adult).
All three winners appeared on Orlando news station to talk about their experience competing for the title, and what magic means to them. Megan has been doing magic for two years (you can even see a bit of her act in the embedded video above), and while she appears a bit TV shy, she shows a lot of confidence and courage for a nine-year-old. Autumn is 15, and has been practicing magic for eight years already, and talks about why she loves getting to see people’s reactions.
The focus then turns to Todd, who has clearly been doing this for a while—he even has a trick prepped for the anchor to help out with. Todd has a series of shows in Florida: every Wednesday he performs at the Royal Floridian Resort in Norman Beach, and the first Friday of every month at the River Lanes Family Entertainment Center in Titusville.
Like any tool or skill, the power of sleight of hand can be used for good or evil. And while fooling people is perfectly fine when magicians use illusion to entertain, it’s a whole other issue when people use this power to line their pockets with ill-gotten gains.
The latter happened in mid-December at a Walmart in Sarasota, Florida. In a report by Florida NBC affiliate WFLA, a woman used misdirection and sleight of hand on a hapless cashier to confuse them then pocket hundreds of dollars in cash. You can see exactly what happened in the security video posted to WFLA’s Facebook page, embedded below:
In order to find out exactly what the con artist did to get away with this crime, WFLA found local Sarasota magician Toby Ballantine and showed him the video.
“She has a move and she’s doing the move over and over,” he tells WFLA while watching the surveillance footage. “I think she got away with it.”
While Ballantine notices the woman’s talent for misdirection, he is sure to set the record straight on what he thinks of this act: “It’s terrible, disreputable, and it has nothing to do with entertainment.”
You can check out the full video report and interview at WFLA’s website. Our advice to the perpetrator? Drop the life of crime and try being a magician instead; you’ve probably got a future in prestidigitation ahead of you.