Making Magic

Illusion designer John Gaughan is the man behind the curtain.

By David Pescovitz Photography by Noah Webb

ARTHUR C. CLARKE FAMOUSLY SAID, “ANY sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” In response, modern conjurers like to say, “Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.” At the intersection of both maxims sits John Gaughan.

For five decades, he’s designed and built illusions for everyone from Doug Henning to Siegfried and Roy. Ever seen David Copperfield fly? Gaughan gave him those invisible wings. Scratched your head as David Blaine makes a person’s watch disappear and rematerialize behind a shop window across the street? Gaughan’s handiwork in action.

Gaughan makes the ...

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