Devine offers presentations that challenge common logic. While it intrigues us, it's still a tough pill to swallow. But we think we know why. We can accept innate talent that we don't have--provided we could learn how to do it. We suck at playing the piano but know the keys and are capable of pecking out something besides "Chopsticks." Drawing was never a strong point, but we understand how to do it, knowing that with practice we could eventually draw a rocketship that doesn't look like a banana. We can't read people's minds, however, and we don't pretend that we could grasp Lesson One in the instruction manual. Devine claims that he can.
An example of Devine's demonstrations: He asks a woman to draw a picture in her mind. With no verbal or eye contact, he then duplicates her picture. Or this one: Two audience members onstage make one comment each. One is lying, and Devine discerns which one it is. The list of feats goes on and on. The usual suspects appear. Card tricks reminiscent of David Blaine. The bending of a spoon--ah, yes, the beloved challenge à la Uri Geller. But we've done our research and found explanations for all of these presentations. There are plants in the audience, the spoon is pre-weakened, etc. But still, we've got to go to this show and see if we're right. We have this need to spoil these performances, surely intended for fans and believers. It just feels natural, you know; it would go without saying had we not just said it.
And yet there's one thing that doesn't need to be said, something that comes straight from the intense gaze in Devine's eyes: Skeptics are more than welcome. The Belfast native is no doubt familiar with naysaying. After all, he can't possibly encounter crowds entirely comprised of believers during his global tours and special shows with celebrity audiences, including the royal family, Madonna, Joan Collins and the Spice Girls.
The strange thing is that no matter how prepared we are with "That's rigged," "They work for him" or other objections to Devine's feats, nothing prepares one for the other-worldly experience of seeing those actions live in person. It sort of takes breath and composure away in one smooth wave of the hand. For skeptics, the reaction could be even more powerful. Each feat proves unbelievable and yet real, amazing and reasonable at the same time. And that chaos, that momentary confusion and marvel, that's the point of it all. From skeptic to fan, jaded adult to child in awe. If we're lucky, Devine will bend our mind right along with those spoons of his.