Christian Columnist Really Believes Magicians Can Levitate… Because of Satan

I suppose someone who’s gullible enough to believe the stories in the Bible can’t be blamed for believing that magic is real…

But screw it: Pastor Dan Delzell thinks magic is real.

First, take a look at this video featuring the magician Dynamo:

Cool trick. I couldn’t tell you exactly how he did it, but that’s precisely what makes it a neat illusion.

Here’s Delzell’s take on it:

Pastor Dan Delzell

I had never heard of the magician, Dynamo, until I read about how he floated alongside a double-decker bus in London recently. I watched the video. Personally, I think it was legit. I believe this was a paranormal event and an authentic example of levitation. But it’s not like this sort of thing is completely unheard of today.

Umm… what? Did Delzell not notice that he wrote the word “magician” in that same paragraph?

Then he continued:

Many magicians and other occultists have experienced levitation and various forms of supernatural power. These sorcerers typically cast spells or perform other rituals in an attempt to conjure the power to accomplish these feats. It is becoming more and more commonplace to see such expressions of magical performance.

Just as some magicians engage in illusion, so do the spirits which seduce magicians to go deeper and deeper into their craft. It is incredibly enticing, especially when the performers start to get high on the attention it brings them. While the spellbinding feats such as levitation are very often real, these “abilities” are not under the ultimate control and power of the magician.

Thankfully, there is a way out of this addiction if you are one of those who has become snagged in their cunning web of witchcraft and sorcery. Do you want to get free from this “puppet life” and magical obsession? Here is something any witch or magician should seriously consider. Try saying these words sincerely from your heart, if you dare:

(Spoiler: The magical words involve Jesus.)

Anyway, that really just happened. A columnist for a non-parody website wrote about how a magic trick isn’t a trick at all; it’s all witchcraft and seduction, led by Satan.

But there is a way out!

And then begin to read the Bible rather than books about magic. God’s Word will fill your soul with things you could never receive from the dark side.

No one ever tell this man about Twilight or he’ll have an aneurysm…

By the way, if the name of the pastor sounds familiar, it’s because he recently offered “irrefutable” mathematical proof for Christianity… without using any math whatsoever:

There is no way one man could have fulfilled all 8 of these prophecies unless God was making it happen. Who else controls history? Who else could give us such irrefutable proof for Christianity? The odds are one in one hundred quadrillion, or 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.

If someone told me Delzell was an atheist pulling a fast one on the Christian Post, I would believe you. Maybe this is part of some long game to delegitimize the faith. (I think he’s for real, though…)

Even the Christian commenters at the Post can’t believe this guy’s one of them. But I wouldn’t let them feel superior so easily. Delzell’s claims still make about as much sense as most pastors do on a Sunday morning.

(Thanks to Brian for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • flyb

    No way. There is absolutely no way this guy is serious. Right?

    • Art_Vandelay

      Like Hemant said though…once you accept that someone walked on water, it’s really not too far-fetched to get to someone being able to defy gravity.

      • flyb

        Ha! That’s right. So maybe Dynamo is the second coming and the idiot Christians are completely missing it.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that Christians in Africa are walking on water and other Biblical era miracles. Of course no one ever has any evidence of these events. Just urban legends. They believe it though.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          The excuse you’ve probably heard is that Christians “really” believe over there, so miracles happen because they aren’t distracted by things like cars or computers*. Of course the proper reply to that argument is to ask the speaker why their faith is so weak that they can’t walk on water unless everyone else thinks they can also.

          *Which they fucking have.

      • Jennifer Anker

        Walking on water isn’t hard. It just requires cold temperatures.

        • gimpi1

          Well done, Jennifer. A understanding of physics makes things work so much better.

          “99 percent of magic is just knowing one fact nobody else knows”
          Terry Pratchett

  • The Other Weirdo

    The comments on CP are actually kind funny, in a sad oh my freaking God what fucking century are we living in sort of way.

    I have to ask, though. Have we now reached a Poe Level Ultimate where we are no long able to come up with anything more Poe than the Christians themselves? Are the Christians so desperate for anything, no matter how absurd, which happens to in some minute way sort of potentially validate their fragile little faiths that they are willing accept drek like this?

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      We’ve been there with Republican politicians for quite some time. Is it the Onion or a real news story? It’s quite often impossible to tell. How sad for our country.

    • Hat Stealer

      It happened with Stephen Colbert. He did this thing for a while where he tried to come up with Super-PAC ads that were as ridiculous and over the top as possible. The only problem was he was outdone by the actual Republicans he was satirizing.

      Just let that sink in for a moment.

    • Gus Snarp

      Have we now reached a Poe Level Ultimate where we are no long able to come up with anything more Poe than the Christians themselves?

      Isn’t that what Poe’s law actually says in the first place?

      • Rev. Achron Timeless

        Yes, yes it is.

  • Sven2547

    It’s really a fairly simple trick. I’ve performed a variant of it myself (my family has a little history with stage magic). No sorcery required.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Are you sure? I mean, I’ve read Malleus Maleficarum, I know you witches and sorcerers are all in league with the Devil and so cleverly disguise your magic with tricks that only a Christian Post-level Cleric can penetrate.

    • baal

      Are you sure that you didn’t actually use magic and the use of a harness / mini support platform was just there as a ruse?

      • Sven2547

        A magician never reveals his secrets >_>

      • Willy Occam

        Be careful or you’re going to get into big trouble with the Alliance of Magicians.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Fucking Christians, man.

  • Andrew L

    This of course explains why Penn and Teller are ‘atheist’ which is in actuality a codeword for demonic. Now if we could just figure out why Christians never actually seem able to levitate/move mountains. It’s a stumper.

    • Gus Snarp

      Everything Christians believe about magic, rock and roll, Dungeons and Dragons, sex, drugs, evolution, science, pretty much everything not expressly Christian, makes it very clear that Satan is way more powerful than JesusGod in terms of affecting the real world. No wonder they’re so afraid.

    • Intelligent Donkey

      “‘atheist’ is a codeword for demonic”?

      Hey, where’s my succubus?

      • The Other Weirdo

        Right behind you.

    • Randay

      This would be a good one for Penn and Teller’s “Bullshit”. I think it must be demonic possession that makes Penn have his hair in a ponytail.

  • CultOfReason

    I’m not a magician but I figured this one out in the first five seconds of the video. Quite obvious, actually.

    • Art_Vandelay

      Right arm has to be fake, right? Some type of support system or harness attached to it?

      • Thalfon

        Most likely, aye. And here’s a bonus:

        Christian Post already did an article on how it was probably performed, over two weeks before posting Delzell’s take on it!

        http://www.christianpost.com/news/levitating-magicians-secret-revealed-dynamo-video-levitating-by-london-bus-goes-viral-video-98963/

      • Physicalist

        That’s my guess too. Either fake arm, or make up hiding iron bar running along arm.

      • Jon Peterson

        Noting how his back and arm were extremely stiff throughout the entire video, I think that you’re absolutely right. Some sort of fixed rod protruding from the bus, and attached to a harness (something like a what a rock climber wears, or the “seat” of certain floorless roller coasters).

      • Gus Snarp

        Yeah, more likely just a hidden rod. Basically there’s something made of steel attached to the bus, running along his arm, inside his sleeve to a frame inside his shirt to which he is strapped with a harness.

      • CultOfReason

        yep

      • Hat Stealer

        But what if it was Satan that gave him that fake right arm? Ever think of that? Hrhmm?

      • stojadinovicp

        Nope. I mean, nope on the fake arm, at least it doesn’t have to be. The support can be easily camouflaged and painted so that it is the same color as his skin.

        But yes on the very simple support system. If it was actual levitation, move your arm.

    • Gus Snarp

      Copperfield did the exact same thing on stage and a TV special about twenty years ago. Doing it on a moving bus in natural light is apparently more impressive?

      But I’m sure Delzell thinks Copperfield has paranormal powers, too!

      • PeedroPaula

        After watching Copperfield make the Empire State Building disappear on TV many, many years ago, I’m pretty much convinced it’s real magic! Okay, not really…but still.

  • Tainda

    “These sorcerers typically cast spells or perform other rituals in an attempt to conjure the power to accomplish these feats”

    I just laughed so hard the receptionist at the front desk heard me and asked what I was laughing so hard about lol

  • Jeff

    “…read the bible rather than books about magic…”

    So…. don’t read the bible, then? I’m confused.

  • Persephone

    It looks pretty simple, like a variation on the rope trick. I’m not a stage illusionist, but I could set up and pull off this same illusion.

    Illusion spoilers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAa21Q8n5O4

    • Len

      And you’d totally have to hold on to a pole or something, so you don’t just float away over the trees. That’s clear.

    • Gus Snarp

      Turn the chair into a frame and harness, attach it to a lifting motor in a much taller pole, and you’ve got David Copperfield. Or take out the pole and bolt the thing to a bus and you’ve got the video in the OP.

  • sam

    “God’s Word will fill your soul with things you could never receive from the dark side”
    Yes indeed, and Catholic priests fill up my dark side that are almost magical.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    The thing is if you ask most Christians whether they believe that miracles exist the majority would most likely say yes. They would probably contradict themselves then when asked if magic really exists. Miracles don’t exist, but how can someone believe believe in miracles but not magic? I mean their holy book states that apparently magic is real and that you should execute its practitioners.

    • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

      Miracles vs. magic is one of the issues that turned me into an atheist. It seemed silly to believe in one but not the other. The other was ghosts vs. spirits. I’d assure the boys (who have a cousin who tells them ghost stories) there were no such things as ghosts. My daughters would helpfully pipe up: “But you believe we have spirits that go on after death, right? So couldn’t there be ghosts?” Couldn’t quite manage to answer that one in a way that made me happy:-).

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Yeah, they get really pissed if you refer to the Bible as a spellbook, but that’s what a prayer is.

      Just like mediums become a tiny bit unhinged if you call their “craft” by its proper name of necromancy. :P

      • Gus Snarp

        Oh man, I would totally call mediums necromancers just for fun. There are two problems with that though, the first is that I never meet necromancers. The second is that it’s even more fun to be more accurate and call them frauds.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          True, but they expect that. Call a medium a necromancer and a psychic a sorcerer or false prophet and you get better reactions before they can reboot.

          • Gus Snarp

            Can we remind them that Sauron was first referred to as the Necromancer, or will that reference fly over their heads?

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              I’ve never understood why he was called that in The Hobbit. Tolkien, being an amazing linguist, was usually good with word choices. Technically, a necromancer talks to the dead; he doesn’t animate them. Talking to the dead is a relatively unscary bad-guy ability, so I presume he was doing more than that.

  • 0xabad1dea

    This just came up when I hit the random button on SMBC. Magic! http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=594

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt Eggler

    Have to agree with The Other Weirdo – The comments section was a Hoot! The best were the various people who knew Dan Delzel was wrong and that it was just a trick but tried to defend him from critics anyway. So many variations of “yeah, this was just a trick but you are missing the bigger point that spirits, demons, magic and fallen angels are real and leading people astray! Really! They are!”

    The kicker was one commenter who pointed out that the Christian Post had earlier featured an article pointing out how Dynamo actually performed the trick. I could not confirm this because the CP does not have a search function?!!??!? If it is true, that is some quality editing that goes on at the CP. I’d call it a rag but I have to wash my car today and don’t want to offend my legitimate rags.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    What remarkably child-like naïveté, IF this isn’t a Poe just as phony as the levitation trick.

    Funny how Joe Klein never demonstrates that his paranormal abilities don’t actually come from Satan.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Someone needs to make you a Joe Klein t-shirt :)

      • Art_Vandelay

        • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

          :D Love it!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

          Now I want one.

        • Hat Stealer

          That is the greatest thing I have ever seen.

    • Rain

      On the bright side, pastors have a vested interest in not researching/debunking their own claims. Their flocks, on the other hand, have no such vested interest and they can google whatever they want. So there is hope, lol.

      • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

        I share your hope, but not very much. Those of the flock who would even consider double checking on this superstitious pastor’s claims are probably already not part of his flock anyway.

        Yes, pastors have a vested emotional and financial interest to be loose and sloppy about their claims. But their core flock also have vested emotional and social interests to let that sloppiness pass unchallenged. Most of them have been raised since early childhood to never question the claims of a pastor, and they have experienced both positive and negative social feedback from their peers to go along with the rest of the flock. A core flock member would have to get past their reflex of guilt to even consider doubting and checking up on their shepherd. In their world, doubt = bad person. Standing up in the church and saying, “You’re being silly about this.” would be completely out of the question. If it bothers them that much, they’ll just quietly leave and join a less superstitious church.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    He seems to think that the slumber party game are demonic too. From the article:

    Whether the levitation is experienced by young girls playing a dangerous
    occult “game” at a slumber party, (“Light as a feather, Stiff as a
    board”) … paranormal
    things happen when people engage in practices that are rooted in
    sorcery, magic and witchcraft.

    • Yoav

      What about D&D?

      • The Other Weirdo

        Oh, that’s right out. Obviously. Only an idiot–or someone totally possessed by the Devil–doesn’t know that if it’s written in a book then it must be so.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    I recommend a book called The Fakers by Danny Korem and Paul Meier (ISBN-13: 978-0801054358). Korem is a stage magician, and Meier is a psychiatrist. It resembles a typical skeptical debunking book, covering topics like dowsing, ESP, etc. But at the end of every chapter, Korem turns to proselytizing: “It’s a shame that people are taken in by this fake stuff because it distracts them from the real magic of Jesus.” (paraphrased). It’s a hoot.

    • Miss_Beara

      “It’s a shame that people are taken in by this fake stuff because it distracts them from the real magic of Jesus.”

      Jesus’ fak- erm, I mean magic is real, magicians are fake!

    • wombat

      +10 points for providing ISBN. Appreciated.

  • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

    “…there is a way out of this addiction if you are one of those who has become snagged in their cunning web of witchcraft and sorcery.”

    If I could actually learn to levitate and do other cool stuff, I would be happy to be snagged in that web. How cool would that be?? It wouldn’t matter if someone with big hair sat down in front of you at the theater; you could just float up and hang there in midair. It would work great for parades, too. And forget walking; I’d just float around the neighborhood, waving down at my neighbors and smirking because they hadn’t yet embraced the power of Satan. Imagine all the envious looks!

    Alas for us, it doesn’t actually work that way. You can’t do miracles in the name of Jesus, and you can’t do them in the name of anyone else either. Reality is sadly a bit more prosaic than this guy imagines.

    • baal

      Were magic real, I would sign up immediately and go absolutely nuts trying to maximize my magical powers. If you could even only levitate, why not wear some wings or sails and get to work w/o a car?

      • Raising_Rlyeh

        I agree. If magic were actually real I’d work my ass off mastering it. I’d go all harry dresden learning all i could, but like you said sadly it is not really. Imagine though a single person could collapse the global economy with alchemy if it were real and we were still on the gold standard.

    • Hat Stealer

      It would sure beat turning a cracker into Jesus.

      • Derrik Pates

        Which still looks strangely like a cracker.

  • Tainda

    I bet these people are terrified of the “I got your nose!” game

    • Octoberfurst

      LOL! Good one!

  • Gideon

    Well, the Bible does contain the witch of Endor and Simon the Sorcerer, so Delzell is being more biblical than the Christians who say they’re embarrassed by the notions of witchcraft or sorcery.

  • Shian Storm

    there’s an article on Lifehacker (I believe) that reveals how the trick is done. It’s a fake arm, bolted to the bus. His arm goes into the fake titanium arm, which attaches to a semi rigid harness that holds him in place.

  • C Peterson

    Personally, I think Satan was in much better form when he made Jesus levitate on water. That was a better bit of magic.

    • Intelligent Donkey

      What? I walk on water every winter!

  • indorri

    I like the “if you dare” part. It’s like he has no clue at all how to speak normally. Everything has to be through his lens.

    So he has to show magic is real, “the devil” is real AND magic comes from “the devil”. Any attempt to prove even one of these is bound to be a hoot.

  • BobaFuct

    “Whether the levitation is experienced by young girls playing a dangerous occult “game” at a slumber party, (“Light as a feather, Stiff as a board”)”

    Bloody mary bloody mary bloody mary!!

    See, I knew it wouldn’t wo

    • Brian Westley

      Damn! Lost another one!

    • Gus Snarp

      That used to scare the crap out of me as a kid. I was worried that if I even thought it three times I’d

    • baal

      Hey, what happened to Gus? He was here just a minute ago!

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        It’s like saying Candlejack. You just dis-

    • Raising_Rlyeh

      Just remember to never say the name candle jack

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Too la-

        • Hat Stealer

          Oh God could we please just let that stupid meme d

  • Freak

    I wonder how he’d react to a “Christian magician”. (Standard magician who does tricks with a Christian theme.)

  • Joe ‘Pegleg’ Nelson

    Wow… there really is no getting anything past this genius! He knows exactly how we all got here. God! And he knows exactly how this levitation is done. Satan! It must feel so good to never be unsure about anything, ever.

    • dats3

      You must understand that in the Christian world there are only two answers to any question. God or Satan. Those are the only two answers. If you answer a question using evidence or science, well, that’s really satan. If you answer a question with scripture that would be god. The do live in a fairy tale don’t they.

  • Miranda Flemming
  • Malcolm McLean

    There’s stage magic, where the conjuror doesn’t tell you how he does it, and may dress up in a pointy hat and robes, but there’s no attempt to sell it as anything other than entertainment. Then there’s religious-themed magic, which is sometimes seemingly innocuous, offering bodily healing, success in business enterprises, and the like, sometimes what’s technically known as “malefaction” (doing evil by spiritual means, e.g. praying for someone’s death).

    Religious-themed magic claims to be real, but it doesn’t always claim to be supernatural. There’s a big grey area with things like meditative exercises, and, in a different way, with magic dressed up as science or as environmental awareness. There’s often an element of cheating, which is often ritualised. Cheating a prospect by making him believe that something is supernatural when it is not is considered by many groups to be an inherent part of magical training. So it’s very difficult to know if any supernatural activity is actually occurring or not, in magically-based religious movements.

    • Nate Frein

      So it’s very difficult to know if any supernatural activity is actually occurring or not

      Not so difficult, really. If it has any impact on the real world, it can be measured.

      If it doesn’t have any impact on the real world, it might as well not exist.

      • Malcolm McLean

        To demonstrate an impact, scientifically, you’ve got to do a controlled test. So you could take astrology predictions for the week, scramble them up, then give the scrambled set to one groups, and the real set to the other, and ask them to rate the accuracy. If the real set says the accuracy is better,, and the difference is statistically significance, you’ve demonstrated an effect.

        But astrologers themselves tend to be very sceptical of newspaper astrology, regarding it just as light entertainment. As I said, many magical groups believe in cheating the prospect. So a scientific test like that would turn up null results. You haven’t really shown that astrology as the astrologer understands it doesn’t work, and you can’t easily because the astrologer won’t tell you how he really understands it.

        • The Other Weirdo

          I read about it once. At university, a bunch of students were given their astrological writeups and asked to rate how accurate they were. A significantly large proportion of the students found their writeups to be very accurate. Then they were asked to stand up and read their writeups to the rest of the class.

          That was when everyone learnt that everyone had the exact same writeup.

          • Gus Snarp

            Yeah, it’s been done repeatedly, same results every time. It’s been done with horoscopes written by professional astrologers, too.

          • Malcolm McLean

            Exactly. That’s how the “fortune-telling” con works. You say vague things that could apply to anybody, like “you could be extremely creative given the right opportunities”, and people latch on to it. So whilst there are plenty of anecdotes, they don’t tell you much.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Astrology is one of the vaguest possible examples of “magic”. You’re trying to camouflage your gullibility. It’s very sad that you have to believe in sorcerers in order to prop up belief in miracles.

        • Nate Frein

          I really doubt the universe cares particularly how an individual human “understands” it.

          • Malcolm McLean

            The point is that if people with a name for themselves in the world of professional astrology say that newspaper columns are “mostly just entertainment”, and scientific investigation confirms this, the scientific investigation hasn’t really told you anything much about astrology.

        • Gus Snarp

          I’ve said we should stop encouraging you, and I will, but this is just the single best case of special pleading I’ve ever seen. I will remember this as the best worst argument ever:

          As I said, many magical groups believe in cheating the prospect. So a scientific test like that would turn up null results.

          To the actual skeptics reading: is special pleading the best term for this?

      • Gus Snarp

        I think it’s time we stopped encouraging this guy.

        • Nate Frein

          Sorry, disqus borked the post name. I saw when I refreshed.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      with magic dressed up as science or as environmental awareness

      So it’s very difficult to know if any supernatural activity is actually occurring or not, in magically-based religious movements.

      Sometimes I have no idea why we bother.

    • baal

      ” So it’s very difficult to know if any supernatural activity is actually occurring or no”
      um. no.

      All the fake magicians (fake magic) are not masking a deeper secret true hidden (real) magic. It’s always the one objective reality without supernatural anything every time. ‘Real magic’ as an explanation has failed in favor of physics, chemistry and biology every time anyone has taken a serious look at it.

      • Malcolm McLean

        It’s kind of suspicious, I agree with you.But that’s not fatal to a claim.

  • Gus Snarp

    Having worked in magic, I can tell you:

    a. Pretty close to exactly how he did this.
    b. That there’s no supernatural or paranormal or actually magical anything going on with any magic, illusion, or mentalist performance anywhere, ever. Any illusionist will tell you the same thing.

    It does make perfect sense though. Believers in psychic powers do the same thing, once you believe something paranormal exists, then it becomes the easiest explanation for anything you don’t understand. That’s why you’ll get believers telling people like Randi that he actually has psychic powers and is using them, he just doesn’t know it or is lying about it!

    • Michael W Busch

      My favorite version of that one is where the failed psychic claims that Randi has antipsychic superpowers – when all he’s done is set things up to avoid cold-reading and the other standard tricks.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        The rather brilliant tabletop RPG Beyond the Supernatural actually did this. It had a variety of psychic types that the players could portray, and one was a “nega-psychic”, whose powerful psychic energy was entirely devoted to dampening other supernatural energies. A nega-psychic not only did not believe in the supernatural, but disbelieved it so strongly that /she would instinctively make it not work. And then laugh at how gullible everyone else was for believing in it!

        They were also the only type of character that was almost impossible to terrify, because they would assume everything was fake or a shaved dog wearing greasepaint or something. Every other character would be screaming in horror at the big ugly othedimensional demon, while the nega-psychic would hit it with a baseball bat to “prove” it was a guy in a costume.

        • Malcolm McLean

          That’s the “jamming” theory. The idea is that everyone has psychic powers, but that means that anyone could psychically “zap” anyone else. So to prevent this, people use their psychic powers to continuously “jam” everyone else’s psychic abilities. So you get the illusion that no-one has any psychic ability, except for the odd example showing through when the jamming is somehow suspended.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            You, sir, are so stupid that I wonder how you remember to breathe.

            • Malcolm McLean

              It’s just a theory that some psychic types advance. I’m not saying I personally subscribe to it. Since you’re so clever, maybe you;d like to suggest how it could be ruled out?

      • Kodie

        I think in some cases, people who believe they are psychic don’t really get that cold reading is not a magical skill. Not everyone hones this skill and that’s why they think it is special, while others may be artistic and observers who are not artistic think that kind of talent is some sort of wizardry (I think I’m exaggerating for effect, but I’m not sure). Boiling this down to early aptitudes for certain things, combined with a belief in a personal deity, it just seems to me these people don’t really know how they can do what they do, and don’t know that we know how they can do what they do such that we can obstruct it – yes, they may actually think there is such a thing as antipsychic powers. They’re in awe of their own skill that they would be suspicious of a person who could throw them.

        I saw a part of a thing a while ago about psychics, I think Randi was in this segment on a tv special, and he put certain limits on the psychics, like, the subjects had to wear gloves and the psychics couldn’t lay hands on them, and some of the psychics complained because that’s how the do their seeing. I really got the impression they don’t know how they process their impressions, but are ritualistic about them anyway. There are certain things a talented person can’t do without their faculties, such as play the trumpet if their mouth is taped shut, for example.

        To summarize generally, religious people with an early aptitude for something or other often attribute it to just being a gift from god. Just about anyone can play the piano if they’re taught, but few really take to it “naturally” or want to point themselves in that direction, such as they can say that it’s always just been that way, or math, or art, or sports, or helping others, etc. Others concern themselves that they don’t know what god’s plan is, what their path is supposed to be, that they didn’t just know or feel drawn to anything special. All these talents have to be nurtured, but people who like something usually put the time in because that feels right. I just find it hard to believe that every psychic knows they’re a fraud, they just think they have a gift, they know how to do something not a lot of other people know how to do, and they’re impressed by their skills. They’re impressed by other people who seem to have similar skills.

  • Rain

    Oh, a google-illiterate pastor. Wow, you don’t run across google-illiterate pastors very often. /sarcasm

    • Intelligent Donkey

      Google answers questions. Pastors already have all the answers, and no questions.

  • Regina Carol Moore

    Magicians and con artists have a sincere and deeply-held belief about keeping their secrets. That’s why Pastor Dan Delzell pretends the magician’s trick is real. He’s hoping everyone will give him the same courtesy.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    I wonder if he’ll trade me his car, for these beans. They’re magic beans.

    • baal

      Don’t you mean, “There!” he said pointing dramatically. “Magic beans!”

  • more compost

    The odds of this are one in a million billion trillion gazillion. So it MUST be true.

    • Derrik Pates

      And the bigger you make the number, the truer it must be.

  • Gus Snarp

    So I’m going to guess he didn’t watch the full video, where they conveniently cut to a shot of just his legs when he goes up to position and again when he comes down, or is Delzell so stupid he not only doesn’t know what an illusion is, he doesn’t know what video editing is either?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G06xdAEYcjM

  • A3Kr0n

    He’s a liar. Nobody is that stupid. If someone did believe it, they need to be locked up for their own protection.

  • busterggi

    If Christian ministers could only get Jesus to give them the magical power Satan gives his followers, specifically the power to pull quarters from out of kid’s ears, the churches would never have to ask for donations again.

  • Tel

    I’m sure this will be news to the magician.

  • Mick

    Delzell doesn’t give a damn about what the atheists think of his stories.

    He’s a professional preacher who makes his money telling the flock what they want to hear – and if they want to hear that the devil sneaking up behind them then that’s what he’ll tell them.

    It’s a bit childish but hey, they’re American Christians – and gullibility is all the rage among those people in that country.

    Give ‘em a few hundred years, they’ll sort themselves out.

    • Mike Hitchcock

      If they haven’t turned the rest of the world into a parking lot in the meantime…

  • DesertSun59

    Very amusing. There is no such thing as the supernatural. Period.

  • TnkAgn

    I prefer the magic of “Arrested Development’s” Gob Bluth. That shit is real!

    • UWIR

      Where did the lighter fluid come from?

  • Mario Strada

    This kind of magic could revolutionize the way they perform maintenance on electric lines. Too bad they are all going to hell afterwards, but think how much money the utility companies could save.

  • mikespeir

    I don’t get it. Why would I want Jesus to keep me from levitating?

  • jaman

    Oy to think I have met this guy and he lives in my town is just….. gives me tremors.

  • Frank Mitchell

    Last night I watched _The Golden Voyage of Sinbad_; I presume it would blow this guy’s mind. References to the false Mooslim moon-god, and none to Jesus! Dancing heathen statues! Demons from the pit of hell! Tom Baker uses evil Mooslim magic! Caroline Munroe’s breasts! Surely this “Ray Harryhausen” must have been a high priest of Satan before he joined his dark master in the Eternal Flames! Mr Baker and Ms Monroe can still repent if they send us money!

  • Sarah Morehead

    I know Pastor Dan, he’s incredibly sincere in his beliefs. He’s also very uneducated, by choice. I met with him several times with a few fellow atheists local to the area to discuss his many articles railing against atheism. Every book he brought up for discussion, he also finally admitted he hadn’t read. He slams thinkers like Dawkins and Dennett while never having cracked the spine of a single work they’ve offered the world. He has the first world luxury of taking every scientific advantage available while ignoring how any of it works, and not caring either. But yes, he 100% believes what he writes (when he recalls what he said, of course.) ~SarahM

  • futuremathsteacher

    This kind of “levitation” trick is usually performed by hiding a rigid harness under the clothes, connected to the fixed reference point (here the bus). I suspect in this case, the whole bus-arm is simply fake and part of the support structure (note how he never moves neither this arm nor his shoulder).

    You can tell when this kind of trick is used : the set-up is always hidden (you don’t see the levitating person actually rise, you only see that person on the ground and at a fixed height relative to an object heavier than them) and the levitating person never moves relative to the point they touch (the bus here, but a known variant uses a slender , reinforced, cane)

    • Mike Hitchcock

      That was my thought – if that’s REALLY his right arm, he can pick up Randi’s $1m…

  • Matt D

    Nah, he’s WAY off base.
    This feat was only possible because Loki, Lord Voldemort and Evil Lincoln merged into a being known as Negative Satan (A.K.A Natas, or the Not-So-Dark-But-Grayish-One) and gave this man magical powers.
    Naturally, this was done to support a completely unverifiable and invisible Army of Darkness, led by an alternate dimensional Bruce Campbell.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    A “legit” magician is levitating along side a bus. Could there be a reason for the bus? Could it be a clue? Nope.

  • unclemike

    Oh, please pray to god to make the bullet-catching trick work…

  • Brian

    I wish i had supernatural powers, how exactly does one contact Satan? My pentagrams and blood rituals havent worked yet, anyone got any tips? Levitating would be sweet, but ill settle for turning water into wine….or do i need to contact Jeebus for that? Shit, now im confused.

  • Grotoff

    That’s pretty clearly a fake hand covering a welded metal rod leading to a harness. Come on people.

  • Robster

    Didn’t the baby jesus walk on water at some stage? If jesus can do it, why not do something even better and walk on air, beside a bus? It looks like we’ve got a new son of god and he’s got a phone!

  • CondescendingMike

    I’ve known of people who have tried magic and gotten results including a relative of mine, none of that glamorous or extravagant shit like levitation but much more discreet things such as getting lovers to call at an exact time which would have to be considered extreme coincidence after repeated incidents. And the reason why christians and muslims consider magic to be malevolent is because the practice of actual magick is done by summoning supposedly extra-dimensional beings (demons) that can manipulate the universe. And if jesus walked on water it was because god made the universe while demons can only circumvent the laws of nature in limited ways hence the need for contrived rituals.

    • Mario Strada

      really? I am sure you have plenty of evidence for this right?

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Hey, I passed a Geometry class using a spell from the pocket Necronomicon.

        But the only “magic” in that was that the ritual and spell served as a focus and gave me a push to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish. It was all in my head — everything else was just a psychological prop.

        So, yeah, magic “works”, just not exactly the way it’s portrayed in the media. (And believe you me, I’d love to be able to just swish a wand and *poof*)

  • barrie

    One of the best examples of the pot calling the kettle black.

  • AntonioPeYangIII

    If this idiot is going to accuse magicians of witchcraft, I’m going to demand more robust proof…

    1. Did the magician turn anybody into a newt? Die they get better?

    2. Do they weigh less than ducks?

    Hard evidence, people!

    • gimpi1

      Yes! I was turned into a newt! I got better…

  • http://thetimchannel.wordpress.com/ The Tim Channel

    I’m convinced the real reason why religious folks try and scare their kids out of trying to “call on the Devil” for help or engaging in “magic” is that they’ll realize the Devil and magic are just as fake as imaginary Jeebus. Enjoy.

  • jeffj900

    Delzelll must doing this for the publicity, because anyone with even half a brain would think to ask “why doesn’t he take his hand off of the bus?” If he really could levitate, why would he need a bus? This presupposes one even considers such supernatural feats a real possibility, which I don’t.

    The way this kind of trick is done is to embed a strong support rod into the bus, which is concealed by the arm and hand. The rod goes up the sleeve, and a body harness is attached to it under the clothing.

  • Josh

    So this idiot pastor feels that is coming from Satan, despite the simplicity behind the “tricks.” Yet, I’m sure the same “magic” applied in the bible or “faith” healing is authentic.

  • Jparfit

    Why doesn’t he levitate without the bus?

    • JohnnieCanuck

      Gravity?

  • SeekerLancer

    I wish the magician would reveal the trick just to show this guy how much of a gullible moron he is.

  • Ryan Hite

    A friend and I saw this guy recently!! Cool trick.

  • brindlethorpe

    At least there is a sort of consistency here. Believers are committed to the existence of miracles, so of course they have to believe in magic. For them, the only question concerns the source of the magical power involved, and they reduce the possibilities to 2: God and Satan.
    I have to say I think divine miracles have really slacked off recently. Instead of parted seas and pillars of fire, we get vaguely Jesus-looking patterns on tortillas and toast.

  • Peter Mountain

    “If someone told me Delzell was an atheist pulling a fast one on the Christian Post, I would believe you. Maybe this is part of some long game to delegitimize the faith. (I think he’s for real, though…)”

    Yep, he’s for real. Dan and I were friends back in college (Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Ne) during the 80′s. Back then he had the heart of an evangelist, even going so far as to try and break into Christian rap. He’s a very nice guy; too bad he never escaped our religious brainwashing.

  • Paula M Smolik

    If I were a magician and really had satanic power, doesn’t he think I’d do something a little more interesting? Isn’t satan better than parlor tricks? Make a billion dollars in cash appear, or levitate over a volcano.

    • Kodie

      Turn someone to a skeleton and back. Start animating all my household objects and talk to me in a scary voice!

      Take the bus from the outside? That is kind of lame.


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