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A master illusionist

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Wouter Bijdendijk
Wouter Bijdendijk

Sangeeth Kurian

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: He is a self-styled entertainer who loves to freak out his audience by levitating in air. Meet Wouter Bijdendijk, a 30-year-old Cultural Anthropologist-turned-magician from the Netherlands, who says he switched over to the craft four years ago to “make people wonder.”

Since then the Dutch magician Bijdendijk has been at it with a sense of unwavering dedication, performing up to three shows a week across the world. The magician was in the news last year when he levitated in front of the White House. The illusionist had managed to hover several feet above the pavement using only a stick as his prop. And on Friday the magician re-enacted the feat here in the city before a ‘wonder struck’ public who had already been mesmerised with a feast of spell-binding shows as a part of the ongoing International Magic Festival organised jointly by the Magic Academy and Kerala Tourism Development Corporation.

Talking to The Hindu after the show, the magician described the trick as a combination of “science, practice, skill and meditation,” which he picked up from various masters. “In magic it is not wise to stick to just one master alone,” he explains. By Mr. Bijdendik own admission, the maximum height he has achieved through levitation is 10 feet, at his native Amsterdam last year. Interestingly, the spark for his magical foray came during an academic visit to the State nearly four years ago. “I was here to do research on Kalarippayattu and got interested in the traditional street magic practised here.”

An admirer of the American magician and endurance artist David Blaine, who recently broke the record for holding his breath, Mr. Bijdendik revealed that one of his forthcoming stunts will feature him buried alive in a coffin placed under water for thirty minutes. “I am currently practising it,” said the Dutch magician who is popularly known by the title ‘Ramana,’ after Indian mystic and sage Ramana Maharshi.

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