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Mrs. Covert's Spying Lesson #6 

Magician's Tricks

A spy often has to make use of the skills of a magician. You may need to swap one item for another. You may need to pick a lock, steal a secret. Yes, spies can be thieves, not just of ideas, but also of things.

These skills go beyond acting. You have to act naturally while being sneaky.  Spying is actually an art form. Your magician's skills will help you fool people into thinking you can read their minds, so they'll tell you things they might otherwise keep secret.  And you'll be able go places and take things you might not otherwise have access to.  People like to get close to magicians so they can "watch the magic." 

Much of "magic" is in the words (patter) used and in directing the viewer's gaze away from the trickery, even when they are looking right at it.

Your library either has or can get books on lock picking. You will also need tools:  professional locksmiths use a raking tool, a tension tool and a pick tool at the very least. It is legal to buy, own, and carry lock picking tools.  But if you are caught carrying them, they do look suspicious. Some spies are skilled enough that they can pick a lock with a credit card or bobby pin.

Being a spy means breaking the rules.  Some people become spies simply because they like breaking the rules.  Others break the rules because they are spying for a cause they believe in.  Whether you are doing it for the politics, the money, or just because you love the challenge, you'll need to practice a lot before you put your skills into practice.

Magic is really an art form.  If you choose to use a Magic Act as part of your spying repertoire, remember that you are not simply "doing a trick" like a seal balancing a ball on your nose. You are acting in such a way that your audience imagines that you are really doing the impossible. 

If you only want to use the skills of a magician, you must still NOT act as if you are doing tricks.


Useful links:

The Art of Distraction by Derren Brown



Misdirection Resources by Jarle Leirpoll -- articles by Magicians about their craft. 



Many out-of-print books on magic are available at




Lock Picking instructions:







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