Magic

October 31, 2010
(was 12.20.2009)

A Florida housewife named Katie has an unusual affliction. Occasionally, for no rhyme or reason, thin pieces of gold colored foil appear spontaneously on her skin. Paranormal researchers are stumped. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, exploring magic. From tales of the paranormal to the mathematics behind magic ricks. A stage magician-turned-mathematician explores the mysteries of probability. And, a Harry Potter story for grown-ups – Lev Grossman reads from his new novel The Magicians.

  1. Lev Grossman on "The Magicians"

    Lev Grossman talks about his novel, "The Magicians," with Anne Strainchamps. It's the story of a young man who discovers magic is real, not that it makes his life any less complicated.

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  2. Stephen Braude on Parapsychology

    Stephen Braude chairs the Philosophy Department at the University of Maryland, but he's long been interested in parapsychology, especially psycho-kinesis.

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  3. Persi Diaconis on the Math Behind Magic

    Persi Diaconis is a former stage magician who uses card shuffling and coin tossing to illustrate complex mathematical formulae.

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  4. Anne Strainchamps and Caryl Owen on Wicca

    Anne Strainchamps and Caryl Owen visit the Circle Sanctuary in Barneveld, Wisconsin, while Margot Adler reports from Scotland.

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  5. Mitch Horowitz on "Occult America"

    Mitch Horowitz tells Anne Strainchamps that belief in the occult is as old as the colonies and that spiritualism was America's first great religious export.

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