Ooh, Interesting! - Lennart Green: The Magician who was Disqualified for Performing a Trick Nobody Else Thought Possible

December 04, 2015

There's a certain charm and professionalism to magic; a magician never performs the same trick twice and will not reveal their secret. But what if you're dealing with fellow magicians? Most of the time, a fellow conjuror or illusionist will know exactly how their colleague's trick works but when they don't, it can cause some problems...

Lennart Green is a Swedish close-up magician, revered amongst fellow professionals for his ability with cards. Now Green's life is probably befitting of an 'Ooh, Interesting!' post in itself; he's been a doctor, a nurse, a property administrator, assistant professor of gymnastics and even a maker of violins over the years, but he is undoubtedly most famed for his magic.

Lennart is known for his seemingly chaotic performances, which are not only highly original but deliver an exceptional performance for the person lucky enough to be watching; his showmanship and skills are second to none... So much so that even fellow magic professionals aren't always sure what they're watching.

This was undoubtedly the case in 1988 when Lennart Green was performing close-up magic for judges at the FISM convention. For those that are unaware, this is perhaps best described as the World Cup of magic (except that it takes place every 3 years rather than 4 - yup, magicians can even make whole years disappear!) Lennart was competing in the close-up category and wowed the audience with his card trick... But was disqualified due to the judges believing that he had used stooges or gimmicked cards in his act. Even amongst magic competitions, there are rules and the trick he had performed was deemed impossible. 

In the trick, Lennart had called someone up on stage to shuffle a pack of cards. Once, twice, three times-- However many times they wanted. The assistant was then asked to name a card and, who knows how he did it, Lennart would then produce the card from the pack. But how did he know where it was in the deck? How did he find it so quickly? How? How?! Exactly! This is why the judges could not believe what they had seen, promptly disqualifying him.

So what did Lennart do? Well, there was nothing he could do! One can protest all they like but as we all know, the judges' word is final. Or is it? For three years, Lennart Green had to continue performing as an amateur magician, making ends meet with his various odd jobs and presumably frustrated that the magic world didn't believe in him and his abilities. But how could he prove it?

Well...three years later, at the very same convention - FISM 1991 - Lennart Green again entered the close-up magic competition. What would he do to wow the judges this time? Exactly the same trick. If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Except this time, the judges and their assistants were the ones invited on stage to help him to perform. They were the ones asked to shuffle the deck of cards. Lo and behold, the trick(s) went perfectly and after what can only be assumed as a whole host of apologies were made, Lennart Green was awarded first place and not only that, was finally able to become a professional magician.

Since then, he has become extremely well known for his magic tutorials and lectures, one of which is viewable on TED talks. A wonderful speaker, we highly recommend the watch!


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By Henry Fosdike