Throughout man’s history, perfect magic tricks have played its part in influencing various cultures, religions, and even political developments. Magic tricks are simply illusions that have the purpose of misleading people in order to evoke amazement. In the past, it was even used for treachery in one incarnation or another. Nowadays, it’s become a form of entertainment and people are still delighted to watch a simple magic trick performed.
An illusion relies on simple misdirection of an audience’s attention in order for the magic trick to be executed flawlessly. An example of one of the earliest records of misdirection is one that was used by Odysseus during the Trojan War. It was a war that lasted for a decade and the Greek army was very low on their morale. In a flash of inspiration that no man to this day can still compete with, he came up with the best of perfect magic tricks that still live on in men’s minds.
He built a giant wooden horse and placed several men inside it. The Greek army feigned defeat, sailed away, and left a single soldier, by the name of Sinon, to come up with a magical story to tell the Trojans. He told them that the gods were angry at them and that the giant horse was an offering.
The Trojans celebrated their victory and brought the wooden horse into their city. Of course, everybody knows what happened when night finally fell. The men inside the wooden horse climbed down into the streets and opened the city gates. The Greek army by then had come back and marched inside. Thus fell the city of Troy.
The story above is a perfect example of misdirection. The giant wooden horse was only believable to the Trojans because of the fascinating magical elements attached to it, making it one of the great perfect magic tricks of all time. The story that Odysseus instructed Sinon to tell the Trojans was that Athena, the great warrior goddess, was exceedingly angry at the Greeks and that he, Sinon, was supposed to be the human sacrifice.
The giant horse was made with the hope that the Trojans would destroy it and bring bad luck to them instead of the Greeks. He ended his story by saying that he escaped in the night before the Greeks could kill him. The Trojans believed Sinon’s story and they accepted him as one of their own.
But of course, just as Odysseus foresaw, the Trojans brought the wooden horse into the city and celebrated. It was a simple misdirection that fooled even the great King Priam. Odysseus was a cunning man who only wanted to go home. He never even wanted to take part in the war in the first place. He could see no other way for it to end except with the total destruction of Troy.