Ashland, Oregon – Andre Kole wowed an audience of 400 Thursday night when he floated into the air – apparently unaided by wires or any other visible means of support. The world-renowned magician came to Southern Oregon University’s Stevenson Union with a mission: to show his viewers the difference between illusion and the supernatural. “I try to create wonder and keep the wonder alive in people,” said Kole. “With so many problems in the world today, people enjoy fantasy because, if only for a little while, it turns their attention away from all that’s wrong. They love to be entertained. They love to be fooled.”
Kole started practicing legerdemain at the age of seven, when his mother gave him a magic set for Christmas. “Then, when I was eight I met a magician who taught me a few more tricks,” he said. “That’s what really got me started.” After that he developed a passion for magic and devoted much of his childhood to learning new techniques. By the time he reached adulthood, he was very proficient at prestidigitation and the transition from amateur to professional magician was just another one of his smooth moves.
“He has traveled in all 50 states and 79 countries,” said Robert Dorsch, director of operations at Andre Kole productions in Tempe, Arizona. “Millions of people all over the world have seen his performances, and the world’s seven greatest magicians – including David Copperfield – have used his inventions.”
In fact, Kole has invented more than 1,000 magic tricks. The Society of American Magicians and The Academy of Magical Arts in Hollywood have both given him their highest awards, and The International Magicians Society unanimously choose him to receive the highly coveted MERLIN AWARD for Magic Inventor of the Decade.
That would come as no surprise to the Ashland audience. They knew he was great. After all, hadn’t they, with their own eyes, seen Kole pass a Guillotine blade through a man’s neck without injuring him? Hadn’t they seen him cut off a woman’s head and put it back on without harming her? Hadn’t they seen Kole pass through a giant spinning fan without getting ground into hamburger meat?
Kole did all those things and many more, including materializing coins and filling a bucket with them, recreating a seance, and causing water to flow from a faucet that was attached to nothing but a young boy’s head. He saved the levitation for his grand finale.
Before he got to that though, he shocked and mystified some in the crowd with the things he said during a ten-minute oral presentation. “Years ago, I was challenged, as a skeptic and as a magician, to investigate the miracles of Christ from the point of view of a magician,” he said. “At that time, I took great pride in the fact that I had never been fooled by any other magician, so I had no intention of being deceived by any form of first-century trickster, if that is all Jesus was.”
Kole noted that after painstakingly reading accounts in the Bible, and other historical documents describing eyewitness accounts of the miracles performed by Jesus, he came to the conclusion that the miracles were truly supernatural feats.
Kole told the audience, “Recently in a worldwide television program, David Copperfield made this statement: ‘The miracles of the Bible go beyond anything that any magician or illusionist could ever perform, but greater than any physical miracle was the ability of a man named Jesus to bring purpose and meaning to the lives of millions of people throughout the centuries.'” Kole noted that he wholeheartedly agreed with Copperfield.
He added that soon after researching the miracles of Christ, he (Kole) asked Him to come into his heart and take control of his life. “In one of the stories in the Bible, Jesus told Nicodemus, ‘Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God,'” said Kole. “When I asked Jesus to come into my heart, for the first time I was able to see things pertaining to the spiritual dimension – God’s Kingdom.”
Not content to tell the audience that Jesus performed authentic miracles, Kole spoke of the Million Dollar Challenge sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation. “This organization offers a one million dollar reward to anyone who can demonstrate a true paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event under proper viewing conditions,” he explained. “So far nobody has been able to claim the prize money; in fact no one has even passed the relatively simple preliminary test of their supernatural powers.”
Kole acknowledged that his magic tricks were illusions – carefully planned, and carefully executed maneuvers designed to fool viewers not trained in the field of magic. “There’s nothing supernatural about anything that I do,” he said.
But that didn’t stop the audience from gasping in amazement when, from a sitting position, he floated into the air and remained suspended for several minutes while his assistants passed a steel hoop in front of, underneath, behind, on both sides, and above the magician.
After the Grand Finale, Cole went to a display table at the back of the auditorium to meet his admirers and autograph the books he has authored and videos he has produced. These included Mind Games, an expose on today’s psychics and other prognosticators of false spiritual phenomena, Miracles of Deception, and Illusion or Reality. Posters and Andre Kole Magic Sets were on sale there too.
“I love to provide people with fantasy,” said Kole. “Magic appeals to everyone; it goes beyond language, and beyond culture. A magician is one who uses natural means to create what looks like a supernatural effect. Any eight-year-old child can do the things I do…with 15 years of practice.”
For more information on Kole, his shows, and publications, click on www.andrekole.org