Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Queen of Magic


The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
-W.B. Yeats

Confirming my theory that everyone eventually retires in Florida, I had my palm read last night by the Queen of Magic, Celeste Evans. Pushing 81, she is still a glamour girl. The red head with a striking figure walked into my neighbor’s house and I knew she was someone with a story.

Celeste told me she was fascinated by magic as a child. At the age of 9, she asked a performer how to do a slight of hand trick. She was told “girls can’t be magicians.” That was all it took to spark a lifelong passion. She was billed as Canada’s first female magician when she started touring with carnivals in the 1940’s. By the fifties, she was entertaining troops during the Korean War. Her USO and United Nations assignments would send her around the world twice including Vietnam, Egypt and the Republic of Congo, where she narrowly escaped execution at gunpoint during a kidnapping by revolutionaries. Her website, Celeste Evans Magic, has a variety of video clips from her many television appearances including The Ed Sullivan Show and Barbara Walters.  In her heyday, she headlined at the “Palace” in New York City and performed for heads of state and royalty. She married a talent agent and settled down in Chicago. Even while raising two children, she was a regular in Vegas and the Playboy Club circuit. Ask her about Mayor Richard Daly. He was an admirer. 

Now that she is just another Florida grandmother, she still travels to different gigs to accept various recognitions. Evans is in the Magic Hall of Fame and has recently received the equivalent of an Oscar from the Academy of Magic Arts. SInce I am studying childlike intuition this month, I wanted to know if her magic was simply showmanship or something else.  Her tricks are just that, she acknowledged in an indirect way while talking about pageantry and props. But the woman, who reminds me of a Vargas pin-up model, told me that she distinguishes between a “sixth sense” and “intuition” and that she believes both exist. Evans remembers once warning her daughter to be extra careful on a day that she later was involved in a car accident. She thought that was her sixth sense at work. As for intuition, Evans thinks that is more about reading people and situations.  I asked her if she ever read people’s future and picked up anything specific or telling.

Of course. I scared the shit out of people.” Evans said with a grin.

I wanted to see for myself. Would she read my palm, just for fun? Please? At first, she said no. I haven’t done it in years. I already know too much about you. But she grabbed my right hand and turned on a brighter light so she didn’t have to strain her eyes. While she didn’t tell me anything surprising about my future, everything she said about my past and present was on the money. She named my favorite color ( which I wasn’t wearing) and how many children are in my lifeline. Although she knew I had two kids at the party, she couldn’t have known about a miscarriage.  She was adamant about the number. She threw me when she asked me if I owned a plot of land. I don’t. Than she asked me if I was considering moving. In fact, it was the topic of conversation that same day in our house. We had looked at three vacant lots a few hours earlier. Yep. Plot of land. The reading was over. Being the consummate performer, she chose to end with a strong finish. 

The only way she could explain what she had just done was to say, “you see things than you get a strong feeling about them.”

I don’t feel any closer to understanding the mechanics of intuition. Maybe that is why the definition is: the ability to understand something immediately without the need for conscious reasoning.

Do you use your intuition?

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