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  • John Kippen

Magic’s Other Powers . How it inspires and can heal.


Magic can be much more than entertainment. It can teach, inspire, motivate, and sometimes even heal. I use performing magic to conquer the daemons of having my face paralyzed after surgery to remove a brain tumor. I realized magic can motivate others to move forward in their lives just by being a part of it, when I met a group at the Castle about seven months ago.


A gentleman stopped me as I got out of my car at the valet and said he had seen me perform on his last visit. He asked if I would be willing to do some magic for his group of friends. As we headed to the Oakie Gallery so I could do the show, the guest told me in confidence that his pal Ron, who was at the Castle that evening for his first time, had received a call from his doctor that morning with the news that his cancer had returned for the third time. Ron shared that, this time, it was too much and he had decided not to seek treatment. Upon hearing that news, my intention was to make sure that the group had a great time and was able to focus on something fun and entertaining.


I performed a close-up show where in I spoke about my challenges post-surgery and how performing magic is my best therapy. The fact that Ron and I now had something in common helped him look at his challenges in a new way. They invited me to join them for dinner and I ended up spending the rest of the evening with my new friends. I shared my journey and how performing had allowed me to answer the question that everyone wanted to ask: “Why is my face paralyzed?” I shared that I had started to see that audiences immediately accepted the answer and now I could focus on the magic and stories without the distraction.

The next day, I received an email from Ron’s friend that on the way home, Ron had changed his mind and decided to fight again. A month ago Ron called me to say he was in remission.

I take no credit for curing cancer, but I do believe I reminded Ron that life, with all its challenges, it still worth living. I share this true story to remind all of us performers that it is our experiences which make us interesting and entertaining. Magic is the vehicle we choose, but it is the stories and the glimpse into who we are as human beings that makes it special and inspiring.




Ron and I after he beat cancer for the third time!