Students who do cool things: Jonah Cader ’16

Some of you might remember him as that kid doing card tricks on the Hogwarts Express ADOCH train; others might have noticed him doing card tricks for people around campus. If you haven’t met him yet, you probably should…because he’s awesome.

Jonah has loved magic since he was a little kid. He fondly remembers a magic shop that he used to visit near his grandparents’ house. He would throw on his cape and hat and create shows for his parents, grandparents, and their cats.  As Jonah grew older, his hobby became a hardcore passion—he started reading as many magic books and watching as many DVDs as he possibly could. He started going to magic meetings with groups like The Society of American Magicians and The International Brotherhood of Magicians. He even started to take lessons with a—wait for it—card magician-turned-Capuchin-Franciscan-Friar. Once a week, the friar would teach him new tricks and help him develop his dexterity and skill.

Jonah practices close-up sleight of hand magic, meaning that his favorite way to do a trick is up close and personal, engaging an audience anywhere with nearly anything. His repertoire of tricks incorporates a diverse array of objects: from traditional magic objects, like cards and sponge balls, to more impromptu ones, like a potato chip at a party. Jonah explains, “If you’re a stage magician and someone says, ‘hey do a trick,’ it doesn’t really work to say, ‘well, if you let me go and get my trunk-full of several thousand dollar machinery. If you can go hire a lighting guy, and a sound guy, then we can try and get something together.'” In addition, he says, “if you do something flashy, the spectator will know that something is up whereas if you do something subtle, it appears even more amazing.” With close-up sleight of hand magic, Jonah can do a trick with a rock, a rubber band, or even a plastic knife from the Ratty. “It’s amazing if something not only happens in the spectator’s hands, right under his nose, but also if it is with the spectator’s deck of cards or a rock that he just picked up.”

With fast hands, dexterity, and a lively spiel, Jonah can make the ordinary appear extraordinary. His tricks are not just fast hand motions, but a way to make new connections with others. “It’s an awesome way to interact with people,” he says.

Something that has always fascinated him is the correlation between neuroscience and magic (he did an independent study on this in high school) and the way that magic can be used to reach out to others. He is not entirely sure what he wants to explore academically, but for this reason, he is certain that he came to the right place. During his next four years at Brown, Jonah hopes to entertain more people.  “It’s really nice to brighten up someone’s day with the mundane and it’s just a fun way to entertain.”

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  1. saml

    i thought magician brotherhoods were just something the arrested development writers made up to make gob an even more absurd character…

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