Day in, and day out, Dan Anderson works magic on Corban’s technological systems. From fixing students computers to making his staff laugh, Dan gives the IT department some magic every day.
But it’s another kind of magic that interests this 60-year-old Communications Specialist. Anderson has a reputation in the It department for his magic tricks.
“As a child, I enjoyed magic,” said Anderson, who was born April 16th, 1949. “The first time I could hold a memory on [magic], was when I was 7. A man came to my church from Australia.” The man shared the gospel of Christ through a story line that included magic. Anderson was hooked. “He made a ping pong ball disappear, and then [moved it] from mouth to ear. He [even] sent the ping pong ball down the middle isle [of church],” Anderson recalled.
Since then, Anderson has had an appreciation for the strange and the unorthodox. During his college years at then Western Baptist, Anderson went to a magic seminary taught by the Fellowship of Christian Magicians. It was only a one credit course, but Anderson didn’t go to it for the credit. He went to it for the magic.
Since then, he has been “an associate member over the years – it’s been a continuing way of life.” He has remained a side member of that same organization of amateur magicians, using his unusual skills to share the gospel of Christ, usually at Sunday schools.
In college, Anderson began collecting, building, buying, and making his own magic tricks to create a message about Christ. Since then, he has dressed as a clown, gone to a parade, taught at VBS, and performed silly antics in front of hundreds of students, mostly in the Salem Oregon area.
“I try to bring my act to most every church. I [find] a means to be included in Sunday school, AWANA, and those kinds of things,” he said.
At home, Anderson’s collection of magic paraphernalia fills half of his two-car garage, as well two closets in his house.
“I probably need to condense, but I have lots of ideas,” Anderson said.
Anderson said he has many tricks, enough to fill more many presentations.
“This summer, I have six programs I will do. Each is an hour long, and they won’t all be magic, but I’m going to use magic some of the time, and the tricks will have to vary,” says Anderson. Like most magicians, Anderson is careful to space out his tricks so that audiences will not see the same trick more than once or twice. At times, he will even space out his tricks two years apart. Some tricks, however, are the bread and butter of illusion.
Anderson has a coin trick, for instance, he can use at any time to amuse folks. Many times, students at Corban have seen him pull out a coin and flip it from hand to hand showing only a heads. When the student thinks Anderson has a two-sided coin, Anderson will take the coin and show the tails side.
When it comes to magic, Anderson is serious; but when it comes to the gospel message, he is a perfectionist.
“There are many magic tricks that I have learned…some I make, some I buy, [but] some have no use for the gospel,” says Anderson. For Anderson, a magic trick’s value is completely wrapped up in its ability to present the gospel.
Although he doesn’t like to divulge his secrets, Anderson did mention a few of his favorite gospel tricks. Anderson has a sucker die box, a trick where the audience is supposed to think one thing, until Dan proves them wrong. Anderson takes a block or similar object, puts it into a larger box, and tips the box back and forth. The audience can hear the box rattle in the larger box, and guesses which side it is on. At the end of the trick, Anderson shows the audience that the die block is not inside at all, but somewhere else in the room. He usually associates the trick with Jesus’ disappearance from the tomb after His resurrection.