Who is Jerry Andrus?
Iconoclast: i-con-o-clast [ahy-kon-uh-klast]
1. A breaker or destroyer of images, esp. those set up for religious veneration.
2. A person who attacks cherished beliefs, traditional institutions, etc., as being based on error or superstition.
Jerry Andrus is many things - poet, philosopher, inventor, humanist, agnostic, magician; all these things and more. A quiet and gentle man, at 88 years old he lives next door to his brother, George, in the same home they grew up in as boys in Albany. Jerry has traveled the world as a teacher, lecturer and performer. However he first traveled to Europe as a solder in the US Army during WWII. Jerry loathes war but understands it is a "necessary evil".
Jerry is mostly recognized as a magician and is highly respected among the enclaves of famous magicians for his unique sleight-of-hand skill. Whereas most magicians learn the trade from other magicians, Jerry has developed all of his illusions himself. The author of several books and videos on card control and other close-up magic tricks, his council is often sought by magicians whose names many of us would be familiar.
But Jerry is also well known for his remarkable eye for optical illusions and he is creating new ones constantly in his shop and his home that he calls the "Castle of Chaos". Some of these stunning and remarkable illusions have traveled with him to conferences and seminars all over the world. A renowned Skeptic, his optical illusions demonstrate how the mind can be fooled by the images implanted on our retinas. "Your mind is constantly on automatic pilot," he explains. "If it weren't, we couldn't function, we would have to question everything we see." To illustrate the concept, he asks "How do you know that someone hasn't sawed your car in half and hauled away the side you can't see? It's because you already know what a car or a dog or a horse looks like, you don't need to question it every time you see it". Or do you? What about that strange light in the sky ? is it a small object very close by or something huge hundreds of miles away? Is it a light, a planet, a UFO?
Jerry is on constant lookout for how the mind can be fooled. He sees the illusions in everyday objects, sometimes altering them himself with cardboard, wire and paint to show us how easily our minds can be fooled. And not just by things we see, but things we read and hear. Jerry looks for the things that don't make sense in both our physical but our spiritual world as well. Jerry has read the Bible from cover to cover; his copy bristles with bookmarks and notations. How can it be that a loving and merciful God could condone putting women and children to death? How could it be possible for there to be a Heaven, or even Hell for that matter. Where is the justice in a vengeful God who would commit a soul to suffer for eternity?
Jerry thinks about these things all the time. Jerry is always thinking and recording his thoughts and ideas. He has compiled reams of documents over his 88 years - "Scribulations", as he calls them, free verse and aphorisms, songs and poetry. He even coins his own words, literally thousands of them. These ideas flow from a mind constantly circulating in a sea of creativity and wonder. Jerry says that sometimes his friends chide him because of how often he uses the word "wonder". But Jerry is awe-struck by the gift of life and by the beauty and substance of the known universe. Every day is a new adventure for Jerry Andrus. Every day is an opportunity to discover, or create, new things.