Vlad Kraven

NYC Magic Meets Psychological Thriller

The Supernaturalist with Dan White

Dan White Magician and host of the Supernaturalist

Dan White

This is a complete review and episode guide of The Supernaturalist with Dan White, first aired on the Discovery Channel on June 29, 2011. The premise of the program is that Magician Dan White travels off of the beaten path to Discover if there is real magic in the world. Does he discover real magic? Does the program deliver on its promise of a fantastic quest into the unknown?

“The role of the magician is to remind us that magic is everywhere…” – Dan White

The show starts with Dan White, the host and adventuring magician,  describing a supposed magical monk in Nepal, who he will attempt to find. He commences with a card trick in Nepal, a classic card transposition in a man’s hand. This trick helped put David Blaine on the map, and it’s still as potent on TV as it was a decade ago. After the brief segment, Dan White begins to tell the story of the magical monk; how he discovered his powers early on as a child while playing with pebbles, making those pebbles move without touching them.

Next, Dan says that he learns magic by watching other magicians in his travels. He approaches a snake charmer in Katmandu to find out if the snake is magically possessed to dance to the music played by the charmer. The street performer admits that it is not real magic, but does reiterate the existence of the magical monk in the mountains.

The Supernaturalist Nepal Magic

Nepal Magic

We then meet a street magician who does a trick where he pierces his tongue with a giant spike, only to have it be unscathed moments later. Dan then enters the realm of the fire walker: a group of devoutly spiritual men that walk and jump on hot coal. Another trick it seems, but the men claim that a “guru in the mountains” has taught them. Unfortunately they won’t divulge where he is or how to reach him.

Dan takes advantage of the moment, showing a trick to the gathered audience. He has a young boy hold a light bulb in his hands, when it suddenly lights up in the boys hands. Dan White never touches the bulb during the illumination.

Moving on from the Capital to an ancient city, Dan reveals that the monk has a dark side, indicating that for that reason people may be hesitant to reveal any information about him. A card trick on a bus, where a local selects and signs a card. It is returned and shuffled into the deck. Dan throws the cards at the bus window, and it is on the outside. One rub of the window and it vanishes entirely. The people on the bus love the trick, but when asked about the monk get very quiet and refuse to discuss him.

Dan White arrives in Bhaktapur, considered the spiritual heart of Nepal. There must be a lead in the town; it is home to many wandering holy men called Sadhu who should have more information on the holy man.

With a crowd gathered around him on the street, Dan borrows a stack of Rupee bills and changes them to hundred dollar bills. The much more valuable bills are given back to their owners. Dan then does a trick to one of the holy men, where he has the man select a card and return it to the center of the pack. He places the card on the ground before them, and without touching the deck, makes the cards slide forward and cut on their own to the location of the selection.

After that, a quick bit on the street, where he bites into an apple, gives it a rub and it restores back untouched and unbitten. After that, Dan draws a hole on his palm, burns a match over it and magically breathes smoke out of his mouth. The audience begins to give him information, claiming the monk can levitate and that a local monk called Hizbaba would have more information.

But finding the shaman Hizbaba is a challenge in itself. While walking down the street, a young boy offers to show Dan a magic trick, having a card selected, returned and found. Dan White then takes the boys cards, has a card selected, returned and placed on the ground. Similar to the clip before, he makes the deck cut itself to the selection.

Suddenly a boy grabs our adventurer and says that someone wants to see him. Is it Hizbaba? Indeed the town elder wants to speak to the foreigner. Hizbaba has taken a liking to Dan White, but warns that it is a bad idea to see the monk. He recounts how a foreigner once came to see the monk, bribed many people to find him and then simply vanished.

Dan White is unscathed and shows Hizbaba a trick. He takes a painting made by the holy man and changes it. The moon, painted on by the monk, shifts from full moon to crescent with the simple wave of White’s hand. Will this miraculous display be enough to convince the monk to give more information? Yes, amazingly Hizbaba agrees to take him to the mountain temple where the monk resides.

They fly to a small undisclosed mountain town, then hike for two days to reach the vicinity of the holy man’s abode. In the town, they meet some sherpa’s, friends of Hizbaba. More levitation stories about the monk, and more warnings follow.

Suddenly, the next morning, the Shaman refuses to take Dan any further, claiming a bad vision has told him not to

Magic levitating monk

Magic Monk?

move on. Dan and his crew are abandoned, continuing on the same trail alone, only knowing to look for an orange temple. Ten hours later, they find a curious structure similar to the one described.

Dan knocks on the door. No answer. He lets himself in. Inside of the temple, there are hundreds of lit candles in a large room. Suddenly he is surprised by a monk. The monk seems like a friendly man but says that he is unwilling to share his meditative powers. Dan needs to impress the monk enough to get him to share his secrets. He has the monk look up at the full moon and makes it disappear completely.

The monk is amazed and says he will try something special. He steps back, sits down and begins to meditate and chant. Suddenly he begins to float, hovering least a foot off of the ground. Slowly up, then down. It’s almost shocking to see the levitation.

The quest is at its end. Dan White does have a degree a skepticism, saying that the monk did need the crew to step back, but makes a point of the fact that magic is more than just a question of miracle versus deceit. It is the art of creating an impossibility; that real magic involves making an audience believe that the world is much deeper than we often perceive it to be, methods and secrets aside.

This is probably the best TV magic show since David Blaine’s second special, Magic Man. Obviously there is a question about how much of the show’s material was staged and how much of the story was pre-determined, but regardless it makes for good viewing. It makes you suspend your disbelief and want to live in this magical world. Unlike any magic show on TV to date, this program is much more than just a performer showing his tricks. The Supernaturalist is magic with a plot, which is both refreshing an exciting.

It also immerses the viewer into a culture very different from our Western society. Dan White is a humble performer and his humility shows throughout the program. It is amazing to see a magician get a prime time special and sacrifice self-gratification for the telling of a sound story and the introduction of a beautiful culture. This review will end with a feeling of great hope; the hope that Discovery will be airing more episodes of The Supernaturalist in the near future.

What did you think of the show? Comment below!

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Posted in review and TV by Vlad Kraven on June 30th, 2011 at 01:09.

18 comments

18 Replies

  1. avatar

    Great review…very descriptive. I only caught the ending but now want to see the whole show.

  2. john gomez Jun 30th 2011
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    your magic is crazy it looks real to me but i dont know if i should belive it or not

  3. Vlad Kraven

    @Berry Thanks. It was a very good show and well worth watching, start-to-finish.

  4. magic fan Jul 1st 2011
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    Great show! I want to see more!

  5. avatar

    I just wanted to point out that the part where the Dan changed the Shaman’s painting was obviously fake. They obviously payed the guy. So the show seems super fake. Dissappointing. At least show some respect to the idea of magic by not cheating. I guess in a way, the show itself is a big illusion, but not a very clever one as it turns out.

  6. Ashton Reade Jr. Aug 14th 2011
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    My boyfriend and I stayed up late watching television and we saw “The Supernaturalist” on Discovery Channel! Wow!!! Daniel White is really awesome! His illusion tricks are so cool, they are truly believable. No stage, real time and were both impressed by his humble charisma and likable personality. Daniel is really hot and good-looking too! We can’t wait for the next episode! I want to see what will happen next because I’m sure it’s going to be breathtaking!

  7. avatar

    I was just wondering how much of it is fake. I could clearly see the whole orange color thing of the monastery was fake. Was it to throw other people from finding him if he existed or is the whole show a fake? Overall if you are going on a quest to find supernatural why would you incorporate staged shots into it? I would have been much more impressed if he was honest in his show.

  8. M. Young Aug 14th 2011
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    Awesome show! Probably the best magician I’ve ever seen. On par with Chris Angel. Can’t wait to see more of The Supernaturalst.

  9. Roshan Shrestha Sep 5th 2011
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    I am a Nepalese and i know better of my country.Monk’s are not related to any magics or any tricks, they don’t have to amaze any one to get popularity. They leave quit places, meditate and try to achieve peace and harmony.By meditation monks reaches to place near god where we normal human’s can’t reach. Meditation is source of divine power.There are various stages of meditation and the act displayed by that monk in the documentry is one of it.Here is discovery channels documentry link about a boy who meditate 5 years without food http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvpwk4iIDCA&feature=related
    We Nepalese see this as a godly power not any magic amd Lastly, monks never harm any one as seen on this documentry.

  10. Mukum Sep 9th 2011
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    As a child, I grew up in a village in the mountaneous region of Nepal. I used to hear lots of stories about Powerful Lamas and Shamans. Heard that they could even create thunderstorm and hailstorm and could forsee death of a person. The stories of levitation were more related to monks and hermits (Shadhu or holy man). Also, some of the stories did state that if Lamas and Shamans were to drift apart from their values, they could inflict pain to their enemies without touching them. To me all those stories were just hear-say as I never witnessed any. I still wonder if Lamas and Shamans really do possess such supernatural powers. Thanks to Dan White for having guts to chase his quest into the High Himalayan Country to produce the show.

  11. believer Nov 16th 2011
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    That was some freaky shit!!!OMG

  12. avatar

    I am from Nepal. Don’t take this show at face value. All staged. No harm done so it was OK I guess.Good entertainment.

    -Meditation is soothing.
    -Believing in magic is an oxymoron.

    P.S Don’t Come to Nepal to meet this “monk” . Come to see the mountains.

  13. balaji Dec 25th 2011
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    hi i saw u r program today that is of Nepal Monk. Is this really true, if its real… i am really so thank full to u for presenting this show..

    thanks once again

  14. avatar

    Hi,

    I saw that episode of nepal monk that was amazing (I can not decide who is the big magician Dan White or nepal monk….but I don’t have words to say more….that’s SUPERB. I am waiting for next surprise..

    (Ahmedabad: India)

  15. Mxypltk Feb 18th 2012
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    Dan White is shown to be unfriendly towards the Nepalese when he forced the apple vendor to watch his magic. At least be respectful to the locals. He said, “Hey, watch this!” repeatedly to the apple vendor who obviously do not have much interest with a guy who picked his apple without his permission.

    He should be more friendly like his colleagues such as Blaine or Criss Angel.

  16. Shi Fan Jun 1st 2012
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    Hi, greeting from China. I’ve just watched the show and is amazed by the illusion created in the plot; very impressive one.
    Honestly, I don’t believe in any one of the magic in the show was supernatural, though it was very well premeditated and creative.
    The reason is: I watched magic shows performed by Chinese magician for CCTV, where the condition is far more demanding, yet the show was very surreally creative. Are all these magicians godlike? Then you must ask them to do one thing: to read the thought of the audience by pure mental power (telepathy); that is the real deal.
    For something real it means integrity.

  17. avatar

    I HOPE YOU ALL FRIENDS OUT THERE WILL UNDERSTAND MY ENGLISH……
    I KNOW SOMEONE PERSON IN MY PLACE THAT’S CAN PUT AN EGG OR ANY, INSIDE A BOOTLE USING MANTRA. HE SAID TO ME: A GOOD MAGICIAN SHOULD MIX THE TRICK AND SUPERNATURAL POWER TO PERFORM MAGIC. EXAMPLE: IF USING PLAYING CARD, ITS USING TRICK AND IF FLYING AWAY AND CATCH THE FLYING BIRDS USE SUPERNATURAL POWER. AND LASTLY TO U ALL OUT THERE, ANY KIND OF SUPERNATURAL IS ALL FROM THE SATAN!!! HUMAN MEDITATE DAY AND NIGHT AND VISUALIZE SOMETHING WHILE MEDITATE TO HAVE THIS POWER SUCH AS REIKI, CHI KUNG ETC IN MENTION TO OPEN SIX SENSE OF BODY. THIS IS WHAT THE INDONESIAN GURU TELL ME………..THANKS FOR READING!!!!

  18. chris jeret Aug 26th 2012
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    hahaha …Fake!.


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