I’ve got a friend who grew up in Pakistan. Decades ago I asked him about the Dervishes, and he was convinced that they were mystical. They could think chickens dead and make ants march in figure eights. He said he saw it with his own eyes.
Yep, there are ways to fool the eyes and the mind, all right. Squeeze enough ants to produce a liquid trail marker, they’ll march and write your name in cursive. Poison a chicken, yep, it’ll die. It’s called magic. The snake charmer knows that a cobra will follow your eyes. It’s a potentially deadly game, but the dervishes are in it for the money as tourist attractions, and they’re poor as dirt.
I don’t blame the dervishes a bit; they’re no different than palm readers or street magicians. If they entertain folks who are willing to toss some coin into the bucket, then they provide a service, in the entertainment business.
All it takes is knowledge and practice. I can beat you at Rock-Paper-Scissors. I can flip a quarter and make it turn up heads (or tails) every time, and I know how to make it land on the edge, too. I can get you to choose the wrong card in a 3-Card Monte game, and make you pick the Ace of Spades from a fresh deck you just opened and shuffled yourself.
And I love to bend spoons.