Local magicians are mourning the death of 25-year-old conjurer Kevin Tejan. Tejan lived in Arizona and posted this message on Facebook and themagiccafe.com last week:
“This will be my last post. I'm tired of never being able to make friends. I'm tired of not being to actually do something with a friend that I'll never have. I'm tired of going to mental health hospitals for attempted suicide and then come out and lose all my grant money. Life sucks, it really does, and I hate living life that is meaningless, with no future, and nothing to life for. I've never had a girlfriend in my life, I doubt I will. Never had any real friends. I'm sure this is an immature post or whatever, if so just ignore it. You won't hear from me again anyway. I'm hanging myself. Goodbye guys. I love you all.”
In response, one MagicCafe user joked that it was “time to learn the Hanging Coins,” a classic coin trick. The already tasteless joke was even less funny when Tejan made good on what he’d written and hung himself in his parents’ garage. Upon hearing the news, the joker said that he thought the post was fake and that he feels terrible about his careless remark.
Local magician Kyle Marlett had this to say: “It’s incredibly sad. Sometimes you don’t know if a statement like that is true or a punk kid trying to get attention, but you should always take situations like that seriously.”
Some magicians have criticized other MagicCafe members for bullying Tejan, and it’s no secret that magicians’ forums can be rough. But reading through some of the Tejan's threads, it seems as though many Cafe members were trying to offer the guy tough love, as opposed to just hurting him. And others from the Cafe reached out to help. After his death, Tejan's parents posted this:
“We appreciate all who sent posts and tried to get him to change his mind and not do anything stupid. Thank you to Kelsey who called the Chandler Police Department and alerted them. That gave us a chance to possibly save him, rather than hours later finding him.”
Still, though, Tejan’s suicide should serve as a reminder: Words matter. Even online. After I posted about Tejan on Facebook, a young magician reached out to me, asking how he might avoid Tejan’s fate. I’m so happy he did.
Local magician Justin Flom says this: “All types of magic performance have a purpose. Even if it’s an amateur who’s trying out slight of hand on YouTube. As professional magicians, it’s our duty and our responsibility to encourage them, no matter their skill level.”