Houdini used it to make elephants disappear in front of packed theatre houses. It's what professional pickpockets employ to fleece the unsuspecting of their wallets on crowded city streets. And now some Formula 1 teams could even be using it to wipe out potential advantages they think their rivals may have.
Misdirection is a powerful tool. If you can manipulate support for something, while at the same time knowing it will achieve a second benefit only you know about, then the world is yours.
According to paddock insiders, that could well be the reason why what once seemed like a crazy bit of blue-sky thinking - bringing sparking cars back to F1 - has gone from random idea to regulation within a matter of weeks.