ignition immobilized?

Recently bought a 2004 Honda Accord -- this morning the ignition was immobilized when I put the key in to turn the engine. I tried the spare key with the same result -- so I guessed the key didn't need recoding.
Then a passerby "showed me a trick" and did something to fix it (put the key in the door, etc.). Later the same thing happened and I've been unable to figure out what combination of actions will fix this locked up ignition. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks very much.
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What do you mean by "immobilized"? What exactly happened- or didn't happen-- when you put the key in the ignition and tried to turn it? Could you turn the key? Did the engine turn over?
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