To respects the rights of magical creators, we
do not condone exposure of copyrighted illusions.
The magical effects and techniques presented here are believed to be common knowledge
or classics which are not privately owned.
The art of an illusionist is to produce extraordinary "effects".
What the spectator sees seems impossible mostly because some of the causes
are cleverly hidden. Something wonderful is essentially created by
cheating. Elsewhere on this site, we discuss many of the wonderful
things that can be experienced without cheating in the
mathematical or physical universe.
Some of that can be so surprising that a magician could present it without
trickery (mathematical magic).
Yet, a scientist should be acquainted with some of the techniques
magicians use to fool people in order to debunk false science.
Also, it's just entertaining to investigate those things.
A spectator trained in magic will not be so easily fooled and will often
be able to explain away many "new" tricks in terms of basic techniques.
Likewise, a trained scientist may think of causes or mechanisms which
provide explanations for new observations.
To paraphrase Martin Gardner, the Universe itself
may well be a huge magical trick waiting to be explained...
(2009-03-22) Deceit (Lying)
Because lying is usually neither acceptable nor expected,
magicians do get away with it.
Lying is simply part of their trade and people keep believing them...
an illusionist who uses a stacked deck
will routinely flash it for a quick inspection to "conclude" that
the cards are not ordered in any special way.
The exact opposite is true, of course, but people will normally assume that
whatever they are told is true, unless proven otherwise.
Lying is the crudest form of psychological manipulation.
It's very effective.
Misdirection is the act of focusing the attention of the spectator
away from the point where a dubious action is taking place.
It is one way to hide things more effectively and can be construed as
a subtle form of nonverbal deception.
(2009-03-29) Find the Lady
This used to be known as the "race track swindle".
This scam was often performed for money around race tracks many years ago.
This effect uses a gimmicked cup whose basic design is named after
Alvin H. Wheatley (1901-1964)
an australian-born magician performing in oriental garb as
Tung Pin Soo or "Chop-Chop".
On stage Wheatley used a bamboo gaffed cup.
The idea of incorporating a magnet in a cup designed for magic effects
seems much older than that... It appears in the expanded version (1723)
by M. Grandin of the work first published by
Ozanam's (1640-1717) as
Récréations mathématiques et physiques (1694).
(2009-03-24) Force and Reveal
Forcing is giving the illusion of a free choice.
If the magician forces a choice, he will not have any trouble
guessing what it was!
A choice can be forced either by substitution
In the former case, a chosen item is substituted for another before
whoever made the choice is even aware of the outcome of that choice.
One example is the ribbon spread force were the spectator
points to the back of a card in a pack spread before him.
The magician moves the bottom card underneath the chosen card
under the pretense of squaring the deck before turning it over
at the chosen point, thus forcing the bottom card to be "chosen"
(2009-03-28) This 'n' That
A well-designed card trick devised by Paul Annett (a.k.a, nicepaul).
This popular trick appeared on YouTube on 2007-02-05
with the following narrative:
A guy came up to me in the street the other day and he said:
Look, I've got a little game that I'd like to play with three playing cards.
We've got THIS card, THIS card and THAT card.
He said: "All you've going to do is keep an eye on THAT card.
As he said that, he moved it to the bottom of the pile.
I saw him do it and I said:
"Easy THAT card is on the bottom."
"No, That's THIS card."
I said: "Fine, well if THIS card is on the bottom,
THAT card must be on the top."
He said: "No, that's also THIS card."
I said: "Eh, THIS card is the bottom and the top.
THAT card must be in the middle."
He said: "No, that's also THIS card."
I said: "Well, that's not fair 'cause you're using three of THIS card."
He said: "No, THAT card is on the bottom."
You get a little bit of THIS you get a little bit of THAT,
but you get not much of the OTHER.
(2009-03-21) Hindu Shuffle
Shuffling without disturbing the bottom of the deck.
Surprisingly, people will not notice if you never let go of the
bottom of the deck as you shuffle cards
(2015-02-25) Bill Simon's Prophecy Move
Simon originally called this effect Business Card Prophecy.
As a spectator inserts a business card (or a regular signed card)
into a fanned deck of playing cards, the move forces the card to appear
between two predetermined cards.
references at The Magic Café Forum (2003).
"Card Magic for Amateurs and Professionals" by Bill Simon (1998 reprint of "Effective Card Magic", 1952).
(2009-04-04) Zarrow Shuffle
A false shuffle that looks like honest riffle shuffling.