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Hidden Answers
© 2000-2015   Gérard P. Michon, Ph.D.

Sleight of Hand
Illusions and Deceit

The universe is full of magical things, patiently
waiting for our wits to grow sharper
.
 Top Hat Eden Phillpotts   (1862-1960)
 
That must be wonderful !
I don't understand it at all
.
 (Anonymous)
 
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Third Law  of   Arthur C. Clarke  (1917-)

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Related articles on this site:

Related Links (Outside this Site)

MagicPedia, Magic's Online Encyclopedia  (@ Genii, The Conjuror's Magazine).
Biographies of Magic Inventors at The Magic Nook by  Professor Spellbinder.
The Card Mechanic  by  Steven Warren.
International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM)
Deception:  Mark of Integrity  by  Jonathan Allen  (Cabinet #33, 2009).
 
Beginner's Easy Magic Tricks   |   Learn Free Magic Tricks.
Cardshark Online:  Virtual Museum of Crooked Gambling.

Wikipedia :   Shuffling

Tricks Revealed on Video
Best Card Trick in the World   [revealed by Greg Solomon].
Amazing 4-Card Trick   |   The Switch   |   Pierced Arm

 
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Cheating and Illusions

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...

For example, 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.


(2009-03-22)   Misdirection

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.

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...

Find the Lady  performed | revealed


(2009-03-26)   Cups and Balls

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...

Wikipedia :   Cups and Balls


Chop-Chop Wheatley (2009-03-26)   Chop Cup

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 Jacques Ozanam's (1640-1717)  as  Récréations mathématiques et physiques  (1694).

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...

Reference guide and Article on the Chop Cup by Douglas Atkinson.
MagicPedia (Chop cup)
Legendary Chop Cup Routine by Paul Daniels (1985)


(2009-04-04)   Invisible Thread Reel   ( ITR)
ITR tm is a trademark of Sorcery Manufacturing  (James George).

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...


(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  or  reduction.  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" every time.


(2009-03-29)   'Fraid Knot
Tricks with soft rope.

3 ropes of unequal length become equal.

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...

Fraid Knot (Video by Magic Geek)


(2009-03-29)   Knot a Problem
Tying a knot on a rope without letting go of the ends.

There are two ways to solve this problem.  One of them is  honest  (purely mathematical)  whereas the other uses deceit and sleight of hand  (to hide the fact that you  are  letting go of one end.

The honest way to proceed is to cross your arms  before  you graps the ends of the rope...  As you uncross your arms, a knot forms on the rope! 3 ropes of unequal length become equal.

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...

Knot a Problem  performed | revealed


(2009-03-29)   Three Ropes to One
Mending a cut rope with a vanishing knot.

A half-hitch knot through a ring can be undone..

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...

3-to-1 Ropes :  performed and revealed


(2009-03-29)   Cut and Restored Rope
Mending a cut rope with a vanishing knot.

The secret is to use a square knot.

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...

Cut and Restored Rope


(2009-03-29)   Ring and Rope Penetration
Untying a  cow hitch  through a ring.

The Cow hitch is a popular knot consisting of two half-hitches.  A cow hitch through a ring can be undone by expanding the knot beyond the size of the ring.

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...

Ring and Rope Penetration revealed


(2009-03-21)   Double Lift
Making two cards look like a single card.

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...


(2009-03-31)   Glide
Dealing the second card from the bottom.

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...

The Glide by


(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 xxx 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.

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...


(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.

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...

Prophecy Move  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.

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...

The Zarrow shuffle  (c. 1940)  by  Herb Zarrow  (1925-2008)
presented  |  revealed  |  card mechanic  |  MagicPedia


(2009-03-22)   False Shuffling  &  Perfect Shuffling
8 perfect shuffles is like no shuffle at all.

A false shuffle is a sequence of move that leaves a deck of cards undisturbed.

A perfect shuffle consists in splitting a deck of  2n  cards into two equal halves of  n  cards


(2009-03-22)   Double Dealing & Bottom Dealing
Making two cards look like a single card.

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...


(2009-03-22)   Lapping
To make something disappear, let it fall into your lap!

This sounds silly, but this disarmingly simple technique is routinely used by magicians whenever they are seated at a table.


(2015-02-23)   Linking two rubber bands

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...

Link Two Rubber Bands  (Scam School)  by  Brian Brushwood  (crediting  Michael Ammar).


(2015-02-28)   Invisible Deck
26 pairs of cards back-to-back, with some mild adhesive.

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...

The Invisible Deck  by  Mismag822.


(2015-10-27)   Miser's Dream
Silver coins and gold fishes.

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...

Cups & Balls  -   Miser's Dream  by  Pen and Teller.

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 (c) Copyright 2000-2015, Gerard P. Michon, Ph.D.