We all loved magic as kids. The way that magicians could make the impossible, possible – right in front of our eyes! Of course, as we got older, we realized that magic didn’t exist and there must be some form of trickery involved. But, it didn’t mean we could explain what we were seeing!
For the first time, we are revealing how magicians performed some of these famous tricks. If you thought you knew everything, you might want to think again. Time to get our wands out!
Trick: Walking On Water
Here’s a magician seemingly walking on the River Thames in London, UK. Performed for a street magic show, we can see how he walks along the water, turning the heads of thousands of passersby.
It has become an iconic look: a man apparently performing the impossible in front of the Houses of Parliament. It brings the imagery of Jesus to the modern world. Find out over the page just how he did it…
Secret: Walking On Water
No, he isn’t the Messiah. He’s also a naughty boy for tricking all those people. Most of magic is the ability to put on a show, and this guy didn’t disappoint. As we can see here, all he was doing was walking on some perspex boxes that were placed on the surface of the river.
Are you surprised? Since it is physically impossible to float on water, this is the only logical explanation to what we saw. Still, it’s an impressive feat to set up in public without anyone seeing you!
Trick: Cutting Assistant In Half
It’s one of the most famous magic tricks in history. The magician will place his assistant in a box and cut her in half in front of the whole audience. But that’s not all! Depending on the act, it’s often taken to more extreme lengths.
Sometimes, the boxes will be completely separated while the legs are wagging from across the stage. Just how do the magician and the assistant work like this? Well, let’s find out…
Secret: Cutting Assistant In Half
Of course, we know she is never actually cut in half. So, there has to be some logical explanation for it all. Well, he certainly relies on the help of an assistant alright. But it’s not one – he has two of them!
That’s right: there are two assistants both in each box. That means that the legs we see don’t belong to the face of the assistant we think we know. It makes sense when you think about it. Otherwise, it would be a bit too messy for us!
Trick: Floating Woman
This magic trick is often performed in front of a live audience. The levitating woman (or any item) is one of the most modest yet impressive tricks out there. Just when you thought that you figured it out, the magician often goes one step farther.
Suddenly, he is grabbing a big, solid hoop and circulating it around her! How does this level of mischief occur? Well, of course, there must be a rational way they achieve this ‘magic’ – let’s find out over the page.
Secret: Floating Woman
So: the assistant has to be held up somehow. We know it isn’t cables because of the hoop, so how is she floating? Well, less is more in this case. The assistant is simply lying on a table that is being raised by a pole out of site from the audience. But then what about the hoop?
Well, the magician can easily navigate the hoop to LOOK as though it is circulating her all the way. In fact, he does it twice to make sure it stops at the pole holding her up, and then goes back the way it came. The hoop never actually completely circles her.
Trick: Pulling A Rabbit Out Of A Hat
Here’s another magic trick that’s synonymous with wands and large hats! Everything we think we know about magic can be stemmed back to this particular trick. For the whole show, a magician is wearing his hat. But what happens next?
Well, all he does is wave his wand in the air and out pops a real-life bunny! How can it be that a real rabbit appears out of nowhere? Well, let’s find out over the page…
Secret: Pulling A Rabbit Out Of A Hat
So, where did the rabbit come from? It’s not possible for the little guy to be in the hat all evening, so he must have been put in there at a later date. But when?
Well, as we can see from here, the bunny is actually hanging comfortably in a pocket from the table. Then, using a little sleight of hand, he is quickly popped into the hat just before the reveal! It’s nice to know that magic doesn’t harm the well-being of its animals!
Trick: Biting A Coin In Half
Here, a magician goes to great lengths to show off his killer strength! Here’s how the trick works: usually, he or she will ask a volunteer for any small coin. Once he receives a coin to his liking, he suddenly takes a big bite into it!
Have you ever bitten a coin in half? We reckon no one has. The copper alone is strong enough to withhold great pressures. So, how does he do this? In fact, does he even do it at all?
Secret: Biting A Coin In Half
Of course, nothing is what it seems to be! There’s absolutely no way the magician is actually biting a random coin in half, so it HAS to be a trick coin. These can easily be purchased in a magic shop.
But how does he make it look like it was given by a volunteer? Well, that’s down to trickery and sleight of hand. Like we’ve said – most of magic is the performance aspect, too.
Trick: Bending A Spoon
This is similar to the biting coin trick. A magician will receive a metal spoon that seems impossible to bend or manipulate. Before we know it, he is giving it a special rub and then something truly amazing happens.
It looks as if he is bending the spoon at his will! Giving it a simple and gentle push, the spoon appears to completely melt and bend. Is it possible a magician has done this? Well, not all is what it seems, as we will see…
Secret: Bending A Spoon
If it is actually a real spoon, then of course the magician isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. So, it becomes this: what is it that we are NOT seeing? Well, this is another cheeky example of sleight of hand.
The magician will have a toy silver top similar to the spoon in his hand. Then, with practice, he will ‘fold’ the spoon by directing it in one way while holding the fake tip in another way. The illusion will trick anyone who sees it in close distance.
Trick: The Zigzag
The Zigzag is an interesting magic trick because it’s a slight variation on the concept of cutting someone in half. Although the assistant isn’t being separated completely, the way the boxes are moved around makes it look as though her midsection is being removed.
It’s a popular trick for live shows when audiences can see magicians move and rotate the boxes with added showmanship. But can it be that she is being cut up like this? Of course not! Let’s take a look…
Secret: The Zigzag
Of course, she’s not being actually cut up in the way it looks! What we have here is a very talented assistant who is as flexible as she is gorgeous. The truth lies in the shape of the box and the choreography of the two performers.
The box is actually much deeper and wider than it looks. This means that the assistant can fit into sections that don’t look visible to the audience. Then, all she does is move her body into the precise place and the box is moved.
Trick: The Floating Cup
Have you ever been in a coffeehouse and spotted a magician performing this trick outside? It looks like he is grabbing an every day cup and making it float before your very eyes!
We know that this is impossible and that there must be a way he manages to make it float in mid-air. Well, let’s take a look to see how it’s done. Once you realize how this street magic works, you’ll be able to do it by yourself.
Secret: The Floating Cup
Remember: magic isn’t in what you see, it’s what you DON’T see. Looking at a new angle, we can see just how simple this trick really is. All you need to do is poke a hole in one side of the cup and hide your thumb in it.
The rest is up to you! Now is your chance to wave the cup and make it look like it is floating in front of your very eyes. Try it at home a bit for practice and then go and wow your friends next time you grab a coffee.
Trick: Sword Swallowing
This one isn’t for the faint of heart! A magician, on the street or a stage, will pick up a long and hard sword and appear to swallow the whole thing at once!
It looks as though this is being done by sticking it all the way down and not moving. After a few seconds or minutes, the magician will lift it back up as it appears without a glitch. Just how is he doing this, and is it a trick we can learn to show our friends? Let’s see how it’s done…
Trick: Levitating Man
Anyone who has walked around tourist spots in London or New York has definitely seen a variety of this somewhere. As you walk down the street, you’re hit by this man who is seemingly floating right in front of you. How is he sitting there so comfortably?
Many people will stop and stare for a few minutes, even taking photos with the man. While touching isn’t allowed, you can certainly wave your hands to try spot some cables. Let’s find out how he does it, shall we?
Secret: Levitating Man
In reality, the man is sitting on a complicated network of connected support systems. As we can see, someone has drawn what appears to be the network he uses to sit in mid-air.
Everything is connected and the man is simply resting on a seat which is connected to a pole through his sleeve. It gives the impression of levitation when actually he’s just sitting on a chair! Talk about ‘smoke and mirrors’, indeed! Have you seen this before?
Secret: Sword Swallowing
Well, it turns out it isn’t a trick at all! This is actually completely real and being performed after months of careful training. The sword is being placed down the throat after the magician positions himself in an ideal way.
It goes without saying just how dangerous this is and should NOT be tried at home. He’s most likely a professional who knows exactly what he’s doing. Even then, the consequences of a small mistake can be deadly.
Trick: The ‘Smooth Criminal’ Lean
We’ve all seen the video: when Michael Jackson and his crew lean, impossibly, at an angle that appears to be trickery. The Smooth Criminal dance video is spectacular in lots of ways, and this is definitely one of the most memorable parts.
But how did they all lean like that? We know the Moonwalk is already spooky, but this looks like real magic! Well, let’s check out how they choreographed the performance and made them move like that…
Secret: The ‘Smooth Criminal’ Lean
There are many things that Michael Jackson can do, but leaning like this without help isn’t one of them! It turns out he needed a bit of help with special shoes that are connected to screws in the ground.
The shoes have a triangular slant in them that he would use to connect to the sticking out screws. Then, using his upper body strength, he would lean forward and be kept up in place like this. While this may be a form of trickery, it’s definitely still impressive!
Trick: The Note From The Lemon
A lot of us have seen variations of this trick. For now, we will be exploring the magic behind pulling a handwritten note out of a lemon. The trick was made famous by Jamie Ravens on 2015’s season of Britain’s Got Talent (below).
Raven made it seem that he was cutting a lemon and revealing a hidden note from the inside of a lemon. Just how did he manage to pull this trick off? Well, let’s take a look behind the curtain and find out.
Secret: The Note From The Lemon
We know that the lemon wasn’t grown with the note in it – so he had to place it in there somehow. But when? Well, this seems to be another example of sleight of hand and distraction.
If you look closely during this trick, you’ll notice how quickly he closes the lemon after pulling the note out. Why? Well, he must be hiding something. The truth is, he’s hiding a hole that was cut in the lemon beforehand. Using distraction, he seemingly placed the note inside the lemon when no one was looking. Very sneaky, Jamie, but we got you!
Trick: Smoke From The Fingers
Just how hot does a magician have to be before he can snap his fingers and have smoke appear? We have to admit, it’s a pretty cool thing to be able to do. Let’s take a look at what happens.
Usually, magicians wow their audiences by rubbing their fingers together and having smoke rise up from their hands. Let’s take a look at how it’s done – because we all know there’s nothing real about witches or wizards!
Secret: Smoke From The Fingers
First things first: the setup. If you aim to try this trick at home, be sure to find a box of matches. Make sure to locate the hard paper and carefully remove it from the side of the box. Then, fold it in half and let it burn for a bit.
Once the fire is safely put out, collect the residue that’s leftover. This is phosphorous that we will use to light our fingers. All you need to do is rub it on your fingers and then give them a click. Make sure to clean your hands afterward – you don’t want to eat the stuff.
Trick: An Appearing Pigeon
While magicians often work with rabbits, as we’ve already seen, there is another type of animal they often use: birds.
We’ve often seen shows where magic tricks involve making a pigeon or dove appear out of thin air. While the audience may cheer, there are some of us who are desperate to know how he just did that. So, where did the bird come from? Click over the page and we can find out all about one of magic’s most famous tricks.
Secret: An Appearing Pigeon
Like all of these magic tricks, they are not actually causing anything to come from thin air. Everything needs to come from somewhere – especially live animals. So, let’s break it down: the bird needs to appear where the magician needs him. To do this, he needs a distraction.
When this trick is performed, there will usually be a flash of lights or smoke to quickly distract the audience. At that moment, the magician will dig into his secret pocket (or compartment) and reveal the bird that was there the whole time.
Trick: Turning Water To Ice
This is one of those magic tricks that’s a great show and performance. The magician will pour a glass of water and then make some comment about wanting ice with his drink.
What happens next is what makes it so entertaining. He will reveal that his glass suddenly has a bunch of ice in it! We know that water doesn’t just turn into ice in a few seconds – so what happens? Well, let’s see the ‘chilling’ secret.
Secret: Turning Water To Ice
Here’s another trick that needs a prop before you can perform it yourself. So, make sure you have something that can absorb ice and keep it cool. Yep, you guessed it. You’ll need a sponge to keep the ice in place. Something that’s been there the whole time.
When the water is poured into the cup, the sponge is used to absorb all the water right away. Then, simply reveal the ice that has been in there the whole time. It will look as though the water turned to ice immediately.
Trick: Walking Through A Wall
This is one of the most famous tricks performed by heroes like David Copperfield. Using nothing more than a lit sheet, the magician walks up to a wall and seemingly walks right into it. When the sheet is placed on the other side of the wall, he seems to walk through from the other side.
Is it possible that someone can walk through walls? Most likely, no. So, we need to uncover just how this magic trick is performed. Let’s check out the writing on the wall.
Secret: Walking Through A Wall
The answer is obvious. Of course, he’s not going through a concrete wall. We know he isn’t jumping over it, so there’s literally only one more possible wat that this can be achieved: through a tunnel UNDER the wall.
That’s right: it’s most likely a fake set that has been built so that the magician can slip into a tunnel under the wall and climb out the other side. It’s so easy once you think about it!
Trick: Guessing A Celebrity Name
Not all magic is physical. There are plenty of tricks that explore the mental abilities of magicians, and one of them including reading minds and guessing names.
This trick includes writing the name of a famous person on a piece of paper and sealing it in an envelope. Then, you fill a hat with plenty of other names suggested by people in the audience. After that, the magician will successfully predict the name in the sealed letter. But how?
Secret: Guessing A Celebrity Name
Here’s an easy trick to pull at a dinner party or with a group of friends. All you need to do is write down the name of a very famous celebrity. For example, you could do an actor from a new movie or someone who is often in the tabloids.
Then, when the guests are shouting out names to fill the hat with, simply listen out for the name you wrote down. After a few attempts, they will hopefully guess it and you’ll already have the answer written down.
Trick: Making The Statue of Liberty Disappear
This one seems absolutely impossible! There’s a famous trick by David Copperfield in which he sits a whole audience down in front of one of America’s most famous landmarks. Then, after briefly covering it up, he makes the whole statue disappear.
It’s one of the most famous examples of making something disappear due to the sheer popularity of the statue. So – we doubt he actually had the permission to remove it from its place. Let’s see how he made it happen.
Secret: Making The Statue of Liberty Disappear
It turns out that Copperfield never moved the statue – he moved the whole audience! The audience (and camera crew) had no idea that they were actually sitting on a Lazy Susan. While the curtain was raised, the audience started spinning…
After a few minutes, the audience had rotated slowly into a place where the statue was simply out of sight. So, while it looked liked he had moved the Lady Liberty, he had actually just moved them instead!
Trick: Spike Through The Body
This is one of the most impressive tricks to see live. The magician will climb up to the top of the stage and defy all of gravity’s laws by balancing carefully on a spike. That is, until he falls through it!
Then, the magician is seen spinning around at the top of the spike that gone straight through him. If it wasn’t for all the smiling and cheers, you would think it was a horror film. So, just how does he manage to do this?
Secret: Spike Through The Body
Well, of course not all as it seems. This is similar to the ‘floating’ man we saw earlier. In fact, the magician is comfortably resting on a platform that is supporting his body weight. But what about the spike? Well, that’s extending from a device on his chest.
Of course, it’s important to consider how dangerous this trick is – even if there isn’t a spike going through his body. Make sure you don’t try this at home!
This trick was perhaps made most famous by David Copperfield. It’s the most graphic and intimate form of cutting someone in half – and for good reason. Seemingly, there are no boxes, tricks, or mirrors.
The set up is organic as they come: a person is placed on a table (without any barriers or boxes) and a large buzzsaw cuts straight through the middle of a body! Does the audience really witness this?
Of course not! Whereas the first example we saw explained how two assistants are used, this is still one person on the table. That much is true. However, what makes this one a little more different is how the legs are presented.
Those aren’t real legs! Here is an example of false legs being used by the magician and his/her assistant. You’ll notice that most of the time, the legs don’t move. (In Copperfield’s version of the trick, they ARE a second set of legs.)