Having been around for hundreds of years, magic is still impressing and wowing audiences to this day. Since Houdini’s time magic has grown in popularity, from huge stage shows in Vegas, to the latest “street-magic” tricks blowing the minds of everyday people. This guide will walk you through my favorite magic tricks that still amaze viewers today. Performed by the best magicians of our time, please don’t try any of these big tricks at home!
If you want to master some of your own tricks, there are plenty of places to learn. Many don’t need huge props and stages to make them work. Wolfgang Riebe has a great course teaching 21 easy magic tricks, or practice your dexterity and create unique experiences for everyone you meet with these great coin illusions. The secret is confidence. Whether you are using the tricks to come out of your shell, or as a way to entertain a group, you must have the confidence in your ability and personality to lead the group.If you struggle with your self-confidence, it’s an easy fix. Look into learning some simple techniques that can boost both your self-esteem and a healthy self-image.
The Death Saw
One of the truly great magicians, David Copperfield presents the death saw as an escape gone wrong. Secured to a table, a giant rotating buzz saw is set going above the magician that slowly begins to descend. The magician is locked inside of a box, while struggling to get free. After a short period of time the sides of the box drop away, revealing the magician still manacled to the table. Their struggles are in vain as the saw drops before he can escape. The rotating buzz saw slices right through the magicians body, separating the magician in two. To the shock of the audience the two pieces are rolled apart so everyone can see the separation, before reversing the process and putting the pieces back together. The box is closed and after a brief moment the magician emerges whole, and unharmed.
Frozen in Time
David Blane, a street magician who tests the limits of human endurance at every step performed this trick in Times Square New York in 2000. Enclosed in a giant block of ice, he spent 63 hours, 42 minutes and 15 seconds totally surrounded before being freed by a chainsaw. Only lightly dressed and shivering before entering the ice, he was supplied air and water through a tiny tube, while his urine was removed with another. Testing every physical limitation of the body, it took a month for Blaine to recover and gain the ability to walk again. He commented that he would never again attempt a feat of this difficulty. Unfortunately, his record was broken in 2010 by an Israeli performer who spent 64 hours enclosed in ice. This trick remains one of the greatest feats of human endurance.
Vanished Statue of Liberty
In 1983 David Copperfield entertained a huge crowd on Liberty Island by making the Statue of Liberty disappear. A true illusionary feat, crowds are left dumbfounded as they try to grasp what they see. He raises a giant curtain in front of the audience, and after a brief meditation drops it a few seconds later to reveal that the space where the statue once stood is now empty. Performed in front of a live audience, a helicopter hovers overhead giving viewers an aerial view of the illusion, with only the circular lights surrounding the base remain. The Statue of Liberty appears to have disappeared. Proving there is nothing blocking the statue, Copperfield passes two searchlights through the space that the statue once stood, so that viewers and the audience can clearly see there is nothing blocking their view, and there is nothing remaining on the base of the statue. Raising the curtain he restores the Statue of Liberty a few seconds later, leaving the crowd wondering how this is even possible.
Penn and Teller Bullet Catch
One of the most spectacular illusions, the threat of real danger adds a layer of risk over this next trick. This illusion is simple enough to explain, the magician simply has to catch a bullet in his teeth, that has been fired from a gun on the other side of the stage. An audience member is the participant who loads and operates the gun, usually someone with experience in firearms to prove that nothing deceptive is happening. The bullets are marked by the same audience member, to allow their identification at the end of the trick
Penn and Teller took this classic trick a step further by increasing the difficulty. A line separates the stage in two, so there is no possibility for bullets to be palmed and switched between the two of them. The person firing the bullet and the one catching it have no opportunity to ever get close to each other. Using two guns, they simultaneously lined up the laser sights on their pistols, firing at exactly the same time. Each magician catching a bullet in their mouth, the audience is left speechless as the bullets are identified.
Chris Angel Walk on Water
The self proclaimed darkest magician today, he is most famous for his television shows Mindfreak, Believe and Phenomenon. Chris Angel maintains that its through control of your body and mind that you too can perform supernatural feats. Mostly though, they are just spectacular illusions. His walk on water trick was televised and remains an absolutely stunning illusion. As you watch the performance you actually believe he has the ability to walk across water. The audience’s reactions as the swimmers move between his legs and dive underneath him add to the trick. Check it out and be unnerved at this spectacular trick, and wonder yourself how he managed to perform this one.
You don’t need to make giant icons disappear to wow your friends with a cool illusion, many tricks can be practised and performed with a lot less showmanship that the famous magicians use. Whether you want to wow your family at your next big gathering, or fool some friends at a party, learn a couple of simple tricks and be happy as your illusions cause your friends and families jaws to hit the floor!