Spin a straw around the top of a bottle using only your mind. While no one is watching, take a paper-wrapped straw and rub your hand up and down its length a few times to generate static electricity. Be careful not to tear the thin paper wrapper. When you're ready to do the trick, lay the straw across the top of a bottle or another container with a narrow opening, with its center point directly over the mouth. Raise your hands over the ends of the straw and wave them forward and backward in a mystical manner. The static charge will cause it to rotate without you ever actually touching it.
The human brain recognizes and is drawn to symmetry and patterns. Using patterns, structures, and routines—what scientists call mental models—makes people efficient. Routines are so ingrained that people can do them without thinking: getting dressed in the morning, driving to work, doing laundry. The ability to go on autopilot means their brain can use that time to think about something else entirely—a distinct evolutionary advantage.
Pass an ordinary piece of paper around your body. Bet your skeptical audience that you can cut a hole in a normal piece of typing paper large enough to step through. Fold the paper in half widthwise and cut a series of strips through the folded edge every 2 in (5.1 cm) or so, stopping about 1 in (2.5 cm) from the far end. Then, rotate the paper 180 degrees and cut along the midline of each strip you just cut from the opposite side, again stopping just short of the far edge. Finally, cut through each folded crease individually and open up the paper to reveal an impossibly-large paper portal that you can slip right through.[6]
Sleight of hand is often used in close-up magic, where the sleights are performed with the audience close to the magician, usually in physical contact or within 3 to 4 m (10 to 13 ft).[3] This close contact eliminates theories of fake audience members and the use of gimmicks.[3] It makes use of everyday items as props, such as cards, coins, rubber bands, paper, phones and even saltshakers.[3] A well-performed sleight looks like an ordinary, natural and completely innocent gesture, change in hand position or body posture.[4] In addition to manual dexterity, sleight of hand in close-up magic depends on the use of psychology, timing, misdirection, and natural choreography in accomplishing a magical effect.[4]
How does it work? There are several ways of doing the trick and one of the most popular is all about the magic equipment. The magician wears a special finger stall with a small, but very sharp blade. After showing the audience that the bottle is whole, he secretly cuts a line in it that's big enough to push a phone through. No magic here, really. Just a sleight of hand.
The brain simplifies and streamlines. By relying on experience, logic, and generalization, people make assumptions about the things they see, so they don’t have to stop and examine every single object they encounter. Magicians exploit people’s instantaneous assumptions, particularly the ones people make about the side of objects that they cannot see.
Many magicians devote their entire lives to mastering the art of illusion, but you don't have to go to such great lengths to impress your friends and family. With the right know-how and a little practice, you can easily learn to perform a number of jaw-dropping tricks that are guaranteed to leave onlookers in awe! Start by perfecting a few simple beginner tricks, like making a pencil float in the palm of your hand or passing a cup through a solid tabletop. You can then work your way up to more difficult tricks, such as rubbing a coin into your skin and making yourself levitate, to keep your audience spellbound.
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