Smash a cup through a table “accidentally.” Explain to your audience that you're going to pass a magical ball through a solid tabletop using a small cup and a “cloak of concealment” (an ordinary piece of paper). Place the cup upside down over the ball, then mold the paper around the cup so that it covers it completely. Pick up the paper-covered cup to give your audience one last look at the ball. As you do, drop the cup into your lap inconspicuously and cradle it between your thighs. Put the cup-shaped paper shell back over the ball and give it a smack. Remove the cloak to show that the ball is still there, but the cup has rematerialized beneath the table.
A magician needs specially cut screens to move a hand through mirror or glass. The back screen covers 2 mirror panels. When the performance begins, the whole construction shifts the real mirror to the back side, moving 2 fake mirror panels forward. Now there is a space to move a hand. At the end of the performance, the assistants shift the real mirror to the front side again.
Although being mostly used for entertainment and comedy purposes, sleight of hand is also notoriously used to cheat at casinos and gambling facilities throughout the world. Common ways to professionally cheat at card games using sleight of hand include palming, switching, ditching, and stealing cards from the table. Such techniques involve extreme misdirection and years of practice. For these reasons, the term sleight of hand frequently carries negative associations of dishonesty and deceit at many gambling halls, and many magicians known around the world are publicly banned from casinos, such as British mentalist and close-up magician Derren Brown, who is banned from every casino in Britain.
The Effect: I cut a deck of cards a couple of times, and you glimpse flashes of several different cards. I turn the cards facedown and invite you to choose one, memorize it, and return it. Now I ask you to name your card. You say (for example), “The queen of hearts.” I take the deck in my mouth, bite down, and groan and wiggle to suggest that your card is going down my throat, through my intestines, into my bloodstream, and finally into my right foot. I lift that foot and invite you to pull off my shoe and look inside. You find the queen of hearts. You’re amazed. If you happen to pick up the deck later, you’ll find it’s missing the queen of hearts.
When Alesha signed the note, Jamie folded it and showed the audience. While he was folding the note, he had a palmed piece of paper in his hands that he instantly switched to. Now, with the signed note still in his hand, he took a bag from Alesha and with the note in his hand reached into the bag, stuffed the lemon, and took it out, showing the audience only one side of it. When Alesha took out the note, he very quickly closed it and put it away because there was actually a hole in the bottom of the lemon where he stuffed the note inside.
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.
Rock up smoothly onto the ball of the foot furthest away from the audience. Transition your weight onto the ball of your support foot fluidly while allowing the foot the audience can see to hover 1–2 inches (2.5–5.1 cm) above the ground. Try to support yourself as far forward towards your toes as you can. If you do this just right, it will appear as though you've succeeded in levitating for a brief moment.
6. Nothing fools you better than the lie you tell yourself. David P. Abbott was an Omaha magician who invented the basis of my ball trick back in 1907. He used to make a golden ball float around his parlor. After the show, Abbott would absentmindedly leave the ball on a bookshelf. Guests would sneak over, heft the ball, and find it was much heavier than a thread could support. So they were mystified. But the ball the audience had seen floating weighed only five ounces. The one on the bookshelf was a heavy duplicate, left out to entice the curious. When a magician lets you notice something on your own, his lie becomes impenetrable.
Now I wiggle the card to my shoe (No. 3: If you’re laughing …). When I lift whichever foot has your card, or invite you to take my wallet from my back pocket, I turn away (No. 4: Outside the frame) and swap the deck for a normal one from which I’ve removed all three possible selections (No. 5: Combine two tricks). Then I set the deck down to tempt you to examine it later and notice your card is missing (No. 6: The lie you tell yourself).
The magic works like this; you hold a matchstick or a toothpick between your thumb and index finger, wave your hand around, and the matchstick magically disappears into thin air. Another wave of your hand, and the matchstick appears from out of nowhere. The trick is really simple, and you don’t need to have a sleeve coat or shirt. All you need is some tape or glue. Take the glue and smear sparingly onto the nail side of the thumb which will be used to hold the toothpick. Make sure you attach only the lower side of the stick so that a greater portion of it will appear during the trick. When you want to make the stick disappear, just cause a distraction to the audience, waft your hand around, and straighten all your fingers and thumb to hide the stick. If you want to make it re-appear, fold your thumb in a holding position and make sure the stick is visible. Make sure you hold the stick towards the audience and you can also use saliva if glue is not available. However, saliva will not prove to be an effective sticking agent like glue.
The feather that Darcy showed us before lightning it up is actually a piece of special paper known as flash paper. It is commonly used by magicians when they wish to create quick large flashes of fire in order to hide brisk moments of illusion from the audience. That's exactly what Darcy did - using the fire, he quickly got the pigeon from a secret pocket in his sleeve.
Some time ago, people wondered how David Copperfield managed to seemingly tear a folded dollar in half right in front of people, then unfold it to reveal that it had been completely undamaged. The secret here is making cunning use of a pencil: the latter has been cut in half diagonally and connected with strong magnets! This allows the banknote to be easily passed between the two magnetised halves and remain undamaged.
I’m all for helping science. But after I share what I know, my neuroscientist friends thank me by showing me eye-tracking and MRI equipment and promising that someday such machinery will help make me a better magician. I have my doubts. Neuroscientists are novices at deception. Magicians have done controlled testing in human perception for thousands of years.
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.