The Double Undercut. By pushing down slightly on a card they are placing in the middle of the deck, the magician separates it from the top half of the deck. Then, by halving the bottom half of the deck, creating three total piles, they shift those piles, creating the illusion that the card is lost in the deck when in reality the magician brought it back to the top of the deck.
The skill of a magician lies in his or her ability to keep you frozen in expectation of their next unbelievable trick. It often seems that magicians really are capable of doing things which defy all known laws of the universe, and the atmosphere of awe they create during their performances helps further reduce any doubts you have that this is all a trick.
The brain needs to perceive cause and effect. If people don’t see cause and effect in everyday life it confuses their brain and makes it impossible to function. Magicians create “magic moments”—the tapping of a magic wand or some other indication that magic is happening—so the brain attributes the effect to that action rather than the sleight of hand that is actually behind it. This triggers a gut-felt connection despite a lack of logical connection.
“The spotlight of attention.” When people don’t focus specifically on something, they don’t notice it. Even as their eyes receive visual input, their brain focuses only on what it considers to be important, the “spotlight of attention,” filtering out the rest. Also known as inattentional blindness, this phenomena allows the brain to function without abundant information overwhelming it. Magicians take advantage of this, directing focus to something unimportant so people don’t notice their sleight of hand moves.
Make a pencil float in the palm of your hand. This one is as easy as can be—just clutch a pencil in one fist with the back of your hand facing the audience, then grab your wrist with your opposite hand like you're bracing yourself for a great effort. Without attracting attention, slowly outstretch the pointer finger of your support hand and use it to pin the pencil to your palm as you open your fist. When done correctly, it will look like the pencil is hovering in front of your hand.
Although it may seem like Hogwarts magic, the performance is quite easy. There’s a special v-shaped tunnel going under the wall. That is why the spectators who study the wall and how solid it is, don't find anything – the wall is ok, the floor is not. The magician needs just a fraction of a second to go through the small tunnel going under the wall and stand on the other side of it.
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.
Here is how to get it done. Get to your designated corner in the house, and make sure the audience is in the right location. It’s pretty easy. Lift your right leg and make sure it does not go up bent. Ensure it is always straight as it goes up. Also, let your hands not hold onto anything when performing the trick. You will find yourself levitating. How? You ask. Well, remember your left leg? Your left leg will perform a critical function to aid the trick. Lift your left leg with your toes, almost like a Ballerina dancer but not up to your tip toe. (But if you can, the better.) Make sure your right leg always conceals your left leg which is not levitating, and make sure it is always straight. It will really look like both of your legs are levitating. You should also ensure that your feet are together always.Also, as your left foot moves up slowly push your right foot downwards so as to further conceal your left foot.Balance is key here, so make sure you practice a lot before attempting this trick.
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.
In the past five years, magic—normally deemed fit only for children and tourists in Las Vegas—has become shockingly respectable in the scientific world. Even I—not exactly renowned as a public speaker—have been invited to address conferences on neuroscience and perception. I asked a scientist friend (whose identity I must protect), “Why the sudden interest?” He replied that those who fund science research find magicians “sexier than lab rats.”
Drag the coin of the edge of the table with your fingers and your thumb in a slanting position. Make sure your other hand is in a position to grab the coin once you drop it. The coin should never drop to the floor. Do not move the recipient hand at all as this may cause some audience members to be suspicious. Once the coin is safely in your other hand, the performance part kicks in. Pretend like you are still holding the coin with the first hand, in the same position like when you picked up the coin from the edge but this time the backside of your hand should face upward, while your fingers should be locked with your thumb as if you are actually holding the coin. The key here is to always ensure the audience will not be suspicious that you actually don’t have a coin in your hand.So make sure you do a good job of concealing that part of your fingers that is supposed to be holding the coin. Let the front side of your fingers face the audience while still maintaining that horizontal position for your hand like you want to bang something on the surface.Next, bang the ‘coin wielding’ palm on the table to give the impression that the ‘coin’ is actually passing through the table. Hit the underside of the table with the coin (which has been on your other hand all along) where the coin is supposed to go through to give an impression like the coin is falling on your other hand.
5. To fool the mind, combine at least two tricks. Every night in Las Vegas, I make a ball come to life like a trained dog. My method—the thing that fools your eye—is to puppeteer the ball with a thread too fine to be seen from the audience. But during the routine, the ball jumps through a wooden hoop several times, and that seems to rule out the possibility of a thread. The hoop is what magicians call misdirection, a second trick that “proves” the first. The hoop is genuine, but the deceptive choreography I use took 18 months to develop.
Make a quarter vanish into thin air. Place a quarter in the palm of your dominant hand and tell your audience that you're going to make it disappear. Make sure it's resting right in the center of your middle and ring fingers—this will allow you to secretly cup the edges using your index and pinky fingers. Quickly pass your dominant hand over your opposite hand as though you've transferred the quarter, then let your dominant hand, which is still palming the coin, fall to your side. Open your empty hand and savor the look on your audience's faces as they try to figure out where the quarter went!