If you don’t want to know the secrets behind many magic acts, do not read any further. You will learn the solution to many famous tricks and if you watch “Criss Angel Mindfreak” or like to go to magic shows, you may not be as impressed as you once were.
Old-Fashioned Trunk Trick: The magician shows off an old steamer trunk which Harry Houdini used to always use. He also shows an empty wooden frame before unhinging it to supply a sturdy support. Two assistants enter and place a wooden triangle piece on the frame. This creates a table. The magician then shows that the trunk is empty before getting another assistant to get inside. He closes the lid and pulls it to the side. He then uses the trunk to step onto the table and another assistant enters with a sheet. The magician covers most of himself with the sheet and raises it up and down a few time. Eventually, the assistant that was in the trunk appears in front of him. The magician asks another assistant to open the trunk and another girl is in it.
- The girl that appears later is behind the trunk from the start of the illusion.
- The wooden frame holds the next secret, roller shades that can be released via spring-loaded release catches. When the triangle top is placed on the frame, the pressure causes the shades to drop down. We don’t notice these shades because the backdrop is black and matches the shades.
- After the shades are dropped, the girl hidden behind the trunk sneaks behind the table. This allows the magician to flip open the trunk and show its empty.
- As the girl who is about to go into the trunk enters, the other girl slides back and gets inside the trunk.
- The girl who “gets in the trunk” doesn’t actually do that. She just mimics how you would get into a trunk but instead hides behind it. She then slides under the table and waits for the magician to raise the sheet for the first time. Then she quickly climbs up on the table and through the magician’s legs. After the second time the sheet is raised and dropped, she makes her appearance.
Thread Broken and Repaired: The magician shows off a spool of thread. He unwinds a bit of thread then breaks it off. He sets the spool of thread down and shows that his length of thread is solid and unbroken. He then breaks the thread into several small pieces and even crumples some of them into a small wad. He attaches this wad to the remaining piece of thread then pulls the thread and the wad starts to unravel and become part of the thread again.
- Before the trick begins, the magician unravels double the amount of thread needed. He winds this thread into a small ball then winds the thread and small ball back into the spool making sure that the ball is hidden from view by the rest of the thread.
- The trick begins and the magician is careful to conceal the ball when the thread is unspooled.
- The thread the magician tears off is much longer than it appears due to the ball of thread. Thus, the pieces of thread he breaks off are meaningless and replaced by the ball of thread.
- The magician just pretends to attach the new ball of thread to the other thread. He then throws this ball of thread away while we are watching other things.
- All the magician has to do is unwind the original ball of thread and the thread will be in one piece.
The Girl Without a Middle: The magician enters to an overdressed but beautiful girl in front of a wall backdrop. Two assistants enter and raise a sheet in front of the girl. The magician lifts the bottom to show that the girl’s legs are still there. The assistants then cover the girl with the sheet and leave. The magician raises the sheet to show that the girl now has no middle body. Her upper body and legs are still there but her middle has disappeared.
- Whenever anyone is wearing a strange costume you know its hiding something. She also never moves which is another clue that something is up. Her skirt hides a sturdy wire frame that holds it in place. When the sheet is raised, the girl just sneaks out the back and sits down behind the skirt.
- The wall backdrop has a false panel on it. A stagehand removes it and the girl lies back out of sight. A matching panel with a small cutout for her body is then replaced to make the backdrop look solid again.
- Since the girl is obviously out of play, who plays the part of the girl’s head and upper body? Her identical twin of course. Before the trick begins, the girl’s twin is hidden behind the wall on a rolling platform. While the first girl reclines into the wall, the second girl is rolled out into position above the skirt. This is the girl that gets the sheet draped over her head.
- The girl has to lift her head and upper body into an awkward position to make it appear like she is standing. When she is revealed, the magician carefully places the sheet on her head and shoulders to hide the uncomfortable position.
- The girl also wears a bulky costume that serves two purposes, it hides the platform and plays the part of her chest.
Flame Transfer: The magician holds onto a candle and eventually transfers the flame from the wick to his thumb. After a few seconds he puts it back and blows it out.
- The candle is real as is the flame. The secret is that the magician wears a flesh-colored plastic shell known as “the magician’s thumb.” This also holds a wick on top which the magician lights with the flame. He then just uses the plastic to extinguish the flame.
- When he returns the flame, he just lights the candle and uses the wax to extinguish the flame on his thumb.
Spirit Calling: The magician shows off an eight-sided pyramid then calls in two of his assistants to open the doors and show that it is empty. They leave and return with a “conjuring robe” that the magician puts on as well as a sheet. The magician steps inside the pyramid with his new costume on then takes the sheet and raises it. Eventually a “spirit” shows up near the bottom of the sheet. The thing walks around a bit then stops. He attempts to catch another spirit with another sheet and he gets one. He tries for a third time and gets a bigger one this time. The magician hides inside the pyramid and the two smaller “spirits” reveal themselves to be two of the magician’s assistants. They reveal the bigger “spirit” and it turns out that it is the magician himself.
- The pyramid isn’t really empty but it isn’t, two mirrors are built inside it. A compartment behind the mirror hides the two assistants and the magician’s double.
- When the magician raises the sheet, an assistant or the magician’s double slips out of the compartment and behind the sheet. After a little acting, this happens one more time.
- The robe isn’t key in this performance because the magician wears a mask. For other magicians, it is a necessary component to help obscure their identity.
- For the third “spirit,” the double actually takes the sheet and the magician sneaks behind it.
- The magician’s double enters the pyramid then quickly hides the mirror panels and sneaks offstage.
Light Bulb Disappear: The magician grabs an ordinary light bulb and places it firmly in his hand. He covers it with both hands and begins to squeeze. The light bulb quickly vanishes.
- Concealed in the magician’s right hand is a retractable cord that goes inside his jacket to a spring-loaded keyring on his belt. Attached to the end is a suction cup that easily sticks to the light bulb.
- Instead of crushing the light bulb, the magician just sticks it to the suction cup. He makes sure to hide it so we don’t see it being pulled into his jacket.
Sword Through Card: The magician shows a deck of playing cards to a volunteer then invites him or her to pick one and write a name on it. The magician takes the card and draws a line beneath the name. He then puts it back in the deck and shuffles. He gives the girl the deck then shows off a samurai sword. The magician takes the cards back and puts them in his left hand. He uses his right hand to slide the sword into his hand under the deck of cards. He counts to three then flips the cards up and stabs one. Unsurprisingly, the girl’s card is the one on the sword.
- The pen the magician uses to underline the name on the card has a concealed razor blade. He uses this to slice a slit in the card.
- The magician uses a phony shuffle instead of a real one so the selected card will always remain on the bottom.
- When the magician is “balancing the deck on the sword,” he is really just putting the sword through the silt he cut earlier. This way he is guaranteed to “catch” the card. The flurry of cards causes enough commotion so we don’t notice the card is always on the sword.
Blade Escape: The magician enters a stage with a very dangerous setup. A triangular box is in the middle with two very sharp blades ready to slice through it any moment. The blades are held at the end of a rail by a rope. Inside the box is an assistant but the magician asks her to leave. He then releases the safety cable on one of the blades. Three assistants enter behind the box as the magician releases the other safety cable. The magician gets inside the box and the door is closed. One assistant secures his hands with chains. He has no way to release these chains. The blades begin to rotate as the assistants leave. The assistant that was originally in the box returns (she wears a huge cloak and never shows her face) and lights a rope. When it burns through the rope, the blades will be released. The magician breaks through the chains but he doesn’t get outside the box before the blades slam through the box. The assistant opens the box but the magician is gone. In fact, it wasn’t the assistant in the cloak, it was the magician all along.
- The assistant wasn’t the only person hiding in the box before the trick began, the magician’s double was hiding behind a false panel.
- When the magician “gets into the box,” he actually just slips out the back. The double is the one who has his hands chained.
- The magician hides in a staircase that the assistants then wheel offstage while the first assistant is lighting the rope on fire. The magician gets into a duplicate version of the cloak the assistant is wearing.
- The double has no problems with the chains because they are rigged. The metal frame holding the chains has a pulley that allows him to pull the chains out, giving him enough slack to slip his hands through them.
- The burning rope is just for dramatic effect, when the double is out of the chains all he does is pull a ripcord to release the blades. The double is still in the box when the blades hit but he is safe because they don’t hit the back portion of the box.
- The magician returns to the stage in his cloak and reveals the blades. He then reveals himself.