Learn 5 Simple, Easy Magic and Mind-Reading Tricks
Do You Want to Learn Magic?
Magic can be an illusion, a deception, or a surprising display of the laws of science. Well, it's an art, too, so if you're dramatic, artistic, scientific, and/or tricky, knowing magic and having a few tricks up your sleeve is an excellent and fun way to amuse people and mess with their minds.
Although magic is an honest profession, a magician's job is to deceive you. Magic is the one time getting fooled is fun. Magicians have been tricking people since the beginning of time and if you learn this ancient art, you'll know that it feels like dream come true.
Here I present five simple tricks. Anyone, even those who have never done magic before, can do these.
Remember: anyone can do magic, but not everyone can do it well. Making the trick truly tricky requires practice.
Magic Trick #1: Three Dates
Our first trick is a popular trick for a young audience by David Ginn, a native of Atlantic City in the US. He is a full-time magician who always includes simple and fun tricks for children in his performances.
Material required: A calendar, a piece of plain paper, a pencil, and a mathematic mind. (The paper and pencil are for the kid you're doing the trick for. You'll need to do simple math in your head.)
Magic: Give a kid a calendar and ask him/her to choose three successive days from any one month, without telling you which days or month. Give the kid the paper and pencil and have him/her add the three numbers and tell you the sum. Any three successive dates from 1 to 31 will do, as long as they are consecutive. After you have this number, you will be able to tell that kid which three dates s/he chose.
Secret: This a very simple trick. Once you have the sum of the three dates, all you have to do is divide that number by 3, which will give you the middle date they chose. For example, the kid chose the 24th, 25th and 26th of October, then added those up and told you the number 75. In your head, you divide by 3 and get 25: that is the kid's middle number. Add 1 to get the date after and subtract 1 to get the date before.
Magic Trick #2: Numbered Disks
This second trick is a simple, mind-reading party trick. However, it requires a careful performance to make it appear truly magical.
This trick was created by Dr. BV Pattabhi Ram, the first magician in Asia to receive doctorate at a university for his services to the Art of Magic. He used to perform this trick in high school where friends called him a mathematical wizard, even though he says he never got good marks in math.
Materials required: five cardboard circles. Write seven numbers on each card, as shown in the illustration.
Magic: Place all the cards on a table and declare you will be reading the mind of a member in the audience. Let someone come forward. Ask them to think of a number between 1 and 14 and then pick up every card on the table that bears that number. Then you can make a big show of announce the correct number.
Secret: All you have to do is add the numbers in the middle of every card left over on table and subtract that sum from 15 to get the correct number.
Wasn't that easy? :)
Magic Trick #3: Truth by Fire
The third trick is one that is traditionally performed by a roadside juggler. This is a fortune-telling trick that uses a box of miraculous matches to predict the future. When setting up this trick, you should have a good story to tell about how fire knows everything, and how all those secrets are contained inside the match, waiting to be set free.
Materials required: A box of wooden matches and a big bowl full of water. (You will also need glue, a wire cutter, and a sewing pin.)
Magic: You can have some fun with your friends and your imagination on this one. You can set this trick up any way you want it. Use one of these stories or make up your own to accompany your match trick:
- Ask a friend to imagine three girls/boys they know. Hand them a regular match, have them say one of the names, then have them strike the match and throw it into a bowl of water. When it floats horizontally, have them say the next name and repeat. After they say the third name, hand them a special match and when the match floats vertically in the water, you say that means they will marry that person.
- Have a friend throw four matches: one represents north, one south, one east, and one west. The one that floats vertically indicates the direction they will travel in life.
- Have them choose three professions or three colleges or three cities and use the matches to see where they'll end up.
- Have your friend ask three questions. Tell them that if the match lies flat, the answer is "no" but if the match points to the sky, the answer is "yes."
Secret: The easiest way to make a matchstick float vertically in a glass of water is to weight its end. Set up: take a match and stick a pin in the end of it (the side opposite the red phosphorus). Cut off excess metal with a wire cutter so the end doesn't show. If the wood splits a little, you can mend it with a little glue. When you're done, the weighted match should look like a regular match. If you're friend is very observant, maybe you should be the one to strike and throw the match so they won't have the opportunity to study that match very closely!
That's it :)
Magic Trick #4: MatheMagic
Most successful, professional magicians are well-versed in mathematics, chemistry, physics, stage craft, narration, acting, etc. The sciences are a part of their show. While entertaining kids, tricks based on mathematical principles are extremely popular. Let's look at one:
Materials required: a calculator.
Magic: Give a calculator to a friend and ask them to press the numbers from 1 through 9, except 8. Then ask them to choose any one-digit number displayed. For example, if they chose 5, then tell them to multiply the original number (12345679) by 45. As soon as x 45 is pressed on the calculator, this answer will appear to reveal the chosen number: 555555555.
Secret: The secret of this trick does not lie in the calculator: the magic number is the one you told your friend to multiply 12345679 by, i.e. 45. Whichever number your friend chooses, you have to multiply that by 9 to get the magic number. For instance, if they had chosen 3, then you'd tell them to multiply by 27 (9 x 3) and they'd get 333333333. If they chose 9, you'd tell them to multiply by 81 (9 x 9) and they'd get 999999999.
Sometimes, reality is stranger than fiction and math is just mind-boggling!
Magic Trick #5: The Obedient Pencil
Materials Required: A pencil, an empty glass or plastic bottle, two feet of black nylon thread, and beeswax.
Magic: Hole up an ordinary pencil and allow your friends to examine it thoroughly. Drop it in an empty bottle and move your hand over the opening, chanting a few magical words. Hey, presto! The pencil slowly begins to rise in the bottle. When you say "go down," it descends. When you command it to rise, it does. You grab the pencil and let them inspect it again. The crowd goes wild with amazement!
Secret: This trick is so simple, even a child can do it. While performing, you have to wear a black shirt or jacket with buttons. Tie one end of the black nylon thread to a button near your belly and dab a small bit of wax on the other end. While your friends are busy examining the pencil and bottle, take the waxed thread into your left hand, the pencil into your right, and casually press the wax onto the end of the pencil and drop it into the bottle. Now if you move the bottle away from your body, the pencil rises. If you hook the thread up onto a thumb, it will move in a different direction. Practice this trick in front of a mirror to make it look real. You can show the pencil for inspection after removing the wax with your fingers.
Friends won't take this one as just an act, they'll call it real magic.
You can make up many more magic acts of your own with this invisible thread. All you have to do is keep poking your magic mind and use practice to make your imagination shine. Remember, if you really love magic, you can become a good magician. It all depends on how beautifully you think and how cleverly you apply.
Have a nice time, magicians. Take care!