The fact is, you are never too old to appreciate the impressive illusion that is magic. While certain magic tricks may only impress younger audiences, there are numerous illusions that leave many adults baffled as well. Just recently, a corporation known as “Bright Side” released the secrets to some of the greatest magic tricks ever. So, here is the secrets of making monuments disappear, walking on water, and more.
The Statue of Liberty Disappears: Located between New York and New Jersey, the Statue of Liberty has been a well known monument since 1885. However, what if the monument were to “disappear” from sight? That is what magician David Copperfield performed in 1983, but the secret was not revealed until now. According to Bright Side developer Pavel Radaev, the trick is that “The Statue was draped with a huge piece of fabric covered by a big screen put in front of the audience. Then, the whole illumination of the monument was turned off except for the spotlights.” This preparation created the illusion of hollow space and, because the audience’s vision was blinded by the spotlights, the Statue gave off the illusion that it disappeared.
Floating Man: When walking down the city or down a city street, you may see a street performer inexplicably floating in the air. You may also see a rug placed under the floating man. As it turns out, there is a reason for this rug as it hides the secret of the trick. According to Radeav, the illusion is created by “placing a steel structure under the magician’s baggy clothes”. The electrons conducted between the clothes and steel begin to weaken (as steel is a poor conductor of electricity. Therefore, the rug tries to separate itself from the baggy clothes, thus “lifting” the magician into the air. Once the magician removes the baggy clothes, the electron conduction is restored and the magician will return to the ground.
$1 Bill Into $100 Bill: Also known as the “Making Money” trick, the magician is able to fold a $1 dollar bill and turn it into a $100 bill…or so it appears. Actually, both the $1 and $100 are separate. According to Radaev, the secret of this trick is “After folding the $1 dollar bill in a special way, he hides it behind his fingers. Then, he carefully substitutes it with a $100 bill so the audience doesn’t see.” Both the $1 bill and $100 bill are placed in the same hand, but the movement of the magician’s fingers swaps the $1 bill with the $100 bill, creating the illusion that the dollar bill transformed on its own.
Underwater Chain Escape: Known for appearing perilous and impressive, this trick almost always steals the show. What happens is the magician is tied to chains and placed underwater. Before the magician “drowns”, he/she deduces an escape route and emerges safely from the water. However, the locks and chains of the tricks are actually counterfeit. According to Radaev, “the assistants need to loosen the latches and hinges prior to the trick, and the magician needs to get rid of the locks, gain a firm grip, and come up for air”. While requiring some physical strength, getting rid of fake locks take minimal effort, and the magician will always come up safely.
The Signed Card Trick: The trick involves someone from the audience signing their signature on a playing card. Then, the card is teared into pieces and is magically restored again. The secret, according Radeav, is simple: “The illusionist has a folded card in his/her pocket, and the signed card is substituted.” Therefore, it is, in fact, the hidden card that was torn, not the signed one. To perform this trick, it is best to wear baggy clothes, so the audience cannot see you digging into your pocket.
Walking On Water: This is another trick that is quite notorious for its appeal. The performer may not be Jesus, but they appear to nonchalantly be able to walk across the surface of the water. The secret, according to Radaev, is “a glass or clear plastic platform cleverly placed under the water”. By “cleverly placed”, we mean that the sheet of glass is such a color that it camouflages with the transparency or opaqueness of the water. The magician walks along the sheet of glass unharmed and the audience is stunned. Any people that are close enough to the sheet of glass and who know the secret are usually actors for the trick. Huzzah!
Sword Swallowers: Like the Underwater Escape trick, the sword swallowing trick is another performance seen as dangerous and, this time, it can be potentially dangerous. The trick requires courage and perseverance so that the magician does not choke on the sword. The secret, while requiring years of practice, involves “positioning your head up so that your throat and stomach make a straight line and will not be hurt by the sword”, according to Radaev. This position is very specific and requires much trial-and-error, but the appeal of this trick in both magic shows and circuses is very strong, and may be worth the effort, depending on your point of view.
Split Man Trick: This last trick requires the magician to be positioned from the front view. If viewed this way, it appears as if the magician has his/her waist removed from the Upper Body. However, according to Radaev, it is not the magician’s waist, but “its actually a plastic mannequin”. However, by tucking the actual waist behind them and using the mannequin as a cover up, the magician creates the illusion of a disembodied head carrying their own legs. Note that the illusion can be seen from the side, so ensure that the audience has a front view before attempting this trick.
While it may be difficult to attend magic shows in these difficult times, at least you are aware of the secret behind some of the greatest magic tricks of all time. Thanks to Pavel Radaev, people can finally attempt to recreate these tricks at home and at least impress their family. Through perseverance and clever thinking, magic may only be illusions, but the realistic nature of them almost always pleases audiences from around the world. So get out there and start making some magic!