Famous Magic Tricks Explored – Discover What Makes The Tricks Work


A magic trick may look like it is real, but you need to remember at the end of the day it is nothing more than a trick instead of magic. Even if you are flabbergasted at how the magic trick turned out, it is still only a trick. In fact, the main background for the magic tricks is the props that are meant to draw your eye and attention away from what is going on but also leave you wondering what kind of powers the magician has.

The majority of the magicians tend to use the time tested tricks that are not that hard to master, if you know the secret of the tricks. In this article, we examine the common tricks and how they are pulled off:

Floating Woman What Is It

The floating woman act is one which the magician makes it look like a lady is floating in the air and usually it is someone from the audience who the magician has spoken with before the show.


After introductions are completed, the magician often has the lady lay down on a board that is supported by two chairs. Then the chairs are slowly removed, which would usually make the woman fall, but instead, she is going to stay suspended in the air. To really add to the illusion some of the magicians take a hoop and move it along the body of the woman to prove there are no cables holding the table up.

How Is The Floating Woman Completed

The trick is going to literally come in the hands of the magician. The magician tends to position himself next to a table that has a metal rod attached to it. All the magician does is apply some pressure to the metal rod which helps keep the woman in the place.


This allows the woman’s body to stay floating in the air even if the chairs are not present because the chairs never were providing support in the first place. All the magician is doing is getting the audience’s attention drawn away from the rod by using the hoop to get around the table.

Chopping The Assistant In Half

Talk about a bad day at work, getting chopped in half it cannot get any worse. In the trick here, the magician has the assistant lay flat on a table. The assistant tends to have a panicked look on their face as they look trapped.

At that point, the magician starts to chop the assistant in half. What really shocks the crowd is how the saw quickly goes through the table, but also how the magician then pulls the body into halves. How is it that the assistant is still alive and able to move their limbs though?

How Is The Assistant Cut In Half

If you are observant you may notice that the limbs never go away and there is a good explanation for that,. Typically you will notice that the trick uses two assistants. The second assistant is already hidden in the box and will stick their legs out when the time is right.

When the second assistant feels the box moving and separating she knows the end is close. What really awes the audience is when the assistants both start to move their limbs showing that no harm was done.

The Buzz Saw Trick

The buzzsaw trick is one that also uses a willing person to assist in the trick. The person often is going to lay flat on a table as the saw gets closer to them. The saw is often going to cut through the person who is laid down only a couple of feet away from the blade.

This may sound like a horror movie beginning, but the assistant always survives the saw as it is cutting through their gut.

How Is This Trick Pulled Off

The box that the assistant is laying on has a secret compartment that the assistant squeezes down into. While everyone that performs this act is trained it is a very dangerous act and if the assistant does not get their legs moved fast enough they could really be cut in half.


Most of the time, though, the assistant is able to move their legs fast enough to avoid the saw. Often a magician will place fake feet at the bottom of the box to make the illusion look even more believable.

What Is The Bending Spoon

The trick here is often performed at dinner parties that the magicians usually are asked to attend and float from table to table.

They typically pick up a spoon from the table, which shows they are using a supplied spoon and then bend the spoon using magic. After bending the spoon the magician tends to unbend the spoon so it gets its shape back again. The audience tends to be baffled by the trick.

How Is It Done

The spoon is not really bent out of shape at all and the magician really only uses a very small prop to help make the trick a successful one.

The magician tends to have a small silver coin that is going to look exactly like the spoons handle. The coin is often moved in the magician’s hand to look exactly like it is part of the spoons head and it tends to fool the audience just enough.

Pulling A Rabbit Out Of The Hat

This is the one trick that tends to start the love of magic for first-timers. This is the one trick that everyone tends to consider one of the oldest ones in the book because it seems like everyone has seen it.

During the trick, the magician tends to show an empty hat that they pull a rabbit out of. The magician often shows off the hat multiple times to the audience to show that it is empty before they get the rabbit out. How do they do it?

How Is The Rabbit Out Of A Hat Perfected

This is the one trick that requires some props, like a bag, tablecloth, the rabbit, and of course the hat.

The rabbit is inside of the bag, which is attached to the table near the magician. The part of the table facing the audience tends to be covered by the cloth. The big part comes from getting the speed perfected of getting the rabbit out of the bag and into the hat faster than what the audience can see.

The Zigzag Illusion

The assistants are often the backbone of any magic show. With this trick, the magician has his assistant get inside of a wooden box. When the assistant is in the box, the middle of the box is often moved from one side to the other side leaving a big hole in the middle of the box and the assistant.


Often the magician then puts their head in the place where the torso should be located. This means that no mirrors or other items were used to trick the audience members. The assistant is usually smiling at the top part of the box and looks very comfortable, so what is going on?

How Is The Zigzag Completed

The secret is how the name of the trick is worded. The assistant that is being used for this trick has to be very flexible. That is why you never see the magician looking for someone from the audience for this trick. The assistant has to be flexible as they are going to be bending their bodies in a way that makes it look like their midsection has completely disappeared.

They do the best to guarantee that the rest of their body is visible to the audience and is not moving when the trick is going on. Often the trick comes from the audience not being able to figure it out because they do not think that someone is that flexible.

What Is The Levitating Man

The trick of the levitating man is one that has been used for years. Just like the name states, it looks like the magician is floating in the air with nothing under him. To prove that there is a gap between them and the ground, the performer generally has a stick that can be used to show that nothing is in between them and the ground.


Typically, people will stand in stare at the person in amazement as they look like they have magical powers or even a holy person. However, there is a straightforward explanation for this trick.

How Is Levitating Man Pulled Off

This trick is completed using 2 metal plates that are under the magician’s clothes, which are usually baggy, but with a prop on the ground, they hide the second platform that is on the ground.


While it looks like the magician is elevated and using the stick to stabilize themselves, they are really only using an elevated platform to sit down on.

What Is The Levitating Cup

It would be great if we lived in a world that we could be a Jedi and move things using our mind. However, our world simply does not work like that and while it is a great concept is something that is not possible. The illusion to control things, though, is one thing that can be manufactured.

Often this trick is done by a magician who puts a cap in their hands and slowly moves their hands away from each other making the cup look like it is levitating. How does this happen?

How Is The Cup Levitated?

This is a trick that is very simple, but you knew that part already. All that you have is a small hole in the foam cup with your hand while you were holding it on the upper part of the cup.

Then while your thumb is still on the cup you simply move your hands away from each other. If you are really talented, then moving your hands away quickly will work as well as the audience tends to ignore where the thumb is located because of how the body is positioned.

What Is Walking On Water

Jesus walked on water and that is a miracle, but there is a very narrow point between the miracle and the magic trick. This means if you see someone walking on water, it does not mean that they are holy or they have a special power, but instead it means they are great at creating the illusion of what they can do.

Often the people who are able to perform the walking on water trick leave their audience trying to figure out how the trick worked and with a litany of explanations. Often the audience is left cheering for the magician, but at the same time, they tend to be waiting for the magician to get dunked in the water with each step they take. Now, it is time to figure out how the trick works.

How Is The Walking On Water Trick Finished

Typically, the magician is going to make it look like they are losing their balance on each step, but they are really trying to trick your mind. This allows your mind to get tricked into thinking that the trick, as odd as it sounds, is plausible and could happen.

The real art of the trick is the use of Perspex boxes, these boxes disappear when they are placed under the surface of the water. Often, the boxes are put close enough that they are going to make it very easy to walk on.

What Is A Note From A Lemon

Jamie Ravens from Britain’s Got Talent really is the one who made this trick a popular one. While he did completely numerous tricks on the show, the one that everyone remembers is the note from a lemon.

What he did in this trick was get the judges to sign a note and then he folded it and pulled out of a lemon that he had never touched before. How Did This Work?!

How Does The Lemon Note Trick Work

If you paid close attention to the trick, you may already know the secret to the trick. If you look at the video, you may notice that Jamie quickly puts the lemon back together after he shows the note to the audience. He may have noticed that the lemon has a hole in it that he did not want anyone to see.

The main thing is that he keeps the audience distracted long enough for him to slip the note into the lemon and pull it out.

Smoking Fingers What Is It

How can smoke come out of the fingers?. It is not like we can produce smoke except in winters when it is cold right? Well, the magicians seem to make smoke appear from their fingers by rubbing them together.

Now, you need to realize that the magicians are trained tricksters and are not a wizard who can produce smoke out of the blue. The smoke, which looks like it is coming from nowhere, it actually has a source.

How Does Smoke From The Fingers Work?

This is a trick that can be dangerous and will require you to wash your hands after you have completed the trick. You have to use the matchbox strikers if you want to do this trick properly. You pull out the cardboard lining and then use the striker part to fold in half and light it up.

After you have let it burn for a little bit, you can extinguish the fire and get the residue that is left behind. The white substance that is left is phosphorus which will be what is used to make the smoke appear. You just put this on your fingers and rub them together.

What Is The Ice From Water

We all know that ice comes from water, but it cannot transform at the same rate that the magicians make it look like it does. That does not happen and is not possible. You may notice that any chemical reaction that is possible does not let this happen even. How do the magicians pull it off though?

With this trick, the magician tends to use water which is poured into a cup and before your eyes it is turned into ice. Well, you may find that this is a trick of science and deception. Once you start to understand how this trick is completed, it is very easy for you to use the trick.

How Is The Ice From Water Done

What do you have in your house that quickly absorbs water in your house? A sponge is the answer and it is something the magician uses as well.

How do they make it look like the water is turning into ice right away? The simple answer is they don’t do that. When the cup is used and has water added to it, they also put in a sponge and ice to the mixture. This happens so that the sponge pieces absorb all the water and the only thing that is left is the ice. The key thing to the trick is to make sure the sponge and the cup are the same color.

Criminal Lean

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, perfected this move. The reason it is called the criminal lean is the way that he did his lean in the Smooth Criminal video. If you are from that era, then you are most likely guilty of trying to do the exact same type of lean on your own.

However, he did it perfectly each and every time. He never even fell and looked like he did not even have to put any effort into the lean-to get the perfection that we all tried and looked like an idiot when we would fall over clumsily in front of everyone.

How Did The Smooth Criminal Lean Work

The explanation is actually very easy to work out on this illusion. He did not pull the trick off without the use of props. That is probably why so many of us have fallen over when we tried to do the same trick all the time.

Michael Jackson has shoes that were made specifically for the purpose of the video. The shoes had triangle holes that made it easy for the shoes to get attached to nails that were sticking out of the floor that he performed on. He also used hours of practice to guarantee that the shoes would find the holes each time and that he would have the perfect body posture when he was getting the shoes used.

What Is The Hand Through Glass Trick

This is a trick that has been done by the magicians for several years now as they tend to push their hands through the glass without any effort. The sheet of glass is placed on a platform to show that there are no holes in the glass.

How then are the magicians able to get their hand through the glass without any type of issues?. There has to be something that their hand is able to pass through right? They cannot get their hand in the glass that easily can they?

How Is The Hand Through Glass Trick Completed

This is one that is very straightforward. You will find that screens are used in this trick and they are cut in just the perfect shape to allow for the hand to go through the glass without any issues. The back of the screen is hiding two mirror panels. When the trick starts off a sleight of hand is used to remove the real mirror glass and put in a couple of fake mirror panels.


This allows the hand to easily move through the glass. Just like if you were moving your own hand out the open car window. So while it may seem like the hand is going through the glass, it really is not moving through the glass and instead is moving in the void space. It is such a fluid movement that it looks like it is going through the open glass window.

Making The Pigeon Appear

This is a trick that is going to use a pigeon but remember that any use of an animal in a trick has to be done humanely for the animal. Often the only animals that are used for the magic tricks are the rabbit and the pigeon.


This is a trick that often is mastered by the younger magicians as it takes and makes a pigeon appear out of nowhere. You may have already guessed, though, that the pigeon does not appear out of nowhere.

How Is The Pigeon Appearing Finished

Usually, when this trick is done, you are distracted by the flash that happens. So you already are thinking that the pigeon showing up is often going to come from the flash that is happening. Yes, that is typically the case of the pigeon appearing.

That is because the noise and the flash tend to distract the audience long enough to not pay attention to what is happening. That is when the audience is distracted the magician grabs the pigeon from a deep pocket in their coat and presents the pigeon-like it was never seen before.

A Solid Wall? Walking Through A Wall

This is an act that only a ghost should be able to do, but a magician makes you think it happens easier. The truth is outside of the ghost that people see walkthrough walls no one else has walked through a wall. How can a magician walk through a wall then is a common question, but in reality they are making it look like they are walking through the wall.

When you do see the magician walking through the wall, you may notice that they are often going to make you think they are using magic or are a ghost. You may notice that an easy explanation does exist and it often leads to no one getting hurt.

How Is This Trick Completed

What you need to realize is walking through the middle of the wall is not possible, but going under it is very easy to do. That is exactly what the magicians do is walk under the wall that is solid. Let’s take it a bit further to make it easier to understand.

In the walls, you may notice that they tend to have a tunnel that connects the sides of the wall together. While the magician may look like they are walking through the wall, they are actually going through a tunnel under the wall. The reason for the sheets is to keep you from noticing the magician going down, instead of through.

Biting A Coin In Half

This is another trick that the street magicians have made famous. What really makes this trick one that is amazing is the fact that the magician often gets a coin from the audience to use.

This gives the audience some belief that the coin is real as it is coming from their own pocket. This usually leads to the audience thinking the magician really has some magic powers. Well, in truth, the magician does have something up their sleeve.

How Is The Coin Biting Completed

The trick is very easy and one that anyone can do. All that you have to do is get a prop coin that looks like a real coin, but the difference is this is a coin that breaks in half when it has pressure applied to it.

The real trick comes from swapping out the real coin with the coin that is the prop coin without anyone ever noticing that the swap was made. Usually, the street magicians are so good that the sleight of hand is not even noticed. Now, though, you will pay attention to the hands of the magician, right?

What Is The Underwater Box

This is a trick that was brought to light by Harry Houdini, and it involves handcuffs, locks, and being able to hold your breath while you are underwater.


The performer often puts themselves in a cage and asks their assistant to lock the lid for using nails and have to figure out how to get out o the locks and chains that are covering them. This may look like it is impossible, but it actually has several secrets that make it very easy for the magicians to look like they are an escape artist.

How Is This Trick Completed

While the magician is handcuffed in front of the audience, they are actually out of the cuffs before the lid even closes on the box. While the handcuffs do look real, they are not real handcuffs at all.

Not only that the box usually has a secret side panel that allows the performer to get out of the box once the water starts to come into the box. Usually the magician wants to perform a hard sell so they will wait a few seconds under the water to sell the act a little bit longer before they show up out of the water when they really had been out of the chains that had been holding them for some time.