Popular Science

Eerie tricks right out of a magician’s top hat

YOU DON’T NEED TO MAKE LADY LIBERTY DISAPPEAR TO PULL OFF A KILLER MAGIC SHOW. THESE GIMMICKS ARE READY TO GO RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX, BUT PRACTICE WILL MAKE THEM TRULY IMPRESSIVE.

- By STAN HORACZEK

1 Magic carpet

The 21.5-by-13-inch padded Vanishing Inc. Deluxe Close-Up Pad provides a comfortabl­e surface for practicing and performing routines. The textured synthetic wool deadens noise that could betray sleight-of-hand movements in some close-up tricks.

2 Bar trick

By palming half of the multicolor­ed Magic Makers Sizzle Sticks, deft illusionis­ts can appear to change the rods from all red to black and white—and back. At 3.75 inches long, the nickel-plated props fit easily in a pocket for impromptu shows.

3 Key master

Skilled practition­ers can seemingly chomp off part of the Geraint Clarke Key Bite, then spit it back into place thanks to an elastic band that connects both halves. One side is nickel and the other is brass, so it can mimic almost any door opener.

4 Sneaky spheres

A classic gimmick, Murphy’s Cup and Balls lets quick-handed performers “teleport” wool orbs between aluminum containers as they slide them around a table. The roomy 3.3-inch-wide vessels help beginners avoid missing an orb and giving up the bit.

5 Stacked deck

Subtle markings at the top left and bottom right of each of the Ellusionis­t Cohort Cards’ backs reveal the value and suit to help magicians look like mind readers. A thin yet stiff paper stock makes them tougher and lighter than a standard deck, for smoother shuffling.

6 String theories

The Rainbow Ropes Remix begins with a trio of strands that appear to be the same length. In reality, sliding knots connect two shorter ropes to a 3-foot section. With a little showmanshi­p, viewers will believe they’ve morphed into a single, multicolor­ed string.

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