Amateur Magicians Handbook

The Amateur Magicians Handbook


A lavishly illustrated new edition of the classic handbook for conjurers is designed to help magicians of all levels, from beginning to advanced, hone their skills at legerdemain and develop new and exciting illusions to baffle the mind.

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Magicians of reddit, what are some easy tricks that will ‘WOW’ people at parties?(r/AskReddit)


Don’t ever show a trick until you have it perfect. If that means you only get to show one trick, that’s great. One amazing trick will make your reputation – three mediocre tricks and people will never want to see another one.

My current favorite is Dresscode. Now, there’s some work involved in constructing the prop, but I got it to work the first time, and I only had to practice the trick maybe three or four dozen times before I went out with it. It’s never gone wrong for me, and people are absolutely amazed – and yes, it looks just like the video.

Tenyo’s recent 4-D Surprise is very easy to do and looks like a special effect on TV. BUT BUT BUT the fact that it’s easy means you should practice twice as hard, and in front of a mirror.

If you don’t want to spend money, get a book. I always recommend this one which I learned from, Henry Hay’s The Amateur Magician’s Handbook. It’s a great book full of really practical tricks and you can get a used copy for about $2 and shipping.

And a few more tips!

Tip one is do everything as slowly as possible. Yes, it sounds like the reverse of what you’d expect, but the key to real mastery of this skill isn’t speed – your hand can’t possibly (in most cases) move faster than the eye, and even when it does the audience definitely feels something is wrong – the key to mastery is smoothness.

Dresscode does need you to do the change briskly – but even there, the first time I did it I jammed a finger trying to do it too fast, and I realized that I needed to slow down.

Never, ever allow anything that looks like “a move” in your trick. I spend hours making sure that each move in a trick is rational and natural seeming. Take Digital Dissolve, a staple trick of mine. If you note in the video, he has one “move” in there where his hands move quickly. I practiced this a hundred times and managed to get the trick to the point where I can do each move in glacial slow motion, and there isn’t one single motion I do that isn’t natural and logical.

And finally, tricks themselves are very short and people don’t care unless you give them a reason to care. For example, in Digital Dissolve, I explain to people that magic is not quicker than the eye (as above) and I thus learned a trick which I could do as slowly as possible. I spend some time showing them the English penny and making sure it’s in their hands for a long time, and the 50 cent piece too. I never say “Examine this,” because it implies that something is funny about the coins (which there isn’t), and because it sets up a bad power structure between you and the audience – instead I point out the details on the coin, get them to feel the milling on the edge or look at the Queen and Britannia on the penny.

By the time one coin transposes to the other, they’re familiar with the coins, they believe they are real items (which they are!), and when they switch and you drop the coins back into their hands, they’re flabbergasted.

Or take the Voodoo Doll trick, perhaps $10 or $20 at your magic shop. That video shows how to make a great trick dull 😀 because there’s no magic in it. I have a little straw box that I pull the item out of, I explain a little about voodoo and fetish objects – and then I ignore the audience for a minute or so when I spend the time whispering into the doll’s ear (in French :-D).

When I finally do the levitation, I do it very slowly. I let it rise for a little and then stop… then I do it again and pass my hand around it slowly (no strings! There aren’t any strings, but I never say that – I merely demonstrate that it’s impossible). Eventually, I slowly get it standing upright – until it suddenly falls over – people usually are startled.

Have fun! Magic is a great hobby, you can do it anywhere and it costs very little if you do card or coin tricks.

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Henry Hay

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The Amateur Magicians Handbook

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Magicians of reddit, what are some easy tricks that will ‘WOW’ people at parties?

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