Spell It Out: Discover Mysterious Magic Tricks That Are Still Amazing Decades Later

Magicians have fascinated audiences since the 1800s, with tricks that cover different categories, from appearing/disappearing to transforming, levitating, evading and predicting. However, many of the best magic tricks don’t fit into one of these categories. Instead, they inspire wonder and make people wonder if the impossible is really possible.

Here are three magic tricks throughout history that still have an impact:

1. Silverfish

One of American magicians Penn and Teller’s signature tricks, the entire act is performed without dialogue. It begins with a spectator being called onto the stage and seated next to a large water tank. The magician then hands the spectator an empty fishbowl and reaches the water tank to take some water. When he transfers it to the empty bowl, it is no longer water, but a silver dollar. The magician continues to repeat the act, producing hundreds of coins in the air. When the bowl is full, he takes it from the spectator and throws the coins into the water tank – where the dollars immediately turn into a large school of goldfish!

2. The Evanescent Lady

Developed by French magician Buatier de Kolta in the 19th century, the effect involves the magician covering someone sitting in a chair, with a large cloth. The audience can clearly make out the shape of the person below. Yet when the magician takes the cloth away, it reveals an empty chair, with no one in sight. The trick is over a century old, but still an astounding sight.

3. Metamorphosis

It’s the trick that propelled legendary Hungarian-American illusionist Harry Houdini into the limelight. The magician is bound and put in a bag, and the bag is locked in a chest. The assistant then stands on top of the box, pulls a cloth over herself, then drops it, revealing that she has swapped places with the magician. Countless magicians have performed their own versions of this trick.

Brian L. Hartfield