Watching people get that sense of amazement and wonder when they see a magic trick they cannot explain can be highly rewarding. Magic tricks can also teach us a lot about the fragility of our own perception, awareness and attention. Although it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to be bending people’s minds like Dynamo, Derren Brown and David Blaine any time soon; you can learn these fun and simple coin and card tricks to take your first exciting steps into the world of magic.
The appearing coin
This is one of the simplest of all magic tricks to perform. All you need is a coin and a long-sleeved top. Holding one arm vertically with your palms facing away from you -- picture a “waving goodbye” pose -- simply drop the coin into your sleeve so that you feel it down by your elbow. Now, explain that you’re about to make a coin magically appear, showing your audience your empty hands while taking care to keep the coin in your sleeve. To keep your audience distracted, start waving your free arm around in a “magical” or “conjuring" way. While doing this, drop the arm that contains the coin downwards, letting the coin slip down your sleeve back into your palm. With your audience still distracted by your free waving arm, quickly bring your other arm back up, reveal a coin that has “magically” appeared in your hand. It’s that simple.
The vanishing coin
For this trick you’ll need two sheets of the same coloured paper, a transparent plastic glass, a table or flat surface, a pencil, scissors, glue, handkerchief or cloth, and of course that all-important coin. Begin by placing the glass upside down on one of the sheets of paper. Draw around the rim of the glass and use the scissors to cut this out. Then, carefully glue your paper over the rim of glass, making sure you cut off any excess paper. Place the second piece of paper onto your table and place the coin on the paper. Take your modified glass and place it upside down on the paper. Now it’s time for the magic. Take your handkerchief, place it over glass and move the glass over the coin. Lift the handkerchief away and voila; the coin has disappeared. Of course, you know this isn’t the case. The coin is simply underneath the paper glued to the rim of your glass. To finish, place the handkerchief back over the glass, move the glass away -- and out of sight so you don’t give away your secret -- and watch the coin reappear. That's magic!
Two card wonder
As far as card tricks go, this is an easy one that relies on the wonderful mathematical rules of probability. In fact, this trick is so easy that you don’t actually have to anything. That’s right, you don’t do anything; the trick performs itself. Take a deck of cards, pass them to your spectator and ask her to shuffle the cards thoroughly. Now, ask your spectator to call out the name of two cards, making sure you ask for the name only and not the suit. All you have to do now is put your hand on the top of the deck for around half a minute, telling your spectator you're focusing your energy on the deck. After you’ve done that, ask your spectator to sift through the deck and the cards she named should appear next to each other. This trick plays on probability, and when you ask your spectator to name the number of two cards, she is really naming eight (for example, there four tens and four sixes). Remarkably, this trick works almost every time. If it doesn’t, simply try again and tell your spectator that you’ll “focus harder” this time.
The card hunter
This trick relies on the beauty of mathematics. Take your deck of cards and silently count out 25 cards. Place these 25 cards in one pile and offer the remaining pile to your spectator. Ask your spectator to choose a card from his pile, memorise it and give it back to you. Place his card face down at the bottom of your pile of 25 cards, and then place your pile of cards on top of the pile you gave to the spectator. Now you can revel in the beauty of magic and mathematics. Turn over all of the cards so they face you, count from the back of the pile until you reach the 26th card -- which will be your spectators card -- and then simply ask your spectator if this is his card.
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