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Glossary Central - Magic glossary
Category: General technical and industrial > Magic tricks
Date & country: 31/05/2011, USA
Words: 136

broken wand ceremony
Special ceremony conducted at the funeral of a magician in which a wand is broken to symbolize the loss of magical power. First conducted by the Society of American Magicians at Houdini's memorial service in 1926.

book test
An act of mentalism in which a spectator selects letters, words, illustrations or pages from a book, and the magician divines or predicts them.

bill in lemon
A magic trick in which a signed dollar bill ends up inside a lemon.

black art
The use of a black cloth background to aid in concealing or highlighting objects.

A disappearence or the act of making something or someone disappear.

zombie ball
A famous effect in which a large ball is seen to float and hover, usually under cover of a large fabric, apparently with a mind of its own.

vanishing bird cage
A famous effect in which a bird cage (sometimes containing a live bird) is seen to vanish instantly and visually.

One of the basic effects in magic, in which an object changes into a different item.

A card effect in which face-down cards turn face-up, or vice versa.

top change
A method for secretly exchange a card held in the hand with the top card of a deck held in the other hand.

The switching of locations of two items.

top palm
One of several methods for palming the card from the top of a deck.

Secretly hiding an object in your mouth. Compare with palming or lapping.

Large pocket in the lining of a jacket that allows the magician to vanish items by tossing them secretly and smoothly into the pocket.

the olram subtlety
A method for apparently displaying the fronts and backs of all cards in a packet, when in fact only half of the cards are fairly displayed. Invented by Ed Marlo. Compare to flustration count.

time misdirection
Diversion accomplished by delaying an action so that an inconsistency goes unnoticed.

sucker effect
A trick where the spectator is led to believe he has discovered the secret, only to be proved very wrong.

Secretly exchange one item (e.g. a card or a coin) for another.

An effect in which the location of an item changes. For example, the Card to Wallet effect is a form of teleportation.

thumb tip
A magician's prop used for vanishing, producing, or switching small objects. A classic effect is to have a silk handkerchief or other small object pressed into the top of the left fist. After pushing it well in with the right thumb, the left fist is opened to show the silk has disappeared. Alternatively, a lighted cigarette, liquid, salt or other small objects can be made to disappear in a like m...

stage magic
Tricks designed to be performed before a live audience.

A prearranged deck in a specific sequence understood or memorized by the magician.

strange traveler
A card effect in which a card that the spectator merely thinks of appears mysteriously in a packet of cards that the spectator is holding.

Audience member who is actually planted as part of the act and who acts in a cooperative manner with the magician.

An inadvertant noise made by the props which can give away the trick. E.g., when you perform the pass, it's important that your cards are not speaking.

street magic
Another term for close-up magic, although in street magic the audience does not always know at first that they are witnessing magic.

A silk hankerchief.

sleight of hand
See sleight.

A concealed action, usually accomplished through quickness and/or dexterity; any cunning or crafty trickery performed with the hands.

spectator control
The ability of the magician to steer the spectator into certain actions so that the trick can reach a successful conclusion.

A single member of the audience.

See stooge.

six card repeat
A packet trick in which the magician counts out six cards, then throws one (or more) away, only to find that he still has six cards. The process repeats a seemingly impossible number of times, and usually stops with a surprise ending.

second deal
To appear to deal a card from the top of the deck, while secretly dealing one from the second position.

Society of American magicians, a trade organization dedicated to the practice and profession of magic.

A trick that don't require sleight of hand.

A card selected by the spectator. It may be a free choice, or it may be forced.

a small piece of paper, often folded, upon which a message has been written, usually for a mind-reading effect.

riffle shuffle
The method of shuffling on the table by springing the ends of two packets into each other. Compare: Overhand shuffle.

ambitious card
A magic effect in which a playing card, which is usually signed, 'jumps' to the top of the deck repeatedly after being put somewhere in the middle.

bad angle
The lines of vison of people sitting at certain positions in the audience which enable a secret to be spotted.

reversed card
Any card that is face up in a face-down pack (or faced down in a face-up pack).

A trick in which an object that is destroyed (cut, burned, torn, etc.) is restored to its original or near-original state.

A magnetic pull device used to vanish a small coin or magnetic object. Gimmicked props such as playing cards and coins can be designed with an iron core, so that they are effected by the Raven's strong magnetic attraction.

playing card
One card from a deck.

Any item used in the performance of an illusion.

The appearance of an object or person, as if by magic. The opposite of a vanish.

One of the three segments of a finger. The phalange nearest the palm is the first, or the innermost; the second is at the middle; the third is the outermost, that at the nail.

packet trick
A card effect involving a small quantity of cards, usually less than 10.

A small number of cards.

A pack of playing cards.

An effect in which a solid object is seen to pass through, or penetrate, another solid object. For example, when the magician links two apparently solid steel rings.

Secretly hiding an object in your hand. Comparing with lapping, tounging.

A card sleight involving the secret transposition of two halves of a deck.

parlor magic
Tricks performed before a smaller group, about 10 to 50 people. Compare with stage magic.

Running commentary as you perform magic. For some tricks, the patter may be a story. With others, it may be jokes. Some tricks require no patter.

overhand shuffle
The old-fashioned method of shuffling the cards from hand to hand. Compare: Riffle shuffle.

To bring the deck up at an angle so that the bottom card is partially visible to the audience. This is often done to conceal a sleight, such as second deal.

one way force deck
A deck consisting of 52 identical cards.

one ahead principle
A principle often used in mentalism where the magician uses previously obtained information to stay one step ahead of the audience to supposedly make accurate predictions/guesses.

The same procedure, but the right hand moves outwards, causing the card to extend beyond the outer end. In the course of certain tricks, the outjog and injog may be employed during a single shuffle.

Announcing something incorrectly, e.g. the face of a card or the year of a coin.

mirror box
A gimmicked box which appears to be empty but in fact contains a mirror that obscures half or more of its internal area.

mullica wallet
A wallet designed by magician Tom Mullica for performing Card to Wallet. It is different than most methods in that it does not require palming.

The application of psychological principles or strategies in order to control the focus of the spectator. An example of misdirection is that a large movement will misdirect a spectator's attention away from a smaller movement (the concealed sleight).

One who performs mentalism.

Mentalism is a performing art in which the practitioner uses his five senses to create the illusion of a sixth. Performers may claim to be demonstrating supernatural abilities such as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and telekinesis.

metal bending
An effect, usually associated with mentalism, in which metal objects such as keys, nails, and spoons apparently bend at the will of the magician.

A stage illusion invented by John Nevil Maskelyne, but most often associated with famous magician and escape artist Harry Houdini, and performed to some renown (for speed) by The Pendragons, among many others. In the illusion, an assistant (Houdini employed his wife Bess) is locked inside a large box or trunk, often after being restrained with handcuffs, ropes, bags, etc. The magician stands upon ...

The technique used by the magician for achieving the desired effect.

magic trick
An illusion, act of mentalism, or other performance of the art of magic.

The art of entertaining an audience by performing illusions that baffle and amaze, often by giving the impression that something impossible has been achieved, almost as if the performer had magic or supernatural powers.

magician's wax
See Daub.

magician's choice
See equivoque.

One who practices the art of magic.

A french term for sleight-of-hand.

To secret put an object into a location, e.g. a card on the top of the deck, or a rabbit in a hat.

The ability to float oneself, another person or an object, with no apparent means of support, as if the rules of gravity do not apply.

Secretly hiding/depositing an object in your lap.

lance burton
An American stage magician who has his own show in Las Vegas at The Monte Carlo and has presented numerous TV specials.

A card extending for a fraction of an inch from any part of the pack. It marks the position of a desired card or of a stock of cards. Also see injog, outjog.

A card protruding beyond the inner end of the pack. During an overhand shuffle a card is injogged by moving the right hand, with its packet, inwards towards the body.

One who performs illusions.

A magic effect, usually performed on stage and before a large audience. E.g., sawing a woman in half, vanishing an elephant, or transforming a motorcycle into girls.

Magic that can be performed without any preperation, usually with everyday objects.

invisible thread
A thin nylon thread which is not visible in normal lighting conditions.

invisible deck
A gaff deck used by magicians to produce a seemingly impossible effect: the spectator's freely-selected card is shown to be the only face-down card in the entire deck.

International Brotherhood of Magicians, a trade organization dedicated to the practice and profession of magic.

ghost count
See Elmsley count.

An object that appears natural but has been altered to create a magical effect. For example: a box with a secret compartment, or a specially printed playing card. Sometimes called a gaff.

Secretly seeing something (card, billet, etc.)

haunted deck
A card effect in which a selection mysteriously rises from the pack, or the deck cuts itself at the selection. There are several ways to achieve this effect, including a deck that houses a gimmick, invisible thread, and even sleight of hand.

hocus pocus
Nonsense phrase used to help the magician "make something happen". Some feel that the word is a corruption of a Latin phrase used in the Mass, others say that it was the name of a magician. Still another source considers it a reference to the Norse folktale sorcerer Ochus Bochus. It could be a meaningless phrase created for its sound alone.

See gimmick.

An entertaining feat of physical dexterity. Unlike most other sleights, flourish is performed openly in front of the audience, to entertain, display the performer's skill or for the purpose of misdirection.

flash paper
A specially treated paper which ignites quickly with a bright flash, sometimes used for misdirection.

The illusion of a free choice when in fact the spectator's decision is predetermined by the magician. An example is the classic force, where the spectator thinks they have chosen a card at random but in fact they have taken the card the magician intended.

flustration count
A false counting method in which one card of a packet is shown repeatedly to give the impression that all cards in the packet are the same.

false count
Any method of openly counting cards while concealing one or more cards. The Elmsley Count is one well known example.

false shuffle
Any method of shuffling, riffling, cutting or culling, designed to appear regular, but in reality retaining, or arranging, some preconceived order.