Secrets of Magic: Revealed!

May 8, 2012


The trick:  Sawing the lady in half.  A woman is placed in a narrow box.  The box is then sliced in half.  The two sections are separated and the woman is still able to move her toes.  The halves are then put back together and the woman emerges unharmed.

Cross-section of a human torso. (taken from the Journal of the American Medical Association)

How it’s done: It’s a little known medical fact that the human body is held together through a complex system of magnets.  By placing a sheet of de-magnetized metal through the mid-section, the upper and lower body pop right apart without harm.

The clue: Notice people in the front row.  People with loose change, car keys or metallic fillings in their teeth may discover them whizzing through the air toward the bisected assistant.  This is also how the assistant earns a living.

The trick:  Escaping from the shackles.  The magician is handcuffed or manacled, checked by the audience that he’s not carrying any sort of key or lockpick, disappears behind a curtain, and emerges free of the binds.

How it’s done: Magicians will frequently swallow a key and then, once behind the curtain, induce vomiting in order to retrieve it.

The real trick is getting people not to notice the guy in the wings in the coveralls with the bucket of sawdust and the wet/dry vac.

The clue:  Listen carefully.  Magicians frequently use their “magical words” to cover these regurgitations.  Note this transcript from one of Houdini’s appearances.

*Curtain drops.*
As I say the magic words: Alacamondo, Prestigitore, abraca-Herrrrrgh.  Herrrrrrrrgh.  Herrrrr-BLLLLAAARRRRRRRGH!! (pause) BLLLLLAARRRRRGH!! Uh, uh, uh BLLLLAAARRRRRRRGH! Omigod, omigod, that burns so ba-. BLLLLLLAAARRRRRRGH! Oh, my nose.  Okay, find the key find the key, don’t breathe in… Ugh… come on, it has to be in here… come onnnn… ugh, this is so disgusting.  I think I’m gonna – BLLLLAAARRRRRGH.  This is awful.  There it is!  Oh, sweet God, oh, thank the lord. 
*Curtain rises.*

 The trick: Guessing your card.  The magician asks you to pick a card.  You then place it back in the deck, and the magician shuffles it, then sorts through the deck.  You tell him when to stops and – incredibly – it is your card that he stops at.

Is it an 8 of clubs? HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!!! FOOLISH MORTALS! YOU KNOW NOT WITH WHAT YOU TAMPER!!! Oh, the clouds? Guess it’s going to rain. RAIN DESPAIR, THAT IS!!  AND TORMENT!!!

How it’s done: The key to this trick is simple preparation.  The magician must sell his soul, via the dark arts, to one of any number of demons.  Once this faustian bargain has been struck, the magician merely invokes his unholy power via a short incantation.

The clue: While shuffling, notice that the magician mutters quietly to himself.  Shortly afterward, thick, black clouds of sulfur emerge from nowhere and the thundering laughter of evil echoes from the netherworld against a backdrop of the cacophonous lamentations of the damned.  Then he picks your card.  (Note: this is the only way to do this trick)

The trick: Pulling rabbits out of a hat.  The magician presents an ordinary top hat, showing the audience that it is empty, and has a solid bottom. He then reaches in and removes a living rabbit.

Awwww, look at the iddle bunnies!

How it’s done: Like most creatures, air and water make up about 95% of rabbits’ bodies.  By carefully deflating and dehydrating a rabbit, it can be slipped in to the lining of any hat.  The magician then need only pour a little water and some forced air into the hat and voila!

The clue: Notice magicians never get their heads wet before performing this trick.  In the unlikely event that it does happen, you’ll observe that the magician’s hat suddenly gets very bulky and lumpy, and begins kicking and biting the magician’s head.

Next Time on Secrets of Magic: Revealed! – The “levitating man” trick.  Could the secret to this classic illusion involve explosive charges hidden in the soles of one’s shoes?

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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58 Comments on “Secrets of Magic: Revealed!”

  1. 1pointperspective Says:

    I understand now.
    In a future piece, please explain the magic of how magnets work.


  2. Paul G. Eberlein Says:

    Penn and Teller, eat your hearts out…


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      They actually do shows periodically where they show how they’re doing it, but they do it with tricks where the “how it’s done” is as compelling and amazing as the trick itself. It isn’t just “The box has a false bottom. See?”. Very clever of them.


  3. Life in the Boomer Lane Says:

    Thanks for this. I need to know how the TV works, how computers work, and why the pens chained to the counter at my bank never work. Why would they bother to enslave nonworking pens?


  4. Roly Says:

    Thanks! That clears that up.


  5. She's a Maineiac Says:

    This explains why I find David Blaine’s eyes so soulless.


  6. Lorna's Voice Says:

    I hope you have a staff to sort through the Magician Hate Mail you are surely going to receive for revealing their time-honored secrets. Personally, I know about the human body falling apart when the magnets fail. It’s quite inconvenient. 😉


  7. Soma Mukherjee Says:

    OMG I have never laughed so hard in my life you are super duper funny….this is hilarious….specially the vomit and bunny part….oh man my stomach hurts with all the laughing..I think my body parts do look like the first image now, may be i am ready for the trick….


  8. MJ, Nonstepmom Says:

    Now I see why you remain mysteriously anonymous …Chris Angel will not be pleased….unless this is part of the set up for his next trick….hmmm


  9. Michelle Gillies Says:

    The other day my Mr. and I were wondering what had happened to David Copperfield. I was telling Mr. about a friend I had that was terrified of Copperfield because he thought he had made a bargain with the devil himself and that all his tricks were real, dark magic. We figured the darkness got him.
    Turns out he he “lightened” up and became “The Byronic Man” with a very large following of Byromaniacs that he shares the secrets with.


  10. susielindau Says:

    Thank you so much for your enlightening post! I always wondered about those tricks! So how did you figure them out?


  11. crubin Says:

    As the mother of a very talented 12-year-old magician, I am shocked you would reveal such long-held secrets of the trade. As punishment, you will be forced to consume dehydrated bunny stew while soul-sucking demons resect your body-sustaining magnets…


  12. Audrey Says:

    This makes so much more sense! And here I thought those poor magicians were shoving bunnies and bouquets up their sleeves all the time. All it takes is a little soul haggling and mammal dehydration? Dang, sign me up!


  13. becomingcliche Says:

    Okay, so my only mistake was using a sword instead of a sheet of metal. My defense attorney may contact you for confirmation on this. Hope that’s okay.


  14. Howlin' Mad Heather Says:

    Now I have the Rowan Atkinson “And Now, From Nazareth” sketch in my head. Thanks a lot. 😛


  15. every record tells a story Says:

    The biggest secret that magicians never tell you? (and this took me years to figure out). Girls hate magic. And they hate magicians more. If you think that you’ll impress that girl you like by showing her a card trick you are sorely, sorely mistaken. And that’s the truth…


  16. tomwisk Says:

    Sold my soul to some demon. All I can do is attract money, women and secret influence over weaker minds. Crap, wasn’t supposed to talk about the last power. Anyway, tried to guess a card and all I got were two Angelina Jolie look-a-likes and a cashiers check for ten grand.


  17. magikdolls Says:

    Round of applause from the audience


  18. freddyflow Says:

    “Hey, Bullwinkle, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!”


  19. gojulesgo Says:

    The swallowing keys one actually seems incredibly likely, right?

    But I never thought of it.



    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Actually, yes. Houdini, apparently, usually just slipped a key between two fingers and was amazed people never caught it, but supposedly there was some swallowing and regurgitation. Probably with less vomit-based theatrics, which is a shame, really.


  20. Archon's Den Says:

    I KNEW there was a simple, easy, logical explanation. I still have no idea what it is, but I laughed my ass off, looking for it.


  21. Elyse Says:

    Would you kindly saw me in half the long way? I’ll save so much on the liposuction bills that way.


  22. pegoleg Says:

    On the Eternal Damnation application…
    “You are selling your soul in exchange for:”
    a) wealth
    b) power
    c) immortality
    d) ability to guess cards

    Who wouldn’t pick “d”?

    Cacophonous Lamentations of the Damned is the best band/song title ever.


  23. magikdolls Says:

    I thought about you and your post last night while making jewelry.. the “Magic revealed” show with all the little hotties and the masked man… you’re my masked man ❤ haha Jk anyways just thought it was funny that the show was on Bio.. wonder where you got your inspiration 😉


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I love how those shows always have the guy in a mask because of all the “death threats” he receives. Especially because it’s magic on TV. Um, it’s TV. The school bus disappeared because a crane lifted it out of frame without a mic recording the sound. That’s not magic, it’s hydraulics.

      But if I take my blog on the air and need back-up, you’ll be my first call.


  24. Angie Z. Says:

    Aw, you totally ruined it for me! Although, I have to say that I’ve always suspected that about the rabbits. Had this been validated for me sooner, I’m certain I would’ve grown up with rabbits stuffed in my pockets every day.


  25. spilledinkguy Says:

    Smoke, mirrors and… syrup of ipecac.


  26. AJ's Mom Says:

    You really got me at the ‘curtain drops’ and all the blarrgggg and the omigods. I died laughing basically for a good minute or so. Scared the little soul of my one year old. 😀


  27. Akash Agrawal Says:

    Reblogged this on Akash A and commented:
    Secrets of Magic: Revealed!


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