Magic has existed since time immemorial. Many cultures have viewed magic as a supernatural force harnessed and used by wizards and magicians. Some people have viewed magic from an evil perspective, while others have approached it with awe and wonder. Magic started being professionalized late, in the 19th century and it is now a booming multi-billion dollar industry. Over the decades, the tricks have become more complex and breathtaking. Here is a list of the best 100 magic tricks of all time.
- Table of death
This magic trick works by thoroughly gagging and chaining a performer on a table. There is usually another apparatus on top of the magician with spikes that will come down fast to impale him.Curtains are used to cover the magician as he frees himself before the spikes reach him. The trick has previously been performed by Joe Labero.
Metamorphosis works by chaining the magician’s assistant into a box. A curtain is lowered, and when the curtain is pulled back, the assistant and magicians have changed positions with the magician now in the box. Best performed by Harry Houdini.
- RING LINKING
This is a classic act performed by Richard Ross. It mainly involves getting two large rings and making them go into each other without making holes in their circumferences.
- Teeth Removal
This trick is credited to David Blaine who mysteriously uproots a participant’s teeth and then reinserts them right before her very eyes. Blaine manages this amazing fete in front of a large crowd which is also amazing.
- Ball Tricks
Best performed by Paul Daniels, this trick involves very fast hand movements that make it very difficult for the audience to know where the ball is located
- Wireless Lightbulb
This one involves a bulb that is lit on stage by the magician. But what is curious is that the bulb has no electric connection whatsoever. Best performed by Harry Blackstone.
- Dove act
No one does a better Dove act than Lance Burton. He has the ability to pull out Doves from just about anywhere in his body. The fact that he is a great performer, also adds to the flavor of the illusion.
- Walking on Water.
This absolutely breathtaking stunt involved the famous Chris Angel who walked on water. Water that was in a swimming pool, while people were swimming.
- Vanishing Statue of Liberty
One of the most astonishing illusions ever performed was when the Statue of Liberty was made to disappear by David Copperfield before a huge crowd.
- Bullet Catching
Penn and Teller were responsible for this one. In front of a packed hall, they were able to catch bullets with their mouths after two members of the audience picked out two bullets which were marked and used.
- The Death Saw
One of the most horrifying stunts ever. It was performed by David Copperfield and it involved him getting sliced in two by a revolving saw after he placed himself on a table.
The magician in this stunt claimed that this was just a matter of mind control, and he went ahead and locked himself in a box full of ice for 63 hours and 42 minutes. The magician was none other than David Blaine.
Cyril Takayama did the unthinkable with this one. Viewers were left in horror after he performed a stunt where his head fell off to his shoulders. So difficult was the trick, that it has never been attempted again.
There are many variations of this trick but David Copperfield’s variation has to take the title. He did an insane levitation in the towering heights of the Grand Canyon leaving his fans and audiences around the world in total shock.
- Smoke Card
Derren Brown has performed this card trick to perfection numerous times. This is not just a normal card trick, it is highly complex, and the performer must really know what they are doing. It involves the performer producing a card that was handpicked by one audience member. The card is produced from two cigarettes which the magician is smoking simultaneously.
- Concrete Drill Swallowing
The classic knife swallowing trick is very common. Well, Blackthorne took the trick to new heights when he swallowed a concrete drill, while it was still running.
- Crossbow Headshot
The danger element is real in this stunt and the magicians Hans and Helga Moretti knew this all too well. The trick involves one person placing an apple on their forehead. Another person then takes a crossbow, puts on a blindfold and shoots the apple while facing backward.
- The Chinese Water Torture Cell
Probably the most famous of Harry Houdini’s many escape stunts. It involved Harry getting chained by his ankles, flipped upside down and dropped into a glass jar full of water.
- Building to Building Levitation
This magic trick is as real as the heading sounds, and it has only been done by one man –Chris Angel. He managed to levitate from one building to another while a crowd was standing below watching.
- Roller Coaster Death Trick
In this death-defying trick, a magician is tied to the roller coaster rails and his hand chained or handcuffed securely. The train is then released, and he has a few minutes to escape. It was best performed by Lance Burton
- Truck Run Over.
In this completely baffling stunt, Penn – of the famous Penn and Teller- gets run over by a huge truck. The truck appears to go over Penn who has positioned himself under the huge vehicle.
- The Great Wall Walk
Trust David Copperfield to be on the list of the greatest ever illusions. Well, he added to his impressive collection of mind blowing fetes by walking through the Great Wall of China with so much ease and speed.
- Money Changing
At the height of Hurricane Katrina, David Blaine still managed to change the lives of some of the victims with his magic. He performed a cool trick by turning $1 to $100 for one of the victims.
Invented by Alvo Stockman, this new age magic trick involved someone making a prediction and then writing it down and sending it to another via post. Here, the prediction will remain safe because it will never be tampered with.
- Mass Disappearance
David Copperfield again outdid himself when he performed an unprecedented illusion that has proved impossible to replicate. He made 13 people disappear which was pretty awesome.
- Bullet Catch
This is another variation of the bullet catch that was performed by the legendary Robert Houdini. He asked an audience member to shoot a round ball from a gun. When he shot the ball, nothing hit the magician and instead the ball was found in the shooter’s mouth.
- Aerial Suspension
Best performed by the Indian great Sorcar, the aerial suspension is an old trick that needs the magician to sit in a cross-legged position and levitate.
- Doug Henning
In a perfect replication of Houdini’s trick, Doug mastered the art of vanishing a real life elephant in front of a crowd of people. He even asked audience members to verify if indeed the elephant had vanished.
- The Guillotine
This one probably sounds scary, and it is scary. There is no variation whatsoever in the procedure. A magician places his assistant on the chopping board and lets the blade come crushing down apparently chopping the assistant’s head off.
- Window Card
David Blane makes this one look very easy. He finds some random dudes on the street and throws some cards on a window. One card can be visibly seen in the inside of the window which baffles everyone around.
- The Zig- Zag lady
The Zig Zag lady trick involves a lady who is trapped in a horizontal box. The box is the sliced into several large sections with the lady still inside and the sections are allowed to stay separately. Best performed by Robin Harbin.
- Prison Break
Not many magicians can say that they have successfully escaped from prisons. Well, Houdini can. During his illustrious career as an escape artist, he managed to escape numerous prisons, much to the delight of his fans. He had the ability to open all kinds of locks and cuffs, and this really helped him a lot.
- Snow Diamonds
You must be thinking that snow is now worth much more than you thought. It is for Dynamo; a very intelligent and baffling magician who once turned snow into diamonds. He has even been filmed bench-pressing an astonishing 155kgs.
- Pick my pocket
Most people would shudder at the thought of rubbing shoulders with the secret service. Not Apollo Robins. He once met a couple of secret service agents and ended up pickpocketing them of their valuables without them noticing.
- Russian Roulette
Darren Brown really rode on his luck in this trick when he placed the barrel of a gun on his head and correctly shot the empty shells without blowing his head off with the real bullets.
- Lion Swapping
In this astonishing stunt, the magician –in front of the audience- the magician swaps places with a real life lion that is in a cage. The trick has been performed numerously by the Great Lafayette.
- Card Tricks
Card tricks have been a part of magic tricks since time immemorial. One of the best card handlers is Rick Jay who has the ability to correctly identify more than four cards handpicked by an audience member.
- War Magician
Who knew that magic could reach the boundaries of war? Jasper Maskelyne took it there. He was able to convince the army to recruit his services. Services like the mass disappearance of whole towns and their reappearance in other areas, dummy tanks, and buildings e.t.c.
- X-ray Eyes
Sorcar is credited with this trick where he had the ability to see numerals and sentences with his eyes completely closed and blindfolded. He would put some dough on his eyes, and reinforce it with a blindfold for total opaqueness.
- Basin Tricks
This trick, basically involves the magician pulling out all sorts of objects from a basin on the ground. He will use a curtain to cover the basin and when he draws it, something new will be pulled out of the basin. Chung Ling Soo was able to pull out even kids.
- Smoking Thumb
One of the most famous tricks is the smoking thumb. It is not only famous, it is very funny as well. It involves the magician sucking his thumb and smoke coming out. Best performed by Fred Kaps.
- Buried Alive
Some stunts just stretch the limit of human imagination. But magicians love the out of the ordinary and the extreme. David Blane took this to a whole new level when he was buried alive for seven days with no food.
- Niagra Escape
James Randi is best known for this stunt. He was tied upside down, in a straitjacket in front of the Niagra Falls. He had to be a very brave man to attempt such a stunt.
- Jewelry Box
In this totally perplexing stunt, Harry Keller would ask the audience members to give him their rings and other jewelry. He would then shoot them to a jewelry box on the stage. When the box was opened the rings would be found inside another box which was completely amazing.
- Spoon Bending
Bet you didn’t think this was possible. Well, Uri Geller – a famous Israeli magician- made it possible. He had the ability to bend metallic objects with his mind, like spoons and he also claimed that he had supernatural powers.
- Limb Sawing
Jewel Arch is another incredible performer who is best known for cutting off people’s legs and then re-attaching them. He famously claimed that his inspiration came from seeing other magicians do decapitation stunts.
- Chain Escape
One of the most famous Chain Escape artists in the world of magic is Magic Babe Ning. She has been around the scene for quite a while performing sensational escape tricks in Asia.
- Animal Tricks
Siegfried and Roy are best remembered for their incorporation of animals in their act. Tigers were a big part of their act until one of the tigers savagely bit one of the performers.
- Mystical Masks
Jeff Mc Bride is credited with coming up with this concept. He entertains an audience by suddenly putting appearing out of nowhere with masks, plus dressing up acts.
- The Burger trick
Made famous by Cyril Takayama who is a Chinese magician, the burger trick will just blow your mind. It involves the magician pulling a real burger straight from a picture of the same. Cyril has also been known to perform the floating card trick where he flips a card which goes back to him in a boomerang motion.
- Mind reading
Very few magicians can actually pull this one off. But for Banachek – who is an accomplished magician- he does it with ease. He has in the past done this trick where he easily tells the thoughts of audience members before they actualize them into actions.
- Sleight of hand
Although sleight of hand magicians have been wrongly termed as cheats in the past, some have gone ahead and made dazzling performances from this talent. One such performer, especially with cards is Richard Turner.
- Objects out of phones
Arguably the best magician of his generation, J.C Sum has a lot to offer, from disappearing acts to flame roses. But one of his best acts has to be the one where he pulls money out of a real tablet. Sort of like an ATM.
- Butterfly Rose
There are many variations of the rose trick but one of the best, performed by Rocco Silano is the rose trick where he holds some petals and they magically become butterflies.
- Floating Head
One of the best illusions ever performed was done by the legendary Harry Keller, who was able to shock a crowd by decapitating his own head and making it float around.
- Disappearing Levitation
Performed superbly by Herbert Baker, levitation was taken to a whole new level when he made a levitating subject, disappear into thin air. Such a trick had not been witnessed at the time.
- Teleporting Lamp
Harry Keller came up with another dazzling trick where he would make a particular lamp disappear every evening, only to be seen with its original owner who was in India.
- Disappearing Balls
One of the most unique tricks was one performed by Tommy Cooper where he had an uncanny ability of making round balls disappear in every part of his body. It was quite a site.
- Girl appearing
When you see a magician building a small miniature house, just know that big thing will come from the house. Herbert Baker was able to pull out a girl out of a small house he built on stage.
- Burning Coffin
FrazHarary was able to bring out a new version of coffin escape. He had it completely engulfed in flames while he was inside, and managed to escape.
- Comedy Magic
Rune Klan was not known for high-budget magic stunts that left jaws dropping. What he was known for, was small acts with big humor. He is one of the first magicians to incorporate comedy in their act.
- Head Knives
In one of the most dangerous stunts ever Herbert Baker had a stunt where knives were driven into his head through a specially made box for the stunt. Audiences were shocked when he came out unscathed.
- Shuttle Disappearance
Very large monuments have been made to disappear in the past but nothing compares to what FrazHarary did in front of a large crowd. While everyone was watching, he made a whole space shuttle disappear.
- Colorful silks
One of the first people to come up with this trick was Fred Kaps. He found a way to make his silk materials change color before the eyes of many. It was a truly breathtaking trick at the time.
- Spontaneous Cards
Joe Labero is credited as the first person to come up with the Spontaneous cards trick. He had the ability to just flick out cards from out of nowhere.
- Hollow man
In a completely baffling stunt, FrazHarrary was literally at the center of a stunt where a vehicle coming at high speed appeared to pass right through him. He would then come out of the front door of the vehicle.
- Vanishing the Taj Mahal
Only one man had the ability to perform this stunt. His name was Sorcar. In front of a packed audience, he made the Taj Mahal disappear for approximately two minutes.
- Card trick
Forget the complex card tricks you see these days, Juan Tamariz came up with a simple three card trick where an audience member had to choose from three cards which one he would place a bet on. The funny thing is that after a couple of shuffles with the other two, the audience member would always lose their money.
- Mirror Cars
FrazTamariz came up with another absolutely mind blowing trick where he would make two vehicles –facing each other- drive into each other like they were going through a mirror.
- Floating Piano
In one of his many famous performances, Joe Labero was able to suspend a whole piano in midair, in front of a large crowd which left most in complete shock.
- Baby Hand Coin
In one of the funniest yet astonishing tricks, Michael Amnar had the ability to make a coin that was placed in his hand, completely disappear where a small baby hand out of nowhere stretched out and grabbed it.
- Bullet Hand
In one of the most extraordinary fetes achieved by a human being, Joe Labero was able to catch a bullet that had been fired from a gun, with his bare hand. He later showed off the bullet for proof.
Mike Super is considered one of the best mind magicians in the world. He has the ability to read thoughts and predict events with a high degree of accuracy.
- Plane Crash
In a bizarre illusion that has never been replicated again due to its dangerous nature, FrazHarrary was able to cause a collision between two planes mid-flight. The collision caused the total consumption and disappearance of the first plane.
- Vanishing Phone
Michael Amnar has another trick up his bag. He can make common day to day objects disappear before your very own eyes. This was seen when he made a cellphone disappear into thin air before a huge crowd.
- Swallowing Propeller
In an extremely horrific stunt, Joe Labero was once seen being swallowed in what looked like a giant fun, or a plane propeller. He was drawn in backward into the huge rotating blades and came out fine on the other side.
- Catapult doves
Dove acts didn’t come as good as the ones that were performed by Greg Frewin. He developed a dove act where he could produce doves from a catapult.
- The Palm triangle man
In another baffling performance, Mike Super made himself disappear from one stage to another in front of an America’s got Talent crowd while at the same time triangle drawings appeared on the palms of several unsuspecting audience members.
- Balloon phone
Michael Amnar was at hand once more to produce yet another great magic trick when in front of everyone he made a cell phone magically get into a fully blown balloon and even take a picture.
- Magic Jug
The legendary Sorcar was credited with this one when during a live performance he made a jug constantly pour water from nowhere. The water was so much that at the end of the show, a bucket was full.
- Eye Drilling
In one of the most gruesome live shows ever the Amazing Jonathan was seen using a running drill to drill his own eye. So shocking was the stunt that some audience members just couldn’t look.
- Fastest Illusions
Among the many illusions that Hans Klok was able to dazzle fans with, managing 10 illusions in five minutes was one of his greatest achievements. The stunts ranged from disappearing acts, to fire tricks. The record still stands today.
- Grocery Baghead
Mac King once left an audience in awe when he placed a grocery bag over his head and crushed his whole head. His head was not visible until he removed the grocery bag.
- Watch master
A self-proclaimed supernatural deity Uri Geller among other tricks had the ability to stop, and run watches, compasses, and anything that needed mechanics to function.
- Complete Cut
Magicians have performed this illusion for many years, but not like Sorcar. He once had people cut him in half. So clean and pure was the cut that there were no drapes and he showed the cut to the audience.
- Gouged Eye.
This trick doesn’t sound true but it was actually perfectly performed by the Amazing Jonathan. He appeared to gouge his eye which hung down to his coat and he had to reinsert it back into his socket.
- World cup Glory
In 2006, Hans Klok did the unthinkable during the World cup. In front of 500 million viewers, he made the famous trophy appear out of nowhere. It was really awesome.
- Fingertip Cards
Howard Thurston had a great sleight of hand. However, his most famous trick was the one he could make cards disappear while on his fingertips in front of everyone.
- Hand Butcher
This trick would have comfortably made for a perfect horror movie film. The amazing Jonathan was once again at the center of this one when he appeared to butcher his own hand during his magic shows.
- Gold fish man
Mac King had an amazing ability to fish goldfish from the air with a rod complete with a hook. He could also bring out the little fish from inside his mouth.
- Walking legs
In a completely shocking stunt, Hans Klok was once able to cut a girl’s body in two- this was common. What was uncommon, was when a few seconds later, the lower half of the girl’s body started walking around on stage.
- 92. Nose Sticks
Trust the amazing Jonathan for the disgusting and Bizzare. In one show, he performed a stunt where he injected sharp sticks into his nose and ears. He could also snort a whole pint of milk with ease.
- Disappearing coins
Drummond Money-Coutts is the stage name of the most famous magician associated with this trick. He can make coins disappear and reappear at will, and he is also very impressive with cards.
- Destroyed phone
Troy is a well- known magician who performs randomly on the street. In this trick, he took a pedestrian’s phone and smashed its screen completely. While the owner was still complaining, he magically repaired the phone and it was still working normally.
- Disappearing Birdcage
In front of a large audience, Blackstone Senior would often make bird cages disappear and reappear elsewhere in the hall. This was one of his signature tricks.
- Statue man
In an incredible fete of endurance, mental strength and physical endurance David Blaine was able to stand on a statue for days leaving the audience in total disbelief.
- Wrong bodies
In a cheeky street magic trick, Criss Angel nearly found himself in a lot of trouble once when he cut two people in half and interchanged their bodies before taking off.
- 360-degree hand
Dynamo, a famous magician, and illusionist, had an incredible gift. He could move his left palm in a continuous 360-degree circular motion. Whether this was a trick or an in born gift, it was still pretty awesome.
- Tornado of fire
David Copperfield is known for dangerous and unexplainable stunts. This was no different because he once stood in the middle of a Tornado of fire without a hair on him getting burnt.
- Enchanted Garden
Blackstone Senior was at the center of this one once more. On stage, and in the presence of his many adoring fans he started producing lots of flowers so much that the whole stage became like an enchanted garden full of flowers. Much to the delight of parents and kids.
This a comprehensive list of some of the most amazing magic tricks ever performed. At least now you have an idea of where magic has come from, where it’s headed, and some of the greatest names in the business.
If you have something to add in our 100 magic tricks list, please leave us a comment below.