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Chung Ling Soo : Biography

chung ling soo

William Ellsworth Robinson was an American magician born on April 2, 1861, in Westchester County, New York. As is with the case of other famous magicians, Robinson was called Chung Ling Soo and he became one of the most famous magicians in the United States not only for his magic tricks but because of the nature of his death. Although not a great way for a magician to end his career, Robinson died during bullet catch trick of his that went warily wrong.

Regarding the family background of the magician, Robinson was born to parents James Campbell and Sarah Robinson of Scottish descent and was the first of the three children. Robinson’s magic career started at quite an early age. He was just 14 years old when he performed his first magic show. Following that he started performing as a professional on the vaudeville circuit. Although his earnings were quite decent, Robinson had bigger dreams for himself. He wanted to become the start of the show at vaudeville. Under the name of “Achmed Ben Ali,” Robinson started stage shows of  “black art illusions” which was quite reminiscent to that of “Ben Ali Bey” the German magician whose real name was Max Auzinger. Fortunately, as Auzinger never made a tour in the United States, there were no issues with the resemblance between the two magicians.

Robinson even performed during shows of the famous magicians of the time namely Harry Kellar and Alexander Herrmann. After Herrmann’s death in 1896, Robinson decided to go solo. The story behind Robinson getting the name Ching Ling Foo was because of that fact that he was able to gimmick all of the magic tricks of the famous magician in China of that name who had toured the United States. Foo had declared that he would give a prize of a $1,000 to any person who could successfully duplicate his illusions and there was probably no better candidate for this than Robinson, who had closely observed all of Foo’s tricks. Although Robinson accepted the challenge, Foo refused to his proposal, which was due to the fact that Robinson had lost while attempting to meet a challenge that Foo had proposed prior to that. This left Robinson in despair.

The refusal by Foo was probably what gave Robinson the motivation to pursue this line even further. Robinson began impersonating Foo by wearing a traditional Chinese attire, shaved his facial hair, began wearing his hair in a queue, darkened his skin complexion by painting his face with greasepaint and even gave himself the name “Hop Sing Soo”.

Later on, after his new act became a super hit, he began his performances in London and changed his name again to “Chung Ling Soo,” to make it even more close to “Ching Ling Foo.” Robinson then started fabricating stories about his background saying that he was an American-born son of a Scottish missionary who married a Cantonese woman.

He even went as far as to claim that his father was a descendant of the Campbell and that he lost both of his parents before he was even 13 years old. Extending upon those facts he said that, as an orphan, he was adopted by a Chinese magician named “Arr Hee”, who trained him to perform ancient Chinese magic tricks mixed with more modern European magic. Soo claimed that he started performing the magic his mentor had taught him, soon after his death.

After going to such great lengths, Robinson had to religiously devote himself in maintaining his role as a Chinese man. To claim that he didn’t speak any English, he never spoke onstage except for on some occasions saying phrases in broken English and always used an interpreter while speaking to journalists. He also portrayed his American wife as Chinese woman of the name “Suee Seen,” real name Olive Path, who used to be his assistant. Robinson soon turned out to be one of the most famous stage magician in Europe and ended up becoming one of the highest-paid performers on the vaudeville circuit.

There eventually would be a night where the secret of Chung Ling Soo would eventually get revealed and it would be during his last performance at the Wood Green Empire in London on March 23, 1918, a day before his death. Everything was working well until he was to perform his “Condemned to Death by Boxers” illusion. As one of his assistants fired at him, the gun malfunctioned and fired a bullet into his lung. After falling to the ground Soo, for the first time, was to speak in his pure American English on stage in front of the crowd that would be the last statement he would make in front of the public saying “Oh my God. Something’s happened. Lower the curtain.” Although he immediately was taken to the Passsmore Edwards Cottage Hospital, he passed away the following morning and East Sheen cemetery would be his resting place.

An explanation was given in court for Soo’s death was given by his wife. As according to what she said, Soo never properly unloaded the gun using conventional techniques after each performance. To save the gun powder and bullets, instead of firing the bullet off the gun or taking out the bullet with a screw-rod, he used to dismantle the backside of the gun. The was a poor mistake that he made that led to an accident that he never predicted. As a consequence of using such a technique, a residue of unburned gunpowder formed in the ramrod tube over a period of time that was later on ignited by a flash from the pan that passed through the barrel of the gun. As the charge behind the bullet was ignited, the bullet was fired from the nozzle and hit Soo in the chest. All of these technicalities were proven by a gun expert named Robert Churchill.

Although Soo’s true identity was already known to famous magicians of his time, his real identity was revealed to the public only after his death.

S. W. Erdnase: Biography of the author of the book ‘The Expert at the Card Table.’

S. W. Erdnase the expert at the card table

S. W. Erdnase is not and was never a real, tangible person but a name created by the author of the book ‘The Expert at the Card Table.’ The author of this legendary magic book has remained a real mystery to this day but on the face of the book’s cover, you will find the name, S.W. Erdnase as the author. The book is a must have for any card trick magician, or gambling cheats and experts alike. So precious is this book that it has passed through the hands of some legendary magicians. The book is all about sleight of hand techniques, cheating, and legerdemain, especially with cards. Regardless of the mysterious author, the book has been a huge success and it has been really important for all magicians who have termed it the ‘Bible’ of Card tricks. The book has been in circulation since 1902.

S. W. Erdnase the expert at the card table

Identity Investigation

It is a well-known magical fact that ‘The Expert at the card table’ book has no author. It is also a well-known fact in magical quarters that whoever wrote this book was purposely concealing his identity to prevent himself from getting in trouble with the law and subsequently getting arrested. The law in the late 19th and early 20th century was a bit strict because no one was allowed to publish or spread anything obscene to the rest of the public. Unfortunately, gambling secrets and some forms of magic were termed obscene at the time. No one was allowed to write any books on gambling cheating methods which is exactly what the author here did. S. W. Erdnase therefore, had to conceal his identity to avoid prosecution. As the mystery of who wrote this book continued to deepen people started to investigate. The earliest theories as to who S.W. Erdnase was came from spelling the name backwards i.e. E.S. Andrews. The theory suggested that whoever wrote the book was known as Andrews.

Milton Franklin Andrews

One of the first people to be associated with authoring the book was Milton Franklin Andrews. He was a reputable conman at the time who was pretty good at gambling and card tricks. Martin Gardner who was one of the leading proponents of this theory argued that Milton had to be the man behind authoring the famous book. Gardner even wrote a book on the same theory. The book is called ‘The man who was Erdnase.’ Another ardent supporter of this theory was Barton Whaley who fervently concurred with Milton’s book and dug deeper into the subject with his own investigations. He carried out numerous interviews with people whom he suspected knew Franklin and he came up with inferences that indeed he was Erdnase.

Milton had had previous encounters with the law and at the time when this mystery began, he was wanted for being involved in the murder. When Milton was eventually cornered by the police, he shot himself dead and in the process, even injured a friend he was with.

However, there are some critics of this theory who argue that there is no way that Milton could have been the author of ‘The expert at the card table.’ Among the reasons propagated for this criticism include the fact that Milton was not as gifted in writing as the person who wrote the book. Recent evidence in the 21st century has finally confirmed that indeed, Milton was not S. W. Erdnase. The evidence points out the fact that even though Milton was a very good card conman, he was not Erdnase.

Wilbur Edgerton Sanders

Other theories suggest that S. W. Erdnase had to be someone who was socially up the ladder. He had to be someone who was highly educated, and very prominent. David Alexander who was a very great magician at the time did some thorough investigations into the matter and suggested the only person who fit perfectly into this description –Wilbur Edgerton Sanders- who was a renowned mining tycoon at the time. In 2011, ‘Genii magazine’ investigated David’s theory and came up with a lot of circumstantial evidence to support this theory.

E.S. Andrews

There was also another famous conman at the time who was closely linked to Erdnase. E.S.Andrews was actively linked to the author of this book due to a very similar name and the fact that his movements and actions at the time corresponded to the supposed author.


Other theories include the ‘L Homme Masque’ theory commonly referred to as the masked man theory which states that the book was written by a Masque who was a great Peruvian magician. Other names associated with the book are Herbert Lee Andrews, Robert Frederick Foster, James Andrews and Lee Andrews.

This subject has been a very hot topic in the magic world for so many years and it has even been discussed in the ‘Genii Forum’ of 2003.

Doug Henning: Biography, Net Worth, legacy

Doug Henning

Born in the Fort Garry district of Winnipeg, Canada, on the 3rd of May, 1947, Doug Henning was a renowned escape artist, illusionist, and politician.

Early days

As most famous magic performers, Henning got bitten by the magic bug at a very young age. What inspired the young magician was the great reaction of the spectators at a friend’s birthday party. That was when Henning performed for the first time, at the age of 14. For the next few months, he had placed an ad in a local newspaper. This got him a series of magic shows on local television in Toronto. He also performed as an entertainer at parties. Henning studied psychology at the McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. There, he met Ivan Reitman, renowned Slovak – Canadian film producer and director, when he played the role of Lonesome Polecat in Reitman’s production of ‘Li’l Abner’.

The Rise of Doug Henning as a Magician

doug henning and miss piggy

Not long after finishing his studies, Henning was awarded a Canada Council for the Arts grant. He was required by the grant to study magic. This offered him the young enthusiast the opportunity to travel. Besides that, he got to view first hand the talents of magicians like the legendary Slydini and Dai Vernon. Studying under Tony Slydini, Henning grew to consider the magician his primary teacher of magic. Henning tried hard to perfect his craft, his intention being to bring magic back to its ‘glory days’. Later, Ivan Reitman was directing a live theatrical show developed by Henning himself. The show was a musical that combined his magic tricks with a dramatic story. The music was produced by Canadian composer Howard Shore and the show also had Jennifer Dale co-starring. The show had an enormous success, breaking box-office records in Toronto. After New York producers noticed the show, Henning reworked it and took it to Broadway as ‘The Magic Show’. This time, the music was composed by the American lyricist and composer, Stephen Schwartz. The show ran for four and a half years after its debut in 1974. It also earned Doug Henning a Tony Award nomination.


After his success on Broadway, Henning aimed even higher, proposing NBC to produce a television special. The NBC executives accepted his offer when Henning said that he would reproduce Harry Houdini’s famous water torture escape. That escapism act had never been performed since the legendary Houdini performed it himself. For the next eight months, Henning was to rework his stage act for TV and practice the escape act. In December, 1975, Bill Cosby was hosting the broadcast of ‘Doug Henning’s World of Magic’. The broadcast was a success, having more than 50 million viewers. Two years after performing Houdini’s water torture escape, Henning co-wrote a biography of the magician, titled ‘Houdini: His Legend and His Magic’.

In 1979, Henning created illusions that would serve for a tour of the renowned Earth, Wind and Fire band. He also created illusions for two of Michael’s Jackson’s concerts, including the 1984 Victory Tour, which consisted of 47 shows in the United States and 8 in Canada. After divorcing Barbara De Angelis in 1981, Doug Henning married Debby Douillard in Iowa, in December of the same year. In 1983, Henning returned to Broadway, producing and starring in the ‘Merlin’ musical. One year later, he began a solo show on Broadway called ‘Doug Henning and His World of Magic’. One more year later, Panosh Place made a set of plush toys called ‘Doug & Debby Henning’s: WONDER WHIMS’. The set was copyrighted by Marvin Glass and Associates. The goal of this set of toys was to get kids to appreciate the magical wonders in the world around them. It included six Wonder Whim characters. Each of them came with a personalized story, a pet, and a magic kaleidoscope wand of colors and patterns.

NBC’s ‘World of Magic’

The first ‘World of Magic’ special aired on NBC in 1975. Although successfully performing Houdini’s water torture illusion, Doug Henning did not break the magician’s time record. Produced by the renowned talk show host David Susskind, the show ran live in the Eastern US, without being interrupted by commercials. The event was the first of 7 annual broadcast. They eventually brought Henning seven Emmy Award nominations.
Hosted by Michael Landon and Joey Heatherton in December 1976, ‘Doug Henning’s World of Magic II’ aired live again on NBC, this time with only two commercial breaks. Henning had Ricky Jay appear as a special guest. The show’s theme was ‘Fire, Water and Air’ and it included Henning vanishing an elephant.


Doug Henning’s World of magic video

One year later, ‘Doug Henning’s World of Magic III’ aired live, the most hyped illusion being ‘Walking Through a Brick Wall’. In 1978, due to numerous problems that occurred during the telecast of the fourth ‘World of Magic’, the producers decided to make this one the last special that would be broadcast live. This special’s theme was ‘A magical Journey Through Time’. The fifth ‘World of Magic’ aired on the 15th of February, 1979. It was taped at the Las Vegas Hilton. The next year’s special was taped as Osmond Studios in Orem, Utah. Bill Cosby made his second appearance as a special guest, next to Marie Osmond. This special included several revamped versions of illusions from earlier specials. The finale consisted of an escape and a reappearance, featuring an enormous Rube Goldberg machine. 1982’s final ‘World of Magic’ special featured guest Bruce Jenner. The special’s theme was Doug’s magical house. It had several rooms featuring magic from the past, present, and future. The show included several revamped versions of illusions from earlier specials. The final magic effect was the turning of two black and white horses into a zebra.
Every ‘World of Magic’ performance ended with the same monologue, given by Doug Henning: ‘Anything the mind can conceive is possible. Nothing is impossible. All you have to do is look within, and you can realize your fondest dreams. I would like to wish each one of you all of

‘Anything the mind can conceive is possible. Nothing is impossible. All you have to do is look within, and you can realize your fondest dreams. I would like to wish each one of you all of life’s wonders and a joyful age of enlightenment.’

Transcendental meditation

After retiring from the stage in the mid-’80s, Doug Henning had an increasing interest in the form of mantra meditation known as the Transcendental Meditation technique. The technique was introduced by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who taught thousands of people during a series of world tours from 1958 to 1965. After receiving a Ph.D in the Science of Creative Intelligence from the Maharishi University in Switzerland, Henning began collaborating with the Maharishi. In 1992, they drafted plans for a 1.5 billion dollar project called ‘Maharishi Veda Land’. The project would be located near Niagara Falls. It would combine ‘astonishing, unique visual and sensory effects, state-of-the-art 3D imagery and ultra high-tech entertainment technology with his best and most original magic illusion secrets’. The project would also require suspending a building above water and a journey inside the heart of a rose. Unfortunately, as of 2000, the project’s status was uncertain. Doug Henning’s net worth is estimated to be in the range of approximately 800 million dollars.

Political career

As a Natural Law Party candidate, Henning was contesting in 1992 the Parliamentary constituency of Blackpool South in Lancashire. He finished fourth of four candidates, polling 173 votes. In 1993, being senior vice president of the NLPC (Natural Law Party of Canada), Henning ran as the party’s candidate for the former Toronto riding of Rosedale. He finished sixth out of ten candidates.

Death and legacy

Doug Henning was diagnosed with liver cancer in 1999 and died at the age of 52, in February 2000, in Los Angeles. In 2008, fellow Canadian magician and prominent skeptic James Randi claimed that Doug’s death was caused by the TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He said that Henning ‘abandoned regular medical treatment for liver cancer, continued to pursue his diet of nuts and berries, and died of the disease.’
On the 8th of June, 2010, it was announced that Doug Henning would receive a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, which is located in Toronto, Ontario.

Dai Vernon: The magician Who Performed a Magic Trick That Fooled Houdini

Dai vernon doing card magic trick

Dai Vernon was born David Frederick WingfieldVerner on June 11th ,1894. He was born in Canada. He was a legendary performer, illusionist and accomplished magician who scaled the heights of magical performance and conquered it. He was blessed with an absolutely amazing sleight of hand ability which earned him the respect of most if not all of his peers and fellow magicians. He was highly respected and revered in the magic world because he had finally matured his craft to perfection. He also mentored and taught other upcoming magicians who followed and relied heavily on his great influence and artistry. Dai Vernon is also Famous for the trick that fooled Houdini.f

Magician dai vernon who did the trick that fooled houdini

Early life and Career of Dai Vernon

Vernon came from a deeply magical family and it is from here, that he first learned how to perform simple tricks. It is from his home that his desire for magic was fuelled. He came face to face with magic at age 7 and it was his own father who influenced him. In a famous interview, he stated that as soon as he realized what magic was at age 7, he realized that he had wasted the first six years of his life. His father had a full-time government job but was still able to perform tricks and attain the rank of an amateur magician. In the late 19th century, performance magic was still not regarded highly and it was quite improbable to find anyone who lived entirely off magic proceeds. It is for this reason, those professional magicians were very few and far fetched all over the world. So even though Vernon’s passion was to be a magician, he still had to attend school and ‘make something of his life’. He attended the Royal Military College of Canada where he studied Mechanical Engineering. After sometime Dai Vernon decided to move to New York USA.


Vernon started paying attention to Magic at the tender age of 7 years thanks to his father who happened to be an amateur magician at the time. He got his first magic guide book at this time called ‘The Expert at the Card Table’ by S.W Erdnace. It is this book that lay his foundations in the magical world by influencing him and teaching him the basics of the trade. He also credited the book as a huge influence of his acts and positively reviewed the author for writing in a detailed and systematic way. By the age of 13 years, Vernon had completely mastered and absorbed all the tricks that were in the book and even other tricks that were not in the book. During this period, another famous magician was also trying to learn the ropes of the trade. His name was Cliff Green the legendary magician and illusionist. By chance, they happened to meet at a magical event. When they met, Cliff appeared to taunt him when he asked Dai, what kind of tricks he was good at. Vernon’s reply was a genius; he performed for Cliff a very amazing card trick. He asked Green to name a card, any card that he could think of. When Cliff named his card, Vernon went ahead and produced a deck of cards from his pocket. He then opened the deck, held the stack of cards in his hands, and without shuffling, turned over the first card on the deck. To Cliff’s shock, it was the same card that he had named. He was left bewildered.

When he was in New York, he used to work at the Clyde Powers Magic Shop where he continued perfecting his trade and polishing his act. All this time, he still referred to himself as David but one day his name would change to Dai. Here’s how it happened; a local newspaper once misspelled his name where instead of writing David, the Newspaper wrote Dai and people started referring to him as Dai instead of David. There was also a famous ice skater at the time who was known as Vernon and people always mistook him for Vernon the ice skater. This is how the two names stuck on him and from then on, he was called Dai Vernon.

Vernon was a master of the sleight of hand card tricks and by the time he was in New York, he had perfected this skill. He was so good at sleight of hand tricks that people eventually started referring to him as the ‘Professor’ a title which he held and took to most of his shows.

Vernon, like many of the magicians at the time –and even today – never believed that there was a blend of magic that involved supernatural powers. He always believed that magic acts were tricks, performances, and illusions and that anyone who lied to people that he had some sort of psychic or supernatural powers was a fraud and a cheat. He, therefore, traveled extensively looking for frauds and people who pretended to use the supernatural and paranormal to defraud people. He always wanted to expose such kinds of people.

He was also extensively interested in other sleights of hand experts and he always wanted to compare himself with others to further perfect his skills. He developed the card techniques that were later used by some great magicians like Fredrick Brave and Jean Hugard. He was however never given the credit he deserved for creating and developing these tricks.

He also deserves credit for most of the sleight of hand techniques that are used by other established magicians today. This is because he is the one who invented most of the sleight of hand techniques used today.

Dai is also credited with most of the close-up effects that we see today in magic. Previously there were no close-up effects in magic because magicians preferred their acts to be far away for risk of exposure. Most of the close-up magic effects with coins and cards are attributed to Vernon. He also single-handedly came up with the cups and balls routine that has gone on to dazzle fans around the world. The amazing symphony of rings act or the six-ring routine act was also invented and developed by Dai Vernon.

He spent the last 30 years of his life performing magic at the Magic Castle in LA California. He was responsible for mentoring some big names in the industry like PerciDiaconis, Doug Henning, and Ricky Jay.

Dai Vernon’s Card Trick That Fooled Houdini

At this particular time in history, there was a boom in the magic industry. Many top performers had come up to rival Dai and this was a good thing because it put magic, performance on the map. None was better than the legendary master magician –Harry Houdini. Both performers found themselves in the same error and it was just a matter of time before the two greats bumped into each other. When they finally got to meet, it was an epic encounter. Houdini was an established and accomplished performer who was already a living legend. Houdini had famously claimed that no magician alive could fool him with a card trick after three consecutive performance in front of him. Well, Dai thought otherwise and he was set on proving that the great Houdini could be fooled. He expertly applied his sleight of hand abilities on a card trick that really FOOLED HOUDINI. He produced a deck of cards and asked Houdini to pick the first card on the top of the deck. Houdini had to make sure that Dai did not have a look at the card. He then asked Houdini to place the card second from the first card at the top. Dai then asked Houdini to reveal the first card on the Deck. To Houdini’s surprise, it was the same card that he had earlier picked. He asked Dai to perform the trick a second and a third time, but he still couldn’t figure it out. After the seventh attempt, Houdini’s wife had to literally pull her husband from the scene because she realized that Houdini would never be able to figure out the trick. Dai had single-handedly fooled one of the biggest magicians of all time.

The trick That fooled Houdini Revealed 


Vernon was also an accomplished author and he wrote very many books about magic in an effort to create awareness and interest in magical tricks. He has authored over ten books e.g. ‘The Dai Vernon’s Book of Magic’, ‘Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic’ ‘Malini and his Magic’ and many other books.


His contribution to Magic has not gone un- noticed and he has been feted and awarded globally. There is a biography dedicated to him known as ‘Dai Vernon; The Biography’ that was written by Squash publishing. There is also a documentary that was made about him by ‘Toronto Television’ known as ‘The spirit of magic’. There is also a motion picture film of him known as ‘The Professor’.


Dai Vernon passed away on August 21st ,1992 at Ramona Sandiego in Carlfonia. He had requested that upon his death he should be cremated and his ashes kept at Magic Castle. This is exactly what happened upon his death.




Jay Sankey Magic: A list of best Magic Tricks by Magician Jay Sankey and how to do it Revealed.

Jay sankey magic tricks revealed

Jay Sankey is a big name in magical spheres and corridors. He has contributed immensely to the development of magic for over three decades. Jay Sankey is also hailed and recognized as the man who holds the record for creating the most tricks ever. He started performing in the 80’s and has never looked back. His style and presence have inspired many and most of those who have been inspired by the man never fail to give him credit. Over the years, he has performed many tricks and illusions that have gained him quite a reputation. Here are some of his best Jay Sankey Magic Tricks till date.

Jay sankey magic tricks revealed

  1. The Disappearance of the Toronto Tower.

Sankey spent a lot of time creating this illusion. He also had to employ the services of props, groundsmen, and even a professional actor. But the act came together in such an incredible way that he himself admitted that he did not expect such success with it. The illusion basically involved tricking and a crowd to believe that one of Canada’s biggest landmarks – The Toronto Tower, had indeed disappeared. However, before the stunt was executed there was some trouble in finding the right spot for the illusion. It had to be somewhere where the scope of vision was narrow for an easier deception.


Jay sankey magic trick ” The Disappearance of the Toronto Tower” revealed

So how did he do? Jay made sure that the spot for the location was perfect. After locating a spot, he created a really tall prop of the Toronto tower that was so life-like, it would have tricked anyone. He then had his people secretly hoist the prop till it was completely straight. They actually did this early in the morning. A crowd of people was then tricked by the actor to believing that there were some people who were bungee jumping from the tower. Sankey even had the local radio tapped so that they had control. With this control, they announced that some people were bungee jumping from the tower. This really convinced the people that indeed there were some jumpers. Everyone in the spot was directed by the hired actor towards the fake tower. After a while, the real act came into play. Another groundsman who was passing by appeared to hit the actor’s bag which was filled with glassy objects. The bag came crashing down which surprisingly drew everyone’s attention to the floor. This gave the crew enough time to pull down the fake tower giving an impression like it had disappeared. When most of the crowd members lifted their heads, the tower was gone leaving them in utter dismay.

  1. The Penny Deception

That Jay was able to trick one of the most celebrated magicians (Penny and Teller) just goes to show how much of a genius he really is. In this trick, Sankey brought out a deck of cards and pulled it in front of him. Out of the blue, a card from the deck mysteriously started levitating. This trick was for a very long time been associated with mechanical decks or a piece of thread that would be used to hoist the card.

Jay Sankey Magic “Penny deception” Revealed.

However, Sankey did not use any of these methods. Instead, he invented an ingenious way to lift the card. He made a hole at the back of the deck and from here, he was able to lift the card with a finger. Penn and Teller were completely fooled because they thought that he had used either a mechanical deck or a piece of thread to do the trick.

  1. Coin Transfer

This is another trick that Sankey is famous for. It is a very easy trick in fact. What happens is that the magician will hold a real life coin in one hand, magically wave his hand over the other hand, remove it and magically the coin will appear on the other hand.

Jay Sankey magic: “coin transfer” revealed.

Here is how this Jay Sankey Magic trick works. You are supposed to hold the coin with the edge of your thumb, and the middle of your index finger. Next, make sure your other hand is positioned in a fist like way but with your fingers secretly sticking out. As you wave your coin wielding hand over the other hand, discretely drop the coin into the waiting fingers and you will have transferred the coin. Sankey however, advises that this trick requires a ton of practice and that it can sometimes take years to perfect this trick. However, it is a very simple trick that anyone can perform to his friends and family.

  1. The bottle cap Trick

One of the most famous Magic tricks that Jay Sankey is known for is the Bottle cap trick. Here, he will unwind the lid that is on an empty bottle. In a quick movement, he will then hit the lid with the bottle’s side and in a strange twist, the lid will be seen moving inside the bottle. The bottle is not slit anywhere and he will usually give an audience member a chance to inspect the bottle.

“Cap in the bottle” Jay Sankey Sagic revealed.

So how does he do it? Easy, Jay will advise you to look for those cheap water bottles with bendable lids. You will then have to force the lid into the bottle- and shape it into its original form with your fingers while it is inside the bottle. The rest is all about your performance. Start the trick with the lid in the bottle. Make sure you hide the lid with your fingers. Then pretend like you are unwinding the bottle and pretend like you are actually holding a cap. Hit the ‘bottle cap’ strongly into the bottle and you’re done. Nobody will ever notice.

  1. Card Time Travel

In this absolutely mind-boggling Jay Sankey Magic trick, Sankey will spread a deck of cards and ask a participant to pick one card. He will ask the participant to hold the card between his thumb and index finger with the rear side of the card facing upwards and completely hide it from his sight. He will then ask the participant to return the card in the deck. After this, the magician will use a poker shuffle to completely mix up the cards in such a way that some cards will be facing upwards, while others will be facing downwards. In other words, there will be a complete mix up of the cards in such a way that the magician can never know where the participant’s card is placed. The magic comes when the magician shuffles the cards once, and suddenly, all the cards appear as when the trick initially began. He then goes ahead and reveals the volunteer’s card.

Jay Sankey Magic “Card Time Travel” Revealed

While the explanation of this trick is somewhat complex and should only be attempted by experienced magicians, it all comes down to a very disciplined and experienced sleight of hand.

Jay Sankey is still an active performer who continues to dazzle the world with his creativity and technique. It is safe to say that as a result of his talent nurturing ways, his charm, and ability to help, he is one of the all-time greats ever to grace the industry. He has over the years been hailed by other living greats like Criss Angel and David Blaine. He is a real living legend.

Jay Sankey: Biography, Net Worth, inside deception, Penn and Teller

jay sankey

Jay Sankey is a professional magician who has been perfecting his craft for over 30 years now. In that time, he has gained a lot of acclaim and credit for all his contributions to the world of magic.

He was born in Montreal Canada in 1963 making him 54 years. Apart from being a quality magician, Sankey is also a standup comedian. He has excelled a lot in standup comedy that he has even authored a book on the same.

He is also an inventor of magic, a great author, and a teacher. Jay Sankey has also been known to offer Consultancy services to other top magicians and illusionists all around the world. He is, therefore, one of the most reliable authorities when it comes to magic. Jay has also performed on many stages in the world, further sharpening his skills.

Early life and career

Jay started performing tricks at a very early stage. His interest in illusions and magic had already grown by the time he was 11 years. He acquired his magic set at the age of 11 and started practicing and spending countless hours perfecting the basic tricks the set offered. By the time Jay Sankey was 18 years old, he was so good at performing different types of magical tricks that he started performing for large audiences and crowds. He even went to different places to lecture about the mysteries of magic and how to get the best out of tricks. He was a truly talented magician with an unbelievable sleight of hand ability that took him all around the world. He could also perform huge stunts dazzling crowds everywhere he went. He was also a great mentalist who would be frequently confused with psychic.


Jay started his magic career back in the 80’s and he has never looked back since then. He has been credited with the record of ‘creation of the most tricks by any magician’ – a record which still stands even today. Sankey has created over 700 magical tricks all on his own which is no easy fete because most magicians copy or emulate tricks that were created by about 5% of the other magicians.


What’s surprising about Jay Sankey is that despite him traversing the globe, performing and lecturing on magic, he was still able to graduate from college with honors in Philosophy and Psychology. His professionalism has not come the easy way because he is credited with a lot of performances which he started at a very young age. As Sankey would rightly put it “no one can become a professional without performance.” He has performed his magic in film shows, banquets, private shows and high profile corporate giants like Jaguar motors, Coca-cola, Honda, Chrysler and even Mc Donald’s.

Jay Sankey has over the years offered consultancy services due to his immense experience and creativity. Some of the high profile magicians that we know of could be nowhere were it not for his consultancy services. He has offered consultancy services to David Blaine, Criss Angel the legendary David Copperfield, and even Keith Barry. All these amazing magicians have profited highly from his services. David Blaine has also on numerous occasions used his tricks and routines to great effect.

Jay Sankey also has a magic kids show known as ‘Spellz’ which he started to encourage kids to love magical tricks and illusions. He even hosted a couple of the episodes in the show just for authenticity purposes. The show has been a great success over the years.

Even though Jay has an already impressive resume, there is still more. He is an amazing standup comedian who really knows how to crack ribs. He has a fabulous book on standup comedy which has been widely regarded as the leading authority or Bible for all standup comedians –amateurs and professionals. Sankey has even appeared on the famous comedy show ‘Just for laughs’ where he seriously made people laugh their hats off.

Jay also has had a very impressive career as a Monologist. He has been involved in several shows that are Monologues in nature with great success. He has been involved in shows like ‘Borrowed Death’ and ‘Under Pressure’.

Sankey is also an accomplished writer with bestselling books that have influenced a lot of people. He has written, ‘Zen and the art of the Monologue’ and ‘Zen and the art of Standup Comedy.’ Both books especially the latter have been hugely successful in the market.


Sankey lives a quiet life with his family in Toronto, Canada. He married his wife Lisa, and they are blessed with two kids Madelaine and Mason.

Inside Deception

Inside Deception is a one of a kind Brainchild that was made by Jay Sankey. It is an ingenious website that he owns where he is able to share his experience and magic with all categories of magicians, from the amateurs to real professionals, anyone who is a magic enthusiast can really sharpen their skills here under the guidance of this great teacher. The site has numerous magic tricks and tutorials.

jay sankey inside deception

Some of the magic tricks are a product of Jay e.g. coin deception tricks, mentalism tricks, and numerous card tricks. There are also various categories in the site according to different interests and magical powers. Categories in the site includes deconstructing miracles, sleight of hand lounge, The art of promotion, workshop training, making contact and even a category known as WTF. All these categories are aimed at helping the visitor to feel right at home and to foster guidance, professionalism, and support.

There is also a section on the site where you can get expert advice on how to build your confidence, market yourself, and how to become a great standup comedian. It is a professionally run site that is sure to get the best out of you magically speaking. There are great reviews of the site from various magicians who hail it as a great help during various stages of their careers.

Books of Jay Sankey

Sankey is an accomplished writer who has authored some critically acclaimed books which have gone on to revolutionize the magic and entertainment world. He has authored the ‘Zen and the art of Standup Comedy’ which is an invaluable book for all standup comedians. Most professional and amateur standup comedians regard this book as the Bible of all Standup Comedy. It has all the do‘s and don’ts of Standup comedy and it has passed through the hands of most accomplished comedians. In this book, you will get to learn how you can get fresh ideas for your comedy which needs to constantly change to stay relevant. You will also get other material that you just can’t get anywhere else. You will learn how to have correct timing, delivery, how to effectively promote your act so that people will know you, and critically, how to effectively deliver your content in an effective and convincing manner. It has been widely regarded as the most detailed, most comprehensive and most effective book on all standup comedy material. Jay Sankey obtained material for this book from his many years of standup comedy and from his immense exposure and experience as a performer.

Sankey has also authored another great book called ‘Zen and the art of Monologue’. He has heard a great career in monologue performances and it was, therefore, fit that he should author a book on the same. Monologues performance is all about solo performances and this book has most of everything you know about such performances. It contains the types of monologue performances like full length or short monologue performances, short auditions and speeches and how you can ace these performances to properly convey your message to the audience, and ensure you are composed and un-nervy. There is also a section that deals with the dangers of monologues and how to deal and avoid them.

Jay Sankey YouTube Channel


Apart from having a site that is solely dedicated to magic –Inside Deception- Sankey also has a YouTube Channel that is dedicated to magic. The channel is known as SankeyMagic and it is a big hit in magic quarters. It has an impressive subscriber base of over 200000 and with good reason. It has loads and loads of magical videos and tutorials ranging from Sankey’s own tricks to a myriad of other tricks by different artists. There are card tricks, mind tricks, street tricks and a host of different kinds of illusions. And of course, Sankey is always there to guide and give advice on any tricks and illusions. You will also get Jay’s portfolio and the many tricks he has performed all around the world for reference and tutorials.

Jay Sankey and Penn and Teller

Sankey once claimed that he fooled Pen and Teller with his tricks when he appeared on their show. Although he did not tell the duo to their faces when he appeared on the show- because of apparent respect and admiration for the two –it seems likely that Sankey did in fact, fool the duo. He performed a couple of tricks on the show, which Penn and Teller were eager to decode. Problem is, Sankey didn’t actually perform the tricks like the duo explained but used totally different trickery and thus fooled the great magicians.

  1. The double penetration

In this trick, he let a straw go through the middle of a straw and folded the straw. He then unbelievably removed the ring without breaking the straw anywhere. He was even able to reinsert the ring back again without breaking the straw. Even though the trick was available in the original video, it was edited from the final video that was distributed to audiences for the simple reason that Penn and Teller were completely unable to decode the trick.

  1. The Levitating Card

In this trick, Jay Sankey, stepped forward and produced and deck, of cards. He then proceeded forward and made a card from the deck levitate out of the box. Penn and Teller would later describe the trick by saying that he used a mechanical deck or a string. They were, however, wrong because Sankey claimed that he used another method to perform the trick. He says that he made a small hole at the back of the deck to be able to levitate the card.

  1. OtherTricks

Apart from these two tricks, he also performed other card tricks that fooled the magicians. He fooled them with the tearing bill card because he actually used sounds from his mouth to magnify the effect. Also, Sankey claimed that he did not use the elbow trick to tear and restore cards that he tore.






Jeff Mcbride Magic Tricks: Coin Tricks, Card Tricks.


The Best of Jeff McBride Magic

Jeff McBride is widely considered one of the founding fathers of a unique genre of magic. He is an exceptional performer and a classic magician who has incorporated silent magic perfectly into his routine. Although this genre of magic is not common these days, Mc Bride is still the best at it by a long shot. His act also involves interaction with the audience and great theme songs. Over the years Mc Bride has dazzled fans all over the world with his performances. Here are some of the best Jeff Mcbride Magic Tricks.

  1. The Mask Routine

This is the routine that Jeff Mc Bride is most famous for. It is a classic routine unlike any other. The performance involves the use of magical masks which look to have a life of their own. The masks are of many colors just to make the act appealing. Of particular note is the white mask which usually starts the show. It will pop out of nowhere and cling to his face relentlessly. All efforts to try and remove the mask usually prove futile because it possesses some kind of supernatural force that ensures it will always find its way to Mc Bride’s face. The magical masks also show their magic when new different colored masks appear on Mc Bride’s face even after he removes them. The masks just won’t get off his face.

  1. Coin Tricks

Jeff McBride Magic with Coin

Jeff has also been known to perform an amazing coin disappearance act. This trick relies heavily on great sleight of hand abilities which Mc Bride possesses. He will ask a volunteer to come up on stage. He will then take hold of a metallic vessel and a magic wand. Coins will then start appearing out of nowhere. From his hands, the volunteer’s head and even their nose, ears and mouth. The coins are then collected in the vessel for inspection. The fact that Mc Bride has a long-sleeved coat while performing the act, may be the reason why he is able to pull off this act with such efficiency and precision. But his sleight of hand abilities should also not be taken for granted, and his overall performance in the act is just exemplary.

  1. Miming

During his earlier years, Mc Bride would start his show off with a miming act which was just incredible. He was so good at the miming especially the box act which made it seem like he was actually trapped in an invisible box. He incorporated into his act, very good music that maintained the tempo and rhythm of the whole show. Another great theme of the act was the silent nature of the show. The fact that the whole show was a silent one served to increase the audience’s curiosity towards the mime. The silence also served another great purpose. It helped to ensure that the audience was glued completely to the show and nothing else. All their attention was forcefully directed towards the magician. It also brought uniqueness and mystery around the act.

  1. Card Tricks( Sleight of Hand)

Jeff McBride magic card Trick

Mc Bride has over the years perfected his sleight of hand technique to reach a level of mastership and professionalism. This can be clearly seen with his card routine which he never fails to perform in any show. The act is simple but thoroughly amazing. The magician is seen producing cards from thin air. Cards seem to appear literally out of nowhere. From his fingertips, from his palms and even from his mouth. Audiences all around the world are dazzled by this trick and they will show their appreciation with hearty rounds of applause. But the act doesn’t stop there. After fishing cards out of nowhere, he will go ahead and start throwing the same cards to members of the audience who will willingly scramble to catch the cards. He even has the ability to bounce the cards off the stage and into the audience which is pretty amazing.

Even though big and complex stunts have taken over the magic scene, Mc Bride’s blend of magic is still relevant and deeply entertaining. It is a vintage wine type of magic that is very rare these days. Everyone is quietly hoping that this kind of magic will not die out with the great magician.

Jeff McBride: Biography, Awards, Psychic reading, Magic and mystery school, Networth

jeff mcbride sword and white mask

Jeff McBride was for a long time known as Magnus which is his other name. He was born in 1959 in the United States. He was born in Rock Hill New York.  He is a great magician who has been around the magic world for decades. He has wowed fans all around the world with his incredible skills in Coin magic, Card magic, and silent classical magic. He is one of the pioneers of silent classical magic which is a blend of silent performance and great background music. He has also been critically praised for his unique sleight of hand abilities, especially with cards.He will use magical masks that appear to have a life of their own and which will look to do as they please, not what the magician wants them to do. It is a really one of a kind performance.

Jeff Mcbride White masks

Jeff Mc Bride is also a great Mimer and he incorporates his miming abilities into his act where he will look like he is trapped in an invisible box struggling to look for an opening to get out. He has claimed in the past that his magic has incorporated other forms of magic like the traditional Kabuki Japanese Theater magic, conjuring forms and also some bizarre forms of magic.

Jeff McBride Magic and Mystery School

Mc Bride has made Las Vegas his preferred base town where he operates from and stages his acts. He founded the ‘Magic and School of Mystery’ which has been highly praised by other magicians and fans alike. The main function of the school has always been to teach magic in a professional and honest way to ensure that the next generation of magicians take the art to the next level with ethics, and non-fraudulent means. The school is highly acclaimed and very reputable all around the world. It is one of the first institutions you would be advised to study the art in a professional way. It has been endorsed by great magicians who have visited it, lectured at it, and even sought consultancy services there. Some of the big name magicians who have visited the institution include Johnny Thompson and Lance Burton who have all left positive reviews about the place.


Jeff McBride has traversed the entire globe performing for audiences. His blend of magic has been described as unique and vintage. He was very fortunate and distinguished to have performed in the legendary Caesar’s Palace –The magic section- for very many years where he left revelers and audiences there in complete awe when they saw his acts.

Mc Bride was also one of the great performers at the World of Magic festival of 93 and 94 where he was hailed as one of the great performers. He is also an excellent author having written many books on magic and other subjects. His books have attracted a lot of praise and have been distributed worldwide. He also has many videos which he has created all on magic and how to effectively and correctly perform tricks.

Jeff McBride has also in the past received plenty of praise and admiration for his one of a kind coin and card tricks which are not only unique but offer an insight on how sleight of hand masters should perform and act. Mc Bride is also a lecturer and he has taught magic in any institutions like the Smithsonian Institute, and the Society of American magicians. He was also on the front cover of Linking Ring Magazine who also did a lengthy interview on his magical career and the art in general. Mc Bride has also appeared on very many TV shows to showcase his acts. He has once appeared on the great magic show ‘World’s Greatest Magic’, and a documentary known as ‘MagickalLife’ He also appeared in an episode of the show ‘Enigma-true life stories’. He has also made a distinguished appearance on the modern magic show ‘Criss Angel Mind Freak’ hosted by the legendary Criss. He also made a guest judge appearance on the reality TV magic show ‘Celebracadabra’ back in 2008.

Magic tricks

Jeff McBride has over the years amazed fans all over the world with his incredible illusions and magic tricks. He is best known for his mask routine where he will appear on the stage in a white mask. The mask usually appears to adopt some strange powers because it will resist any efforts to pull it from the magician’s face.  Sometimes, the mask will indeed leave his face but mysteriously be found on his face yet again after a few seconds. Included in the act, are also many other multi-colored masks which are hidden beneath the first mask and appear randomly when the first mask is successfully pulled down from the magician’s face. Mc Bride will also be seen to produce masks from out of nowhere which he will hold with his hands. Sometimes the masks are so many, that it will look like he has multiple arms holding the masks.

Jeff mcbride golden masks

Another great act that Jeff McBride is synonymous with is the fire eating act where he will produce flames from his mouth which he will go ahead and swallow. This act usually receives a lot of astonishment from the crowd.

McBride will also often treat the crowd to some amazing card tricks thanks to his great sleight of hand abilities. He will pick out cards from out of nowhere and hold them with his fingers. He will then magically cause the cards to disappear from where they came. He has also been known to throw cards to the audience for proof and verification that they are indeed real cards. His silent performances, miming abilities and the fact that he himself is a great actor and performer really go a long way to perfecting his stunts.

Psychic connection

Critical analysis of Mc Bride routines will reveal that fire is a big part of his acts. Jeff McBride has made masks appear from flames in the past leaving audiences wondering how it’s possible. Mc Bride is actively involved in the Neo-pagan movement. He has also done extensive research on Alchemical fire rituals which he says have brought him to a great understanding of fire rising and Mysterium. This is why fire is a big part of his tricks.

Jeff McBride is also the founder of the Electric Neo-pagan organization and the ‘Vegas Vortex’ in the magical community. The organization is basically involved in investigating Neo-pagan claims in the magic world. The organization is also very involved in ensuring and safeguarding the methodology and art of how magic is performed, how to incorporate dance and theater into magic. In regards to this, Mc Bride is a great speaker of Neo-paganism and he has spoken about the subject on numerous platforms.

He is also a great performer, with most of his acts including a lot of Neo-paganism rituals and stunts. He is also a great attender of Neopagan festivals where he is treated with very high esteem. Some Pagan organizations have even labeled him as the leader of the Neo-Pagan movement which elevates his status even further.


Jeff McBride has over the years received numerous awards in recognition of his unbelievable magical prowess and ability. The Academy of Magical Arts is a very respectable and highly acclaimed magical society in the world. It is this society that once recognized him as a great magician. He has also received high recognition from other quarters like the Society of American Magicians.

In 2008, he was feted by the International Grand Prix of Magic as the Magician of the year. This was a huge personal achievement for him because this award is like the Oscars of Magic. The Woods association has also awarded him with the best magician award, while the Magical arts association has also recognized him by awarding him with the lecturer of the year award. Apart from all these accomplishments, Jeff McBride is also a Guinness World record holder of many records which he has set while performing his tricks. Some of these records have never been broken to date. Heis truly an accomplished and award winning magician and performer who has scaled the heights of professional magic and been awarded for it.


MCBride’s only known family is his wife, Abbey Spinner.


Jeff McBride is one of the greatest names in magic now and will be forever. His blend of magic that involves silent magic, proper performance -that has infused many other theater forms- is not only classic, it is unique and very tasteful. Audiences all over the world have appreciated this form of art in many ways. He has also received a lot of praise and awards for his exemplary performances all around the world. He has also done his part in ensuring magic lives very long by creating his own unique magic school. Jeff Mc Bride is a true legend of magic.

John Nevil Maskelyne : Biography, Career, Family, Death

John Nevil Maskelyne

John Nevil Maskelyne was born on the 22nd of December 1839. He had acquired many titles during his lifetime like “Magician” and “Inventor” although he was famously known for being a world class magician. He is credited as the one who invented the pay toilet in London where one had to drop a coin to be able to use the service. He also invented other numerous gadgets in his lifetime. He is considered by most magicians as a pioneer and a legend because most of his stunts, illusions, and tricks are still performed to this day. He was also a great author and he wrote a great book known as ‘Sharps and Flats; A complete revelation of the secrets of cheating at games of chance and skill’. He was also the founder of the Occult committee which had the task of looking into suspicious fraudulent cheats in the magic world.

Early Life of John Nevil Maskelyne

Maskelyne was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in England. He initially a watch maker and he excelled in the craft. He, however, had a real passion for magic and this passion was fuelled when he once attended a show in his local town hall. The performers were a group by the name ‘The American Darenport Brothers’ who were famous for claiming to have supernatural powers. Maskelyne was from the onset skeptical about the existence of supernatural powers and he never believed they existed. He attended the show with all this skepticism in his mind. The Darenport brothers performed their famous ‘Spirit cabinet illusion’ where it really looked like there were some supernatural beings in their specially built cabinet. After carefully observing the illusion John Nevil Maskelyne bravely intimated to the crowd that the illusion was a fraud and that it could be performed without the use of any supernatural powers. He set forth to prove his theory by enlisting the help of his friend who assisted in building a cabinet that they would later use in their act. His friend’s name was George Cook and this was the start of a long time magical partnership between the two. In 1865, in front of a capacity crowd in Cheltenham, Maskelyne and Cook exposed the Darenport brothers by performing the Illusion without any so-called supernatural powers with the aid of their specially designed cabinet. They later extended that one act into a whole show where they would perform other tricks and illusions like a famous one where both he and Cook would fully morph into real life Gorillas. They started getting large crowds for their shows and that’s how their magical careers began

Career of John Nevil Maskelyne

As audience numbers began to soar, they started venturing out of their territories and into other towns where they took their performances. They started organizing tours which were very successful and gave them a lot of exposure. It is at this time that they turned into real professionals who could perform many magic tricks and leave audiences in total dismay. However, the crowds and hard work did not translate into real money and at one point Maskelyne and Cook were really poor that it was very difficult to make ends meet and pay the bills. By a stroke of luck one day as they were performing in Liverpool, they happened to meet an agent – who at the time was also starting to practice his trade – by the name William Morton. William was really impressed with the

By a stroke of luck one day as they were performing in Liverpool, they happened to meet an agent – who at the time was also starting to practice his trade – by the name William Morton. William was really impressed with the Duo especially with their intelligent acts and charisma. He saw them as a viable opportunity in the entertainment scene and a stepping stone for his career. He approached John Nevil Maskelyne and Cook and started financing their acts. He also paid both magicians a standard salary which was really helpful to cater for their families and their many bills. Through Morton, the duo were able to traverse the whole country performing their illusions to many different magic enthusiasts all around England. William really made them professional thanks to his excellent organizational skills and an keen eye for talent. They became a household name all around the country and everyone suddenly knew who they were. One notable venue that they performed at was the Crystal Palace which at the time was a very big star attraction point. It reached a point where they had to get a place of their own and this is where again William stepped in. John Nevil Maskelyne purchased the Egyptian Hall in Picadilly which was a rundown, beatdown, washed up the hall at the time. He then renovated the place to perfection and invited the magicians to hold regular shows there. It was a great success. People now knew where they could get the magicians and on which days which was very good for business. William, Maskelyne, and Morton had a firm business relationship for over 20 years and they remained great friends for a long time.

Achievements and Magic

Maskelyne had a lot of achievements that he was very proud of. He invented very many illusions and tricks that are still applied by magicians in their acts to this day. He also had an unbelievable in born talent of figuring out how magic tricks worked just by observation. In fact, John Nevil Maskelyne is the true inventor of the levitation illusion contrary to what many people might think or believe. The levitation illusion is usually credited to the legendary Jean Eugene Robert Houdini who many consider as the father of modern magic. However, on closer investigation, people will realize that what Robert invented was the ‘Broom Suspension’ which was a complete variation of the original levitation illusion created by Maskelyne. Harry Keller is also identified by Magic scholars as the man who invented the levitation but this is also not true. Recent evidence has uncovered that Harry indeed bribed one of Maskelyne’s attendant to sneak to him the instructions on how the illusion was to be performed. He went ahead and performed the illusion, and fraudulently claimed that he was the inventor of the trick. Maskelyne was the real father of levitation and the truth finally came out to support this fact. Unfortunately, in 1905, Cooke passed away and Maskelyne was forced to look for another co-magician. He found a suitable replacement for Cooke in David Devant who had been with the group as a helper for a couple of years before Cooke’s death.

John Nevil Maskelyne became a member of the distinguished ‘Magic Circle society’. During his whole career, Maskelyne repeatedly denied that supernatural powers existed in the magic world and he did everything in his power to expose fraudulent individuals who claimed they had supernatural powers. He founded the Occult committee in 1914 to investigate and flush out these people who were giving magicians a bad name at the time. He famously denied that the Indian Rope trick had any supernatural phenomenon around it and he proved it by performing the trick. Some people claimed that he himself had some supernatural powers because he was able to perform this trick but Maskelyne continuously dismissed these claims saying there was nothing supernatural in the trick and in any other trick. He also famously exposed the fraudulent ways of a medium by the name EusapiaPalladino.


John Nevil Maskelyne was an incredible author during his time. He managed to write some amazing books which are still considered works of art even today. In 1894, he wrote the ‘Sharps’ book that has become a really useful tool for all magicians and gamblers alike. He exposed the fraudulent techniques that gamblers use in Cardsharp dealings and techniques. Although there were other gambling books that had been written, none was as comprehensive and detailed as the one written by Maskelyne. It exposed most of the fraudulent techniques that are used by gamblers, especially in Cardsharp performances. It is widely used and considered an authority on this subject. Maskelyne also authored other important books during his career. He authored books on Theosophy and Spiritualism. He authored a book called ‘Anomalistic’ which touched on subjects like the occult, religious extremism and the paranormal.


Apart from being an accomplished magician, Maskelyne was also a great inventor especially of items during the Victorian era. He is acknowledged as the one who invented the door lock used in toilets that required coins to operate, he also invented Psycho which a whist playing automation which he employed in his numerous shows.

type writer designed by John Nevil Maskelyne
Typewriter designed by John Nevil Maskelyne

Family and Death

John Nevil Maskelyne was blessed with one daughter and two sons. He is a father to the also legendary magician and illusionist –Nevil Maskelyne- who has also achieved a lot during his life as a magician. He is also the grandfather to Jasper Maskelyne who had a fantastic history with magic. He is the famous war magician who was able to employ his craft and skill into the Great War. He managed to fool the enemy with decoy tanks and whole villages during the war. He later claimed that the decoys were an elaborate part of his illusion.

John Nevil Maskelyn died on May, 18th 1917. His legacy will however, live on forever.


100 Magic Tricks: A list of Famous Magic Tricks and the Magicians Who Performed it.


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.

  1. 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.

  1. Metamorphosis

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.


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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Frozen

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.

  1. Decapitation

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.

  1. Levitation

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Postmentalism

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.


  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.


  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1.  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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1.  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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Mentalist

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1.  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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.