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Please note that the tricks have a very long description though every effort has been made to shorten it as much as possible without affecting it’s comprehension. Please do not let this discourage you from trying to master the tricks. Submit any questions to me via the contact page and I’d be more than glad to answer all your questions. Cheers..

A Coin Trick

Go and get a coin. Go on. Place it on the table, about four inches or so from the edge nearest you. Now, using your right hand if you are right-handed, pick it up; but rather than trying to lift it straight from the surface of the table, slide it naturally back towards you with your fingertips, and let your thumb contact the underside as it reaches the table edge. As you pick it up, make your hand into a fist around the coin, bring your arm up to eye level and hold it there.

Got it? Do it a few times and note the feeling of the movement. Be relaxed and natural. Good. Now, this time, as the coin reaches the edge of the table, pretend to pick it up using exactly the same series of movements but let it fall into your lap instead.

Your thumb doesn't really contact it, and the continuing movement of the fingers just push it off the table. Then, as before, make a fist as if the coin was still there, and bring your hand up. Blow on your hand, and open it. The imaginary fool sitting opposite you is delighted: the coin has vanished. He believes you have special powers: you can rest. Now, be good enough to do this a few times until that moment of letting the coin drop is as relaxed and natural as picking it up normally. Alternate between really picking it up and only pretending to until the two sequences look and feel the same. If you can try it in front of a mirror, you will be amply rewarded.

This is an elementary coin sleight, but it is barely magic. Let us take this now comfortable sequence and make it more effective. In doing so, there is much to be learned about what makes magic magical. Firstly, why put a coin down in order to pick it straight back up again? Who other than a seriously retarded individual would enact such an absurdity? Such odd behaviour does rather detract from a convincing moment of magic. If you remove a coin from your pocket, place it on the table near you, then immediately pick it up to show it's gone, then clearly the action of putting it down and picking it up was somehow special and necessary, and its’ very unnaturalness suggests to the spectator that some derring-do must have occurred. Compare this, say, with the situation where the coin was there already. If you are just picking up a coin that happened to be in place on the table, that becomes immediately much better. So perhaps you might hunt for something in your pocket a little earlier, removing a coin or two to facilitate the search. They get left on the table, forgotten and unimportant, one of them in the correct position for the trick. Now you have to pick it up to do anything with it, so we start off with a much more natural set of circumstances. Good. Now, there is another issue to be solved. The coin is there on the table; you apparently pick it up and make a fist; you open the fist and it's gone. Because the chain of events is so short and easy to reconstruct, it is more than possible that an astute observer (and many magicians underestimate how astute people are) could work out the trick. If it has gone from your fist then perhaps it was never in your fist, so you can't have picked it up. It must have gone somewhere else. Aha! It somehow slid off the table. And if they dive over the table to search your lap area for concealed currency, you're in a tight spot, and must resort to violence to keep them from lifting the dark veil of your art. So, we have to upset their chain of events so they can't reconstruct so easily. This time, instead of making a fist around the imaginary coin, fake putting it in your other hand after you've supposedly picked it up (i.e. your left, but feel free to reverse all of this if you're left-handed), and then closing that fist around it. Do it with the real coin a few times to see how you perform this motion normally then do exactly the same thing without the coin.

By the silly act of pretending to put a coin that isn't there into your left hand, and curling your fist around it, you have now made it much more difficult for the observer to reconstruct events. Blow on the empty left fist and show that the coin has vanished. If they think that the coin was never really in the left fist, then the only explanation is that you must have retained it in the right fist. But they can see that the right fist is empty too. They will be too busy pondering this conundrum to work their way back to whether or not you even picked it up. Good, but still not great. How great would it be if they were convinced they saw the coin in your right hand before you put it in the left? Then there really would be no solution for them. So, this time, before you pass the 'coin' across to your left hand, mime showing it at your fingertips. Hold it up for half a moment, as if you're fairly displaying it between your thumb and first two fingers. Now

anyone studying your fingers will see that there's nothing there. But if you make it a quick and casual gesture - a swing of the hand up in the air as you say, ‘Watch. . .', and then back down again to pass the coin to your left, hand - then they will, once you are relaxed and you time it just right, swear that you showed them the coin in that hand. That is an extraordinary thing. And imagine the delight that comes from knowing you got away with it.

Now, when the right hand retreats after apparently passing its coin to the left hand, move your attention to the left hand but don't show your right to be empty. Keep it well over the table, and hold it in a loose fist, as if you could still be secretly retaining the imaginary coin in it. Now you are toying with them. You are going to create a false solution: that you palmed the coin away in that right hand. Blow on your left and show it empty. Hold your position for a second to register the climax of the trick, then innocently open both hands as you say, 'It's bizarre, isn't it? You have given them a moment to hang their only explanation on the surmise that you must still have the coin in your right hand then removed that one possibility from them.

Much of the experience of magic happens after the trick is over, when the spectator tries to reconstruct what happened. This is why we've already made it difficult for him. But there's more we can do: we can plant the seeds of false memories, and at the same time cover any worries you may have about not performing the sleight correctly. Earlier I suggested that you take out a couple of coins and place them on the table. Let's say Coin A is a little further towards the centre of the table, too far to do the sleight. Coin B, however, is nearer you and in position for the trick. Look at both coins, and hover your hand a little over both, as if you are deciding which one to use. This secures in the spectator's mind the image of two coins fairly on the table. Decide on Coin A, and pick it straight up off the table. Don't slide it back, just pick it up. All attention will be on you and the coin. Place it fairly into your left hand and make a fist around it. Squeeze it and toy with it a little. Open your left hand for a moment, look at the coin and close it again. You're having trouble, though your spectators have no idea what you're trying to achieve. Give up and drop the coin out of your hand onto the table, away from Coin B. Make a self-deprecating remark - 'Right, that didn't work, sorry.' The spectators' attention will dissipate, and you should relax too. As you relax (allow your body to slump back a little which will cue them to relax with you), go into the trick by apparently picking up Coin B. You are now performing the sleight when the spectators are paying the least attention. Their eyes may still be directed at you, but for the vital moment they are off-guard. As long as you can make them relax in this way, you'll get away with anything during this vital 'off-beat'. Once Coin B is apparently in the left hand, sit forward again and build up the tension. The trick is now so much more convincing. Moreover, you have, by unsuccessfully going through the trick once with Coin A, given them some snapshots that will

confuse them later in their reconstruction. They have seen a coin being picked directly up from the table. They have seen a coin clearly in your left fist. Later, they will confuse what they saw the first time with what they saw the second time. No-one should remember that you picked up the second coin in a slightly different manner. There is still more. How are you apparently making the coin vanish?

For all these precautions and convincers we have woven into your little performance, is there not something rather cheap and amateurish about blowing on your hand and then immediately showing it empty? It's here that you actually create the magic. The magic happens not from what you do, but from what the spectator perceives. And it has its home not in the fact that the coin vanishes, but how it vanished (that would be the magic part). So how about this: when the coin is apparently in your left hand, toy with it a bit. Move it around. That's not something any sane person would do unless there really were a coin there, so it really cements the illusion. Act as if you have to get it into some special place in your hand in order to make it disappear.

Needless to say, you don't verbalize this, you just act as if.

Concentrate. Making a coin disappear isn't easy. Perhaps it even hurts a bit (this small touch is a dramatic and rather powerful idea). A great modern magician, Tommy Wonder, emphasizes the importance of this sort of 'silent script' for magic. Your hand isn't quite warm enough and that's making it more difficult. Maybe the fact that you've just eaten makes it very hard to make it fully disappear. There's probably no need to blow on your hand now, or if there is it’s just for show. But not yet . . . wait . . . hang on . . . there it goes ... I can feel it ... And when it goes, does it pop? Get very hot? Does it disappear or somehow melt into the hand?

Would it be interesting to vanish the coin and then ask the spectators if they can still see it, as if they might have only hallucinated its disappearance? How many different ways could you play with this to see what gets the best reaction? Any tension you feel the few times you do it will be relieved by two things: firstly, your muscles will learn how to perform the series of moves as fluidly as possible, with the minimum of effort; and secondly, the reactions you will get, so out of proportion to the act of slipping a coin off a table, will delight you so much that in no time you’ll be showing everyone. And to tell them how it was done ('Pathetically, I just slipped the coin off the table') would be to take away their amazement and replace it with disappointment. Try that once: You’ll see that they switch from thinking it was a great piece of magic to, at best, an average trick.