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10 Magic Tricks That Are Still Unexplained

by Alex Miller
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Magic tricks have been tools of entertainment for centuries, awing children and adults alike with pure showmanship and excitement. Sitting in the crowd and witnessing one of these stunts can be an amazing experience. Most of the time, regular folks have no idea how the trick behind the illusion works. But we all know it’s not real magic, right?

Well, these 10 tricks have been unexplainable, so they may as well be real magic.

Of course, plenty of expert magicians are most likely familiar with these tricks, especially with the more famous and simple ones. But that doesn’t in any way mean that the secrets are out. Here are 10 magic tricks and illusions with secrets that are really well-hidden.

10 David Copperfield—Portal

David Copperfield – Portal – The most amazing illusion ever (480 x 360)

Teleporting is something that’s widely considered impossible. Although scientists have produced many theories on how it could be done, so far it just remains an element of sci-fi and a pure feat of magic.

In the video above, David Copperfield seeks to demonstrate the latter of the two as he goes onstage. He prepares to awe the audience, pulling up a live video from Hawaii and claiming he’ll attempt to teleport himself there. Sounds crazy, right?

The footage shows otherwise. An audience member writes his initials on Copperfield’s arm with a marker. A Polaroid picture is taken of other audience members.

These items of proof go with Copperfield and his assistant as they disappear from a simplistic portal at the magic show. Nothing is near the portal—not on any side or above or below—that could remove the trick’s seeming legitimacy.

Moments later, Copperfield and his assistant appear on a beautiful beach in a seemingly live video from Hawaii. The magician proudly shows his signed arm and the picture of the audience members.

While it’s obviously not real magic, the explanation has yet to be found. Some have attempted to debunk it, but nothing has proven to be quite this perfect and satisfactory.

9 The Indian Rope Trick

Magician Muthukad – The Great India Rope Trick

The infamous Indian rope trick is an exciting stunt where the magician commands the rope to actually do his bidding!

In the video above, a man is outside in a fenced circle. With a crowd gathered around, he shows a rope so that everyone can see that nothing has been done to alter it.

Afterward, he proceeds to place the rope in a basket and commands it to “come alive.” It rises from the basket by itself like a snake would. This is accompanied by the magician’s funky music, which adds quite a lot to the performance.

If this wasn’t enough, a boy then climbs the rope that seemingly isn’t attached to anything. Shortly after he gets down, the rope collapses on command like nothing ever happened.

So far, no one has debunked this trick with complete success.

8 Penn & Teller—Shadows

Penn and Teller-Shadows

Penn & Teller are a wonderful duo of magicians and entertainers who constantly amaze fans with new tricks and a lack of explanations. This time is no different!

This simple, beautiful trick has Teller practically deflowering a shadow—yes, a shadow!

With a simple knife, he attempts to cut the flowers off the shadow as if he was doing the same to the actual flower casting the shadow. Of course, he succeeds.

The flowers begin falling, both from the shadow and the real plant.

After this spectacular display, blood begins dripping heavily from Teller’s hand. It’s only visible on the shadow at first. Then his hand moves closer to the canvas where the real blood appears. He proceeds to actually smear it.

This simple but largely unexplainable trick is surely memorable and should get plenty of folks interested in the world of magic. Such a wonderful world indeed!

7 Berglas Effect

The Berglas Effect (Any Card at Any Number)

Originally created by David Berglas, the Berglas Effect has attained legendary status among fans of the art. A small number of people can pull it off, and they do so consistently.

The trick is simple on paper. It’s a card trick, something you’ve seen plenty of times. But this one definitely takes the cake.

The cards are visible before the magic begins. Then a random spectator freely names any card from the deck of 52. Another participant chooses a number between 1 and 52. Afterward, a third random spectator, who is holding the deck, counts out cards to the specified number.

And voila, when the third spectator counts out the number of cards specified by the second participant, the last card shown is the same card that the first spectator named—without the performer ever touching the cards at all!

This wonderful trick may never be released, but we definitely think it’s much better that way.

6 Richard Osterlind—Penny Bender

Richard Osterlind-LEGENDARY Penny Bend

This is the seemingly simplest trick on our list, but it’s still sure to cause plenty of headaches. The performer, Richard Osterlind, asks for a nice, sturdy, regular penny, which is confirmed by the audience to be completely ordinary.

After this is done, Osterlind places the penny in the palm of his hand, lightly pressing it with one finger. Suddenly, the penny magically bends. He releases the bent coin and shows it to the audience. Then, with only a bit more effort, he bends the penny back to its normal state.

Richard may not have the muscles to attempt such a feat, but he surely has the skill. As simple as this trick is, it’s still a mind-boggling magician’s secret to this day.

5 Reza—Switchblade

REZA Illusionist | Switchblade

Another exciting trick involving cards comes from a young illusionist called Reza. As usual, the trick starts out really simple. He asks a girl to pick a card, any card, and to sign it with a marker. So far, so good.

Reza places his hand on the girl’s hand as they’re holding the card together. Once he lets go, the card isn’t there. Fun trick, you might think. But as usual, this is very far from being all of it!

He takes a switchblade from his pocket and proceeds to stick it into a nearby door. As the knife hits the door, the card appears right where the knife entered.

It’s unclear how he does it, but it is fun to watch!

4 Cyril Takayama—Lacoste

Lacoste is a fascinating illusion by Cyril Takayama, a young Japanese magician who certainly has a knack for showmanship. Even at first glance, this trick is far more complicated than the ones before, but it really pays off!

Takayama goes into a clothes shop, picks up a plain orange shirt, and places it on a glass counter. He puts his hand on the shirt. However, once he lifts his hand, a small plastic alligator appears on the shirt.

Then he takes a simple, old-school flip phone and places it on the shirt while using his finger to command the little plastic alligator to enter the phone. As it does, it eats a digital hamburger on the phone screen. But this is definitely not enough for Takayama!

The alligator disappears from the phone, and a larger plastic cutout of the animal appears outside of the phone instead. Takayama places a pamphlet with pictures on top of the plastic alligator (which is sitting on the shirt). Lo and behold, a real alligator scurries out from under the pamphlet.

Even though the audio is in Japanese, we recommend watching this one. It’s absolutely fascinating!

3 David Blaine—Teeth

Pulling Out a Stranger’s Teeth | David Blaine

The amazing magician David Blaine has certainly made a name for himself, but this is his most unexplainable trick—as well as the author’s personal favorite.

Blaine approaches a crowd and asks a random girl if he can pull out two of her teeth. Yes, two of her actual teeth. After he does, the girl stands there with visible, confused annoyance and two of her front teeth clearly missing. But not to worry. David isn’t done yet!

He takes her two teeth and places them in his own mouth. Then he actually spits the teeth back into the girl’s mouth perfectly where they belong as if nothing had changed.

It’s a confusing and very fun trick, although we don’t recommend that you try it out on your friends.

2 Liu Qian—Coins

English Subtitles – 【2010央视春晚】 魔术表演 Liu Qian Magic

Liu Qian is a fairly well-known Taiwanese magician who starts his trick out simply. He sits near a plexiglass table and places a black mat on top. Then he drops some ordinary coins through the seemingly solid mat and plexiglass effortlessly.

A woman sitting near him thinks that the trick may have something to do with the mat. Liu is definitely looking for an opportunity to show off a bit, so he removes the mat entirely and does the trick again.

Then he repeats the trick without his hands covering the coins at all. Liu lets the lady choose one coin and the spot where it will go through the table, and he succeeds again.

Still not enough, he decides to take everything one step further. Slowly, he slides his hand through the supposedly solid plexiglass. He grabs some coins from another man’s hand beneath the table. Then Liu slowly slides his hand out of the plexiglass and spills the coins on the table.

1 Penn & Teller—Magic Bullet

[𝙈𝙖𝙜𝙞𝙘 𝙏𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙠𝙨] 𝙋𝙚𝙣𝙣 & 𝙏𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙧 – 𝙈𝙖𝙜𝙞𝙘 𝘽𝙪𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙩𝙨

Penn starts the show by getting some real bullets out of his pocket and asking for audience members who have experience with firearms. Two men decide to help out. They’re asked to sign the bullets to make sure that there is no funny business going on. Of course, they do.

Then Penn and Teller are suddenly pointing real Colt Pythons at each other with the signed bullets loaded. They aim at each other’s mouths and fire.

With a loud bang, their protective helmets fall off and we see them completely fine with the signed bullets in their mouths. The thin sheet of glass in front of each magician is visibly shattered. They even show the bullet casings to the two previously mentioned audience members who can easily tell, even by smell, that the guns were fired.

How they did it is unclear, and that’s part of what makes it so amazing. But beware: Never attempt to perform this trick with a real firearm. You could easily hurt yourself or someone else.

Just a curious guy who loves writing!


Read some bizarre stories about dangerous magic tricks on 10 People Killed While Performing Magic Tricks and Top 10 Most Dangerous Magic Tricks.

fact checked by Jamie Frater