How to make chocolate out of nothing

Fearful that I may run out of chocolate during the shelter-in-place mandate, I revisited Mariano Tomatis's demonstration of how to magically create chocolate out of nothing.

Here is his explanation of this wonderful phenomenon, known as a missing square or vanishing area puzzle. (Thanks, Ferdinando Buscema!) Read the rest

Behold, the "invisible" Rube Goldberg Machine!

But will it make breakfast? The fun starts at the 1:47 mark.

(Pee-wee Herman, Geekologie)

screenshot via YouTube Read the rest

"Pick a number and I'll guess it": the math behind the magic

On Vsauce2, Kevin Lieber explains the mathematical magic that enables mentalists to confound audiences by correctly guessing the number they've picked. Even though I know how it's done, it still confounds me.

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Mark Mothersbaugh visits 'Other Side with Zabrecky'

This time, on Other Side, Zabrecky and Mark Mothersbaugh go in search of Oscar Kiss Maerth, author of The Beginning Was The End. Read the rest

Celebrate by watching the 'Other Side with Zabrecky Thanksgiving Marathon'

This holiday we are entertained!

The master magician who spends his spare time communicating with the dead, Rob Zabrecky, has decided to host a Thanksgiving Marathon of his amazing seance series 'Other Side with Zabrecky.'

A cavalcade of colorful characters join Zabrecky to contact spirits of their choice. Guests include Will Forte, Kate Flannery, Jack Black, Jeff Grossman, Neil Hamburger, Jason Sudeikis, and David Arquette. Also featured are two commercials, a mail bag episode, and lots of music by the band Monitor.

I understand Zabrecky hides secret messages in every video.

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David Arquette and Zabrecky seek out "Macho Man" Randy Savage

David Arquette is my new fashion hero.

After you watch every episode of Other Side with Zabrecky, you will want to read his book. Read the rest

Watch Teller almost get SHOCKED by dangerous jugglers The Passing Zone, on 'Penn & Teller: Fool Us!'

This is a great clip. If you're into jugglers doing funny things or 500-volt stun guns, you're in for a treat. Read the rest

Incredible optical illusions

The brilliant optical illusions of stop motion animator Kevin Parry. Read the rest

Visualizing what happens when you shuffle a deck of cards

Nathan Davis writes, "When you shuffle a deck, it rearranges the order of the cards and I got wondering what that looked like. Read the rest

Footage of Houdini preparing for a straight jacket escape

Wild About Houdini shares the details of Houdini's suspended straight jacket escape in Los Angeles.

For years I've been trying to uncover details of Houdini's first suspended straitjacket escape in Los Angeles. While his 1923 escape is well represented in photos and newspaper clippings, his 1915 escape has proven strangely elusive. This would have been a major event with a massive crowd and snarled traffic, yet there's no mention of it in either the Los Angeles Times or the Herald. How could that be? If fact, the only clue that it ever happened at all is this short undated film clip:

This has been especially vexing as L.A. is my home and I've tasked myself with uncovering all the Houdini connections I can. I've actually been entertaining the idea that the above film is misidentified and there never was a 1915 Los Angeles escape. Maybe this is Oakland? We know Houdini did an escape there before coming to L.A.

But on a recent visit to the Magic Castle, librarian Joe Fox finally helped me crack the case. He showed me a flyer from the 1987 televised séance The Search For Houdini. Joe wondered if I had ever seen it. I told him had. In fact, I own one myself. But I haven't looked at it in years, so I popped it open anyway. There, much to my astonishment, was a paragraph about Houdini in Los Angeles with key details about the 1915 escape. As if to mock me, it referred to it as one of Houdini's "best documented" escapes.

Read the rest

Watch these cars and motorcycles drive into another dimension

Where they're going, they don't need roads. Read the rest

Penn Jillette remarks on (mostly phony) magic tricks in pop culture

"But remember, I lie."

In this video, legendary magician Penn Jillette watches clips from TV and movies that feature magic tricks of one kind or another, and then gives his honest opinion about what's actually going on. ("Instant Stooging" is totally going to be my next band's name.)

Why is he doing this? Well, Penn & Teller are teaching the art of magic in a new MasterClass (which looks terrific!).

Here's the full clip of him and Teller doing that magic trick upside down on Saturday Night Live that he talks about at the end of the video:

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Watch: Magician performs close-up tricks at a maximum security prison

In the latest episode of Scam Nation, magician Nate Staniforth went to Anamosa State Penitentiary in Iowa to perform magic for the inmates.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

AI is like a magic trick: amazing until it goes wrong, then revealed as a cheap and brittle effect

I used to be on the program committee for the O'Reilly Emerging Technology conferences; one year we decided to make the theme "magic" -- all the ways that new technologies were doing things that baffled us and blew us away. Read the rest

Kitty can't cope with a card trick

If that cat ever figures out how this is done, it's gonna gut that guy in his sleep. Read the rest

Magic ball and vase is a trick that kids actually enjoy

I keep this ball and vase trick around because kids like it.

Sure, you are brilliant. We get that know how it works. You can also read this post. While little kids often find card and coins tricks to be a yawn, they love even a lamely presented magic ball and vase!

After you fool them with the trick a few times, sneak the ball insert out and let the kids play with the empty vase.

It is as much fun as fooling your cat with a laser pointer.

Magic Ball and Vase via Amazon Read the rest

TV host accidentally makes fool of "brick-breaking" martial arts master

"That's incredible, I mean, I've felt these bricks, these are real bri—", says TV host Steve Uyehara as the brick turns to dust at his lightest touch. [via Reddit] "Oh! Whoa! Whaaaaaa! Check it out, baby! Guns!"

P.S. Glass is an irresponsible material for the board breaking trick! Read the rest

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