The 7 Types of Magic Trick

August 10, 2015

Did you know that at its heart, there are only 7 different types of magic tricks? That’s not to say that you will only ever seen 7 magic tricks in your life and that all of the others are the same, but like film genres, there are widely acknowledged to only be 7 categories that magic tricks will fit into, though naturally there will be some crossover (and a few people disputing this belief).

Below, we’ve compiled the 7 types of magic trick, explained them a little and of course provided a fine example from YouTube. Magic!


As you might expect, this is the art of making something disappear. A popular close-up magic trick will normally use a coin or a card, whilst David Copperfield went so far as to make the Statue of Liberty apparently disappear. (We say apparently because last time we checked, it’s still there...)


One could argue that this is how the Statue of Liberty returned! But err... That wasn’t televised. Often seen when a magician creates cards from nowhere (see here) or perhaps with doves and candles, as seen in this mesmerising Lance Burton magic trick. Wow.  


Be it a matchstick, a car or even yourself, audiences around the world have been mystified by various objects defying gravity for years, dating all the way back to the Indian Rope trick. Later versions include David Copperfield’s ‘Flying’ and of course, the street levitation that made David Blaine famous.

Penetration (oi!)

Stop blushing. You have no need to blush! You at the back. Focus. Come on now. The penetration is a classic that we’ve all seen before. A pen passes through a playing card or a coin passes through an iPad. Frankly, they’re all mystifying and deserving of an audience. In this clip, 'magician's magician' Eugene Burger passes a cigarette through a card, somehow leaving the card intact once the magic trick is done. Huh.


“If you’d just like to check your back pocket, sir...” The transportation is a staple of card magicians worldwide, managing to shoehorn the 8 of Hearts into anything from a pair of trousers to a lemon, or even a sealed tin of spaghetti. This type of  magic trick was the main thinking behind top film, The Prestige featuring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, where the main characters were transporting themselves. Impressive stuff. (Again though, David Copperfield did it years ago...)

Mind Reading

The incredible abilities that made Derren Brown and..err...Uri Geller famous, mind reading is a tremendously impressive feat of psychological showmanship. To his credit, Derren Brown admits this. Uri Geller though, passes it off as gospel. Often seen at live magic shows, it’s sure to impress. How did they know?


Whether it’s your bank note, a card or even your ludicrously expensive watch, magicians love to tear or smash up your property before returning it to you a few minutes later completely unharmed (in theory...)  Strangely they call this entertainment. As long as it doesn’t go wrong, it’s great.

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By Henry Fosdike