Jul 11 2010
Any of you who know me, know I’m a closet magician. I’m pathetic at it actually, but the few times that I can pull a trick off and actually fool someone, it makes me feel awesome. Even the times I do an effect and the people pretend to be fooled can be pretty fun.
I’m going to show you a few ways to amaze and delight your friends with magic using a few apps but I’m also going to pull back the curtain a bit and show you quite a few professional effects used by real magicians.
Are you ready?1
by MacEnvy.com (iPhone, iPod touch)
Abracadabra2 is the first of a series. It consists of a collection of instructional videos that are easy to learn and geared at the beginner level. Each trick includes a performance of the trick as well as step by step instructions by Angelo Oddo. The videos aren’t of the highest quality but the magic and the teaching are solid—better than I’ve seen on other apps of this type.
For US99¢ you’re getting a great deal with Abracadabra.
by Renditions Design (iPhone, iPod touch and iPad)
Though it’s a bit pricey in the iPhone App Store marketplace at US$2.99, I like Magic Card because the effects it allows you to perform are simple and take advantage of the particular device you’re using. You buy it once and get three versions of the same effect (find the chosen card) geared especially for each device. The iPhone version is the most amazing to me in that it allows you to take a photo of the face down chosen card and the iPhone will magically transform that photo to show the card face up revealing its secret identity.
by Ellusionist (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad)
The original, physical Invisible Deck is the trick I recommend to anyone getting into magic… now Ellusionist has taken that effect and made “an app for that”.
The effect is classic. The participant takes an imaginary, invisible deck of cards, shuffles them, takes the top card, looks at it3 , remembers the card and places it face up in the middle of the face down pack. The participant then puts the imaginary cards in their imaginary box and tosses it to you, the magician. You catch the cards in your iPhone—trapping them there. Does the participant remember the card? The participant names the card they chose. Magically, you show that the cards on the iDevice can still be moved with the touch of a finger. You hand the iDevice to the participant and invite them to drag the cards around…dealing them out to the edge of the screen. Then the participant comes to one card that is face down in the face up pack…the card won’t leave the screen. You tell the participant to double-tap the card…it flips over…it’s their chosen card.
The Invisible Deck app sells for US$2.99 from the iPhone App Store.
from Scam School (iPhone… or any phone for that matter)
This is a great mentalism effect where you get the participant to choose a card and then you phone someone who then inexplicably tells them the card they chose. As host Brian Brushwood ( @shwood ) explains, your patter4 is that you have a friend who works at the FBI or you can pull out all the stops and just tell your friends you’re calling God. Whatever your explanation, you just need to come up with an entertaining reason why someone on the other end of the phone knows the card your participant chose freely.
The price on Crack the Government Conspiracy is free, just watch the video, check out the sponsors and use the coupon codes when you can.Interested in magic?»
by Jason Palter (any current iPod)
This one can use pretty much any iPod. It might be a bit clumsy on the iPad and, in fact, this might be the only effect on the list where a standard click-wheel iPod will be the best choice.
The effect is simple: the participant dials through the songs on your iPod and listens to a few—they’re all different…they put the iPod behind their back and they dial through the list up and down until they couldn’t know where they are on the playlist…they stop on one song and listen to it5 …when they’re ready, they stop the song…and “just from the reverberations on the song running inside their minds” you begin humming and then identify the exact song they were listening to.
This is not an app, it’s instructions and performance tips on DVD and iKnow will set you back about US$19
by Robert Smith (iPhone or any camera phone…in fact, it’s best if it isn’t even your phone!)
This is mind freaking, Criss Angel-caliber stuff. You have the participant choose a card at random. It’s lost in the deck. The joker from the deck is marked with the participant’s initials. You borrow a camera phone from the participant or an audience member and snap a picture of the initials on the joker. The joker is then magically transformed into the participant’s chosen card (cool) with their initials on it (very cool) and then after you give the participant a moment to let that sink in, you remind them of the photo you snapped. They check their phone, and the photo has now changed into that of the chosen card with their initials on it (freaking awesome). The photo of the joker is nowhere to be found.
Digital Conviction sells for about US$25 and is not an easy trick to pull off. It requires some skilled card manipulation and a lot of practice.
Performance by Chris Ballinger
by Andrew Mayne (another one that works with a borrowed camera phone…might as well be an iPhone though)
This is a creepy one that would be good for a Halloween party or if you’re with a group of friends at a historic site somewhere and want to freak them out. The effect is that with a borrowed camera phone, you take a picture that seems perfectly normal as you take it. But when viewed on the phone, the image shows a ghostly human shadow that wasn’t there before.
Ghost Vision sells for about US$15.
…if you have and perform Ghost Vision, you might also investigate Ghost Vision Reload (US$7)
by Andrew Mayne (your victim’s iPhone)
As we all know, there can be few things more dangerous than a friend who thinks he knows the best way you should be using your technology. Mayne plays upon this fear by offering a bunch of ways for you to make it look like you’ve done unthinkable things to your friend’s iPhone right from iPhoneTrick.com. Here’s a video Andrew made to explain his pranks.
One of the tricks is really disturbing and is also right on iPhoneTrick.com. It’s called Spirit Photography and using your friend’s iPhone and some American money, you’re going to give them a haunting little scare. Check out this video for Andrew’s explanation…
by Noel Qualter (…this one doesn’t need anything)
The previously mentioned iKnow is basically a card trick done with songs…iDeck is a song trick done with cards. An iPod-like deck of cards is produced with 52 songs printed on each card. A song is freely and secretly chosen and lost in the deck. You bring out a set of magnetic earbuds and hit the play button on the box of cards. Magically a song starts playing and, sure enough, it’s the card the participant chose.
Because it is a big deck of technology in and of itself, iDeck doesn’t come cheap…US$74.
Rap it up…
That’s my list. I warn you, magic takes practice. The more money you spend on an effect sometimes, the more time you need to spend on practicing it. So before you spend a bunch of money on any of these professional tricks, make sure you’re committed to practicing, performing and making them awesome. Magic is made to be performed in front of live people—not YouTube.
And if you do buy one of these effects and you find out the secret is something really “silly” and “stupid”—don’t give up. Remember, before you knew what the secret was, you though the effect was pretty darn cool…and so will your audiences.
What do you think? Are you impressed with the selection of magic that is out their for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad? Did I miss anything? Did I include anything you think is absolute crap? Leave me a comment and let’s discuss.
- why does Criss Angel say this? If someone said “no,” would he wait? [↩]
- though the app is called “Abracadabra” on its splash screen and in the videos, it’s listed as “Magic!” in the iPhone Apps Store. So just follow my link. [↩]
- this is all imagined, you realize [↩]
- magicians call the stuff they say to build up an effect and give it context “patter” [↩]
- you can be out of the room for this [↩]