“Free Magic Tricks,” by Becky Cardwell

Sep 1st, 2010 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

Picture this: You’re at a party. Everyone around you is talking about how lame the party is, saying they would rather be anywhere but there. Suddenly, without warning, you stand up and perform an amazing magic trick, and nobody can believe their eyes! 

Could you imagine getting that kind of recognition? Having the power to, at any time, swoop in and steal the entire show? Well, you’d better start imagining it, because today I’m going to reveal my most amazing, show-stealing and “Oh-so astonishing!” magic tricks. FOR FREE!!! 

Now, some of you might be thinking, Is this chick on drugs? Why isn’t she charging at least three easy payments of $29.99 for these mind-boggling secrets?  While a court-imposed gag order prevents me from revealing that particular secret today, you can rest assured that it (and many others!) will reveal itself, when my tell-all book “Turns Out Not Everyone Loves A Clown,” hits bookstores after the trial.  

Ready to amaze the crowd? Well, then, let’s get to it! 

Got Your Nose 

This might just be my most stupefying illusion-style trick ever. And it’s so easy! 

First, walk up to any guest and politely ask his name. Then, as soon as he opens his mouth to tell you, grab his nose and start pulling on it. Hard. (For extra traction, you might want to try placing your foot on his upper thigh.) 

When it looks as though he’s just about to pass out, pull your hand away and make a fist, positioning your thumb so it protrudes between your index and middle finger. Now, before he can lift his hand to his now bleeding nasal cavity, shove your fist in his face, saying hilariously, “Got your nose!” 

*Sidenote- This trick works best on seniors with dementia and/or college students on ecstasy 

Pulling Out A Stabby Knife From An Ear 

Most entertainers do this one with quarters, but I find I get a better audience reaction when I use potentially deadly weapons. Here’s how it works:  Go up to someone in the crowd and casually (yet aggressively!) reach behind his ear with a stabby knife. Be careful, though. Those stabby knives can be pretty sharp, and we wouldn’t want any (unnecessary) accidents! 

Once you have the crowds undivided attention (I guarantee it won’t take more than ten seconds or so), pull your hand away and yell “Abracadabra!” waving the stabby knife aimlessly in the air. 

Finally, after a few moments of aimless air-waving, bring it back to eye level, saying tongue-in-cheek, “Well, I’ll be darned! So that’s where I left the stabby knife that I always have in my back pocket!” 

Walking Down the Imaginary Stairs Into the Fiery Pits of Hell 

For this trick you need strong thigh muscles and exceptionally good balance. It also helps if you happen to have a fiery pit of hell lying around. 

I Can Read Your Mind 

I find this trick works best on children, as their minds are newer and therefore more easily readable. 

Go up to a kid and casually mention that you can read his mind. When he gives you a look as if to say “Whatever jerkface!” place your hand on top of his back-talking head and close your eyes. 

Once a few minutes have passed, slowly open your eyes, saying in a sad and ominous voice, “Did you know that every time you think that way an innocent puppy is brutally murdered?” 

*FYI, this trick is even more magical if you can cry on command. 

The Double Jointed Hobo Robot 

This isn’t so much a magic trick as a kickass dance move that I happen to be really good at.  It’s too bad I copyrighted it, because trust me, it’s a real crowd pleaser. 

Sleight of Abdominus Rectus 

Exactly like the sleight of hand trick, only using the abdominal muscles.  

(Shadow Of) A Vulture on the Wall 

In order for this illusion to be successful, your audience must keep their eyes focused on the wall. Unfortunately, if someone suddenly turns around while you’re making the magic “soar” so-to-speak, it won’t be nearly as mind-blowing. 

Detached Finger 

Given that I haven’t yet figured out how to do the “Reattaching the Detached Finger” trick, I strongly suggest that if you don’t have adequate medical coverage, you be very selective as to how often you perform this one. 

Now You See It, Now It’s on Its Way to the Local Pawn Shop 

It’s probably best to save this one for the grande finale, or better yet as a final encore, after everything is packed up and all evidence linking you to the scene has been properly disposed of.

Because when it comes down to it, who do you think the cops are going to believe? A bunch of drunk people who thought there was a vulture flying on the wall? Or an amazing magician who also does the occasional performance at the Seniors’ Centre but other than that keeps a relatively low profile and has no criminal record? 

My point exactly. 


Becky Cardwell lives in Vancouver, Canada, where she recently moved to in order to further her “already pretty far ahead” acting career. Her first big break came in 1986, when a big talent-scout/assistant cameraman on “Buckshot” panned the live studio audience, leaving the camera on her for much longer than anyone else. Six people saw the show that day, and four and-a-half of them agree that yes, it did seem like a pretty long time. 

 When not busy auditioning, she writes humor and travel pieces and has been published in McSweeney’s, The Big Jewel, Hobo Pancakes, Happy Woman Magazine, Wanderlust, and Lipstick, among others.

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