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Glossary of Magic Terms

 

Stacked Deck
A deck of cards that is pre-arranged in a certain order to perform an effect.

Packet Tricks
A set of playing cards that are used in a trick. A packet trick does not use an entire deck of playing cards but only some or a few of them. Most packet tricks are carried separate from a deck of cards.

Table Hopping
Close-up magic that’s performed while spectators are seated at tables, usually at restaurants and sit-down dinner events.

Reset
Setting up a trick after you’ve performed it so you can perform it again.

Clean
A state at a trick's conclusion where there is no remnant of the secret for spectators to find. If there are props remaining, spectators may examine them and there will be no way for them to discover the secret. For example, if a magician has caused a handkerchief to disappear in a box, his spectators may examine the box at the trick's conclusion and they will discover no secrets. The secret lies elsewhere, or the box hides a secret that spectators will never find.

Ambitious Card
A card effect where a selected card continually rises to the top of the deck after being placed into the middle of the deck

Torn and Restored
Any effect where an object is torn-up and then made whole again. Usually performed with paper, napkins, cigarette papers, newpaper or playing cards.

Close-Up Magic
Magic that is performed for small groups of people who are standing or sitting nearby. Close-up magic ypically using common household objects such as cards, coins, handkerchiefs and more.

Transposition
A magic effect where two objects somehow exchange places. Usually performed with coins or playing cards.

Triumph
An effect where a deck of cards is shuffled with one-half face-up and the other face-down. The magician somehow straightens out the deck so all of the cards are facing in the same direction, with the exception of a selected card.

Street Magic
Street Magic is a branch of magic where performers entertain on the streets in urban areas. The performers are paid by collecting tips from their audience members.

Mentalism
Mentalism is a field of magic that involves feats of the mind-mind-reading, predictions and more.

Close-Up Magician
A magician who performs close-up magic.

Disappearance
A magic trick where an object or person vanishes.

Misdirection
Making an audience look elsewhere while you perform a secret move.

Effect
The intended and perceived outcome of a magic trick or illusion. What the spectator thinks he or she sees happening

Escape
A branch of magic where the performer appears to free him or herself from ropes, handcuffs, boxes and other constraints.

Gimmick
An object that appears natural but has been altered to create a magical effect. Can also be an object that’s never seen by the audience that creates the magical effect.

Gospel Magic
A branch of magic that uses magic effects to present and reinforce Christian concepts.

Illusion
Any magical effect that to the spectator looks impossible, but is accomplished through real-world means. Illusion is often applied to the large stage magic tricks-the kinds with boxes where people are made to disappear, sawed in half, levitated and more.

Illusionist
A performer who presents illusions. Usually refers to a magician who performs large stage tricks. Effects such as sawing a person in half are considered illusions.

Levitation
The ability to float oneself, another person or an object, with no apparent means of support, as if the rules of gravity do not apply.

Palming
Secretly hiding an object in your hand.

Patter
Your running commentary as you perform magic. For some tricks, the patter may be a story. With others, it may be jokes.

Production
The appearance of an object or person, as if by magic.

Self-Working Trick
A trick that works by itself that requires little technical skill or effort on behalf of the performer.

Sleight of Hand
A branch of magic that mainly depends on skill and relies less on gimmicked objects to create magical effects.

Stand-Up Magic
A branch of magic where the magician stands in front of a crowd and performs magic.