Becoming a magician means committing yourself to a code of ethics and never revealing your secrets. Wowing audiences means finding exciting illusionary ways to keep them enticed and wondering exactly how you even managed your last trick.
Here we’re going to explore some of the most unbelievable magical secrets ever performed. People may include David Blaine in this list, but in the world of magic, most magicians rank him as more of a stunt performer, capable of fascinating feats of human endurance. Below are some mind-bending examples of magical secrets we still can’t quite work out.
Houdini and the 'upside down water torture cell'
The magic of Harry Houdini is still revered today, and for a good reason. His most difficult and dangerous magical escape trick was known as 'the water torture cell'. In this insane escape, Houdini had his feet locked into a pair of stocks, and then he was lowered down into a tank of water. The tank of water, or cell, would then be concealed in a curtain cabinet, and then after a few suspense-packed minutes Houdini would burst out from the cabinet, arms and legs free. The cell would still be securely locked when checked.
Houdini’s cell was purpose-built in England and cost thousands of pounds to create. The apparatus weighed over 650kg and held over 1100 litres of water.
Houdini first performed the Water Torture Cell at Circus Busch in Berlin in 1912. It became a core part of his act and remains perhaps his best kept secret.
Copperfield and the Statue of Liberty
David Copperfield remains one of the most popular contemporary magicians, and his tricks fascinate audiences of all ages. His standout performance remains when he made the Statue of Liberty disappear in front of live television audiences back in 1983. A real feat of innovation and intrigue, the trick involved raising a giant sheet to hide the statue and then lowering it to reveal it had completely vanished. A helicopter equipped with a camera crew passes through the space to prove 100% that the statue was truly gone.
Explaining away this trick seems completely impossible, and of course, Copperfield was sure to restore Lady Liberty while the audience looked on in amazement. When asked about the trick, Copperfield commented it was a statement about freedom explaining 'how precious liberty is and how easily it can be lost.'
Penn and Teller catching bullets
A trademark of US illusionists and renowned magicians Penn & Teller is the crowd-pleasing bullet catch. Penn & Teller are one of the most famous and successful magical duos of all time, performing as a double act since 1975. The bullet catch trick keeps audiences coming back to their Vegas show year after year. Both members of the duo are equipped with handguns, and each fires a bullet at the other. Remarkably, both Penn & Teller both catch the bullets in their mouths. People, of course, have called hoax on this trick, but the duo go to great lengths to prove its legitimacy. They have even asked audience members to load the initial the bullet in advance to prove they are being fired.
Dynamo walking on water
Dynamo is the 21st century’s answer to Harry Houdini and as audiences become more wise to illusions, he’s had to work a little harder to capture audience's attention. A global star, Dynamo has shows worldwide and a mass following, yet he still managed to amaze almost everyone when he appeared to walk on water in 2011. Audiences watched on as Dynamo took to the River Thames and appeared to walk on the water. Explanations for this trick simply do not stack up, and of course, Dynamo isn’t about to tell us how he managed it.
Now that's magic
One of the most amazing things about magicians and their work is its ever-evolving nature. Houdini’s tricks are still performed, modified and enhanced to this day and there is always something new, exciting and mysterious to try to understand. Magic is an ancient art form that consistently attracts new talent and gives audiences even more opportunities to push their minds and imaginations to the limit.