Years before. A huge crowd! They were gathered around at a place. They were eager to know what’s going to happen. A magician – with hand cuffs was lying in a box. Even in the midst of heavy locks, he was smiling at every one. Very soon the box was locked and thrown to deep sea. It was really a breath taking moment when all people stopped breathing and eagerly looking at sea to see their magician’s return. Within seconds, magician appeared before them without hand cuffs and with a smile in his face. He was none other than great Harry Houdini.
Harry Houdini was born on March 12th 1874 and he contributed a lot to this art form. He knows the special trick to escape from hand cuffs within seconds. That’s the reason why he is known as ‘The hand cuff king’. Even while his condition was worse, everyone believed that he would return back. So, he decided to teach superstitious people of that time a good lesson. He wanted to break the myth of return of dead people as souls. So, he asked his wife to instruct people to visit his tomb on the seventh day after his death and that his admirers could hear his voice. He also told his wife that if it not happens, then there is no soul after death on this earth. His wife carried obeyed his instruction and as he believed, his voice was not heard at his tomb on the seventh day of his demise. He left the world on October 31st 1926 at the age of 52 and most recently we have seen his 86th death anniversary. So, I am dedicating this article to the great magician Harry Houdini, who conquered million hearts through his magical tricks.

What’s the history of magic?

The word ‘magic’ was derived from ‘magi’ – a Latin word. Zoroastrians were commonly called magi. They were the natives of Persia and Indonesia. Through their art of intelligence they surprised everyone. They were able to create an illusion of naturally occurring things as their special power or performance. But before the history of magi tribes began, magic existed in this world gathering a lot of attention!

Is magic related to science?

Now also, hot discussions going on to find if magic is a form of science or not. When one group claims that it’s an art form with scientific background, the other group is opposing saying, ‘it’s just a trick to fool people’s eyes’. Since it’s not working according to nature’s forces now it’s not considered as a form of science. Yet still people are there who believe magic has some scientific explanations as well! Actually, magic is not binding anyone’s eyes, instead binding our vision, often mislead or deviate our attention to anything else. Yet it can’t be denied, it needs some scientific helps as well. 

Indrajaalam of Hindu Mythology

India is the land of Vedas and Upanishads and hence magic is that much old. Through such historic books, a magical world is opening before us. According to Hindu mythology, Devendra (Indra) – the king of devas was the master of such tricks and magic. The word ‘Indrajaalam’ is derived from ‘jaalam’ (magic) of Indra and mythological stories are filled with such magical tricks of mayavis and asuras.

The real stars of the magical world

Now, let me say a few words about the famous magicians of the world, who contributed a lot to this stage performing art item.

Robert Houdin
He is known as the father of modern magic. He was born in Bloicil of France in the year 1805. He was the first person to perform tricks in stages. He was successful in blending magic with science.

Chung Ling Soo
The magician born in the year 1861 was an American by birth. He was born in New York and his real name was William Elseworth Robinson. His contributions include catching bullets by mouth, shooting arrows at his wife and taking her out of boiling water. He did many such risky items and his death a tragedy while he was performing a bullet catch trick in a stage.

Vazhakkunnam Namboothiri
He is related to Malayalam and is known as the grand father of Kerala magicians. He was famous for his classical items. Through his boxes and cotton pieces he popularized this art form inside many Namboothiri homes known as ‘illam’.

P.C.Sarkar
He was born in India and famous world wide. He was the person who introduced cap to Indian magicians. He was the seventh descend of a famous magician belonged to the court of Jahangir. He was awarded Sphinx twice in his life time – 1946 and 1954. Sphinx is known as the Oscar of magic. His shows were known as ‘Ingrajal’ and he died in the year 1971 at the age of 58.

Howard Thurston
Howard Thurston is still ranked top among the list of magicians. He is better known as ‘King of card magic’. He was born in Columbus of America in the year 1869, July 20.

Harry Blackstone
He was a person who entered the world of magic through his individuality. Through his intelligence and smartness, he started a stage show having his items only. Thus, he is counted one among those rare and precious stones of magicians.

Indian Vadaarohana trick

It’s a special trick yet to be decoded. It’s conducted in an open place. Magician sits on floor first. Suddenly he throws a 15 feet rope upwards and it stands there like a stick. A boy climbs that rope and when he reaches the top, he disappears suddenly. Magician gets up with a sword and climbs the same rope. When he reaches the top, he blows around with his sword as if he is attacking the boy. Body parts of the kid fly from the sky and reach the ground. Magician returns back and collect all his parts in a container. Then he covers it for a few moments. Then he shows certain signs and opens the basket. The kid will come out of that box smiling. Till now, no one has decoded its trick.

Different categories of magic

There are 13 categories of magic. They are

  1. Stage illusions
  2. Platform magic
  3. Micro magic
  4. Escape magic
  5. Psychological magic
  6. Theatre scenes
  7. Kid’s magic
  8. Online magic
  9. Mathemagic
  10. Corporate/trade show magic
  11. Gospel magic
  12. Street tricks
  13. Shock magic (Greek magic)

Wonders in Magic

There are 9 wonders in magic. Under each wonder, lakhs of tricks do exist. Those 9 wonders include:

  1. Production
  2. Vanishing
  3. Transformation
  4. Restoration
  5. Teleportation
  6. Escape
  7. Levitation
  8. Penetration
  9. Prediction

Asia’s first magic academy

It was established in Thiruvananthapuram. In 1996, it was organized by a charitable society. It was for the first time, a University recognizes courses for a magic academy. In association to it, many future courses are conducted by Kerala University with the help of central government.

Colourless water to grape water - a simple trick

An article about magic is incomplete without any trick. So, I am giving you a small trick that even small kids can do in their class room or home.
Magician poured a little water from one glass to another. He just raised his magic stick. To everyone’s surprise it changed to grape juice. He tried to take a sip of grape juice. But suddenly it changed back to colourless water. How it happened?
A pinch of sodium carbonate is sprinkled in an empty glass. Then shake it well so that it reaches everywhere inside the glass. A little water added with phenolphthalein is poured (indicator solution) into the glass. Suddenly the water changes its colour. Then magician places the glass near fan, as if he is going to drink it. Suddenly solution becomes colourless. Yes, chemistry can be applied in showing some simple tricks.

A small note on magician Muthukad

Gopinath Muthukad - He is the most famous magician of Kerala in contemporary times. Most recently he won Merlin Award for his contributions towards this art form. Day by day he experiments new ideas and showing many tricks. Hand cuffs, fire escape, disappearing car – he has performed all these items. But when he decided to do fire escape with Mohan lal, seeing protests from fans, both had to go back. Now also, he is entertaining a crowd with a lot of tricks, creativity and imaginations. 


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