Is Magic Real or Illusion? (with examples)

Is magic real, or it isn’t? This question has been the subject of controversy for centuries.

Anything that does not have any scientific explanation could be treated or regarded as magic.

Magic has been a form of entertainment for centuries. Magicians perform various tricks in front of an audience, pretending to have some supernatural powers.

Magic has always been an art that is admired by people. The success of movies like The Prestige and Now You See Me shows that and who doesn’t want to become Harry Potter?

Magic takes you to a place where everything is possible. We can say that magicians create illusions in our minds.

That’s when you start to ask yourself a question – Is magic real or Illusion? Magic is not real. All tricks performed by magicians have a logical explanation that is based on clever principle, use of gimmicks, or misdirection.

The illusion is a state, where your mind tricks you to believe something, which is logically and scientifically not possible.

Magicians create illusions to make their audience believe in the tricks they’re doing. The illusion is an art of deceiving mind.

Magicians in earlier times were treated as wizards, that controls some special powers to teleport people, disappear objects into thin air, etc.

However, later on, it is proved that they’re not superhuman who have some supernatural powers, instead, they created illusions in front of their audience to make them believe in what they’re doing.

What Is an Illusion?

Illusion can be understood as an altered reality, a reality where impossible happens. Magicians are master of this art, as they create illusions that are so perfect that every person who’s watching them starts believing in what they’re doing.

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While watching something extraordinary, you know that this is not possible scientifically, but it is happening and then you start wondering whether magic is real or not.

To make any trick successful, illusionist or any magician diverts the minds of their audience to a completely different thing, so that they could deceive and divert the mind of the audience and within a few seconds, they take you back to the trick which they actually want to show you.

This is how they’re creating illusions in our minds throughout history.

In earlier times, magic was considered to be real. People who knew a thing or two about psychology or science could manipulate the minds of people by showing them tricks like setting fire on water, cutting people in two halves, or disappearing things in the air.

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These tricks require an ample amount of knowledge of science and those who knew them were treated as wizards.

Difference between magic and reality

Magic and reality are two different and yet the same things.

Magic is the opposite of reality and often called an altered version of it.

When a person makes you believe in something that is not real by doing, it can be considered as magic. Whereas, reality follows the rules of science.

Let’s take an example of a famous trick, “sawing a girl in half” as in this trick the girl is sawed by the performer in two halves and her body still moves and the girl keeps talking.

But, there are two girls which are used in this trick and if we look at this trick side angle, we can understand the trick behind this.

Examples of Magic Tricks and their explanation

Let’s take a look at some famous magic tricks and let’s see how they are performed, and we’ll try to find the science behind them, and then we’ll see whether magic is real or not?

Example #1: Levitation magic tricks

Levitation magic tricks are very effective and always grabs the attention of the audience.

What may seem like magic and wizardry is, in reality, clever use of invisible strings:

Example #2: Splitting someone into two halves

It looks a fantastic trick when you see it. It amazes us that a person is cut in two halves and then was reconnected to his/her body.

This illusion requires two persons, and it only works when the audience watches it from the front angle.

This trick needs a special box in which there are two compartments. When the performer cuts the box in two halves, the compartments separate, and then we see the upper body of person A in the first box and lower body of person B in another one.

Some magicians use dummies also to do this one.

Example #3: Escaping from the box underwater without keys

We have seen this trick in many movies. This illusion needs physical strength.

In this trick, magicians’ hands were cuffed and the assistant locks the magician into a box.

Later the box gets thrown in a pool of water and when the magician came out of the water, this trick completes.

A combination of fake locks, loose grips, and the use of hidden keys are some tricks used by magicians to do this illusion.

Example #4: Floating man

You may have seen several videos of people just floating over a wooden stick.

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This trick does not need superhuman strength to keep maintaining your body weight on your single hand.

In this trick, there’s a solid structure underneath the baggy clothes of the person, that holds the weight of the person.

Example #5: Walking on water

In this trick, a transparent platform is used to create an illusion in the audience’s mind that the person is actually walking on the water.

Example #6: Sword swallowing

It is one of the most ancient tricks present until now.

Swallowing a sword is a dangerous trick as it has some severe consequences if not done properly.

There’s actually no trickery behind this one, the performer actually swallows the sword. This requires years of practice and hard work.

Example #7: Other tricks

Magic is so wide topic and its hard to cover all of it.

I, therefore, recommend visiting websites like or that are dedicated to revealing magic tricks step by step.

There are so many tricks that can be decoded by understanding the science behind them. Using chemicals to change the color of the liquid, matching refractive index to make things disappear into liquids are some tricks magicians or tricksters use.

The video below will show you another 10 Magic Tricks that you can learn with a bit of the patience:

The History of Magic

Magic is around for centuries and it was evolving over time.

A long time ago, most people believed that magic is actually real and it was a natural part of everybody’s life.

Now let’s take a look at how this industry has evolved with time and what are the challenges magicians have faced during their time.

Magic was a street art till the 1800s. There were not huge live shows in big theaters and television broadcast, the performers simply go out and perform their art.

Magic attracted people from its inception. Magicians at that time mostly did card tricks, juggling items and vanishing them.

It was said that in the earlier 1800s, criminals hire magicians so that they can attract a decent amount of crowd, and the criminals could snatch and pickpockets.

In the late 1800s and earlier 1900s, magic became very popular. It was the time when magicians started getting regular shows. In this time escaping tricks were very popular among the audiences.

However, escaping artists were not treated as magicians by the other magicians who perform card and other tricks like that.

The common opinion was that escape artists are not good at other techniques that require creating illusions in the audience’s mind. He stated that they are just an artist who knows how to escape from the box.

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Sawing a girl in half became an instant hit among the audience in the early 1900s, as it has its own thrills and it is a very new and never seen before concept. P. T. Selbit is the magician who invented this trick.

People at that time actually believed that the magician is cutting the girl in reality. Many magicians used this trick on themselves when they performed on any show.

This trick was a huge hit. Magicians started using this trick with horror-themed shows, which has increased the popularity of this trick.

In the mid-90s, after the introduction of television, people’s interest in live magic shows started declining because television offers much variety in comparison with a magic show.

With the introduction of television, children were involved in the frame, and to make magic acceptable for television, the trick of sawing a girl in half became The Zigzag girl. It was at that time, we can say that magic became family-friendly.

It felt safe, the Zigzag girl became a popular trick and it can be shown in prime time.

We can say that television has accepted magic and it completely changed the landscape of the magic world.

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, the magic industry saw many ups and downs.

With technology increasing day by day, year by year, people started to understand that magic is just an illusion.

To cope with the advancement of technology and all the things, magicians started using chemicals, laws of physics, and science to invent new tricks.

Why is magic so popular?

Humans are always fascinated with the things that seem impossible.

The popularity of science fiction and fantasy world movies and novels among the audience is an example of that. Magic closes down the gap between reality and fantasy.

To witness something that looks impossible always amazes us.

This is the main reason, magic is so popular.

TIP: If you’d like to learn magic tricks, don’t forget to check the following lists:

Final Words

Nowadays, magicians have also added comedy with magic, and people across the globe are really enjoying the mixture.

Shows like Got Talent have also added to the popularity of the magicians.

To answer the question that whether magic is real or not? In my opinion and based on years of performing magic, I think it is not. It’s just an illusion.

As a child, it seems real but as you grow old, you understand that magic is just an illusion.

But there is still part of me who wants to believe that magic is actually real…

Master Mentalism

Improve Magic

I believe that life is magic. I'm a playing cards collector, I love performing magic tricks and I'm also the owner of a small magic shop. Apart from that I like to explore different kinds of supernatural magic that we all have in our lives and I like to share what I learn... I'm great fan of Harry Potter...

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