10. Turning coffee into coins, David Blaine
In this magic trick, David Blaine approaches a homeless man drinking a cup of coffee. He takes the coffee and transforms it into coins. He returns the cup, now overflowing with money, to the very surprised man. The man is so happy, he serenades Blaine. This is an incredible illusion, and an absolutely charming clip to watch.
9. Vanishing Statue of Liberty, David Copperfield
In 1983, David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear on live TV and in front of a live audience, sitting in front of the statue on Liberty Island. He raised a huge curtain between the statue and the audience. When the curtain was dropped, the statue was simply not there. He even used search lights and radar to show that there was no longer anything there. Then, in front of the stunned audience, the curtain was raised again, and this time when it dropped, the statue had returned.
8. Head removal, Cyril Takayama
Cyril Takayama is best known for shocking his live audiences by removing his own head. In this clip, his audience was made up of unsuspecting passengers on a Los Angeles bus. Cyril gets on the bus, stands up the front, and complains that he doesn’t feel well. He draws attention to himself, telling the driver and passengers that he needs to get off the bus. Once he has the attention of the entire bus, his head suddenly falls off into his hands. With everyone screaming hysterically, he proceeds to put is head back on. This is an incredible illusion, and it’s well worth checking out his work. In another version of this trick, he removes his head in front of a live studio audience, and approaches the hosts (with his head in his hands), who run away screaming.
7. Walking on water, Criss Angel
In this clip, Criss Angel walks across a pool – on the water. To the delight of other swimmers, he makes it across the pool, while other pool-goes swim around and even underneath him. At one point, he kicks his shoes off where he stands, they sink to the bottom of the pool, and he continues walking. This is an amazing illusion that had onlookers cheering in astonishment, unable to figure out how he did it.
6. Vanishing teeth, David Blaine
In this incredible clip, David Blaine removes teeth from a woman, in front of a live audience. He grabs two of her teeth and pulls them out. The confused woman puts her tongue through the spaces where her teeth used to be. The illusionist then blows on her, and her teeth instantly reappear. This trick left is audience in absolute shock.
5. Water Torture Cell, Harry Houdini
In this well-known trick, the famous illusionist was suspended in mid-air from his ankles. He was then lowered into a glass tank filled with water, and locked inside. His first public performance of this feat was in Berlin in 1912. Houdini built the contraption himself, and had the trick copyrighted in 1911. He continued to perform the escape until he died in 1926. Contrary to popular belief, he did not die in the Water Torture Cell. In this fascinating clip, you can listen to Houdini speak about this trick, and see incredible photographs of him performing the escape.
4. Chop Cup, Paul Daniels
Paul Daniels’ Chop Cup is an interactive illusion that made him famous for his incredible speed and sense of humor. In the clip, he says that it took him roughly 300 performances to get this trick right. He performs this act at amazingly high speed, while interacting with an audience that is in hysterics at is antics. Talk about sleight of hand!
3. Metamorphosis, the Pendragons
Husband and wife team, the Pendragons, are known for their dangerous and speedy illusions. They’re particularly well-known for their performance of the Metamorphosis trick. This has been performed by many illusionists over the years, but the Pendragon’s performance is stand-out because of its speed. They’re incredibly fast, and it’s just astonishing to watch. In fact, they made it into the 50th Guinness Book of Records as the “Fastest Transformation Illusion.”
2. Swallowing a jackhammer, Thomas Blackthorne
Not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill sword-swallower, Thomas Blackthorne actually swallowed a jackhammer with the engine running – in front of a live studio audience no less. Blackthorne is known for physical feats such as this one, as well as lifting weights with his tongue, drilling his tongue, and of course, swallowing swords. In his clip you can see him stick a drill through his tongue, swallow a sword, and yes, swallow a jackhammer.
1. Magic Bullet, Pen and Teller
Pen and Teller are famous for their bullet-catching trick. In this stunt, the bullets are first marked by audience members so that they can be confirmed to be the original bullets. They then load each bullet into a gun, and simultaneously shoot each other in the mouth – and incredibly, they catch the bull in their mouths! This is just astounding.