Okay, okay – I’ll do it! I’ve been getting some requests to teach a simple magic trick that isn’t too hard to learn and doesn’t take any special props. This is one of my favorites; it can be done anywhere with some simple napkins… and your sparkling personality. It incorporates a classic magic principle – destroying and restoring something—with a magic routine known as “You Do As I Do”. So get some napkins and let’s go!
THE EFFECT: You bring out two paper napkins and hand your audience member one. Then hold up your napkin and instruct the person to follow along and do exactly what you do. Slowly and clearly rip up your napkin into small pieces and roll the scraps into a ball, making sure they follow your movements exactly and do the same. But when you both unroll your paper balls, their torn pieces flutter to the floor – but your napkin is magically restored into one whole piece! Hand them your whole napkin for a souvenir, as they scratch their heads and declare you a magic god!
THE SECRET: Okay, before you read this next section, repeat after me: “I promise to never reveal this magic secret to anyone!” I’m waiting… Okay, I’ll trust you. Now I know what you’re going to say when you find out the secret: “Ohhhhh – that’s too simple!” Well, guess what? It doesn’t matter how simple or complex a secret is. What matters is how you present it. I’ve been doing this trick since I was 16 years old, and it always gets a great reaction. So, here’s how to do it: before the trick, you have a duplicate napkin balled up in your hand (right or left—your choice) that is out of sight. Shove it tightly into the crotch of your hand between your thumb and forefinger (see picture 1).
This is the hand that also holds your open napkin, so the ball is pretty well hidden (picture 2).
Now hand the other napkin to your volunteer and tell him to follow along. Hold up your napkin and rip it cleanly in half (picture 3).
Wait until he/she does the same. Now put the two pieces together and rip them again, being careful not to reveal the ball hidden in your hand. (Note: because of the grain of some papers, you might have to give your napkin a quarter-turn before you rip it again.) Make sure they do it too. Now if you can, rotate the napkin and rip it one more time (picture 4).
Opportunity for comedy exists here, as sometimes it is very hard to rip.
Now here is the important part: As you ball up the torn pieces (and tell them to do the same) you switch the hidden ball for the torn-pieces-ball (picture 5).
With a little practice it should come to you; just use the natural rolling motion of your hands rolling up the torn pieces to help cover the switch. (Note: for clarity the picture shows a brown napkin so you can see the different balls. When performing the trick use same-colored napkins.)
Now the whole ball should be at your fingertips and the torn-pieces–ball hidden in the crotch of your thumb and forefinger (picture 6).
Come in with the fingers of your other hand, grab the ball from the tips of your fingers and bring it forward. As you do that, your hand with the pieces drops and either quietly slips them into your pocket or drops them in your lap (if sitting). All this time you are telling the person to do as you do, so this helps distract them from watching the other hand. Bring your now-empty hand back, wave it over the ball at your fingertips, and dramatically open it to show it restored! When they do the same –they get a fluttering snowstorm.
Please practice this in front of a mirror MANY times before you try it out live. You will be rewarded with an amazing effect you can do almost anywhere!