Misdirection: the basics of magic

The art of misdirection

Misdirection is one of the best tools in the hands of a skilled magician, if not the best! It can



be used to completely astonish your spectators and make your magic appear real! So how to misdirect someone?

The basic misdirection technique is looking where you want your spectators to look, where you want their attention. Let’s say you have a hidden ball in your left hand and want it to just appear out of thin air. Send your spectators eyes to the opposite side of your hand holding the ball and just clap your hands, that’s it, this might seem stupid but it can fool people into thinking the hand you were looking at produced the ball! That’s how powerful misdirection is.

A lot of tricks use misdirection for their success, for example doing a classic pass is difficult if you have people burning your deck and hands. Simply look in their eyes and ask them a question while stopping the movements with your hands, this will for sure make them look at your face instead at your deck.

Types of misdirection

There are different types of misdirection and here are some of them:


Misdirecting people with words can be very efficient, For example if you start talking about your ring on your left hand, nobody will focus on your right hand, and so on, the mere act of talking usually makes people look into your face, so be careful of that if you don’t want people looking at your face, for example in a card to mouth routine.

Direction of looking

The direction you are looking at will be the direction your audience is looking at! When you make a retention vanish of a small object, be careful to follow the “wrong” hand with your head and your eyes and separate your hands. By doing that you will allow your hand that retained the object to get rid of it and complete the vanish.

A word of warning, always look where your imaginary coin would be, if you vanish a coin with a retention vanish and still look at it, your audience will also keep looking at it.

Larger movement

It is quite possible to disguise smaller movements into a larger one. A swing of an arm can cover up for moving your fingers, and so forth, every larger movement makes a smaller one even smaller. When doing a pass, moving your hands can make the pass completely invisible as the pass by itself is a very small movement, a large movement from both your hands can completely disguise it.

Final words about misdirection

Use misdirection to your advantage, use it well, you can even use misdirection outside of magic! And remember always practice in the mirror, only than you will find the true power of both magic and misdirection.


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