There is a wealth of websites devoted to showing you the secrets of magic tricks. Where once upon a time, this knowledge was confined to members of the Magic Circle, you can now find all sorts of free magic tricks – card tricks, coin tricks, levitation tricks and so forth.
To this list, we can add a new type – the free online magic trick. These free online magic tricks tend to be variations on existing tricks, but with the twist that you are interacting with your computer rather than a magician.
Free Online Magic Mindreading Tricks
A lot of the tricks involve so-called mindreading. You pick a number or a card and the computer asks you a number of questions to determine what it is. Usually, the trick is designed to give the illusion that multiple answers are possible, whereas really all roads lead to the desired answer.
An example is this old schoolyard favorite, found in interactive form on the website magictricksonline.com. Pick a number between 2 and 10. Multiply it by 9. Add the two digits together. Subtract 5. Take the result and think of the letter of the alphabet that corresponds to it (e.g. 1 for A, 2 for B etc).
Think of a country that begins with that letter and a large animal that begins with the letter following it. Now think of the color of that animal. Chances are, you are thinking of a grey elephant from Denmark.
Now the secret, as you will probably recall, is that all numbers from 2 to 10, when multiplied by 9, have digits that add up to 9. The rest is simple psychology. It’s possible that you would think of a brown elk from Djibouti, but not many people would.
Free Online Magic Card Tricks
Online card tricks generally work on the same principle as mindreading tricks. That is, the viewer is manipulated into giving the answer that the website wants. One exception is the disappearing card trick, also found on the aforementioned magictricksonline.com website.
This trick asks you to pick one of six cards shown on the screen and than click the mouse to make it disappear. What most people won’t notice unless they read the accompanying explanation is that all five cards shown on the second screen are different to the ones on the first screen, so that whichever card you pick, it will disappear.
Online Shell Games
The free online magic tricks website onlinemagicshowroom.com has a couple of shell games. You press a button to mix the shells (or magician’s top hats in the case of the “find a bunny” game) and then guess which one contains the pea or bunny. However, because the mixing is instantaneous, it robs the viewer of the crucial element of being able to track the shells, and so they are reduced to mere guesswork.