The Seven Basic Principles of Magic

Penn & Teller explain the seven basic principles of magic:

In case you missed it:

  1. Palm: To hold an object in an apparently empty hand.
  2. Ditch: To secretly dispose of an unneeded object.
  3. Steal: To secretly obtain a needed object.
  4. Load: To secretly move a needed object to where it is hidden.
  5. Simulation: To give the impression that something that hasn’t happened, has.
  6. Misdirection: To lead attention away from a secret move.
  7. Switch: To secretly exchange one object for another.

Simple, huh?


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • So the secret is “secrecy.” Ha! Good joke. I can’t even keep my thoughts secret, let alone objects, like a dove or a bunny.

    Definitely, I lack a magician’s talent. That’s for sure.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Heh P&T are the best. I saw their show in Vegas last year and they did this exact routine.

  • gorehound

    Hi Danial. I’ve tagged you in one those 7 weird fact memes, here’s link
    Feel free to ignore this, Cheers.

  • John

    Whatever. They’re just misdirecting you away from the fact that they have superpowers.

  • Isn’t it generally understood that illusionists perform illusions? It seems to me that believing in this stuff would be like believing that professional wrestling is real. You’d be merely uninformed.

    Why don’t we focus more on debunking things that people actually believe in – like people who recall former lives and such?

  • bigjohn756

    Looks simple? It is. It just takes hours and hours and hours of practice.

    That’s why I am not a magician — sorry, Randi, a conjurer. I never had the patience.

  • @Steph: What, we’re not allowed a break to enjoy some magic?

  • @Steph

    Uhm, charlatans use these tricks when doing their cons. Have you heard of psychic surgery? P&T’s demo has some practical value for skeptics and debunkers.

  • Sunny Ng

    Heh, heh, I remember this one.

  • This comment is unrelated to this blog entry but I wanted to ask something. I read a comment on the entry about the garden and it got my brain going . . .

    Do you atheists believe in hope, love, and/or intuition?

    No hidden meaning or sarcastic comment coming, I’m really just curious.

    If someone would like to help me with this WITHOUT a smart-A comment about “delusional”, would you please contact me through my blog and give your explanation? I’m really interested in this if someone is open to dialogue and not bitter arguing.

    Thanks so much!

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Do you atheists believe in hope, love, and/or intuition?

    Hey this could be fun. We could play the “do you believe in abstract concepts game”.

    Do you fundamentalists believe in ecstasy, wonder, and/or the color green?

    Ask a stupid question, etc…

  • Jabster

    Oh look Stephen “Bottom line, I just owned you” Webb has returned. What sparkling lines of reasoning have you got for us this time?

    “hope, love, and/or intuition?” … oh it’s going to be the you believe in something you can’t see argument isn’t it?

  • zachattackgo

    Sounds eerily familiar to church.

  • RobG

    So tempted… to take… obvious bait…

    Danny has it right. Whenever someone is trying to get you to believe something that goes against what you know to be true (e.g., that someone can make a physical object vanish from existence), you have to look and ask yourself, “How is he trying to fool me?” Illusionists have sleight of hand, and creationists have logical fallacies.

  • @ Stephen Webb

    For the life of me, I cannot figure out where to comment on that blog of yours.

    You really need to re-design it or something: I can’t even figure out where I’m supposed to comment. Could you enlighten me?

  • Jimminy Christmas


    For the life of me, I cannot figure out where to comment on that blog of yours.

    I’m pretty sure he thinks that posting random missives that we have all seen and debunked before 1,000+ times will convert us to Christianity. He doesn’t seem to realize he is on an atheist blog with people who are wise to his confidence game.

    Then again, maybe I’m wrong and he’s just really bad at web design…but I doubt it. I also doubt he will respond to any of our questions in any honest or rational way. I expect his next move will be to play the Christian Persecution Card™

  • Baka

    @Stephen Webb,

    “Do you atheists believe in hope, love, and/or intuition?”


    The term “atheist” means, generally speaking, a lack in a belief in a god or gods. Most, though not all, atheists also happen to hold other, complimentary stances about fairies, trolls, Santa Claus, ghosts, and other supernatural beings for which the evidence of their existence is lacking.

    It’s a rather silly question to ask, and I wonder if you wouldn’t mind explaining why it occurred to you to ask it. I suspect that what you really wanted to ask is something like, “why will you believe in these three nebulous things yet not my god?” But, I don’t want to go putting words in your mouth, so if you like, come back and respond and we can continue the discussion.

    And, like @Teleprompter, I couldn’t find the comment section on your blog. Congrats on your friends’ engagement, however. If the above is not a “smart-A” comment, then I can’t help you. This is just about as smart-A-free as it gets.

  • Baka

    I can’t help but notice that Stephen Webb has yet to respond to any of the polite responses here that he requested. Not surprising.