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Magic (sometimes referred to as stage magic to distinguish it from paranormal or ritual magic) is a performing art that entertains audiences by staging tricks or creating illusions of seemingly impossible or supernatural feats using natural means. These feats are called magic tricks, effects or illusions. A professional who performs such illusions is called a stage magician or an illusionist. Some performers may also be referred to by names reflecting the type of magical effects they present, such as prestidigitators, conjurors, hypnotists, mentalists, or escapologists.
The first book containing explanations of magic tricks appeared in 1584. During the 17th century, many similar books were published that described magic tricks. Until the 18th century magic shows were a common source of entertainment at fairs. A founding figure of modern entertainment magic was Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, who had a magic theatre in Paris in 1845. John Henry Anderson was pioneering the same transition in London in the 1840s. Towards the end of the 19th century, large magic shows permanently staged at big theatre venues became the norm.As a form of entertainment, magic easily moved from theatrical venues to television magic specials.
This page contains a list of magic tricks. In magic literature, tricks are often called effects. Based on published literature and marketed effects, there are millions of effects; a short performance routine by a single magician may contain dozens of such effects.
Some students of magic strive to refer to effects using a proper name, and also to properly attribute an effect to its creator. For example, consider an effect in which a magician shows four aces, and then, the aces turn face up one at a time in a mysterious fashion. This effect, recognized as Twisting the Aces, is attributed to Dai Vernon, and it is based on a false count invented by Alex Elmsley. Some tricks are listed merely with their marketed name (particularly those sold as stand-alone tricks by retail dealers), whereas others are listed by the name given within magic publications.