Gentle reader, we cordially invite you to explore our world of Illusioneering

Contained within these pages are all manner of magical miscellanea for your delectation and performance. Each of the magical effects presented here is easy to do at home or in the classroom and will astound your audience.  To assist on your path to magical mastery our delightfully detailed downloads and voluminous videos will help you discover the magic and the secret science behind.

Hidden in each of our effects lurks fascinating science and engineering. Our magical marvels are powered by concealed chemistry, paradox producing physics, baffling biology, mysterious mathematics and enchanting engineering. Secret science and engineering has been behind every single magical and conjuring effect throughout history, and now is your opportunity to discover it to help you amaze and amuse, entertain and educate.

“Using secret scientific principles to facilitate mind bending magic is an art which simultaneously amazes and teaches… magic makes learning a joy!”
Illusioneer team member Richard Garriott, video game pioneer, scientist, space explorer and magician


Download step-by-step instructions to perform amazing magic tricks. There are also black and white versions to photocopy below.

Black and White versions:



Illusioneering Magic and Science Trailer

Illusioneering Mystery, Magic, Science and Engineering Trailer

The Baffling Knot Trick

The Transitioning Beaker Trick

The Smoking Flask Trick

Pepper's Beverage aka The Ghost Drink

The Vanishing Bowl of Water Trick

Richard Garriott on Science and Magic

The Instant Freezing Water Trick

The Changing Beverage Trick

The Levitating Wheel Trick

The Cutting a Person in Half Trick

The Disappearing Coin Trick

All our videos are also available on Vimeo


Science and Magic - A short history

Science and engineering have been used to create magical effects down through the centuries. Here are some of the highlights.

Horsing around in Greece

In ancient Greece Hero of Alexandria (best known for his work on geometry) created an amazing statue of a horse that could drink and pass water even after a sword was clearly passed through its neck. The clever mechanics behind this effect, that was often used to prove the powers of the gods, is clever even by today’s standards. To see it working watch this video, to discover the secret see Hero’s own work the THE  PNEUMATICS OF  HERO OF ALEXANDRIA.

Getting ghostly

The physics of reflection are the basis of the Peppers Ghost illusion used in Victorian theatre to create apparitions via a hidden sheet of glass. Invented by chemist John Henry Pepper this effect is still used today in haunted house shows and also for head up displays in fighter jets.

Magic gets political

The celebrated French magician Robert Houdin quelled an Algerian rebellion by the use of the light/heavy trunk magic effect, based on what was at the time, the new science of electromagnetism. His famous orange tree illusion was a magnificent example of clever mechanical computer programming making the impossible possible.

High Tech magic- Penn and Teller

Sci Fi author Arthur C Clarke once famously said ‘any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’, and America magicians Penn and Teller really proved this with their "The Worlds Most Expensive Card Trick". In this effect they took the classical magic theme of pick any card and I’ll name it, to the extreme! Using state of the art computer vision software, satellite uplinks and the lights in Piccadilly Circus in London they amazed their audience, while those watching at home were in on the secret. How did they do it? Watch and discover.

Into the future - Magic in space

Scientist, video game pioneer and explorer Richard Garriott has filled his home, Britannia manor in Austin Texas with secret passages and magical effects. In this video he talks about how science makes magic work and reveals the mystery of his amazing ferro fluid table. He was also the first person to perform a full magic show in space when he visited the international space station in 2008. To see how different magic in space can be, have a look at


About us

Illusioneering was created by Peter McOwan and Matt Parker from Queen Mary, University of London (previously behind the manual of mathematical magic) with funds kindly provided by the HEStem project. The amazing team behind the scenes, making it all possible, were Kris Bush, Richard Hirst, Kelly Burrows, Makhan Singh and Andrew Pinder. Peter McOwan appears by kind permission of the computer science for fun project where earlier books and more on the Magic of Computer Science can be downloaded for free.