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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Rings, strings & things » » Effects with Matches (wood or paper) (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Inner circle
Sweden, Scandinavia, Europe
4927 Posts

Profile of Kjellstrom
Im looking for effects with matches.
Please, post all effects you know that you can do with paper or wood matches, impromptu or gimmicked.

Some Match Magic I know about:

In Martin Gardner's book Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic I know you will find many effects with matches, is that book good?

Tony Binarelli CLASS ACT book includes the effect GHOST MATCHES. The magician, hands clearly empty, borrows a handful of matches and causes them to penetrate a table-top and fall onto a spectators’ open palm. Anyone uses this effect?

John Kennedy´s Acrobatic Matches

Ben Harris Cosmosis Floating Match

I can also remember a a trick that german company Magic Hands sold many years ago: a match stick that was animating in a empty hand; the match was moving and standing like it had some real magic powers. It was an very expensive effect, if I recall correctly.

The only effect I do is jumping matches from hand to hand, an old effect I taught myself in a beginners magic book when I was a kid.

Can YOU name any famous/strong effects with matches?
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Elite user
Farmingdale. New Jersey
430 Posts

Profile of vmendoza
I do a routine where bits and pieces have been thrown in with some on my own tinkerings. It starts of with a match being torn from an book. The match is then in turn torn in half. Restored, lit, vanished, made to appear back in the match book - burnt yet firmly attached. Then the burnt match is once again torn from the match book and relit. That last part usually does them in.
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Veteran user
Westwood, CA (UCLA)
351 Posts

Profile of BradleyNott
Stars of Magic: Beheaded by Francis Carlyle

John Carney has one with a matchbox and animated match in Carneycopia.
If you were a hotdog, and you were starving...would you eat yourself? I know I would!
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Inner circle
Naval Air Facility, Atsugi, Japan
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Profile of dynamiteassasin
Try the Jay Sankey video I believe it is called No Card Tricks. It has match effects in it, good effects. Smile
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Eternal Order
Please ignore my
17060 Posts

Profile of joseph
I also like Acrobatic Matches, and Brass Block Penetration, using the ol' matchbox...
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." (Einstein)...
Mitch Schneiter
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West Linn, Oregon
674 Posts

Profile of Mitch Schneiter
Here are some from by book collection. I'm sure there are more but I haven't updated this list in a long time:


Ammar, Michael, "Yeast Card", Encore 3 by Michael Ammar (Michael Ammar 1983), pp.24-30. A signed card rises to the top of the deck. The effect is repeated but the card is discovered in a matchbook that rests on top of the deck.
Bloom, Gaetan, "The Bloom vs. Kulagina Match", The New York Magic Symposium Collection Five by Stephen Minch (Symposium Productions 1986), pp.46-49. Matches in a matchbox drawer twitch slightly then explode from the box by no apparent means. Matches and box can be examined immediately and the matchbox can be borrowed.
Bornstein, Mike, "Double Matchit", Close-Up File by Jerry Mentzer (Magic Methods 1994), pp.67-71. A selected card is lost in the deck. A dollar bill is bet that the performer can "match" it. The dollar bill is folded and transformed into a packet of matches. The matchbook is opened and inside is seen a miniture card matching the selected card.
Burger, Eugene, "The Animated Matchbox", The Performance of Close-Up Magic by Eugene Burger (Kaufman and Greenberg 1987), pp.70-74. A matchbox on the back of the magician's hand stands up and lays down on command. The matchbox drawer then opens on command.
Carlyle, Francis, "Decapitation", Stars of Magic edited by George Starke (Louis Tannen 1975), Series 4, No.1, pp.57-60. The performer borrows a book of matches. The head of the match is scratched off, then reappears and is lit. The performer repeats the effect with a second match.
Dingle, Derek, "The Sorcerer Strikes", The Complete Works of Derek Dingle by Richard Kaufman (Kaufman and Greenberg 1982), pp.25-27. Performer mimes rolling a cigarette and a real cigarette materializes. A matchbook is then opened and shown to be empty. It is closed and opened again to show it now full of matches.
Dingle, Derek, "Combustible Cash", The Complete Works of Derek Dingle by Richard Kaufman (Kaufman and Greenberg 1982), pp.184-187. Four half dollars are displayed and placed in a small envelope. Matches are then lit and visibly changed into half dollars. After four half dollars have been produced the envelope is opened to show that it now contains four burnt matches.
Harkey, David, "Firebrand", Simply Harkey by David Harkey (Clandestine Productions 1991), pp.56-59. Transformation of a lighter into a single matchstick.
Harkey, David, "Under Fire", Simply Harkey by David Harkey (Clandestine Productions 1991), pp.91-95. After losing a signed card in a deck, a matchbook is rubbed along the edge of the deck causing the selected card to visibly collapse inside the matchbook and become pemanently stapled in place with the matches.
Harkey, David, "Two to Tangle", Simply Harkey by David Harkey (Clandestine Productions 1991), pp.222-227. A rubber band penetrates the shell of a matchbox and collapses around the drawer inside. Then the band loops doubly around the shell. Finally, the band is rubbed against the striking surface of the matchbox causing the band to visibly link with the shell.
Harris, Paul, "Flash Fold", The Magic of Paul Harris by Jerry Mentzer (Jerry Mentzer 1976), pp.62-67. A business card initialed by a spectator appears in a matchbox.
Harris, Paul, "Heart Burn", Close-Up Fantasies Finale by Paul Harris (Chuck Martinez Productions 1981), pp.99-102. After explaining that the red ink on playing cards contains phosphorus, the magician strikes a card with a matchbook causing the red pips to ignite and the card to burst into flames.
Inglee, Jay, "Strange Wish", Strange Ceremonies by Eugene Burger (Kaufman and Greenberg 1991), pp.65-68. Two matches are torn from a matchbook. The spectator lights one, makes a wish, and blows it out. The magician does the same but wishes for any spirits in the room to make a sign. After he blows out the match the matchbook bursts into flames. A message from the spirit is found in the matchbook after the flames are blown out.
Magic Hedonists, The, "Freeze Dried Flame", The Magic Hedonists Brainstorm in the Bahamas written and edited by Adam J. Fleischer (The Magic Hedonists 1983), pp.104-106. Match is lit and performer grabs the flame which becomes "frozen". "Frozen" flame is returned to match which starts burning again.
Miller, Welsh, "Cards and Matches", The Dai Vernon Book of Magic by Lewis Ganson (L&L Publishing 1994), pp.189-193. Three pieces of broken match sticks appear, vanish, and multiply under the cover of three playing cards in a "cups and balls" type routine.
Mullica, Tom, "Schizophrenia", The New York Magic Symposium Close-Up Collection One by Richard Kaufman (Invisible Man Productions 1982), pp.75-77. Magical Mullica madness with cigarettes and matches. Matches and cigarettes vanish and change places.
Rubinstein, Michael, "Firefly", Spectacle by Stephen Minch (L&L Publishing 1990), pp.119-125. A matchbox is passed through the fist and the cover vanishes. It is found in the performer's pocket. The cover is replaced on the drawer of matches and it then penetrates through the back of his hand leaving behind the drawer.
Sankey, Jay, "Maaatchbox", 100% Sankey by Richard Kaufman (Kaufman and Greenberg 1990), pp.32-34. Matches and drawer of an ordinary matchbox stretch to twice as long as the box.
Sankey, Jay, "Fiery Reunion", 100% Sankey by Richard Kaufman (Kaufman and Greenberg 1990), pp.42-43. A match is broken and magically restored while it is burning.
Shore, Les, "The Melting Coin", CoinMagic by Richard Kaufman (Kaufman and Greenberg 1981), pp.226-228. A borrowed coin is held over a burning match causing it to melt (and drip!) away into nothingness.
Tarr, Bill, "Bits and Tricks with Matches", Now You See It, Now You Don't! by Bill Tarr (Vintage Books 1976), p.204-205. Two matches held between the fingers penetrate each other and other stunts.
Tarr, Bill, "A Matchbook Move", The Second Now You See It, Now You Don't! by Bill Tarr (Vintage Books 1978), p.215. A matchbook vanish.
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410 Posts

Profile of Merenkov
Rick Johnson developed one of the great impromptu matchbox tricks of all time about thirty years ago with his 'Strike One' effect. Two matchboxes adhere to one another in an increasingly mysterious way. I believe Magic Methods still sells this manuscript.
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Inner circle
Sweden, Scandinavia, Europe
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Profile of Kjellstrom
I found STRIKE ONE by Rick Johnsson for only 5 bucks here: http://www.magicmethodsonline.com/
Looks like cool effect...
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Westwood, CA (UCLA)
351 Posts

Profile of BradleyNott
Oops, the trick by Carlyle isn't "Beheaded," rather, it is, "Decapitation"

Both are great names though.
If you were a hotdog, and you were starving...would you eat yourself? I know I would!
andre combrinck
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South Africa
953 Posts

Profile of andre combrinck
I know an effect(similar to Superman-Amazing Book of Magic Tricks:Jon Tremaine) using matches instead of small paper balls.It is totally impromptu and I have never seen anyone else do it or in print.Basically the routine is as follows:You take out 3 matches,break off their heads and display them.You now go through a process of chewing them to bits(very fine bits) and discarding them in an nearby ashtray.You now ask the spectator to hold his hand palm up.The matches now reappear restored from you mouth.One by one you place the matches into you closed fist which is above the spectator's waiting palm.The spectator then blows on your fist and the matches have vanished,showing it was only an illusion.
If you want to know the method e mail me.Another effect is the 'Anti-gravity matches' where you show the box full of matches,turn the box upside down and remove the draw.The matches remain suspended.After reversing the magic words the matches fall to the floor.You restack the draw and the audience think the effect is over,but you shock them by doing it again.
The real bang comes when you show all the matches have now vanished!
Tarbell has many excellent effects with matches.
kihei kid
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Dog House
1039 Posts

Profile of kihei kid
Piano Matches, Tom Mullica's expert impromtu magic vol. 17 So easy. Destroys people.

Black Market, Jay Sankey 22 Blows to the head or Secret Files vol. 1 One easy sleight needed along with some very good presentation and salesmanship. Freaks people out.
In loving memory of Hughie Thomasson 1952-2007.

You brought something beautiful to this world, you touched my heart, my soul and my life. You will be greatly missed.

Until we meet again “my old friend”.
Jonathan P.
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Inner circle
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Profile of Jonathan P.
Bill Malone perform a nice combination of 2 nice matches tricks in hid video serie. I don't remember on which volume it is but it is named "Skinner's matches."
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Inner circle
1446 Posts

Profile of MagicMan1957
Dave V
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Inner circle
Las Vegas, NV
4825 Posts

Profile of Dave V
If I recall correctly, the term comes from having the spectator place their fingers on the edge of a table as if they're playing a piano. Cards, matches, whatever are placed and removed from between the fingers in a mathematically confusing fashion. I don't know the exact pattern as I promptly decided to forget it to make room in my brain for something (IMO) more entertaining.
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Profile of griff13

You wrote "Then the burnt match is once again torn from the match book and relit. That last part usually does them in."

Is this published anywhere?

BTW, if anyone is looking for Bill Malone's Skinner's Matches it is on volume 4 of his "On The Loose" series.
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Loyal user
208 Posts

Profile of Foxbiz
This may be repetitive (or did I already say that?) as I did not look at the lengthy list above...
- Paddle move with 2 paper matches (showning white and black sides) You can flip one at a time and make for an interesting "twist" to the old paddle move
- Prediction of a number (9?) using book of 20 paper matches (tear out, add 2 digits, etc)
- Bill Tarr books (oops, already mentioned)
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Lancaster, CA
98 Posts

Profile of mistermudd
Jay Sankey: Lazarus
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"
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Profile of jsable007
Matchbox effect by Michael Weber. Is anyone familiar with a matchbox effect by Weber using elastic invisible thread? I think it was published in Genii sometime ago. I remember thinking that it was the first time I had ever heard of this type of thread. Anyway I'm look for the effect and method if anyone knows
Bernard Sim
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Profile of Bernard Sim
There's one in the Dec 2004 issue of The Linking Ring under the One Man parade by David Peck.
Bernard Sim
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Loyal user
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Profile of lil_magic
I have been playing with fire magic for quite a while and I found a safe non chemical way to do the relighting match trick. Hint: the wick of a trick candle.
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