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Jun 24

Onion Magic Tutorial

Posted by: abertzinx

Tagged in: Tutorial , Street Magic , Coin , CloseUp


Effect: The human being with supernatural abilities asks the folks, "Wanna see something strange?" They say they would like that very much. "Well, it's gonna cost ya five...no, TEN bucks. Plus tax. That would normally work out to over 11 dollars, but let's just keep it simple. To show you something you're going to remember for the rest of your lives I'm going to need 10 bucks and 10 cents. Whose got a 10 dollar bill and a dime?"

The spectators cough up the cash and -without ever touching the coin- Mr. Magic asks someone to place the dime on the ten dollar bill and crunch the bill into a tight ball. The magician hands someone a pen and asks them to get ready to write something down on whatever is handy (paper napkin, business card, etc.) With his eyes closed and head turned away, the magician holds the balled up bill in his hand and focuses his considerable psychic energy on the coin nestled in the bill. "I'm getting a sense that the coin is...silver, right?" The audience is nonastonished.


"Wait, the first two numbers of the date of the coin are a...1....and a 9." The audience is still officially unblown away. "I see a 1 and a 9 and...an 8 and a 7!" Now the audience is more than a little curious. "Hold on, I'm sensing something else...a B, and a 9 3 7 9 6 9 0 4 and an E." It is the correct serial number on the bill.

Method: I was so HAPPY when I came up with this! I mean, why just switch one item when you can switch TWO with the same simple sleight, right? Also, I LOVE how the unexpected addition of the serial number kicks the effect to a whole other level! (Those of you who know will know I'm not singing my own praises. I just feel so darn GRATEFUL when a clever idea lands in my head.)

To set-up, grab a $10 bill and a dime. You have to memorize the serial # of the bill which is for me the biggest challenge of the trick! Sometimes I just commit the first 4 or 5 numbers or letters to memory. That's more than enough.

Memorize the date on the dime (which ain't so tough) place it on the bill over the face of the president and crumple the bill around the coin in a TIGHT ball. Have this balled bill in your left pants pocket and a pen or marker in your right pants pocket and you are ready to FRY 'EM!

To perform, casually slip both hands into their respective pants pockets and relax for a few moments as you ask to borrow some money. Obviously you have to make sure you borrow a $10 bill and a dime. How you do this is precisely the kind of thing that will come down to personality, style, the audience and the venue, but I often use a variation of "wanna see a cool trick, it will cost ya..." and I make a gag of it and try to make it look like I come up with the denominations off the top of my head.

Once the spectators have dug up the $10 bill and the dime, ask someone to "put the coin on the face of the president and crumple up the bill so there's no way I can get a peek at the coin inside." You DON'T have to justify these short, casual directions. Just don't worry about it. Say the directions in a casual, simple fashion and everything will flow fine. (It's when you start running, they start chasing, right?)

At some point during the spectators digging up the money and crumpling the bill around the dime, bring both hands out of your pockets with the balled bill in left finger palm. Raise your right hand and extend your arm towards the spectator. They will naturally hand you the paper ball.

Hold the bill up to eye level and comment that "there's no way I can see even the smallest part of the coin." Do NOT say "dime." You want them to forget how specific you were when you originally asked for a coin. Also, do not say anything about the bill. You want them to believe that you are going to show them something incredible JUST with the coin.

Lower your right hand, apparently place the bill into your left fingers, go to your pocket with your right hand and come out holding the pen. A very casual, completely natural series of actions, but of course during these actions you only pretend to place the borrowed bill into the left hand. Instead, you retain it in right finger palm and bring the left hand's palmed bill into view. Without pausing, swing your right hand down into your pocket and get the pen.

One important detail: be sure to SAY SOMETHING about wanting someone to "write something down with this pen" before you begin to execute the switch and move your hand to your pocket. If you don't "lead" with a casual line of explanation, moving your hand to your pocket will raise suspicion.

To finish, you can hold the balled up bill in your left hand (open or closed) and turn your head to the right with eyes closed and "divine" the details of the "borrowed objects." OR you can hand the balled bill to a spectator to hold. But if you do the latter, give the bill to someone ON YOUR LEFT so that right-to-left motion line of the switch sequence is continued rather than "bent back on itself." (Oooo, DEEP!)

NOTES: Here's a HOT tip! When I've really wanted to be able to divine the entire serial number, I've just written it down on the short end of my card case. Then when I want to do this effect, I just make sure the case is tabled with the end of the case facing me. When it comes time to "divine the serial" I turn my head a bit and even cover my eyes, so it's dead easy for me to just READ OFF THE SERIAL # ON THE CARD CASE! You could add another level to the "nesting" by having someone drop the (just switched) balled up bill into a small envelope as well as lick and seal it. This also nicely fulfills the theatrical Rule of Three.

Comments (3)

From a fellow Mentalist:
R.J. Williams
I've done effect similar to it. But to come up with it yourself: Congrats. It's very good. I love the name of the effect the way. I too thought it had to do with an onion, but very clever name. Kudos
R.J. Williams , August 18, 2009
I was expecting an effect with an onion though...
Magic City , July 18, 2009
Great trick
Itried this on my family they were completely bummed out. They just coudn't figure it out. Thanks for a great rick.
ChelseaF.Crule , June 29, 2009

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