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How to Do a Simple Envelope Magic Trick

Amaze friends and family with your astounding mind-reading ability.


  • Step 1: Prepare and seal envelope Write down a four-figure number that totals twice the current year. Put it in the envelope, and seal it prior to your demonstration.
  • Step 2: Select a volunteer Select a volunteer from the audience to participate in the trick.
  • Step 3: Ask for year of birth and an important event Ask the volunteer to write their year of birth, and, below that, the year of an important event, such as a graduation or marriage.
  • Step 4: List age and years passed Instruct your volunteer to add their age to the list followed by the number of years that have passed since the event they listed.
  • TIP: Tell the volunteer they must be completely honest when writing down their birth year, age, and dates. This is vital for the trick to work.
  • Step 5: Add up numbers Add the numbers the volunteer wrote down, or have the volunteer add them, and announce the number.
  • TIP: Make sure all the numbers are whole numbers. They must all be whole numbers for the trick to work.
  • Step 6: Open your envelope Open your envelope, which should contain the same number, and pass it around. Voila! You’re now a bona fide magician.
  • FACT: Legendary British magician Cardini, who rose to popularity in the 1920s, had a trademark surprised expression after completing sleight-of-hand tricks.

You Will Need

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Envelope
  • Audience
  • Volunteer

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