The Kinks, Part 2: 5 Adaptable Examples


In last week’s post (here), I introduced the idea of adding more ‘kinks’ to tricks to make them less predictable, while retaining their original endings.

This week, I’ll share four examples of existing tricks that feature kinks. For each, I’ll identify the plot and the kink. Then, I’ll mention the principle being employed, so you can re-apply it to create new tricks, and give an example of one way you could do that.


Doc Eason’s multiple selection routine
Plot: The magician finds all the selected cards.
Kink: After correctly finding a series of cards, he asks someone what their card is. It turns out they didn’t take one. So Doc vanishes their card. Steve Beam has a similar moment using a blank-faced card in his semi-automatic multiple selection routine.
Principle: Address someone who’s not involved in the trick, then when you discover they’re not, magically solve the awkward situation.
Variation: A series of people each choose an object from a deck of flashcards. You bring out a paper bag which holds your predictions. For each person, you remove the object they’re thinking of – a coin, a ring, a pencil. Then you point to someone and remove a ketchup bottle. They say they didn’t pick one. So you return the bottle to the bag and then scrumple it up.

Plot: 3 coins magically travel from hand to hand.
Kink: A few routines have a moment where, after the second coin has flown across, it momentarily flies back and ‘resets’, before going across again. A similar thing occurs in some coin matrix routines.
Principle: In a multi-phase routine, a moment briefly resets.
Variation: After a few ambitious card phases, the card suddenly hops back to the middle.

Derren Brown’s muscle-reading painting
Plot: Derren reads a spectator’s muscle movements to paint a thought-of celebrity.
Kink: The painting looks incomprehensible, until it’s revealed that it’s upside down.
Principle: A revelation that doesn’t initially make sense, and then does.
Variation: Someone randomly chooses an object, and you reveal a 7-digit number. Then you ask them to type it into the Argos website, and it brings up their chosen object (inspired by Noel Qualter’s excellent eBay Trick).

Juan Tamariz’s cards across
Plot: 3 cards travel from one person to another.
Kink: The cards vanish but can’t be found… until they’re discovered in the spectator’s inside pocket.
Principle: The magic misses the target slightly.
Variation: You say the corner of a card will vanish reappear in a glass on a shelf behind you. It doesn’t, but reappears inside the coaster beneath the glass instead.

Pat Page’s (if I’m recalling correctly) chicken production
Plot: The magician produces a live chicken.
Kink: The magician produces a rubber chicken… then a real one.
Principle: Say you’ll produce something, then produce something similar, before producing the actual object.
Variation: Have a coin signed, vanish it, then say you’ll make it reappear. Reach into the air and produce… a chocolate coin. Then peel of the wrapper to show their coin has appeared within the chocolate.


While I’ve given a few quick examples here, it’s more to show how each principle can be extracted and adapted.

For other great examples of this extract-and-adapt approach, check out Christopher T. Magician’s books.


I’ll finish this short series with a card-to-box routine with a kink.