of the Bullet-Catching Trick Revealed!
magician stands before a firing squad. Audience members are invited to
the bullets and make sure they are real. The bullets are marked to
against a switch. Then, as the magician looks on from the stage, an
takes the bullets to the waiting soldiers on an ordinary china plate.
they load their guns, the assistant brings the empty plate to the
holds it up as if the fragile china was a shield against a hail of
The smoke clears, and the magician steps forward,
displaying the marked
bullets smoking on the plate. Ta-da!
every magician knows, any trick can be performed many different ways.
Alexander’s version of the Bullet Catching Trick relied on sleight of
When the assistant carries the bullets to the soldiers, he (or she)
them for blanks. While the soldiers load their guns, the assistant
the real bullets backstage, drops them in a pan with gunpowder, and
match. The gunpowder explodes, leaving the bullets smoking as if they’d
fired from a gun. Under cover of handing the magician the empty plate,
assistant slips the magician the still-warm bullets. Ready—aim—FIRE! And
the magician steps forward. Ta-da!
was this trick so dangerous? One reason is that it’s easy to make a
especially under the pressure of performing in front of an audience.
hand is tricky, and the fake bullets had to look and feel just like the
bullets, or the soldiers would have caught the switch. Over the years,
of magicians died when the assistant failed to switch all the real
accidentally killed his young son doing a version of this trick;
his wife. In 1880, a traveling magician named Raoul Curran arrived in
a notoriously violent Wild West town. He performed the trick
a man in the audience leapt to his feet, pulled out a gun, shouted,
THIS!” and shot him dead.
not take the risk that Addie did by using a real gun. Instead, they use
guns. These realistic-looking fake guns can be loaded with real
they can’t be fired. When the trigger is pulled, an electronic signal
gun go BANG.
least, that is one way to do it.
Remember, every trick
can be performed in different ways! So if you see a magic show and
know exactly how it’s done… don’t be so sure.