The Mysterious Matchboxes Extras

 How to Make Your Trick

The Performance

Watch professional magician, Arthur Roscha, perform The Mysterious Matchboxes to see how you can captivate and confound your audience! 


How to Perform Your Trick

Learn top tips for performing your trick and take your magic show to the next level!

Bonus Tips

Try out these fun extras to elevate your magic skills.

Discover the Psychology

Discover the science behind the tricks with Dr. Gustav Kuhn, director of the MAGIC Lab.

Download a Swiss Franc matchbox inset here.

Download instructions in German here.

The Mysterious Matchboxes Credits

The MAGIC lab: In the MAGIC lab we scientifically investigate the psychological tricks that magicians use to help uncover the mysteries of the human mind. Dr. Gustav Kuhn and Arthur Roscha combined their experience in psychology and magic to create and adapt these magical effects.  The tricks are often based on well-established magic principles, but we included psychological twists that enhance the illusions. We developed tricks that will amaze your audience, as well as illustrate the ease by which our mind can be deceived.  

It is often difficult to track down the true creators of magic tricks, especially when they are based on old conjuring principles. We tried our best to uncover some of the mysterious histories of these tricks and we would like to credit their inventors. 

The Matchbox Monte Illusion 

The key conjuring principle in the Matchbox Monte is based on the psychological suggestions that convince the audience of an empty box being full of coins.  We believe that the idea of using a secret device to emulate the sound of an object dates to the 17th Century.  However, back in those days, magicians used bells rather than coins. A bell was attached to the inside of the magician's sleeve which was used to create an effect in which a bell magically travelled from one hand to another. This appeared in “The Anatomie of Legerdemain” by Hocus Pocus, Jr., 1634, n.p. This conjuring principle became very popular, and it was often included in conjuring texts up through the end of the 18th century.

  1. Nelson Downs later adapted this idea for coins, and he created the Coin Rattle Gimmick, which is similar to the one we use in our trick. Downs published the workings of his prop in Modern Coin Manipulation, 1900, p. 111, under the title “A Modern Adaptation of the 'Rattle Box' Idea”.

We would like to thank Lorenz Schaer and the history of magic researchers at the Conjuring Archive


The Weird Weight illusion 

This trick is based on a psychological illusion, rather than a magic trick. The illusion amazes even once you know how it’s done, so we aren't even sure it’s strictly speaking a magic trick. This intriguing sensory illusion was first described by Augustin Charpentier in 1891. He noticed that people feel smaller objects to be heavier than larger objects. All we have done is apply the same psychological principle to match boxes.

Performance: Arthur Roscha

For more information about the science of magic visit the MAGIC lab website

 Further reading: here is a book by Gustav Kuhn that tells you more about the psychology of magic.  Experiencing the Impossible - The Science of Magic, MIT Press