Feel a Ghost!
You are sitting in front of your friend, and no one else is near. You take your index fingers and place them on your friend's eyes as they close their eyes. Then, your friend feels something whisk past their head, then brush on their shoulder, then they feel a tap!
This ghost magic trick is one of my all time favorites to teach to people who are just getting started in magic, or, after you do a few other tricks, this is one that you will be able to pass on to your audience members.
No sleight of hand required for this magic trick. Here's how it works.
Step 1) First, have your friend look around the room. Point out that it is only the two of you, but you've been seeing some ghosts lately and you want to do a seance to see if you can conjure up a ghost.
Step 2) Tell your friend you'd like them to close their eyes in a moment. Take both of your index fingers and gently place them on the closed eyelids of your friend. Make sure they see that your index fingers are coming closer to their eyes, and that they close their eyes just about an inch before you touch their eyes.
Step 3) Quick - here's the magic trick part of this -- instead of touching them with both the index fingers, right as they close their eyes, touch them with both the index finger and little "pinky" finger. (Or your thumb and little finger). They will think that both your index fingers are touching their eyes, but now you have one hand free! You can say you're doing this because you want to make sure that your ghost friend doesn't want to bee seen!
Step 4) Now that I've explained the secret, it's important not to go over the edge with this, if you really want it to freak your friends out. First, don't just tap them on the shoulder. Take your hand and just barely whisk it by their ear or gently touch their ear.
Step 5) After you do the slight touch or whisk, bring your hands back to in front of their face, point both index fingers at the eyes, and slowly bring your hands away from their face as you ask them to open their eyes. When they open their eyes, they will see exactly what they saw a moment ago before they closed their eyes. Isn't that what a ghost would do?
Step 6) They'll be pretty freaked out at this point, so they may want to do it again. If they agree, do the exact same thing above, but this time do something slightly different. They'll be waiting for you to tap them or touch their hair again, so do something slightly different, to surprise or catch them off guard. You could rub your fingers together next to their ear -- so they'll hear spooky things -- or you could pull on the shoulder of their shirt. The important thing to do here is not to go overboard, because you don't want to give away that it was your hand doing those things. Make them think that perhaps you could have done something else, maybe you blew on their hair, or maybe you somehow else did it. They'll never know that it wasn't really a ghost!
Here are some other tips to make this trick work. First of all, the secret is pretty simple, so as you read this, you might think that it's not worth trying. Wrong! Actually this is a really strong trick, it's fun because it doesn't use what people may think are trick cards, trick coins, or fancy sleight of hand. So it's a whole different area than many of the other magic tricks we describe on this web site. Also, the venue is important too. If you can wait until a spooky moment -- perhaps after a scary movie, or around Halloween, it will make a more lasting impression. Also, don't give away the secret right away, let it creep them out for a few days. If you do this properly, it'll send chills up their spine every time they think about the trick.
This is a great magic trick to teach kids, because it is fairly easy to do. Also, an alternative is to touch your fingers right above their eyes, or on their eyebrows, but I find the other nice thing about touching their eyes is that it guarantees that they won't try to open them.