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How Justin Willman Did His Best Tricks

It’s time to talk about how Justin Willman executed his best tricks on Magic for Humans season 3. The star of Netflix’s hilarious ode to sorcery has shared some of his “secret sauce” during several episodes. Although the validity of Magic for Humans was under scrutiny, the show was incredibly popular. Much of Justin’s trickery remained a mystery until recently, perhaps due to believability questions. The steps behind the magic have been compiled to unveil the human side of many of these jaw-dropping spectacles.


One of the more popular illusions that Willman performed throughout the series was the floating object trick. Justin Willman does this trick by shoving the silvery utensil’s handle up his sleeve, with his hands positioned over the circular part to make it look like it’s hovering. A different variation of this illusion appeared in season 3. Willman attended an etiquette lesson with other students interested in learning dining customs, and seemed to make a piece of food levitate. In actuality, it was a similar sleight of hand as the ladle. Justin revealed the secret behind other tricks as well.

Unravel The “Influence The Influencer” Trick

A popular maneuver in season 3 was the “Influence the Influencer” trick. Willman met with a trio of prominent social media influencers (Dytto, Andrew Lowe, Griffin Arnlund) and began “working them” when they appeared on camera. After dropping several subliminal messages to them, he asked, “How susceptible are you to being influenced?” None of them felt that they were very impressionable.

Willman then let them loose in The World of Fruit, a museum themed with various produce-related backdrops. Each influencer on Magic for Humans was given the option of posing with their choice of prop (in any room), and was asked to create a hashtag to commemorate the moment. At the end of the exercise, Willman revealed to them that they’d all chosen an ice tray, hashtagged their photos, “Tray cool,” and even posed on the same watermelon swing. When asked how he got into their heads, he revealed each mentalist tactic he’d used from the moment they arrived, and how the power of suggestion influenced their choices that day.

How Are Bodies “Cut In Half”

Justin Willman magic for humans posing in front of mural showing evolution

In the “Home” episode, Willman executed the “cut a body in half” illusion in an Ikea parking lot. The Magic for Humans trickster placed the victim in the box. Unbeknownst to the audience, the package had a secret compartment within the table. Willman’s head stuck out of the top, with the rest of his body scrunched down below, out of view of the audience. Meanwhile, fake legs stuck out of the bottom half. The feet gave the illusion that Willman’s body spanned the entire box length. The marks took turns jamming blades into the box, until he gave the OK to separate both sides.

What About “Levitation”?

magic for humans justin willman doing a magic trick

Magic For Humans also allowed this lifelong magician to show how levitation can be faked. As an introduction to another segment, Willman sat cross-legged on a table. Soon, his body started floating from its seated position. However, as Willman backed away from the table, it was evident that the floating crossed legs were fake, and attached to the rest of his body. The levitation effect was complete.

Willman explained to The Chicago Tribune that he understood the power of showcasing his magical talents through television: “You don’t realize the reach of a streaming platform like Netflix that goes around the world, where people don’t have to wait for a specific time to see a show,” he said. “Every day is like a premiere day when someone sees your show. You’re in their living room, and you’re making them smile — entertaining them.” However, some detractors have taken to the Internet to debunk his illusions, and question the show’s integrity.

The most prominent online conspiracy theories is centered on Willman’s willing accomplices facilitating his performances. In 2018, a Redditor on a thread started by Camico2000 hinted that Magic for Humans casts actors to feign surprise during the climaxes of some of the tricks. They alleged that an actress named Laura Krystine was hired to play an awestruck student bystander in one episode.

Other users spoke about noticing shots edited to give Willman his astonishing “Ta-da!” moments, and referenced his use of green screen technology to make his limbs disappear. After all, when it comes to magic, a good straight man is integral to the process. Shooting his series in and around Los Angeles gave Willman access to more than enough fame-hungry participants. These participants would supposedly go along with the bit in exchange for camera time. He even poked fun at all the Magic for Humans speculation in the season 3 episode, “Fakes.”

There’s no harm in Willman engaging in trickery to produce his illusions, as magic isn’t real. Since magic tricks are all about what the mind perceives versus what the eyes see, it shouldn’t shock anyone that a little verbal deception is part of the gag. From adult actors small enough to impersonate fascinated children, to floating orbs that are nothing more than soup ladles, Willman carries on the long tradition of showmanship. Not having a gimmick is the biggest and best part of this Magic for Humans star’s ruse.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Camico2000/Reddit

This story originally appeared on Screenrant

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