Paradoxes of Size: A Treatise on Geometric Vanishes
Geometry is one of the most rational human pursuits, but it can also be used to create amazing theatrical magic. The Gozinta Boxes are a famous example of magic with geometry.
This forthcoming booklet discusses magic tricks based on geometric vanishes or Missing Square Puzzle. This principle uses our inability to perceive tiny differences between two images to create the illusion of a large difference in size.
There are two types of geometric vanishes that magicians can use to create the illusion of magic. The Tangram Paradox and the Curry Paradox, each of which is based on a different mathematical principle.
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Tangram is an old Chinese puzzle used to compose images using seven geometrical tiles. An apparent paradox occurs when two equal shapes are created using all seven tiles, but one is smaller than the other. The image shows the famous paradox of two monks. A magical implementation of the Tangram paradox in magic is Paradox by Mitsonubu Matsuyama.
The Curry Paradox is similar to the Tangram paradox but in this puzzle, the pieces don’t have the same angles. The illustration shows the Curry Triangle. In this version, a triangle is cut into pieces and when the pieces are moved, the triangle has the same area, but two squares are missing. Mathematicians have developed various versions of this trick.
There are several magic tricks that use this principle. Winston Freer developed a deceptive version of the Curry Paradox where a square vanishes three times.
Geometric Vanishes Magic Tricks
Magicians have developed many different tricks using the Curry and Tangram paradoxes. Interesting examples are the Curse of the Crystal Skulls by Mariano Tomatis and Gianni A. Sarcone’s and Marie-Jo Waeber’s, Amazing TangraMagic puzzle. Watch these videos with performances based on the Tangram and Curry paradoxes.