Jack Hammons is a junior at Hillsdale College. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What is your best trick?
I have a couple of tricks that stand out in my mind. I have one where I can have somebody search for something on their phone, and without looking at their phone, I can tell them exactly what they searched for. Of course, some of my favorite tricks are card tricks. My favorite card trick has to be the one where I actually memorize an entire deck of cards in three seconds.
When did you first become interested in learning magic?
I first started learning magic when I was a freshman in high school. It was a hobby I picked up from being bored over winter break. It was something that I’d always kind of been interested in, and then when I got into it as a hobby, I never stopped.
How did you learn?
It was a mix of books and starting off with YouTube videos. But then, as I got more advanced, I became self taught and put a lot of my own tricks together.
Have you ever created a trick that is completely original?
I have a couple tricks that are completely original to me. The method of how they work is something that, to my knowledge, nobody else has done before. People actually have offered me money to buy the rights to my originals, but that was like a long time ago. I haven’t created anything super big since.
What was the trick?
The trick I came up with was actually a classic of magic. It’s called the rising card trick. There’s a lot of different ways of doing it. However, my way was very different from others and that’s why it fooled other magicians.
What is a classic of magic?
Some classics of magic are things like pulling a rabbit out of a hat and the original pick a card trick. Then you have a lot of traditional stage effects that I haven’t done as much of just because I don’t do as much stage magic. I do a lot of close up magic. What I think is cool about close up magic is that it’s right there in front of your face, and it doesn’t depend on hidden props or anything.
What’s the most important part about close up magic?
I would say the most important thing is your performance because really, the trick itself is only 10% and the other 90% is how you present it. Anybody can watch a trick online or buy something off the internet, but really, it’s the performance that makes it unique. And for me, I have tricks that I’ve done 10,000 times, and every time I do them, I get better because the performances get better and better. Eventually, it just becomes second nature to actually do the tricks. It doesn’t feel like you have to do certain sleight of hand moves or anything, it just comes to mind immediately.
Have you ever had anyone figure out how you do a trick?
I’ve had people try to explain how the trick works. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong. I’m not gonna lie, I’ll always deny if they’re right or wrong.
What’s the most important part of a good performance?
It kind of just depends on how you’re trying to present the trick. Some people will try to be funny, some will try to be serious. For me, I feel like when I do magic, I’m much more comedic. If I ever mess up, I always make a joke out of it. Sometimes I’ll even act like I messed up when I didn’t. And that’s actually one of the coolest parts about magic: the fact that nobody knows where the trick is going except for you. Even if I do mess up, I can always take a different route and recover the trick.