->''"89% of magic tricks are not magic. Technically, they are sorcery."''
-->-- '''The Fact Core,''' ''VideoGame/{{Portal 2}}''

Fiction generally features two distinct types of magic users:

Characters of the first kind wear [[RobeAndWizardHat robes and pointy hats]], have long white beards, and can perform impossible feats such as [[BackFromTheDead raising the dead]], casting spells, and summoning fabulous creatures. We call these kinds of characters ''wizards'' or ''sorcerers'' (among other things), and they don't exist in RealLife (at least, [[HereThereWereDragons not anymore]]) or at least, [[TheMasquerade that's what we think]]. Characters of the second kind wear capes and top hats, usually perform their acts before a wide audience, (or a children's birthday party) and can perform simpler tricks like [[PullARabbitOutOfMyHat pulling rabbits out of their hats]]. We call these kinds of characters ''{{stage magician}}s'', ''conjurers'' or ''illusionists'', and they do exist in RealLife. Their magic is not real; they use misdirection, special effects and optical illusions to create the impression of magic.

Sometimes, in fiction, the lines between realism and fantasy blur, and magicians really ''can'' perform feats of magic that would normally belong strictly in the wizards' territory. There are no smoke and mirrors here; the magic is all real, but the audience [[AllPartOfTheShow may not realize this]], and think that the magician is relying on [[YourCostumeNeedsWork the same old sleights-of-hand]]. There may be subtle differences - their magic may come [[FunctionalMagic from a different source]], and/or the two groups may operate at different PowerLevels (perhaps magicians can perform spells based on manipulating people's perception, whereas wizards can outright modify reality). If there is rivalry between the two factions, it falls under UnequalRites. If a legitimate wizard really does use his magic for a magic show, then it's a MundaneUtility. If he uses it ''only'' for his show, then it may be an example of MisappliedPhlebotinum.

In other words, some Magicians Are Wizards. See also {{Magitek}} which in this case can be called "''Engineers'' are wizards" because they make magical technology. If the wizard-magician hopes no one realizes that real wizards exist, his act is an example of FictionAsCoverUp. When the FourthWall audience (you, the viewer or reader) isn't sure, it's a case of MaybeMagicMaybeMundane.

The opposite of FakeWizardry, where someone uses stage magic to pretend to have actual magic powers. Compare OurMagesAreDifferent for differentiating kinds of mages (especially the first kind mentioned above), and MagicalClown, which involves clowns and jesters instead of stage magicians. Contrast MagicianDetective, where training in the art of deception have given magicians an ability to see the mundane solution when no-one else can. Subtrope of this is the OccultDetective. Contrast ImpossiblyAwesomeMagicTrick, which is supposedly not true magic, yet is more spectacular than anything possible in real life.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In one episode of ''Anime/MagicUsersClub'', Takeo performs magic for a group, and justifies it by saying "since they just think it's magic tricks, it's okay."
* ''Manga/GhostHunt'': [[spoiler:Naru with his spoon]] is variant with telekinesis.
* This is what ''Anime/MagicalStarMagicalEmi'' is all about: She became a MagicalGirl and used her powers to become a StageMagician.
* ''Anime/CatSoup'' features a clearly supernatural circus performer who dresses like a fantasy wizard rather than a stage magician, and his tricks include bloodily dismembering his assistant, spinning her pieces around in midair, and reassembling her unharmed.
* Hisoka from ''Manga/HunterXHunter'' could be an inversion. While it's obvious that he's using ''some'' sort of magic, he uses clever tricks and misdirection much like a StageMagician to make his powers seem far more [[ComboPlatterPowers varied]] than they actually are. For the record, he can create an [[InvisibleToNormals invisible]] gum-like aura, and change the texture of objects. That's it.
* Uten from ''Manga/{{Needless}}'' who dresses like a magician and uses the catchphrase "It's magic!", can apparently really do pretty much everything, even breaking the rule of having only one power. [[spoiler: In reality, his sole power is making things invisible, combined with carefully prepared tricks and traps, and he uses actual stage magic strategies to distract people to stop them from finding him out.]]
* The main character of ''Anime/MagicalTravelBoy'' encounters a street magician and is convinced he's an actual magic-user. [[spoiler:Which he is...]]
* In ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'', August 7 was a stage magician before he became a Contractor with powers that seem almost magical. The price of his power is that he must reveal one of his tricks, which might not seem too bad a price for getting superpowers, especially compared to other prices like breaking one's fingers or drinking blood, but it hurts his pride as a former magician and takes away any professional benefit he could get from his powers.
* Asuma from ''Manga/HibikisMagic'' did his fair share of street performances for kids, conjuring up flowers and birds. War orphan Misaki mistakes this for real magic and is understandably upset when she finds out the secret to his trick... until he casts a well-timed and very ''real'' spell to save her from her abusive guardian.
* Not sure if this counts as an example, but in ''Manga/BlackButler'', [[OurDemonsAreDifferent Sebastian]] pretended to be a StageMagician to create a distraction. To be fair, though, he did say there were no tricks involved.
* In ''Manga/KaitouSaintTail'', the titular protagonist is a MagicalGirl PhantomThief using stage magic... But she's so good you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for ''actual'' magic. Also, the fact she prays for forgiveness before she's ''not'' "using gymmicks or tricks" opens interesting questions...
* Variation in ''Manga/MagicKaito'' where real magicians are the ''enemy'' of stage magicians.
* ''Anime/RegaliaTheThreeSacredStars'' has Johnny Mabett, a minor villain with a stage magician motif that does a lot of things not possible through stage magic.
* ''Manga/YuGiOh'': '' Black/[[DubNameChange Dark]] Magician, and to a lesser extend his apprentice, the Black/[[DubNameChange Dark]] Magician Girl, has a stage magician ''and'' a wizard imagery. He can pull out classic magic tricks, but with actual magic, but he also has access to magic circles and other occult wizard stuff.
* ''Manga/UruseiYatsura'' has Tsubame Ozono, an inverted EthnicMagician who left his native home in Japan to study Western Black Magic. As such, he dresses up like a stage magician. He still wields very real magic, at one point getting into a SorcerersDuel with his girlfriend's disapproving Buddhist priest uncle, countering the priest's summoning of {{obake}} with his own conjurations of Western monsters such as {{Medusa}} and FrankensteinsMonster.

* ''ComicStrip/MandrakeTheMagician'' is, if not quite the UrExample, certainly the best known example, inspiring countless [[CaptainErsatz similar characters]] in UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks, including [[Creator/DCComics Zatara and Sargon]].
* ComicBook/{{Zatanna}} and her father, John Zatara, from Franchise/TheDCU are from a [[WitchSpecies species]] called ''Homo magi'', and they use their powers for both entertainment and fighting evil.
** In ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'', Zatanna admits to using ''both'' real and stage magic to give her act flair yet also give it PlausibleDeniability.
*** An earlier comic implied that stage magic required actual practice...
* In the Danish comic ''HieronymusBorsch'', the eponymous hero's mentor was a real magician who worked as a circus illusionist. However, he never used his magic in his act -- he didn't need to.
* Sargon the Sorcerer was another GoldenAge hero in Franchise/TheDCU who used stage magic as a mask for his real magical powers.
* Spoofed in an issue of ''ComicBook/{{Rat-Man}}'' that was a parody of Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian: the seemingly all-powerful wizard our "heroine" met fought with playing cards, [[PullARabbitOutOfMyHat a rabbit]] and spells from... a bunch of ''MagicTheGathering'' cards!
** Later we get a three-issue spoof of ''HarryPotter''... Where wizards liberally combine Potterverse-like magic and stage magic tricks. We're even treated to [[PullARabbitOutOfMyHat pulling rabbits out of hats]] for use as projectiles from the top of a castle's walls and a giant top hat used as a ''siege cannon''.
* Inverted in ''ComicBook/{{Smoke and Mirrors}}''; the illusionist training the protagonist utterly baffles a society made up entirely of wizards because they've never had to think about or study science. They think he's a high level wizard when in fact any of them could probably wipe him off the map.
* Played with in ''ComicBook/SpirouAndFantasio'' with the recurring character Ito Kata. He is a stage magicians who is unambiguously explained as having no magical ability, even though he keeps pulling off stunts that seem [[BeyondTheImpossible beyond what even the most talented magician should plausibly be able to do]]. For example, he seems at any time capable of producing more rabbits from his hat then his entire volume would allow him to conceal, or one man could carry weight wise.

[[folder: Fan Works]]
* Trixie Lulamoon of Fanfic/RainbowDoubleDashsLunaverse is both a competent stage magician and one of the rare unicorns whose mark encompasses all forms of magic. But interestingly, her grandfather, from whom she inherited her mark and proficiency in stage magic, was an earth pony and thus had no spellcasting ability.

* Most of the tricks in ''Film/TheIllusionist'' are impossible without modern special effects. Ironically, the last trick, which wows the audience the most, is actually possible without advanced technology.
** According to the DVD extras, Eisenheim's effects are largely the result of an UnreliableNarrator, to show how his illusions must have appeared to an audience unaccustomed to CGI.
*** The Orange Tree trick, for instance [[spoiler: is a real trick involving an unbelievably complicated clockwork setup, some sleight of hand, and real oranges pinned to the clockwork tree.]]
* Philip Swann in ''Film/LordOfIllusions'' passed off his real magic as stage illusions. He explains to the man investigating his "suicide" that "Illusionists get Vegas contracts. Wizards get burned at the stake". (In modern-day America?) But consider that his teacher Nix was a StrawNihilist and an OmnicidalManiac. In the original story, Swann pretended to be a fake simply as a TakeThat to the infernal powers he bargained with.
* Subverted in ''Film/ThePrestige'': the movie explains every trick, and at one point Creator/MichaelCaine snaps "You're a magician, not a bloody wizard! If you want to do magic, you've got to get your hands dirty." [[spoiler:however, Tesla IS a "wizard," having created Angier's cloning device through SufficientlyAdvancedTechnology...]]
* In ''Film/{{Willow}}'', the title character defeats the evil Sorceress by using sleight of hand to pretend to have made TheChosenOne disappear. Bavmorda is so used to true, actual magic that in her amazement she is HoistByHerOwnPetard.
* In ''Film/DevilDoll'', the main villain is a ventriloquist who's really a soul-stealing hypnotist.
* In ''Film/{{Chronicle}}'', Andrew uses his newfound PsychicPowers to do magic tricks at his school's talent show.
* In Hong Kong film ''Magic To Win'', Charlie is a stage illusionist, but also uses his Metal Magic to perform incredible tricks, in the film he as assisted by Bi Yewu, perform an illusion where Charlie divides himself in 4, then one by one Bi Yewu makes each part of his body vanish.
* The 1981 B-movie ''Film/CarnivalMagic'' is about a stage magician who secretly has real powers of mind-reading and telekinesis.

* ''Literature/DirkGentlysHolisticDetectiveAgency'' has Reg, a university dean who performs an impossible magic trick to entertain a restless little girl at a formal dinner. Nobody but the protagonist realizes this, and he decides to investigate. [[spoiler: As it turns out, there was TimeTravel involved.]]
* Aziraphale in ''Literature/GoodOmens'' liked to do stage magic as a hobby. He's also an angel, perfectly capable of doing real magic anytime he wants, but considers that "cheating" while working as a magician.
** He's also an absolutely ''dreadful'' magician.
* In ''Literature/DragonLance'', Raistlin Majere in Demi-season Dragons did some sleight-of-hand trick, with a vanishing coin.
** Since a major part of spellcasting involves intricate patterns of hand movements, it's not that weird that Raistlin (and others) have a certain affinity for sleight-of-hand tricks.
** He also shocked (and ticked off) Fistandantilus by using flash powder to pretend to cast a spell when Fistandantilus cast an AntiMagic spell.
** Later in that scene, he used his sleight-of-hand skills (which Fistandantilus considered unfitting of a true mage) to steal [[FanNickname Fisty's]] ImmortalityTalisman without him realizing it was gone, thereby allowing the two of them to engage in a WizardsDuel fairly evenly.
** Once, a duergar (dark dwarf) was juggling a knife while Raistlin was trying to talk to him. He grabbed the knife out of the air, and the duergar assumed he'd used magic to do so.
* In ''ForgottenRealms'', Finder Wyvernspur did a sleight-of-hand trick with a vanishing lockpick when Olive tried to help him to run away from his second Harpers' trial, just to demonstrate he could have vanished long ago if he thought it was a good idea. May be Shout Out to Raistlin.
* In ''Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz'', the Wizard was a stage magician mistaken for the real thing when he landed in Oz. [[Literature/LandOfOz Later on]], he began to learn real magic from Glinda.
** Parodied in ''Film/TheMuppetsWizardOfOz'', where the Ozians thought he was a powerful wizard because he could do the detached thumb trick.
* Odysseus Grant from the ''Literature/KittyNorville'' series does a stage show in Vegas, but when he puts someone in the disappearing cabinet, they go somewhere else entirely. He appears to be some sort of guardian or other.
** Grant knows both stage magic tricks and real magic. In ''Kitty's House of Horrors'', he [[WhatHaveWeEar pulls a quarter out of a skeptic's ear]]. He also practices hypnotism, carries around a set of lockpicking tools and can put himself in a state of hibernation which another character says is how real-life stage magicians spend long hours locked in chests or underwater. He finds a hidden half of a locket in record time, but it's never made clear how. He would be the most mundane character in this series, if it weren't for the necromancy...
* Jacob Maskelyne of the ''Literature/SeekersOfTruth'' is the scion of a line of magicians who have real powers that they use for the betterment of humanity, as well as to enhance their stage show.
* Averted in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'': Real Wizards look down upon mere magicians, and consider being called a magician an insult. However, "magicians" are low-level magic users; the people who saw women in half are called "conjurers". Conjurers don't seem to have any magical abilities at all, but are ''still'' higher up the magical hierarchy than thaumaturgists (more or less magical IT guys). It's also stated that conjurers are quite popular: people find tricks done with misdirection and sleight of hand to be more impressive than boring old magic.
** Also partly Inverted with both Witches and Wizards. As noted above, [[RealityIsUnrealistic magic is nowhere near as flashy as people think]] and [[MundaneMadeAwesome can be done with everyday objects]]. As such, they make sure to add as much showmanship to their spells as possible -- Wizards tend to use props while Witches usually prefer mind games.
* A stage magician finds his way to the world of ''Literature/{{Spellsinger}}'', where all his tricks suddenly work for real, in ''The Moment Of The Magician''. [[FridgeBrilliance Makes sense]], since in Spellsinger universe magic is similar to technology -- and he's using a kind of technology.
* Creator/PatriciaCWrede's ''Literature/MairelonTheMagician'' is a wizard who chooses the role of stage magician (in which he is also competent) to hide from the law, as nobody would expect a ''real'' magician to waste his time playing marketplaces.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'':
** Averted for Harry's dad, Malcolm Dresden, was a stage magician with no actual magic.
** Harry Dresden is a wizard, but his yellow pages ad specifically says he doesn't do parties. Harry seems to know about this trope, and tries to defy it as much as possible... yet people still phone him to ask if he REALLY is a wizard, and not just some magician or charlatan.
---> '''Harry:''' Magicians do sleight-of-hand. I do real magic.
** He apparently also gets calls asking him if he's really [[Literature/HarryPotter a wizard named "Harry"]]. He is however, named after [[RuleOfThree three]] famous magicians (at least) and a city that is famous for being bombed / burned down. [[Creator/HarryHoudini Houdini]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Blackstone,_Sr Blackstone]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Copperfield_%28illusionist%29 Copperfield]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Dresden_in_World_War_II Dresden]]. This is MeaningfulName UpToEleven as he is a GuileHero OccultDetective who has a "[[DestructiveSavior problem with buildings]]".
* In Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/StrangerInAStrangeLand'', Mike (who was raised by aliens) decides to live as a magician for a while. Despite being able to make things magically float and disappear, he's really bad at the job because he utterly lacks human raconteur skills.
* In Creator/GKChesterton's ''Magic'', the conjuror, it turns out, does know real magic, but he doesn't use it in his act. [[BlackMagic He has very good reasons.]]
* Creator/PeterStraub's novel ''Shadowland'' is based entirely upon this trope, and derives much of its power from the distorted and unreliable perceptions of the main characters as to what is really magic, what was merely illusion, and what "really" happened/is happening at any one point in the action.
* ''Literature/ElementalMasters'' series:
** Jonathon Hightower, from ''Literature/ReservedForTheCat'', is a skilled stage magician ... and an Elemental Master of Fire. Most of his stagework is sleight of hand, but he enjoys using "real magic" at least once in each show.
** In ''Literature/{{Steadfast}}'', Lionel Hawkins is also a stage magician, and an Air Magician, who uses sylphs to help with his magic act.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotter'', [[TricksterTwins the Weasley twins]] once mention going down to the nearby town to show some magic tricks to a {{Muggle}} girl. The tricks are so good they almost seem like ''real'' magic, don't they?
* In one of the ''Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar'' novels, a group of real mages make their way across an enemy country by pretending to be a group of stage magicians in a traveling show.
* In the ''{{Literature/Deverry}}'' novels, Salamander poses as 'The Great Wizard Krysello' in the Bardek marketplaces. Everyone in the audience assumes that he's doing stage magic when he's actually using real magic. Nevyn was not amused.
* In ''Literature/TheImmortals''' third book, we learn that [[TheArchmage Numair's]] hobby is sleight of hand. He actually supported himself as a stage magician for a while when on the run from Carthak, and didn't use real wizardry because the emperor and his court could trace that.
* ''Literature/TheLastUnicorn'': Schmendrick the Magician entertains the sightseers at [[MasterOfIllusion Mommy Fortuna's]] Midnight Carnival while they wait for the show to start, but he could "work more ominous wonders if he chose."
* In Creator/TimPowers 's ''Literature/TheDrawingOfTheDark,'' Aurelianus is a wizard of sorts (in fact he's [[spoiler:Merlin]]), but at one point he is called on to perform some juggling tricks to amuse crying children.
* Mister Mystic from ''Literature/SoonIWillBeInvincible'' is a wizard that dresses like a stage magician, and acts like one to boot. The database at the end explains that he used to be a hack magician that stumbled upon the secrets of real magic.
* Inverted in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', where many people who claim to be sorcerers rely partially or entirely on sleight of hand, chemistry, and clever engineering to simulate the magic they can't do. [[spoiler: This even includes Melisandre, who notes that her supply of powders which among other things, she throws into fires to change their color, is running low.]] But with the [[TheMagicComesBack dragons back]], real magic is becoming more common and powerful.
* The titular conjurer in the ''Literature/DiogenesClub'' story "Sorcerer, Conjurer, Wizard, Witch" is The Great Edmondo, one of the four magic users who defend London. Possibly the Mystic Maharajah of the Splendid Six in "Clubland Heroes", although it's unclear how much power he actually has.
* The Great Farloss in ''Literature/SsaliaAndTheDragonsOfAvienot'' is a stage magician whose tricks include [[{{Invisibility}} turning himself invisible]] and [[BalefulPolymorph transforming a volunteer with a magic powder]], so the fact there's real magic involved is fairly evident. Not surprisingly, he is later referred to as a sorcerer.
* Part of the EarlyInstallmentWeirdness in ''Literature/{{Redwall}}''. During the feast just before Cluny shows up, Ambrose is performing magic tricks, and the narrator comments: "Was it magic? Of course it was." These magical powers never show up again. Perhaps it was just an instance of UnreliableNarrator.
* Prior to the events of ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', Gandalf was best known to the AudienceSurrogate residents of the Shire for his fireworks shows, "some of which were obviously magical." He also tells Bilbo that he should "not take [him] for some conjurer of cheap tricks".
* ''Literature/TheNightCircus'': One of the two main characters has been trained since childhood to be a stage magician at the titular Night Circus, as well as having been trained since childhood in ''real'' magic.
* Played with in ''[[Literature/GarrettPI Petty Pewter Gods]]'', when Magodor demonstrates the powers of her magical rope. Her demonstration is ''exactly'' like the routines which stage magicians perform with short pieces of rope, but in her case it's all done for real. Knowing better than to kibbitz a goddess with a title like "the Destroyer", Garrett does ''not'' mention the analogy when he spots it.
* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos''
** Eric Watley picked up sleight-of-hand tricks before he learned FunctionalMagic. Afterwards, he added the two together to create new tricks. He was even hired to perform dinner-and-a-show style in a restaurant.
** Dengel is a famous researcher and codifier of magic in 21st century Tariatla, but in his own time he was closer to a court jester performing parlor tricks for his clients. That is, when he wasn't helping lay siege to fortresses.

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheXFiles'' episode "The Amazing Maleeni", which features a magician who dies from having his head fall off after performing a trick where he rotates his head the whole way around. [[spoiler: This turns out to be a subversion; unusually for this show, there was no magic or anything supernatural involved, and only mild foul play.]]
* In the fourth season of the TV show ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', there is an episode that revolves around this trope titled "[[TakeThat Criss Angel is a Douchebag]]". The main characters, Sam and Dean, spend the entire episode trying to find a serial-killer wizard, who is hiding by pretending to be an elderly stage magician. Turns out he has a fondness for entertaining an audience when he's not committing homicide. Ironically enough, he dies when an Average Joe stage magician uses sleight of hand to use his own cursed stage-props to kill him.
* Tarot from ''AceOfWands''.
* There's a whole society of wizards in the MagicalLand of Bottom World, in ''Series/TheLegendOfDickAndDom'', who make their living putting on stage magic shows.
* In ''Series/TheDresdenFiles'', little magic Harry helped his dad out a bit with his conjuring act, without his father's knowledge or permission...
* In ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'', an unskilled street magician is given a real magic wand by [[TheDragon Morgana]], and uses it to commit crimes.
* In the ''Series/FreeSpirit'' HalloweenEpisode, MagicalNanny Winnie tries to help Jessie impress a SixStudentClique by performing a magic trick in which Winnie would make Jessie disappear. Unfortunately, Winnie's powers malfunction on Halloween (she blames all the mortals performing stage magic), complicating the process of making her re-appear.

[[folder: Music]]
* Invoked in the video for {{Music/Coldplay}}'s "Magic", where Chris Martin's good character figures out how to levitate things and people.

[[folder: Pinball]]
* Matra Magna in Creator/{{Capcom}}'s ''Pinball/PinballMagic'' is implied to be one; she is ReallySevenHundredYearsOld, but resembles a twentysomething young woman.
* ''Pinball/TheatreOfMagic'' is themed after stage magic, but the acts are presented as being done using genuine wizardry.
** The boutique sequel, ''Pinball/MagicGirl'', had original advertising flyers showing stage magic trappings but was rethemed to fantasy-style magic during development.

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* This is discussed as an option for mages in ''TabletopGame/MageTheAscension''. Most people can stop real magic working if they see and disbelieve it, but it's possible to pull it off by pretending to be a stage magician. There is even a skill, called 'Blatancy', to simulate how good a character is at passing their vulgar magic off as stage tricks.
* In the rebooted ''TabletopGame/MageTheAwakening'', the possiblity is still open, but game mechanics discourage it. Using magic for mere personal gain can be considered an act of Hubris and ding your KarmaMeter. Furthermore, "Vulgar" magic (which would be necessary for most stage tricks) risks attracting the attention of an EldritchAbomination.
** Primarily the difference is that certain classes of effects are now just classified vulgar by definition, and while covert magic can _become_ vulgar the reverse isn't true. So if you, for instance, conjure a flame the size of a lighter flame on top of an actual lighter, you take the penalty roll regardless of the impossibility of anyone calling you on it.
*** Though it does sometimes work the other way, too. Softening a stone wall to play-dough and digging your way out with your bare hands would get you paradox'd in the old world, but now it's still covert if no one's watching, even though the effect is pretty... blatant.
* In ''TabletopGame/BraveNewWorld'', this is one of the standard covers used by Bargainers. In fact, the first Bargainer was Harry Houdini who developed delta powers after a near-death experience when one of his escapology tricks went wrong.
* In ''TabletopGame/CastleFalkenstein'', there is an order of wizards called The Cabinet of Cups and Wands who mix actual spellcasting with stage magic.
* Averted in the ''TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade'' book ''Havens of the Damned.'' Despite his skills in illusion and special effects, Jesse Van Reginald doesn't know real magic, nor is he a member of the [[MasterOfIllusion Ravnos]] or the [[BloodMagic Tremere]] - as he no doubt [[IJustWantToBeSpecial would have preferred]]. Instead, he's part of clan Toreador, and currently laboring under a massive case of CreativeSterility.
* Played with in the TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness crossover game ''Midnight Circus:'' though the eponymous circus has quite a few mages among its ranks, the position of Magician is currently occupied by Calabris, a Toreador vampire. However, Calabris has actually lived long enough to master the Ravnos discipline of [[MasterOfIllusion Chimerstry]] and even manipulate the {{Glamour}} field surrounding the Circus. On the other hand, he doesn't actually use his supernatural powers at any point during the magic show, instead relying on his expertise in mundane illusion to enrapture the audience.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* Harvey from ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'' has a variety of tricks that would be just about impossible without actual magic, such as summoning pigeons literally out of thin air, teleporting, and [[InterfaceScrew turning your screen upside-down]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Phantasmagoria}}'': Carno, a world-famous stage magician/escape artist became frustrated with just performing illusions, and wished to discover ''real'' magic. This lead him to an ancient book...[[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor which contained an evil demon.]]
* In the game ''VideoGame/GrayMatter'', [[spoiler: Angela's father is revealed to be a magician whose magic was not an illusion, and Angela inherited his psychic powers]].
* In the ''VideoGame/GuildWars'' franchise, the Mesmer profession is easy to take for granted as a fantasy combat wizard like any other since you always play a hero, but they have a heavy stage magician theme implied to be the sort of thing Mesmers usually do for a living. This is shown early on with the first Mesmer trainer being found at the Actor's Stage. Their illusion powers make them great magicians or actors, while (lore-wise) they are ''also'' potentially the most powerful form of wizards, manipulating magic in its raw state to alter the fabric of reality.
* ''Videogame/FallenLondon'': With the Neath being as odd as it is, naturally magicians were bound to stumble onto something to make their tricks a little less reliant on sleight of hand. The process is not detailed, but it ends at magician turf wars fought with strange and powerful sorcery that not even the magicians themselves understand. This reaches the point where, among the various "Hunting Dangerous Beasts" sort of quests, you get a commission to capture a certain stage magician alive as one of the harder quests, and the preparations recommended are nothing short of unnerving:
-->'''Mr. Inch:''' Don't look into his eyes. In fact, wear darkened lenses. Ensure you have no mirrors on your person, and smash any nearby. Don't ask any questions.
* ''VideoGame/CirqueDeZale''
** Played straight with The Great Astoundo in the opening, who is just a normal circus magician, but still magically banishes Alexander to another dimension.
** Inverted/parodied with Adrastos the Non-Wizard, who was raised learning the art of magic, but prefers doing sleight-of-hand illusions, which he specifically refers to as "non-magic", because they require actual skill compared to just casting a spell.
* [[MasterOfIllusion LeBlanc]] from ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'' resembles a stage magician in her quotes, mannerisms, and costumes, but her illusion and misdirection oriented spells are no less magical than anyone else's.
* Zander from ''VideoGame/{{Battlerite}}'' comes from a troupe of performers and has the magician look, but he can still hurt and heal people just by [[DeathDealer throwing cards at them]], shoot giant bolts of energy, [[ThinkingUpPortals open up portals]], and [[BalefulPolymorph turn enemies into sheep]]. His SelfDuplication ''could'' be exaplained as stage trickery, but considering the rest of his abilities they're probably actual magic too.

[[folder: Web Comic]]
* The Great Kesandru, from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', who used legions of invisible enslaved spirits to perform the same stock magic tricks regularly performed by more mundane magicians.
* ''Webcomic/TheWotch'' has a side character who does this. Apparently, a lot of wizards perform on stage as a hobby.
* Saxony Canterbury from ''Webcomic/{{Thunderstruck}}'' is unambiguously a wizard, but in this verse all wizards need some mental idea to base their magic around, his is stage magic.
* ''Webcomic/WapsiSquare'': [[http://wapsisquare.com/comic/somekindofmagician/ Best explanation the magic: she's some kind of magician!]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Widdershins}}'', [[http://www.widdershinscomic.com/wdshn/page-3 Malik can't get a job as a magician because he's a wizard.]]
* John Henry Hunter, the [[PlayingWithFire pyrokinetic]] villain of ''Webcomic/NextTownOver'', used to show off his fire magic in a stage routine before the events of the main plot. [[spoiler:Vane Black got badly burned in one show, which is why she's hunting after him now.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Cosmo the Astounding is a mediocre criminal wizard for hire in the ''Literature/MetroCityChronicles''.
* David Blaine is portrayed as one of these in the street magic parodies by Thoselilrabbits.
* Eleanor Smoke, from the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'' is a stage magician who, in her spare time, fights supernatural threats to humanity by way of the real sorceress powers she inherited from her great-grandmother, who was a hedge witch.
* Harrison from ''WebAnimation/CampCamp'' refers to himself as an [[InsistentTerminology illusionist]] and dresses accordingly. However, he has several times demonstrated that he really does have genuine powers, albeit difficulty controlling them due to a lack of experience.
* The Stranger, a formerly retired ''Podcast/RedPandaAdventures'' superhero, started life as a stage magician. However, around 1890, he gave up stage performance to seek out real magic and real power. He claims it found ''him'', rather than the reverse, and in the decades following he fought evil as a member of the League of Gentleman Adventurers.

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' features the Amazing Mumbo, a blue-skinned villain in a cape and top hat who uses elaborate magic tricks to commit his crimes (usually bank robbery). If his wand is broken, he loses his powers and reverts to his normal human form. WordOfGod states that he was an ordinary magician who got his hands on a real magic wand, which gave him magical powers at the expense of his sanity. In a later episode, he has [[DomainHolder his own little world where he controls everything]] tucked away in his hat. Once caught inside, Raven (herself a magic user) insists that everything Mumbo does is "just" an illusion (seemingly just because it's not a kind of magic ''she'' is used to). She ends up admitting it's real ''enough'', and uses a mundane illusion to trick Mumbo and save the team.
* The Great Fondoo, a member of the Really Rottens in ''WesternAnimation/LaffALympics'', was a sorcerer who dressed like a stage magician. (Possibly supposed to be an {{Expy}} Abner K. Dabra from the 1963 book, ''Yogi Bear and the Cranky Magician''; his origins are unclear otherwise.)
* Ace Cooper, the titular hero of the French series ''WesternAnimation/TheMagician''.
* At least one episode of ''WesternAnimation/DungeonsAndDragons'' suggested Presto was an amateur stage magician before Dungeon Master gave him a magic hat. (Jimmy Whittaker in "City at the Edge of Midnight" says that Presto can show him some card tricks at school.) Which might explain why he's called Presto.
* Common in some golden-age American cartoons.
** The ''[[WesternAnimation/ThePinkPanther Pink Panther]]'' cartoon "Bully for Pink" features the Panther as a bullfighter who confuses a magician's cape for his red cloth and accidentally causes all sorts of magical mayhem during the bullfight.
** The Creator/TexAvery short "WesternAnimation/MagicalMaestro" is about a magician who gets even with an opera singer by taking the place of the conductor and using his wand in place of the baton, causing all sorts of silliness.
** MickeyMouse in the WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShort "Magician Mickey". His tricks become more elaborate and implausible as the cartoon goes on.
** The ''WesternAnimation/MerrieMelodies'' short "Presto Change-o" features Happy Hare (the earliest version of WesternAnimation/BugsBunny) as a magician's rabbit. While the magician is not present, Happy does do a series of impossible tricks, like making himself disappear by closing his hands on himself.
* Moo Moo the Magician from ''WesternAnimation/WowWowWubbzy''.
* In the classic ChristmasSpecial ''WesternAnimation/FrostyTheSnowman'', a magician's top hat is caught up in a gust of wind, and lands on a snowman. This hat is so magical that it makes the snowman come to life. On the other hand, it is made clear that Professor Hinkel, the hat's owner, cannot even do stage magic very well.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' gives us [[TheMagnificent The Great and Powerful]] Trixie, a magically-gifted unicorn who has a flashy, traveling stage show where she shows off her powers. Although all unicorns are capable of some kind of magic, it's usually highly specialized. Trixie's specialty is [[StageMagician stage magic]], hence her magic is mostly flash and no substance. On the other hoof, she's obviously not performing simple parlor tricks and illusions. Very few unicorns have strong enough telekinesis to throw another pony into the air, and conjuring things out of thin air -- like a small thundercloud -- is something only Twilight Sparkle has been shown to be able to accomplish. Unfortunately, she's got a bit of an InferioritySuperiorityComplex and tends to consequently undervalue her own talents while trying to show up Twilight Sparkle, who's much better at traditional unicorn magic than she is.
* The entire plot of ''WesternAnimation/TheIllusionist'' is that Alice believes that the Illusionist has real magical powers.
* Inverted in one episode of ''WesternAnimation/ThundarrTheBarbarian'', where the evil wizard turns out to only be using stage magic. By using clever strategy and planning he shows himself to be as effective as most of the real wizards Thundarr and company face.
* ''Franchise/{{DCAU}}'' Zatanna is an odd case. When she first appears in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'', she's a skilled stage magician and EscapeArtist. By ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'', she's capable of real magic like the comic-book version. She explains that most of her acts are mundane stage magic but she will throw in a genuine magical feat somewhere in the show to help with the WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief.
* The [[WesternAnimation/PixarShorts Pixar animated short]] ''WesternAnimation/{{Presto}}'' features a magician with both a top hat and a pointy wizard hat; anything placed into one will come out the other. He intends to use this magic to [[PullARabbitOutOfMyHat pull a rabbit out of his hat]] before a live audience, but the rabbit (who's angry about being forced to skip lunch) has other plans. HilarityEnsues.
* In ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooAndTheGoblinKing'', The Amazing Krudsky is a stage magician who wants to be a real wizard. He ultimately drains the fairy Princess Willow's magic to grant himself real magic powers.
* In ''[[Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame The Hunchback of Notre Dame II]]'', Sarousch steals La Fidele by putting a curtain over it and saying some magic words.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Mixels}}'', the Wiztastics are a magic-based tribe. They're traveling stage magicians, yet their powers are straight-up magic.
* In ''WesternAnimation/LittlestPetShop2012'', Sunil's greatest dream is to become a famous stage magician, so he's constantly practicing magic acts, with mixed results. At times, he seems to display genuine magical abilities, like swapping his position with another character using a teleportation-like effect.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* A number of stage magicians in the early days claimed in advertising and/or in performances that their powers were derived from supernatural forces. Interestingly, the first book discussing what we now call stage magic was a book entitled "The Discoverie of Witchcraft." Naturally, [[AvertedTrope they were carefuly to avoid this in the era of witch-hunts.]] The magicians at that time always advertised their abilities as sleight of hand, because ''real'' magic would be a sign of a deal with the Devil. Some magicians still got in trouble because they were too good. Modern stage magicians consider it extremely unethical to claim to have supernatural powers. Doing so calls discredit on the entire profession and can get you banned from magic clubs. A number of magicians also publicly debunk claimed supernatural phenomena that they can replicate using the tricks of their trade. There is a a long, long tradition of magicians being incorrigible skeptics.
** Crrator/HarryHoudini himself may have started the trend when he caught a PhonyPsychic in the act and later set up safeguards with his wife to prevent others from 'raising his ghost' after his death.
** Creator/JamesRandi, aka The Amazing Randi, has an entire foundation dedicated to debunking claims of supernatural powers, with a one million dollar reward for anyone who can demonstrate genuine supernatural powers under laboratory conditions. In regards to this trope, Randi prefers to be called a 'conjuror' as a 'magician' is someone who can actually do magic.
* In some languages the word for "magician" and "wizard" is the same - in German e.g. it's "Zauberer". Or "Magier", but that one can also refer to both. If you wanted to talk explicitly about one kind, you'd have to say "Bühnenmagier" (magician) or "echter Zauberer" (someone doing real magic).