Magic, otherwise known as stage magic, conjuring or illusionism, is the art of creating the appearance of supernatural or impossible feats through the use of sleight of hand or special equipment. For a long swathe of history such practices were associated with the occult and practitioners were often persecuted. In part to remedy this the first compendium of magic tricks was published in 1584, and debunked the supposed supernatural powers of magicians by demonstrating how their tricks worked. Up until the 18th century magic shows would most often be performed on the streets or at fairs due to their dubious reputation, but as superstitious beliefs declined the art of stage magic began to gain respectability.
One of the early exponents of stage magic as we understand it today was Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin, who opened a magic theatre in 1845, taking this form of entertainment off the streets and into the respectability of venues. Towards the end of the 1800s magic shows became commonplace and often large and intricate. Theatres and stages, of course, provided additional scope for trickery with their opportunities for hidden mechanisms and assistants and the relative restriction of the audience's point of view. Harry Houdini took the form to the next level and it has continued to enjoy great popularity ever since.
Because of the understandable secretive nature of stage magicians it can be difficult to study the art, but certain illusions are clearly well in the public domain but still require a certain amount of skill to pull off. There are various tricks available in kit form, as well as Tarot cards and gaming cards for the popular Magic: The Gathering, many of which are scarce and often highly collectable.