Magicians use tremendous trickery on stage for Taranaki Arts Festival
Four trickster magicians hoodwinked me.
All it took was a deck of cards and a permanent marker and this skeptical reporter was baffled.
The four friends, known internationally as the Band of Magicians, are in town for six shows as a part of the Taranaki International Arts Festival.
They've stunned TV host Ellen DeGeneres, collectively clocked millions of views on YouTube and have basked in the glory of a standing ovation from President Barack Obama.
When they sit down to give the local media an insight into their world of magic there's definitely more going on than meets the eye.
To show off their skills they ask me to pick any card I like and autograph it.
After much shuffling and cutting of the deck, the ace of hearts I signed my name to is the card James Galea pulls from the deck.
Impressive, yes. But not unexpected.
But when he removes a second ace of hearts from his pocket, with my exact same signature on it, I'm dumbfounded.
The two identical cards, with two identical signatures, fall to the table at the same time.
Then he asks me to pick another card at random, which I do, only to find it's twin turn up in fellow magician Adam Mada's hand.
Mada then takes the empty card box, drives a knife right through it, drops it into my hand and with a thump I feel the weight of a block of metal.
Sure enough, inside what was a clearly empty card box is a hunk of heavy metal, with not a scratch on it.
The group of friends, made up of Galea, Mada, Ben Hanlin and Brett Loudermilk, are on a tour of New Zealand and say their shows include mind boggling deceptions, tremendous trickery and a whole heap of fun for all ages.
There will be lights, smoke machines and even sword swallowing, which Loudermilk says is definitely not a ruse.
"It hits the bottom of my stomach," he says.
"I've had many mishaps, but never during the Band of Magicians show, but it could happen at any moment people so get your tickets."
★ Band of Magicians plays an evening show at the TSB Showplace every night from Thursday August 27 to Sunday August 30. Both Saturday and Sunday will also feature a matinee. Tickets from Ticketmaster.