Luca Pacioli's card tricks

A book of Renaissance card tricks, number puzzles and illusions written by Luca Pacioli, Franciscan monk and best friend to Leonardo da Vinci, has been discovered in the vaults of the University of Bologna in Italy.

Penned between 1496 and 1508, the work includes references on entertaining including card tricks, fire-eating, juggling and making coins dance. "William Kalush, a magician and the founder of the Conjuring Arts Research Centre in New York, who financed the project, said: 'This book is the first major manual that is primarily concerned with teaching how to perform magic.'

Sources of magic methods go back at least to the first century, but this book teaches not only the methods but also gives a glimpse into how one might perform them with an eye to entertaining an audience.'"