The magician shows a picture of a piece of cheese with horizontal holes. After indicating the moment of magic, the holes have moved to a vertical position.

Say Cheese! The ambiguous depth illusion to perform magic

Peter Prevos

Peter Prevos |

260 words | 2 minutes

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The magician shows a piece of cardboard that resembles a cheese wedge:

“This is not a piece of cheese, it is the cardboard cut-out of a piece of cheese. It is a piece of Dutch cheese. You can recognise this as the holes run horizontally”.

The magician shows the card on both sides.

Dutch Cheese.

“What is the difference between Dutch and Swiss cheese?”, she asks the audience.

She places the card in her fist, indicates the moment of magic, and reveals the card again.

“Dutch cheese has horizontal holes, and Swiss cheese has vertical holes”.

The magician displays the card on both sides to show that the holes have moved from the side to the top of the cheese.

Swiss Cheese.

Ambiguous Depth Illusion

This routine is based on an idea described by Bob Hill from his 1994 booklet Illusions that Reveal the Truth (used with permission).

The principle behind this magical oddity is the ambiguous depth illusion. This illusion occurs because our mind interprets lines on a two-dimensional surface as a three-dimensional object. This is one of several optical illusions that magicians can use to perform magic.

Ambigious depth illusion examples.

Purchase the Say Cheese! template

You can easily make the props and perform this trick based on the images on this page. If you are interested in a template with instructions to perform the Say Cheese trick, then click on the link below.

Say Cheese!

Say Cheese!

What is the difference between Dutch and Swiss cheese? This quirky magic trick uses an optical illusion to explain the difference.

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