Ladden astounds the Internet with his mystical illusions


Arushi Sharma

SHUFFLING THE CARDS: Sophomore Zack Ladden begins to preform a magic trick. Ladden has recently has become popular on social media with his card and coin performances.

Anna Holme, Photographer

The idea of magic shows and magicians has been a topic of entertainment for decades. From simple party tricks to sold-out shows, this genre is well-received by many. But with the advent of social media and it’s proliferation in society, more and more magicians are flocking to use its resources to the fullest. One of those is sophomore Zack Ladden.

Ladden has received some recent attention on Instagram, posting videos of himself performing magic tricks set to music. His most famous video, posted in late April of this year, features Ladden repeatedly making a coin appear and disappear with the simple swipe of his hands.

“I’ve been doing magic for three years,” Ladden said. “I have been making videos for at least a year.”

Chris Ramsay, a YouTuber with over 3.2 million subscribers, created a YouTube video featuring Ladden where he reacted to a trick, titled, “How Are These Things VANISHING?!!” now has over 440,000 views.

“I had one person put it [the coin trick] on a subreddit, and it went on to the biggest magician on YouTube [Chris Ramsay] who reacted to it,” Ladden said. “That got me exposure, and I started gaining more followers and from that.”

The video Ramsay reacted to has over 20,000 views on Ladden’s Instagram, and kick-started his Instagram page, which now has over 1,800 followers. Since that first video, many other larger magic Instagram accounts have reposted some of Ladden’s videos, like @magiaecardistry (who has over 8,000 followers). Jacob Marchbanks, a sophomore at Bowie is one of Ladden’s friends, and has noticed his noticed newfound publicity.

“I wasn’t sure about his tricks getting that much attention at first, some people who gave him shout-outs had a lot of followers,” Marchbanks said. “I thought it was really cool.”

Ladden’s tricks have gained him thousands of views on his various videos, which utilize anything from cards, coins, rings, and even markers. But when he started magic three years ago, Ladden didn’t have his mind set on being a social media magician.

“To be honest, I started it as an icebreaker,” Ladden said. “I can interact with people, and make conversation through tricks. And then last year, I just started doing it for social media, and then it kind of exploded, got views, and went from there.”

Ladden has also found friends online as well. Tyler Sherwin, another Instagram magician with over 58,000 followers, is impressed with Ladden’s abilities, and has found social media to be a great outlet for himself.

“Instagram magic is the best way to find who you are as a magician,” Sherwin said. “Instagram is how I get recognized and more importantly all social medias are the best way for free marketing. Magic was meant to enlighten the audience around you with ‘real’ magic tricks. My reaction [to Ladden’s tricks] was that he has great talent already and he has so much potential in the magic community.”

Creating these videos isn’t a simple task. Cultivating one’s tricks requires extensive use of resources and practice. Ladden finds Instagram to be his main source of inspiration.

“I’m self-taught, so I look at them [the tricks], see how they’re done in slow motion, and out of that I’ve actually created a couple original tricks” Ladden said. “That’s how I got my coin trick to go viral.”

Marchbanks has known Ladden for over 2 years, with the first time Ladden showing him one of his magic tricks being on the school bus their freshman year. While Marchbanks actively supports Ladden’s social media endeavors (and even acts as his cameraman at times), he still greatly enjoys Ladden’s in-person magic.

“I personally prefer the tricks he doesn’t do on camera, since the tricks he posts rely on a good angle,” Marchbanks said. “Things he shows at the table are really good and usually confuse us on how he did them.”

But Ladden’s reach isn’t only online. Selling tutorials on how to execute a magic trick is a common source of revenue for up and coming magicians. As for Ladden, he plans to do something similar, in the near future.

“I’ve created my own tricks,  those are going to be sold in a couple of months,” Ladden said. “I’m working with a company on it.”

The internet gives people an outlet to express their creative talent on a whole new level.

“Magic is becoming more popular on Instagram because of the amount of social media users there are.” Sherwin said. “Stage magic shows are fantastic to do, but you can reach 100,000 plus people in just one video. This is huge for magicians and is going to help grow the community.”