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Creation of Life

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Creation of Life, a sort of take on the Japanese Butterfly illusion, is when a small piece of paper (originally a cigarette paper) is folded up into the shape of a moth or butterfly. It is then released, to fly away, leaving the spectators in awe of the "creation of life".[1]

The name has come to be used for any illusion in which an insect is created from something.

Created by the amateur Fred Roberts, it was taught to Leipzig who was known to reserve this effect, using a white moth, when he really wanted to impress someone. He told Dai Vernon that he considered it to be one of the most effective tricks he performed, even though he only performed in on a few special occasions.

Ricky Jay performed it as a finale on his British television special, creating a butterfly.


Thayer's Magical Bulletin (July 1919)
  • The effect was briefly described in Thayer's Magical Bulletin (July 1919) as "THE BIRTH OF THE MOTH" with credit to the amateur magician and pharmacist Fred H. Roberts.
  • Leipzig was visiting the Los Angeles and met with the Los Angeles Society of Magicians. Roberts did the routine and afterwards, Leipzig congratulated Roberts saying it was the greatest trick he had ever seen. Roberts then explained the details to Leipsig. [2]
  • Frank Chapman featured it in his Chap's Scrapbook for September 1939 as Fred Robert's "Famous Moth Trick."
  • It was reported in Bob Weil's column in the Linking Ring for September 1940 that Joe Ovette marketed a similar effect about the same time that "Birth of the Moth" was published in Thayer's Bulletin.
  • Dai Vernon included Leipzig's version Dai Vernon's Tribute to Nate Leipzig by Lewis Ganson (1975)



  1. Dai Vernon's Tribute to Nate Leipzig by Lewis Ganson (1975)
  2. Charlie Miller, Magicana, Genii 1967 December.