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posted: 1/8/2013 2:26 PM

Harper teacher's butterfly trick goes global

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  • Video: Butterfly in a Box trick

Submitted by Harper College

A Harper College course that challenges its students to reinvent used items has spawned a magic trick that's gone global.

The trick, which gives new life to a faux butterfly, is the brainchild of Mark Presley Hawkins, a Harper employee who teaches magic courses through Harper's Continuing Education Department and performs professionally throughout the suburbs.

Presley Hawkins enrolled in the Artistic Inventions class simply to try something new. The goal took on wings of its own when he concocted the trick from a series of discarded items, creating an illusion of an animated butterfly mystically emerging from the palm of your hand and fluttering about -- disappearing and reappearing at will without the use of any strings.

The "Butterfly in a Box" trick has been picked up by Internet retailers, who sold 400 tricks within days, and garnered positive reviews from magicians across the world.

"Butterflies are very mysterious insects, and I think the appeal is in seeing something so intrinsic to nature, and uncommon in magic, controlled by a performer," says Presley Hawkins, who is crafting each edition of the trick by hand. "I had the general idea in mind for a while, but the class really made me think through it and helped me develop it into the success it is today."

Harper will offer another section of the Creative Artistic Inventions class on Thursday evenings this spring, beginning March 14. Presley Hawkins also will head up his own class, "The Magic Workshop," targeting magicians who are looking to improve their presentation skills and stage presence. The class will run on Wednesday evenings, April 3 to May 8.

For information on the courses, contact Continuing Education at (847) 925-6300 or

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