Illustration of a magician in a top hat and mask pretending to remove their thumb, with the word 'Trick' over the top

Illustration: Lachlan Conn

Hat tricks, bags of tricks, missing tricks, turning tricks. Stuffed sleeves, old dogs, modestly skilled ponies – our idiom is riddled with tricks.

A trick can be a hoax or a gimmick, or it can be an act of conjuring or contortion. It's a word that deals in duplicity and fraud. But it also signifies dexterity, ingenuity and finesse!

For this bumper edition of Notes, we've summoned writing about many forms of secret skill and trickery. Ivy Shih explores the surprising scientific afterlife of the Tasmanian tiger. Isabella Trimboli reflects on the utility of useless life hacks. Chris Somerville frets over his doppelgänger. Angelina Hurley testifies to real and unreal family miracles. And an anonymous theatre technician tells us what happens backstage at illusion and circus shows.

Plus, there's more on scams, stunts, hacks, marvels, miracles, superstition, cheating and double-dealing from our archives.