A quick sleight of hand, a graceful swirl of cards, a snap of the fingers — suddenly, you're fooled. Dumbfounded and amazed, you look at the normal deck of cards that has somehow been transformed into a mind-blowing magic trick by 10-year-old Finnley Alanen.

A Cloquet resident, Alanen has been tediously perfecting his skills as a magician for the past four years. Now, with approximately 30 decks of cards, a YouTube channel and spontaneous magic shows, it seems his brand “Danger Magic” is growing.

Magician Finnley Alanen, 10, smiles as he talks about his YouTube channel while shuffling his deck of cards at Pinehurst Park in Cloquet on Monday, April 5, 2021. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Magician Finnley Alanen, 10, smiles as he talks about his YouTube channel while shuffling his deck of cards at Pinehurst Park in Cloquet on Monday, April 5, 2021. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

“I thought it was really cool,” Alanen said when recalling the first time he saw a magician perform in a video.

Alanen was immediately drawn to cardistry — a performance art using cards — when he stumbled upon it one day on YouTube. Now, he has begun developing and perfecting his own tricks, in addition to learning from others.

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When first starting his YouTube channel, Alanen sought the advice of a fellow YouTube cardist Link Magic, who gave him advice on how to improve his videos. His classmates at the Cloquet Middle School have also been supporting his work and offering feedback on the videos he posts on YouTube.

Now, he offers an array of carefully edited videos showing card tricks and tutorials. He said one video typically takes about two hours to complete.

“It is so fun to see him so passionate about something,” Alanen’s mother, Megan Alanen, said.

Megan shared that it isn’t uncommon for her to be fooled by one of Alanen’s tricks.

“It is absolutely insane,” She said. “He’s not good at magic for a 10-year-old — he’s just good at magic.”

This sort of stunned response is exactly what fuels Alanen to keep practicing.

He said he loves magic for the “amazing people and entertaining people." Whether it’s through a sleight of hand with normal playing cards or a trick deck with a hidden agenda, Alanen said his tricks are designed to impress.

Aspiring magician Finnley Alanen, 10, laughs as he fires cards at the camera at PInehurst Park in Cloquet on Monday evening. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Aspiring magician Finnley Alanen, 10, laughs as he fires cards at the camera at PInehurst Park in Cloquet on Monday evening. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Over the summer, Alanen went on an RV trip across the country with his grandparents, traveling as far as Florida. One day at one of the campgrounds, he decided to host a magic show. It was well-attended and he raised nearly $40 toward new decks of cards.

When performing, Alanen said he prefers to use traditional cards because of audience appeal, but when practicing, he will often use higher end cards with better grips. These cards usually cost about $10 a deck.

One of the biggest challenges Alanen faces with his magic is using child-sized hands to work adult-sized cards. To overcome this, he practices maneuvering the cards almost constantly, training his muscle memory with the movements.

Finnley Alanen, 10, constantly controls his cards as he talks about his YouTube channel at PInehurst Park in Cloquet on Monday evening. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Finnley Alanen, 10, constantly controls his cards as he talks about his YouTube channel at PInehurst Park in Cloquet on Monday evening. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Alanen’s favorite trick to perform is called “Quantum Theory”: a sleight of hand card trick in which the magician makes a seemingly impossible prediction that comes true.

Alanen practices magic every day and is even teaching one of his friends some of the tricks.

One day he hopes he will be able to turn his passion into a full-time career.

Finnley Alanen, 10, holds a pose with one of his decks of cards as he shuffles at Pinehurst Park in Cloquet on Monday, April 5, 2021. Alanen, an inspiring magician, has started his own YouTube channel. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Finnley Alanen, 10, holds a pose with one of his decks of cards as he shuffles at Pinehurst Park in Cloquet on Monday, April 5, 2021. Alanen, an inspiring magician, has started his own YouTube channel. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Finnley Alanen, 10, poses with one of his decks of cards at Pinehurst Park in Cloquet on Monday, April 5, 2021. Alanen, an aspiring magician, has started his own YouTube channel. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Finnley Alanen, 10, poses with one of his decks of cards at Pinehurst Park in Cloquet on Monday, April 5, 2021. Alanen, an aspiring magician, has started his own YouTube channel. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)