He carefully places a bottle inside a paper bag – and in the blink of an eye it disappears.
He takes another bottle and pours water out, before the liquid suddenly halts, mid-flow. He turns a coin into a key and chews another coin in half, before flipping it whole again.
With the mere power of his stare, he looks at a box of matches and they erupt into flames.
There’s even ghoulish smiles all round – though not for the faint-hearted – as he seemingly puts a nail through his finger and a pair of headphones through his neck.
Things can change colour, vanish into the ether or apparate from the air, such is the weird and wonderful world of Julius Dein.
No wonder the 23-year-old magician from north London is now one of the world’s fastest growing social media stars, with his viral videos of his eye-popping tricks and pranks garnering more than one billion views.
Described as a “mega influencer”, the Finchley-born Jewish lad also has more than 10million followers across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat.
When I catch up with Dein, he’s just touched down in LA after spending a few whirlwind days at a magic convention in Las Vegas, where he bumped into the likes of Criss Angel, David Copperfield and other childhood heroes.
There isn’t much time to chat, as he hops into an Uber on his way to a series of meetings with his agent.
Always on the go, Dein is clearly a young man in demand for the skills he has honed since he was a young child.
“I got into magic when I was 10, I was very interested by it,” he tells me. After he was taken to see a show at the Magic Circle, Dein joined the Young Magicians Club and later landed a job working at a magic store in Camden.
“It became a huge part of my life and all grew from there. I liked really visual, close-up magic.”
Growing up in the era of street magicians, Dein was especially inspired by the likes of Dynamo and David Blaine, as well as Penn and Teller and the “super visual, hard-hitting magic” of Criss Angel.
His first tricks impressed classmates from King Solomon and JFS, though he recalls facing the ire of one teacher who didn’t immediately realise she was looking at an illusion.
“I remember taking a pen, putting it through my homework and then telling the teacher. She got really angry with me, even though I then took the pen out and there was no hole there!”
As YouTube rose in popularity, Dein found himself watching viral videos of street magicians and pranksters.
“Seeing people making careers out of magic and social media inspired me to move in that direction,” he explains.
So began a series of hilarious pranks on the unsuspecting public, from proposing to strangers in public, to falling asleep on other passengers while riding the Tube, or brazenly walking up to men and telling them he was their long lost son.
Even his grandma has fallen victim to his jocular ways, earnestly believing he has a toothpick through his tongue or that his mobile phone is about to explode.
But the public can breathe easy again. Two years on, Dein reveals he is leaving the pranks behind to focus more on his magic.
“People loved the pranks and they are hugely popular with millennials,” he explains.
“While I was growing my social media presence they were fun and helped build my following very quickly. Now as I’m growing older, I’m gonna ditch the pranks and focus on the magic, because that’s my real passion.”
Dein tells me he’s “having a blast”, though he’s also keen to stay focused and make a real career out of his magic.
He was recently unveiled as the first digital “influencer” signed up by United Talent Agency in the UK and there’s talk of collaborating with celebrities, corporate appearances, a book, a live tour and even merchandise.
Travel is also very much on the horizon. With fans based all over the world, he’s keen to jet off and make humorous videos about his destination, as well as show off his latest tricks.
“Literally, wherever I go, people will come up to me. I’ve been to Ibiza, Newcastle, New York, Miami and Las Vegas.
“Tomorrow I’m going to Hawaii. I love making these videos that incorporate culture and magic. You get taken on a little journey for a few minutes and that’s exciting.”
There just seems no stopping Dein’s growing popularity. “Even Drake followed me on Instagram the other day,” he muses.
Whatever the secret to his success, it certainly seems to be working like magic.
Check out Julius’ latest videos at juliusdein.com