Stage or street magic has a long history in India. Popular tricks include the rope trick, Indian basket, Indian Cups and Ball.
The Indian rope trick is stage magic said to have been performed in and around India during the 19th century. Sometimes described as "the world’s greatest illusion", it reputedly involved a magician, a length of rope, and one or more boy assistants.
In the 1990s the trick was said by some western magicians to be a hoax perpetrated in 1890 by John Wilkie of the Chicago Tribune newspaper. It was claimed there were no known references to the trick predating 1890, and later stage magic performances of the trick were inspired by Wilkie's account. But this claim redefines what the Indian rope trick is. For many decades, previous commentators had accepted that accounts from the 9th century (by Adi Shankara), the 14th-century (Ibn Battuta), and the 17th-century (Mughal Emperor Jahangir), were versions of the trick, but this was now being denied.