Secrets of My Magic

July 25, 2017 | Author: Antonio Iturra | Category: Magic (Illusion), Leisure
Share Embed Donate

Short Description

Download Secrets of My Magic...



In which are disclosed for the first time the Secrets of some of the Greatest Illusions of this Master of the Art of Magic With Contributions by Thirty other Famous Magicians, including OSWALD WILLIAMS—HORACE GOLDIN—CECIL LYLE With Fifty-seven Illustrations

Copyright 2004 Jose Antonio Gonzalez Campos

CONTENTS INTRODUCTION By S. H. SHARPE CHAPTER I: CARD MAGIC Misdirection of the Senses—How Cards are Forced—Tricks with Forcing Cards—The “Pass” and the “False Shuffle”—Prepared Card Packs. CHAPTER II: CARD MAGIC (continued) The Art of Palming Cards—"Changing" a Card-"La Carte Generale" and How it is Done—Sleights-of-Hand—The Multitude of Cards Trick. CHAPTER III: BILLIARD BALL MAGIC Multiplication of Billiard Balls—Transformation of Balls into Eggs—Ball and Egg Production—Transfers, Sleights and Apparatus Used in Ball Conjuring. CHAPTER IV: BILLIARD BALL MAGIC (continued) How to Present a Billiard Ball Illusion—Method of Working—The Cup and Balls Trick—Transforming Balls into Oranges. CHAPTER V: FLOWER MAGIC “The Dream of the Dove” Illusion—Flower Materialisation—Producing Blooms from seeds—The Electric Conservatory and the Beast who turns into a Prince CHAPTER VI: OPENING ILLUSIONS Producing a Rabbit from a Top Hat—The Silver Ball Trick—Importance of Details—How Maskelyne Began. CHAPTER VII: MECHANICAL MAGIC “The Golliwog Ball”—Juggling with Milk—The Paper, Ribbon and Flag Trick explained. CHAPTER VIII: FAMOUS ILLUSIONS REVEALED “The Mascot Moth” or “The Disappearing Lady”—"The Magician’s Heart"—"The Artist’s Dream"—The Man who turns into a Woman. CHAPTER IX: MORE FAMOUS ILLUSIONS “Beau Brocade”—"The New Page-boy"—"The Mystery of the Magic Mirror" CHAPTER X: EGG MAGIC An Abundance of Eggs—A Boy, a Girl and Some Eggs—Hatching a Chicken from an Egg—The Egg-bag Trick Improved. CHAPTER XI: THE INDIAN ROPE TRICK A Stage Version of this Mythical Illusion Presented and Explained.


CHAPTER XII: MAGICAL MYSTERIES “The Window of the Haunted House”—The Ink that becomes Water—"The Chocolate Soldier" Illusion, or “The Man who Diminishes” CHAPTER XIII: MORE MAGICAL MYSTERIES Wines and Liqueurs from a Kettle—"The Burmese Gong" Illusion—The Magician who Vanishes Himself CHAPTER XIV: MAGICAL SKETCHES “St. Valentine’s Eve,” or “The Envelope which becomes a Girl”—"The Enchanted Hive" Illusion—The Great Ghost Trick CHAPTER XV: MASTERPIECES OF MAGIC “Biff,” or “The Disappearing Motor-Cyclist”—"The Gnome’s Grot"—"The Educated Fly" Illusion CHAPTER XVI: MENTAL MAGIC Thought-Reading Extraordinary—The Secrets of Mental Magnetism—" Translucidation," or “The Blindfold Letter-Reader” CHAPTER XVII: THREE UNPRODUCED ILLUSIONS “The Advent of Peter Pan ”—" Transformation"—"The Cage of Good Luck" CHAPTER XVIII: CREATING AN ILLUSION Ideas and Effects—A Novel Illusion—"The Man who Makes Money"—Misrepresentation CHAPTER XIX: SOME AWKWARD MOMENTS In the Eyes of the Law—An Unexpected Wetting—The Gunpowder Plot CHAPTER XX: MAGIC OF MY CONTEMPORARIES A New Method for the Spirit Slates—by Oswald Williams The Card and Tack Trick—by Horace Goldin Invisible Dye—by Douglas Dexter A New" Thought-Wave" Experiment—by H. Park Shackleton Surprising Finish to Cigarette Production—by Len Burnell The Spirit Message—by G. W. Eade £1000 Challenge Effect—by Fred Hocking A “Tee Bee” Effect—by Tom Burnett Misdirection—by Arthur Sherwood


CHAPTER XXI: MAGIC OF MY CONTEMPORARIES (continued) A. B. C. Watch and Card Trick—by Herbert J. Collings A Pack of Cards—by Graham Adams The Caledonian Mystery—by W. Donald Forsyth The Diminishing Card Trick—by Edward Victor The Indestructible Handkerchief—by Allen Benbow The Torn Strip of Paper—by Ralph Delvin The Miracle Paper—by Ellis Stanyon Handkerchief, Tumbler and Flowers—by Will Blyth “The Allottment” By Vincent Dalban Shopping by Wireless—by Ralph Chart Blindfold Card Reading—by George Johnson The Vanity Bag Illusion—by Cecil Lyle The Presto Painting Mystery—by W. G. Stickland The Optical Pass—by Chris Van Bern New Spirit Message Effect—by Oswald Rae Coin and Card Divination—by Edward Bagshawe The Multiple Laundry Mystery. By Kershaw Thomas Tests of the Court Magician—by Francis White Early Days of Magic—by the late Charles Moritt The Mystery of Asrah—by Servais Le Roy The Sunshade Trick—by L. Davenport APPENDIX: NOTES FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF CONSERVATORY IN “THE ADVENT OF PETER PAN” ILLUSION


INTRODUCTION THE ETHICS OF EXPOSURE By S. H. SHARPE “IT is pleasanter to be deceived than to be undeceived,” would be a good conjuring maxim. People go to see a conjurer for enjoyment, and if he does not set them wondering they have reason to complain. If, having bewildered his audience, a conjurer explains the methods used, he kills the feeling of wonder and leaves them disillusioned; just as a child gazes in awe at a rainbow, but the sophisticated adult is liable to think nothing of it. Personally, I wonder just as much after being told the “trick” only consists in refracting light through raindrops; because, after all, every effect must be produced in some way. The point to consider is that it is produced, and why? But most people lose interest when the mystery goes, and turn from wondering at the effect to wonder at their own credulity. A conjurer gets no credit from the layman once his secret is found out. It is only other conjurers who can fully appreciate the art and technical skill displayed; and to them, a masterly effect does not lose its interest when the trick is known. It is only conjuring of the parlour-magic and trap-door illusion kind, that depends more on the secret than on ability, which palls when the novelty has gone. Of course, people think they want to know how mysteries are produced and often pester for them to be explained; but as to comply invariably leads to disappointment—a fact which the public seldom realises but which conjurers should realise-exposures can hardly ever be in the public interest. When seeking an answer to the question, “Should a conjurer tell?” this fact may well be borne in mind. I know that some people—mostly ladies—say: “Conjurers always annoy me because it makes me so vexed when I can’t understand how the tricks are done.” But even they appreciate magic still less if they have their curiosity satisfied by being shown by what simple means their senses have been misled. In fact, the whole fabric of conjuring is built up on rousing the emotions of curiosity and wonder, but not in quenching them. To tackle the problem from a rather different angle one might enquire: “When is exposing justified?” and “Why do some conjurers expose their secrets?” Now all secrets are either common property or private property; and their exposure may be judged on either moral or utilitarian grounds. A secret can, I suppose, be called private property only when it has been invented by a known living person, or it is owned by the legitimate purchaser. All published secrets obviously belong to the common weal because they are secrets no longer after being explained.


But this does not mean that they can be republished or used without permission; because publication secures copyright. Surely a man has no moral right to explain any secret that is not of his own devising without the inventor’s permission, if he be alive. “Do unto others as you would be done by,” is not a bad motto for anyone in doubt about the ethics of exposing. All written exposures are read either to satisfy curiosity or to help imitation. Imitation is justified when the secret is not a proprietory one, because originators are few and most conjurers would be without material if they did not perform effects created by others; just as would musicians. I think it will be universally agreed that both conjurers and the general public gain most pleasure from witnessing magic that bewilders them, and that many people lose interest once the secret is known: For example, people have sometimes said to me of “Sawing through a Woman”: “Of course the girl is a contortionist and squeezes into one end of the box.” That is enough to make them disinterested. This being so, it would seem that exposures intended to satisfy curiosity can never be justified because they spoil people’s enjoyment and are therefore against the public interest. Where fraudulent mediums and similar gentry are concerned it is a different matter. Knaves of any kind are parasites living on society, and it is right and just for their methods to be aired, even if it does mean some of the conjurers having to alter their own effects based on similar principles, in consequence. No man yet lost through doing the right thing or by putting personal security aside for the sake of justice. It is not of primary importance for a conjurer to question the advantage of an exposure to himself or to conjurers in general, but to ask himself: “Is it in the public interest?” If the answer is: “No,” then it is against his own interests too and no good will come of carrying it through. Even the first exposer, Reginald Scot, apologised for giving the game away, and only did so to prove how easily men’s senses can be beguiled. He says at the beginning of his Chapter, “The Art of Juggling Discovered”: “I thought it good to discover it, being sorie that it falleth out to my lot to laie open the secrets of this mysterie, to the hinderence of such poore men as live thereby, whose doing herein are not onlie tollerable, but greatlie commendable, so they abuse not the name of God, nor make the people attribute unto them His power; but alwaies acknowledge wherein the art consisteth, so as thereby the other unlawfull and impious arts may be by them the rather detected and bewraied.” Whether there is such a thing as a genuine medium I have no idea, but every conjurer, by reason of his training, is in a better position than the average person to detect fraud of this character, and is in duty bound to expose the methods used whenever the chance occurs. By doing so he becomes a public benefactor. Other exposures for utility are those explanations designed to instruct the student; to record inventions; and to arouse interest in the casual.


This last type obviously includes only simple impromptus that awaken a desire for deeper knowledge in a few minds and amuse the others without harming real conjurers. From the fuss some conjurers make about exposures of these trifling tricks, one would think they were capable of performing nothing better themselves. Ever since I was a boy I have regularly been doing several card tricks out of Devant’s Tricks for Everyone, without coming across anyone, conjurer or layman, who had even heard of them, and this book is one of the most widely circulated of all. So perhaps there is less harm done by explaining effects in popular books than is often thought. In my opinion, the reason why magic is less popular than other arts is because the number of amateurs is so much less; and by amateurs I do not only mean amateurs who perform in public, but also people having a casual interest in a subject. Nearly everybody sings, whistles, draws, and acts instinctively from childhood without any instruction, but the very nature of magic prevents anyone from just “picking it up.” He has to learn how to set about the job from somewhere. The great mass of people have no idea whatever of conjuring methods and will say: “What made you take up magic?” and, “However did you begin?” The essentially secret nature of conjuring makes it exclusive, and naturally, at the same time, less popular than arts more generally understood, because the chief supporters of any art are the amateurs. The second conjurer whom it was my lot to see, appeared with his bag of tricks one Saturday morning at Retford Grammar School where I was one of the young hopefuls. I can only remember two of the tricks he did, probably because the wicked man exposed them! They were the “Moving Pip Card” and “The Glass Casket.” The latter he presented by dropping a little piece of red cloth in and making it change into a red ball; which I still think a much better effect than just producing a spring-ball. Were I using this trick again I should be inclined to drop a flake of cotton-wool into the casket and make it suddenly expand so that the casket was full of wool. This would be arranged by having a spring-ball as big as the box would hold, covered with cotton-wool and hidden under the flap. I am quite certain the showing of how these simple tricks were done did not spoil my interest in conjuring—in fact, it probably had the reverse effect, for I left the show in a dream. On this account I am inclined to think that an occasional exposure to audiences of schoolboys is beneficial to magic; especially if a romantic touch is added by cautioning them to strict secrecy. Broadly speaking, one may say that exposures which help the appreciation of good conjuring are beneficial, and vice versa. When a layman sees or reads about a minor effect he will generally say: “Yes, but you should see So-and-so. He can make your hair stand on end,” or something similar, showing that he realises the difference between a trifling trick and masterly conjuring. Some exposures are made for personal gain and glorification regardless of the consequences.


A good deal of controversy arises over the explanations in conjuring literature of methods which the author does not claim to be those used by the inventor but simply ways in which the effects could be produced. An original conjurer introduces a new effect to the public, and before long, a secret of producing a similar effect is offered for sale or is published in a periodical. This generally peeves the originator. He naturally wants to know why some dead-head should be allowed to broadcast information that may spoil work which has perhaps taken him months or years to perfect. There seem to be four main answers available to the exposer. (1) That if he didn’t expose the trick somebody else would. If you caught a burglar redhanded and asked him why he did it, I doubt whether the answer: “Bill would have pinched them if I hadn’t,” would soften the magistrate’s heart. (2) That he needed the money. A pick-pocket might say the same. (3) That conjurers could not be expected to avoid discussing new tricks among themselves, and that publication and speech are only similar forms of expression. I should say that this answer would be justified were it not for the fact that the publication of a practical method is bound to encourage imitation and so diminish interest in the original production. There are plenty of copyists who cannot work out methods for themselves but are ready to plagiarise with somebody else’s imitation of a novelty. A few conjurers consider imitation beneficial on the grounds that it popularises an effect and makes more people want to see the original. There is certainly something in this theory because the more an effect is performed the more it is spoken about. On the other hand, rarity is a quality that makes most things valuable. Moreover, bunglers can sicken an audience of a particular effect if they expose the method or ruin the mystery by poor presentation. This doubtful popularity was a source of great annoyance to Bautier with his “Vanishing Lady” illusion and to Selbit with his “Sawing through a Woman.” Such imitation is, naturally, annoying, but provided a conjurer presents his effects in a finished dramatic form, he is not likely to be very much harmed by such imitators. Many people will go over and over again to see a first-class artist. Dramatic setting and presentation can be copyrighted if the author desires; and in any case it makes exposure of the tricks employed less harmful than when the stark mystery is the whole attraction. Practically all imitators show off bare tricks and illusions; they cannot steal a man’s personality which is probably his greatest asset. Anyone may play the same compositions that Kreisler plays or sing the songs that Harry Lauder sings, but that does not prevent people from flocking to hear these artists themselves. It is just the same with a Houdini, a Herrmann, or a Devant. Sir Joshua Reynolds said in one of his Discourses on Art: “The well-grounded painter...conscious of the difficulty of obtaining what he possesses, makes no pretensions to secrets, except those of closer application. Without conceiving the smallest jealousy against others, he is contented that all shall be as great as himself, who have undergone the same


fatigue; and as his pre-eminence depends not upon a trick, he is free from the painful suspicion of a juggler who lives in perpetual fear lest his trick should be discovered.” Of course the main charm of a conjuring entertainment is mystery, since that is its characteristic, but the “juggler” who depends entirely upon tricks instead of personal ability is no artist, as, once his secrets are exposed, there is nothing left to admire and he can be easily imitated. (4) The fourth excuse seems to be the only really satisfactory one. That publication records a new effect. The originator will naturally say that it is for him to decide whether his inventions shall be recorded or not; but I doubt whether he has really a moral right to deny others the benefit of his discoveries, and certainly a man who scatters the fruit of his labours so that it may re-seed and grow again will die happier than one who seeks to take it to the grave with him. An originator may fairly claim the benefit of his work for a certain period, after which I think it should be made available to others. If inventors would co-operate to lodge records of their originalities with one or other of the societies or periodicals for publication after an agreed lapse of time, there would be no excuse left for the exposer and the pest might be stamped out. As things are, I am inclined to think exposers are due for thanks as well as abuse. Neither, I think, has an originator any moral right to expose his own effects to the public, because they will only be his in a small degree, and exposure will disclose principles used by other conjurers. The conjuring societies might frame a rule by which originators could be protected for the initial run of an effect and a suitable period after, unless the originator agreed to release his inventions earlier. Meanwhile, the law is one of honour. But when all is said and done most novelties are based on old effects, and an inventor always owes more to the stock than he puts into it. He can say “This is my discovery,” but not, “This is mine.” After passing through the stages of annoyance and disgust at plagiarists and exposers, I have come to the conclusion that the best way is to ignore them. Attack of any kind only stimulates the adversary to greater effort, advertises him, and shows the attacker to be frightened of what the exposer is doing. Take no notice, and his efforts lose most of their sting. Every pest has its uses, and this variety keeps the originator active; whereas he might feel inclined to drop into a coma without some kind of irritant, just as weeds leave the gardener no choice but to keep turning his land over. The sooner conjurers realise that locked books or secret codes will never prevent the secrets of tricks being found out and broadcast, the better. The real intellectual secrets of magic are guarded much more securely. So safe are they, no matter how openly they are displayed, that the only key to unlock them is the student’s own mind, which—if he wishes—can be shaped into a master-key. A simple trick can easily be learned, but artistic construction and presentation form a wall that few care to climb, because hoc opus, hic labor est.


A man who can be great-hearted enough to ignore imitation and such-like petty injustices altogether, will soon find they are not worth his attention. If others are poor in ideas and want some of yours, give them a free choice, then they won’t be able to steal any. It is more satisfying when setting a hot pace to help those who scramble after, than to tread them down and try to hoard one s originalities like a miser with his gold. Again, though a thousand thieves steal your ideas you still have them left for your own use; no conjurer is clever enough to give ideas away to such an extent that he no longer has them himself. So let us be more tolerant to those who try to follow-my-leader—and hope the devil won’t take the hindermost!


CHAPTER I CARD MAGIC ONE of the greatest secrets of Magic is “misdirection of the senses.” I was amused the other day, while reading a book purporting to explain conjuring, by a description of Bautier’s great trick, “The Vanishing Lady,” giving a bald description of the illusion, but leaving out one of the greatest pieces of misdirection ever conceived by a conjurer. Bautier commenced his performance of this trick by unfolding a large sheet of newspaper and laying it upon the floor. On this he placed an ordinary-looking chair. He handed a lady to the chair and she sat down. He then covered her with a large piece of silk, the corners of which he pinned together behind her head. He next took hold of the silk by the part covering the head and at another spot near the waist, and he appeared to throw it up in the air. It vanished instantaneously and with it the woman. Now the first thing a person thought of as a solution was a trap-door in the stage, so Bautier replied to that by removing the chair from the newspaper, picking up the latter, folding it carefully and making his bow. “Ah!” said the spectator to himself, “it couldn’t have been a trap-door with that newspaper there,” and he goes away admiring the mystery of the trick, forgetting that a trap-door can be cut in a newspaper and the parts reinforced, the flap itself be on tape hinges and so measured to drop with the trap-door in the stage. Of course a certain amount of dexterity is needed to fold the newspaper up without disclosing the loose part to the audience. A maitre d’htel gives a lesson in misdirection every time he takes an order for a dinner. He sizes up his customer at a glance, approaches him with an ingratiating smile and offers the menu. The customer hesitates over the French words, and the waiter hands another menu to the maitre, who promptly begins to read off the dishes in English. For instance, he says: “Oysters and hors-d’oeuvres. Monsieur only likes oysters. I remember Monsieur also likes thick soup. No, bisque de homard. Yes?” Now he runs over the entres in the same way. No longer has the customer any choice in the matter. The headwaiter practically forces upon him the dishes he wants him to buy, all the time misdirecting him so that the customer is flattered into believing that he himself is choosing these good dishes, and thinks himself a fine fellow indeed. Many of the most successful card tricks are done in much the same way. For example, the performer approaches the onlooker, and as he goes towards him he spreads out a pack of cards fanshape and, having got up to him, he closes them again. “Now,” says he, “I wish you to take any card you please,” and he rapidly runs the cards from one hand to the other, that is, from left to right. While the auditor is hesitating the fraction of a second, he says:


“Now, take one, and don’t let me see the face of the one you take,” and again he rapidly runs them through his fingers. But this time he allows the cards to pause just as the finger and thumb of the spectator close on one side of the cards. Curiously enough, this is the very one the conjurer wishes him to take. The card is brought to the centre by a device of sleight-ofhand called “the pass,” made by transposing two halves of a pack, thus bringing a card which was on the top half of a pack to the centre of it. This is done by holding the pack in the left hand and taking hold of about half of it with the right hand. The right hand holds the upper half by the ends, and the left hand holds the lower half by the fingers, and the ball of the thumb holds the sides. Now the bottom half is pushed into the fork of the thumb and the right hand takes the pack it is holding a little to one side. Then comes a slight raising of the left-hand packet and a slight lowering of the right-hand packet, so they are transposed and brought together. The reader will find the little finger of the left hand is of great use in this operation, both for separating the packs ready for the transposition and for keeping them separate afterwards until the card is “forced.” The whole movement can be disguised by a sweep of the arms at the crucial moment, or the same effect can be brought about by a quick turn to the left or right. An accomplished performer can make this “force” by spreading the cards fan-shape in one hand, offering to the spectator, and moving the fan with a twist of his wrist so that it brings the card into the desired position just as the spectator’s fingers close upon it. But in using the “forcing” method it is important to be able to do a trick if the wrong card is taken. One of the simplest is to offer to bring the chosen card to a certain number in the pack, such number to be chosen by the spectator. We will assume that he chooses the twelfth card. You hand him the pack and ask him to count twelve cards upon the table and he looks at the twelfth card and finds it is not his. You then boldly put the cards back on top of the pack and ask him again to count down. This time he finds the twelfth card is the card he chose. To do this you have to have the card replaced in the pack on the lower half you offer the spectator. You then put the upper half on the top of it and make the “pass,” thus bringing the chosen card to the top. The rest works itself automatically. You then try again to “force” your card, this time with better success perhaps. Then you can reproduce it by having a substitute in any surprising place you prefer. For instance, if you are able to slip it on a person’s chair just before he sits down and then force a similar card upon him, the effect is astonishing. Of course a “force” can be made by having a pack made up of cards all alike. In this case you ask a person to take a card, letting him have free choice. Then ask permission to turn your back on the audience for a moment while you invite the gentleman who is holding the chosen card to exhibit it to the rest of the audience. Meanwhile you change the pack that you are holding for another ordinary pack in your waistcoat opening, so as to be able to hand back an ordinary pack to shuffle the card into.


If you wish to “force” three cards, you make up a pack of a series of threes, repetitions of the three cards. Bring forward this pack on a tray and ask a spectator to cut it into several heaps, then to choose one heap and from it take the three top cards, keep one himself, and hand the other two to his neighbours. I once designed a “force” of three cards as follows: I first invited a gentleman on to the stage and handed him a pack of cards, requesting him to shuffle them. When he had done so, I took the cards from him and handed him a rectangular tray and asked him to hold it in front of him. I then proceeded to deal the cards out on to one end of the tray quite slowly, requesting him to stop me at any moment. When he said “Stop,” I took the card I was about to place on the tray and placed it on the other end of the tray, repeating this three times. I then gathered the dealt cards together with the rest of the pack and handed the whole pack to the gentleman assisting, at the same time taking the tray from him containing the three chosen cards. I now explained to the audience how impossible it was for myself or any other person present to be able to tell which cards they were, and having repeated this statement emphatically, I turned the cards over and, spreading them out, showed everyone present what they were. I then handed them, one at a time, to the gentleman to put into the pack and shuffle. The tray used was especially made for the “force” described. The inner part of the tray was covered with a small patterned cloth of darkish texture. Furthermore, there was a hinged flap at one end of the tray. This flap was covered with the same cloth as the tray and affixed to each side of it were two thin wire springs, one at the top edge of the flap, and one at the side. The flap was a little larger than a playing card, prepared by putting three cards on one side of it under the spring wires and face upwards. The spring wires were just long enough to hold these cards in position. The flap was then turned so that the cards were underneath. These were the cards that were intended to be forced and in laying the other cards down, the selected ones were laid one at a time on the upper side of the flap and inserted beneath the light springs. When the performer says, “I will turn the cards over,” he actually turns the flap, just like turning the leaf of a book. It must be understood that slight cavities were made in the wood of the tray underneath the cloth. The cloth was so arranged as to sag when the flap was turned on it. At the same time, the flap stretched the cloth on the other side to keep all level over the depression. There was also a small knob at each side which the flap had to pass before it laid flat. A slight pressure would push it past the knobs, and a slight pull would pull it out, the moment the flap was turned over. Appearing to be the cards on the other side, the cards were quickly spread by the performer’s fingers so everyone could see the names of all three. It may be added that this change would be a suitable one for a bank-note, an envelope, or folded paper.


The performer must be careful about the light that is cast on the tray. Of course, in a stage performance the trick is best done close to the footlights so that the glare of the lights makes the top of the tray comparatively dark. The best conditions can easily be found out by experiment and precautions taken with the lights used in any particular cases. Another way of using a change of packs as described, is to give a pack into a spectator’s hands and ask him freely to select one card. The performer then takes back the rest of the cards and, turning his back on the audience with due apologies, requests the spectator to display the card he has chosen to the rest of the audience. The performer then turns round and hands the spectator the pack, requesting him to replace the card and shuffle it among the others. The pack is then returned to the conjurer who immediately extracts the chosen card. The secret of this trick lies in the preparation of the pack. The preparation consists in shaving the whole pack from the ends for just a fraction of an inch. He substitutes this pack when he turns so that the card replied in the shortened pack can, by its difference in size, be instantly located by the performer. Then he has knowledge and possession of the card and can end the trick in any way he pleases. Of course, the same thing can be done with two or three cards. Another way of keeping track of a card—and a good substitute for the “pass”—is what is known as the “false shuffle.” I always believe in simplifying the means of performing any illusion. Thus I have always taught amateurs to eliminate the “pass” in card tricks as much as possible. For instance, it is usual to receive back a chosen card on the lower half of the pack; then put the two halves together; then make the pass, and then “false shuffle” the cards. I suggest the pass in this instance is not necessary. I receive back the card on the lower half, bring the top half to it, and keeping the two separated by the little finger of the left hand, leave it thus for a few seconds, then separate again by commencing to “false shuffle.” To do this I naturally take the top half. This leaves the chosen card on the top and I continue to “false shuffle” by slipping the chosen card each time I transfer cards from the back to the front of the pack.


CHAPTER II CARD MAGIC (continued) HAVING dealt with two of the primary sleights for card work, namely, the “force” and the “pass,” we will proceed to two other sleights—the “palm” and the “change” and a few tricks that can be done by the aid of all four sleights. “Palming” a card merely means concealing it in the hand. Of course, it cannot be strictly in the palm as a coin may be, but it is sufficiently concealed to hide it. The great secret of the “palm” is to keep the hand natural-looking, with the fingers half curled. The thumb can be freely used for such actions as fiddling with the bottom button of one’s waistcoat, or holding a pack of cards by its side. The method of getting the card, or cards, into the hand, is to count them from the top of the pack held in the left hand by pushing the cards one at a time over the further edge, that is, the furthest from the performer. The right hand conceals this movement and the thumb gets underneath the cards and pushes them into the position required. When this is done the right hand takes hold of the pack, while the left hand does something else. Anything will do. The pack is again replaced in the left hand, and the right hand is naturally, but carefully, held so as not to show the cards within it. The “change” consists in changing one card for another in full view of the audience. The card is rapidly passed from left to right, but in doing so is allowed to touch the pack for a fraction of time. The card must be held loosely between the first two fingers of the right hand. As it passes the pack the thumb of the right hand takes a card, which is allowed to protrude from the top of the pack in the left hand and is seized by the thumb and forefinger of the right hand. The left hand also receives the bottom card, taking it with fingers underneath the pack, and it is simply slid in between the fingers and the pack. There is a brilliant trick called “La Carte Generale,” ages old, which one never sees nowadays. It has always been a favourite of mine and I should much like to see it revived. The conjurer comes forward with a pack of cards and has them shuffled by one of the spectators. Then he asks him to select a card. He then asks another person to select a card and so on until five cards have been selected. Having had them all replaced in the pack, the performer holds the pack behind his back, and selecting five cards from it presents them to each of the choosers and asks them if their card is amongst those. Each one having replied in the affirmative, they are again replaced in different parts of the pack. The performer now undertakes to select the individual cards, and taking one out of the pack, he addresses one person remarking: “This is your card, sir.” The person addressed denies this. “Oh, it must be yours,” says the performer, addressing another of those con-


cerned. “No, not mine,” says he, and so on until everyone has denied the card. He then commences again at the first person who is now surprised to find the card is his; the second person also agrees, the card appearing to have changed to his. Also with the third, fourth, and fifth. “So it’s everyone’s card,” and showing it once more to the whole audience, the performer says: “Now it’s no one’s card.” This trick is not suitable for a stage performance, but excellent at an after-dinner concert, or any other function at which the performer can be among the audience. The secret is this: The first, second, and third persons freely choose their cards. They are simply asked to take one from the pack, and no attempt is made to “force” cards. They are asked carefully to note the name of the card. The third card to be selected is put back into the pack and “forced” on to the fourth person. He puts it back and it is “forced” on the fifth person and put back. Then the other two cards are collected so that the performer has the three cards kept in position at the top of the pack by using the “pass” method, that is, each time he presents the lower half of the pack while he holds the other half in the right hand, the card having been placed on the lower half. The two halves are brought together and secretly kept apart by the little finger. Then the “pass” is made, bringing the desired card to the top. The first time this is done is with the third card. This is “forced” for the fourth and again for the fifth and, finally, the first and second are replaced. When the performer puts the pack behind his back he simply takes off the five top cards and shows them to each one who has chosen a card, asking the same question: “Is your card among these?” Each one having said, “Yes,” the audience are led to believe that the five cards are the five different cards chosen. He then commences with one card. He now changes this by means of the “change” and transforms it into the first person’s card, which was the last replaced. Again he transforms this into the second person’s card, again making the “change.” The card becomes the third person’s. He now has only to get as much effect as he can out of the apparent change of the third card into those belonging to the fourth and fifth persons. Now he makes the “change” once more and shows a card which belongs to nobody. One hint—take care the persons who select the third, fourth, and fifth cards are seated as far as possible from one another. Another excellent trick much neglected of late is one in which the performer asks a gentleman to come and assist him. Handing him a pack of cards, he requests him to shuffle it, spread the cards out face downwards, and then go to four persons in the audience and ask each one of them to select and retain one card. Then taking the pack from the assistant the performer requests him to hold his right hand in front of him and ask each person who has selected a card to place them on his outstretched hand, one on top of the other. The performer has meanwhile gone up on the stage with the pack, and asks the assistant to join him and also invites him to give back the cards, offering half of the pack to put them on. He then himself puts the other half on and begins to shuffle them. Now addressing the gentleman he enquires: “Have you an inside pocket in your coat, sir?.... You have.” “Would you mind emptying it of the contents and put them on this table? Take out all the little bills, that’s right. Now will you shuffle the pack, sir? Are you sure your pocket is empty? I am now going to place the cards in your pocket, so. Now if you will give me your hand, sir, and


look into my eyes, I will try and influence you in such a way that you will select from your pocket the very cards that have been chosen by these ladies and gentlemen. “For instance, madam, what was the name of your card?” She replies, saying: “The Queen of Hearts.” “Now, sir, look at me, I’m going to count three, then I will leave go of your hand. I want you to plunge it into your pocket and pick out one card from the pack, and it will be the very card that the lady chose. But remember you must be quick about it so that the influence doesn’t evaporate." This programme is duly carried out four times running, and each card picked out represents one of those chosen by the audience. “Now, sir,” continues the performer, “will you give me the rest of the cards from your pocket. I’m afraid they are not all here, sir.” The performer then plunges his hand into the waistcoat of the assistant with a whispered apology and pulls out from the waistcoat several cards. He also takes a fan of cards from behind the man’s ear and shakes some more down from underneath his waistcoat, and, from underneath the shoulder of his coat, surprisingly produces a string of cards, which reach half-way across the stage. The performer throws these round his own neck and produces another string from the other shoulder of the assistant. The performer then plunges his hand under the coat of the assistant and produces a string of large cards, amidst roars of laughter. The assistant is now allowed to pick up his belongings, and once more the performer puts his hand into the waistcoat of the assistant, and produces a long barber’s pole, which, when developed, reaches to the top of the stage. “You apparently carry the North Pole about with you, sir,” remarks the conjurer as he bows him off the stage. The explanation of this is very simple. When the cards are collected, the performer has to note the order in which they are replaced, so that the last replaced will be the first produced. It must be remembered also that the auditors are requested not to forget their individual cards. When the four are replaced on the lower half of the pack, the performer brings the two halves together and makes the “pass.” Then he begins to shuffle the cards by taking about half the pack or more and transferring the cards, a few at a time, to the other side of the pack remaining in the left hand, taking care not to let the four top cards go, but keeping them at the top. He then palms them off under the cover of the assistant emptying his pockets. He afterwards hands the pack to the assistant to shuffle and, taking it back again, enquires once more about the pocket. Meanwhile the performer bends the whole pack slightly inwards, and in this condition puts them into the assistant’s pocket. The assistant, eager to comply with the performer’s directions, invariably selects the top card simply because it is the first that comes to hand and he is being hurried on all the time by the performer. If by any chance he should happen to select a wrong card, the performer suggests that he wasn’t quick enough and shows him how to do it by selecting the card himself.


The last part of the business is managed chiefly by palming the cards which are materialised. They are kept in the side pocket of the performer’s coat, or in the pochette (a small pocket in the lining of a tail-coat used for “vanishing” small articles, or producing them). The large cards are held,in position by a paper clip under the left armpit of the performer, and boldly going to the assistant, he opens his coat, at the same time pulling down the pack of giant cards, quickly puts them underneath the assistant’s coat, and holding them in that position with the other hand, pulls them out, unfolding them at the same time. The so-called “North Pole” is a long strip of coloured cartridge paper, which is rolled up and pulled out again by the centre. Pulled out at equal lengths, this attains a surprising effect of solidity.


CHAPTER III BILLIARD BALL MAGIC Use has been made in this and the following chapter of certain material from my portion of the book Our Magic (now out of print) by Nevil Maskelyne and myself, with the kind permission of the Publishers, Geo. Routledge & Sons, Ltd.—Author’s Note. IN billiard balls we have a moderate-sized object, dear to the heart of the manipulator. As with the cards, so with billiard balls. The manipulator finds the temptation strong upon him to linger lovingly over sleights, passes, and palms galore, whilst losing sight of the ultimate effect on the mind of his. audience. I do not remember ever to have seen an illusion with billiard balls in which the effect was not blurred by this sort of thing instead of being made to stand out in relief like a clear-cut cameo. On being asked afterwards what the conjurer did with a billiard ball the spectator probably replied: “Oh, all sorts of things.” Now, one does not wish to hear a criticism like that if one has been displaying a feat of magic; rather would one hear a greatly exaggerated description. Again, manipulation pure and simple will not carry a conjurer very far if he is using billiard balls and eggs. Let us suppose that a modern conjurer was in the power of some cannibal tribe and that his very life depended upon proving to them that he was a real “magic” man. Even the cleverest sleight-of-hand performer would stand a very poor chance of living if all he had with him was, say, half a dozen ivory billiard balls and the same number of eggs. He would not know one cumulative feat of magic with them simply because no genius has as yet invented one. But give the same conjurer twenty silver coins and a top hat and he would know what to do. The natives would be astonished to see him catching money from the air, picking coins from all sorts of places, and throwing them into the hat. Even if the savages were so fortunate as not to know what money was they would still wonder at this medicine man who created those shining discs at his fingertips. If, instead of the money and the hat, the conjurer had three cups and a few cork balls of different sizes and three oranges or apples, he might still convince his audience that he was a genuine magician because his play with these articles would have a plot—a beginning, a middle, and an end. In brief, it would be a satisfactory effect. As a matter of fact, apart from playing-cards, there are very few complete feats of magic which are not dependent on some form of mechanical aid. I believe that “The Cups and Balls” and the “Catching Money Trick” are the oldest and best illusions that have ever been accomplished by pure sleight-of-hand, or manual dexterity, alone. But, to return to our billiard balls and eggs. Given a little help in the shape of mechanical devices the modern magician can make a very good showing with these objects.


Disraeli said of description that it “was always a bore both to the describer and the describee.” I will do my best to curtail the description of multiplication, and I believe that the shortest way in the case of the deception which is the subject of this chapter will be to describe first the illusion exactly as it ought to appear to the audience, and then follow that with the plan for imparting the secrets. Imagine, then, the conjurer commencing by coming forward to the audience with nothing in his hands and asking permission to pluck a billiard ball from a gentleman’s beard, preferably a snow-white beard. After indicating to those near just where the ball is nestling, he reaches forward with his right hand, just touches the beard with his fingers, and sure enough a red billiard ball is produced. On the stage, or part of the room which forms the stage, is a table. The table is on the prompt side, that is to say, on the right-hand side as seen from the auditorium. The conjurer goes up to the table and drops the billiard ball on a plate which is lying there in readiness. Everyone can hear that the billiard ball is a solid one. It is, in fact, an ivory ball. To use wood or other imitation substance detracts much from the experiment. When the balls are knocked together one hears that little click peculiar to real billiard balls. This convinces the audience that the balls are heavy and consequently difficult to manage, which they usually are. But the effect of using ivory balls well repays one for the extra work required in practising the manipulations. “I am very glad you brought a white beard,” continues the conjurer, “because you see I have a red ball. Now, from a red beard I usually get a white ball, but it is really all the same to me. You observe that this ball is distinctly red. I have only to pass my right hand lightly over it and it becomes a white one. I will tell you how that is done. I use two. The red one is hidden behind the white.” On saying this the conjurer, with the fingers of his right hand, takes a red ball from behind the white, which is between the finger and thumb of his left hand. “I will explain how a conjurer can pocket the white.” Here he picks up the white ball which he had dropped with the other on the plate. “Look! I throw this into the air and it seems to disappear. In reality it has dropped into this little pocket behind my right knee.” Apparently he throws it up into the air and it vanishes; immediately afterwards, he reproduces it from behind his right knee. “I am covered with secret pockets. I had nine tailors to make that one.” Saying this he transfers the ball to his left hand. “There is another thing I can do with a billiard ball. I can cause it to multiply. I simply touch this one and it becomes two, each quite solid.” Again he drops them on the plate. “That is quite easy with two hands, but it is much more difficult with one hand only. I will roll up one of my sleeves, and show you what I mean.” He pulls his right coat sleeve over his elbow, and rolls up his shirt sleeve over it, and picking up one of the white balls and rap-


ping it on the table top to prove again its solidity he holds it in position and is ready to commence the most important part of the experiment. It will be noticed that if the body be twisted to the left without altering the position of the hand holding the ball the performer will naturally show both sides of the hand as well as the ball and it will be obvious that nothing but the ball is in the hand. When a second ball appears suddenly beside it, whilst the conjurer holds his hand thus outstretched the full length of his arm from his body, and when the conjurer further proves that they are both solid ivory balls by knocking them together, then indeed we have a surprise which savours of real magic. A rule laid down by Professor Hoffmann, and insisted on by most other writers, is to the effect that no feat of magic should be repeated at the same performance. But that rule does not apply to an effect such as this. If it is wonderful to see one ball produced, it is more wonderful to see two balls, and then three. The fourth is considered more wonderful still, but were there a weak point in the trick of obtaining these balls or any suspiciously unnatural movement used, then it would not bear the repetition which, as it is, forms the perplexing part of this feat. The conjurer, having proved the two balls solid, stretches out the hand containing them, holding one ball between the thumb and first finger and the other between the second and third fingers. Again he describes a half-circle with his arm, showing all sides of both hand and balls, and again a new ball appears from nowhere. The inexplicable thing about this is that the balls are solid ivory, which fact the conjurer takes care to impress upon the onlookers by taking one of the three with his disengaged hand and rattling it on the other two. Having done this the three are shown as before. Slowly the hand is turned in every direction; only three balls can be seen. Again that slight shake of the one hand, and once more a ball mysteriously joins those already there. There are now four balls between the five fingers of the hand. The hand can hold no more. The balls are dropped on the plate, one at a time, to show again that they are solid ivory. It must be remembered that we are taking these examples of magic from an actual, existing repertoire and, therefore, although the billiard ball feat is now virtually over, there is still a second phase of the experiment to describe in which eggs are used. The conjurer continues: “There is still another little thing I can do with a billiard ball. I can transform a billiard ball into anything that I happen to want. Suppose I want a mutton-chop or a footbath. All I have to do is to pass my hand lightly over a billiard ball and I get what I require, which in this case is an egg.” Here the transformation is effected in exactly the same way as the former change from the red ball to the white. In this case it is also as well to use the red ball for the sake of the contrast in colour. It will be found that white balls can be seen by an audience much better than red ones, and that is why white is chosen for the principal effect I have described. Having got the egg, the billiard ball is produced from the back of the hand and thrown on the plate with the others. Sundry movements are executed with the egg—in dumb show, of


course. During the production of the billiard balls the conjurer has been talking. I have only indicated the patter actually used here and there, because I cannot communicate the manner of speaking together with the words. The style of delivery cannot be taught here. For instance, one of my little jokes was to say: “You notice, ladies and gentlemen, that my hand never leaves the end of my arm.” This looks inane in type, but said in a certain manner it always elicited a laugh. Placing the egg on the left hand the conjurer makes it vanish and reproduces it from the elbow. It is then put into the mouth, swallowed, and reproduced from underneath the edge of the waistcoat. Again it is placed between the lips, swallowed, and found behind the right ear. Once more it is put into the mouth, and rediscovered in the right-hand waistcoat pocket, and then taken in the left hand and passed from the left side of the left knee to the opposite side of the right knee. The effect in this case ought to be as though there were a tube through which the egg is thrown. It goes in at one end and is met by the other hand on emerging at the other. It is passed through the body in the same way. The performer puts the egg in the left hand, smacks himself on the back, and meets the egg at about the top button of the waistcoat. Now, as a variant, he drops it into his left sleeve from the left hand, and to all appearances it travels across his back and visibly rolls out of his right sleeve. Lastly he bangs the top of his head with the left hand in which he has once more deposited the egg, and this harlequin of an egg appears between his lips. Receiving it in the palm of his right hand he places it in his left, and, then seemingly to his own great astonishment, another appears in his mouth. This he also meets with his right hand and transfers to his left. This is repeated thrice more, and thus four eggs have been produced from his mouth to the accompaniment-as a rule—of hearty laughter from the whole audience. (Fig. 1.) The last part of the feat must be done delicately, and with the light comedian’s sense of humour, but these touches I cannot impart. I have described the illusion and it must be left to the student as to whether it suits his style. Done in the wrong way, the production of eggs from the mouth would appear vulgar. Done in the right way it is simply amusing and an excellent finish to multiplication. Now for the secret. First of all, since we are no wizards, we require the following fakes and devices. First, a shell of celluloid to represent half a white ball. It fits neatly, but not at all tightly, over three of the five white balls used. The remaining two white balls are made a little larger than the others. One of them is so large that the shell fits over it fairly tightly, and the other is a little bigger, so that when the shell is pressed on to it the ball can be thrown about without dislodging the shell. The exact sizes of the balls are as follows:


A, RED, 1-3/4 inches. B, WHITE, 1-13/16 inches. C, WHITE, 1-25/32 inches. D, E, F, White, 1-3/4 inches. SHELL, 1-7/8 inches. Celluloid eggs. G, H, I, J, K. I will refer to the balls and eggs by these letters. A very useful device is the wire ball-holder, made of one piece of brass wire twisted into the form seen in the sketch of the apparatus (Fig. 2). Three of these are used, but more may be used if the performer desires.

Sleights. Two modes of concealing a ball or egg in the hand are used. The first is what is known as “palming,” and consists of holding the object between the ball of the thumb and that raised part of the palm on the opposite side of the hand. (Fig. 3.) The ball is held by a slight contraction of the muscles at the base of the thumb. To learn how to palm the ball in

this way place the ball in the centre of the open hand, with all the fingers wide apart, and try to grip the ball by moving the whole length of the thumb inwards without bending any part of it. After considerable practice it will be found that a small object can be held in this way without moving the fingers to any appreciable extent, and the hand can be turned right over and held in any position without danger oF dropping the object. (Fig. 4.)


The next thing to acquire is the power of using the fingers freely by handling other things at the same time that the concealed object is “palmed.” As concealment is the sole reason for this sleight it follows that the last and not the least important part of the practice must be devoted to drilling oneself into always holding the hand in such a position that no one sees any part of the palmed article. Another and easier way of concealing the ball in the hand is used in this combination; I shall refer to it hereafter as the finger palm. The ball is held as in Figs. 5 and 6 and the method is learnt in this way: slightly bend the fingers of one hand and lay the ball in the hollow thus formed (Fig. 5). Then bend the fingers just sufficiently to grip the ball and turn the hand over afterwards (Fig. 6). Practise gripping the ball with the two middle fingers leaving the other two free for such use as can be made of them without disclosing the presence of the concealed ball. They can be

stretched out but cannot be spread wide apart. There are also two “transfers” to practise. I will allude to them as the single transfer and the double transfer. To acquire the first, which is used to convey the ball from the finger palm to the palm proper of one hand, it is necessary to bend the two middle fingers quickly inwards. This ought to be done without moving the other fingers. Try it first without the ball and, when the tips of the middle fingers can be made to touch the ball of the thumb without much movement of the remaining fingers, palm one of the balls and make the same movement, which will roll the ball very quickly into the right position for the palm proper. A pressure of the fingers must be made simultaneously with the grip of the receiving palm which holds the ball, leaving the fingers free to be stretched out again immediately. The “double transfer” is easier when once the pupil has acquired facility in the other sleights. I use it to transfer a concealed ball from one hand to the other. It consists in finger-palming with one hand and palming with the other. The palm of the receiving hand is brought over the ball, finger-palmed in the other, or the fingers of the receiving hand are brought over the ball in the palm of the opposite hand. To do this the hands must be brought together on some excuse or other, and in Figs. 7, 8, and 9 we have first the right


hand taking a visible ball from between the finger and thumb of the left hand and at the same time transferring a hidden ball from the palm of the right hand to the finger-palm of

the left. In the next sketch the hands are seen together being taken across the body. In the last the movement is completed, and the hidden ball is finger-palmed in the left hand, now back,to the spectators, while the palm of the right is exposed. By repeating this movement one gets the effect of showing both hands back and front without pointedly referring to them. The ostensible reason for doing this is to display the visible billiard ball. “Apparent transfers” are also sleights which are very important. I will attempt to describe those used in the illusion of “multiplication.” I will name the sleights for reference later as “apparent transfer with palm,” “apparent transfer with finger-palm,” “apparent transfer with combination palm.” By “apparent transfer” I mean the apparent taking or placing of a ball in one of the hands while in reality it is retained by the other.


Apparent transfer with Palm. The ball is held on the open palm of the right hand. The left hand is about to pick it up—as shown in Figs. 10 and 11, but the fingers do not close over it,

although they appear to do so. In reality, as the hands are separated, the right is turned with its back to the audience to conceal the ball which is palmed while the fingers of the left are made to curl over an imaginary ball. Apparent transfer with Finger-Palm. The ball is held in the grip of the fingers and the hand containing it is turned towards the open palm of the other hand as though dropping

the ball into it. But the fingers do not relax; they retain the ball while the fingers of the other hand curl over as though they had really received it. Just before making this transfer the ball can be thrown up and caught in the hollowed fingers, or dropped from a position between the finger and thumb and thence apparently tossed into the other hand. (Figs. 12 and 13).


Apparent transfer by Combination Palm. In this the action of putting the ball into the opposite hand is simulated, whereas in the first transfer the ball was apparently taken by the receiving hand and in the second it was dropped into the receiving hand.

The ball is held between finger and thumb of one hand and as the hand travels towards the other it is dropped into the finger-palm position, thence transferred to the palm proper, and the fingers of both hands take part in an imitation of giving and receiving the ball (Figs. 14 and 15). A looking-glass will do more for the student than any written description. Once he understands the sequence of any given move let him try it before a mirror, without the secret palms, and then, when he is quite familiar with the appearance of the real movement let him add the necessary hidden manipulations. If he finds that the real and the imitation appear natural and look alike then he will have taught himself just how to use the subterfuge. Further, he will realise just how much difference there is between knowing what to do and how to do it, just where the secrets sink into insignificance compared to the power of acting. I do not advise the use of the mirror except as a check on preliminary crudities, because one is apt, after long practice before a glass, to depend too much upon its aid. Preparations. The balls and eggs are disposed about the person in the following way. The holders are hung on to spring hooks sewn to the trousers in the position seen in the next sketch (Fig. 16), and balls D, E, and C, WHITE, are put into them, D and E being nearest to the left hand of the performer. The eggs G, H, I, J, are placed under the waistcoat on the left-hand side. Eggs I, K, are put one in the right waistcoat pocket, and one in the right-hand coat pocket. Balls A, RED, and B, WHITE (with the shell on it), are placed in a left-hand pocket of the


tail coat, A, RED, being nearest the left hand. The remaining ball F, WHITE, is put under the waistcoat at, about the centre. To hold the eggs and balls under the waistcoat with safety the waistcoat is prepared in the following way. It is first buttoned up and slit up the back seam. A tab with a large button and a buttonhole are placed behind the collar, a loop of elastic, and a button in the middle of the back, and at the back of the waist line, as seen in Fig. 16. The loop of elastic accommodates itself to the trick by stretching as required, but if this is not thought sufficiently safe the wire holders may be sewn inside the waistcoat.


CHAPTER IV BILLIARD BALL MAGIC (continued) HAVING now prepared our paraphernalia and perfected the various sleights required, we can proceed to the method of working. After showing the hands, let the left hand rest lightly on the lower edge of the waistcoat and press the ball F, WHITE, down with the thumb and “finger-palm” it. Act as though you were about to take the ball from the beard with the empty right hand, and pull up the right sleeve with the left hand. Then pull up the left sleeve with the right hand and, as the hands cross, execute the “double transfer.” To produce the ball plunge the fingers into the beard or behind some other object and let the ball roll or drop quickly to the finger tips. Immediately afterwards bring it into view very slowly. When turning to the table to drop the ball on the plate bring the left hand, which is held at the side, to the tail-coat pocket, secure the ball, RED), A, from there and “fingerpalm” it. The “double transfer” is executed once or twice, finally leaving the red ball palmed in the right hand and the white ball between the finger and thumb of the left hand. The right hand is placed in front of the white ball and “fingerpalms” it. The moment the fingers grip it the finger and thumb of the left hand leave the white ball and grasp the red ball which has been brought by the palm of the right hand just underneath. The right hand is lowered away again taking the white ball with it and this is transferred from the fingers to the palm by the “single transfer,” and the red ball is displayed. The “double transfer” is used, and the white ball is produced from behind the red ball. The single transfer is executed very smartly. Standing with his right side towards the audience the conjurer throws the ball a couple of feet high. It is caught by the “finger-palm,” and while the hand makes an upward motion as though throwing the ball a second time, the single transfer is executed very smartly and the fingers are spread wide apart. While the ball is being produced from the right knee the conjurer, using the other hand, obtains B, WroTE, from the tail pocket and fingerpalms it. Now an apparent transfer by combination palm is made with F, WHITE, to the left hand, which discloses B, WHITE, at the same instant. Another “double transfer” is made to show only one ball, and then F, WHITE, is produced from behind B, WHITE. Now loosen the ball in the shell slightly with the fingers of one hand. Then hold both shell and ball by the first finger and thumb of the right hand in such a way that the second finger can be brought down behind and underneath the ball. Lift the ball and roll it upwards so that it finally rests and is held between the upper part of the first finger and the lower side of the second finger. Figs. 17, 18, and 19 show three phases of the movement as seen by the audience.


Meanwhile the other hand has secured D, WHITE, and “finger-palmed” it, and as the performer takes the newly produced ball from between the first and second fingers of his right

hand with the finger and thumb of his left he neatly puts the hidden ball into the shell without any effort further than receiving and holding it with the finger and thumb that holds the shell. After knocking the solid balls together without disclosing the presence of the shell, which is now on D, WHITE, the conjurer places B, WHITE, between the second and third fingers of the right hand. The second finger is kept close to the first finger and eventually is slipped behind and under the ball in the shell and brings it into view as it did the last ball. The difficulty is greatly increased because the movement of the second finger is hampered by the ball resting above it, which has to be held by the two fingers during the whole operation. The conjurer now obtains E, WHITE, and gets it into the empty shell as he did D, by taking the last produced ball away from the right hand for the purpose of rattling it against the other two.


When he replaces the ball he puts it between the third and little fingers of his right hand, leaving the space between the first and second fingers to be filled in the same way as before, but the difficulty is increased. He has now once more secured a ball—C, WHITE—with the left hand, which carries it behind the shell under the pretext of taking the last produced ball away to drop it on the plate. C, WHITE, is the biggest ball, and it is pressed well into the shell, which half covers it. When the ball is dropped on the plate with the others it safely carries the shell with it. Turning to the left the conjurer then reaches across to the plate and picks up the red ball with his right hand. Under cover of this movement the left hand goes to the right-hand breast pocket and finger-palms the egg. The double transfer and change are effected in the same way as with the red and white balls. It is now put behind the hand by the apparent transfer with combination palm done very quickly, and rolled back into view very slowly. Then follow, as already described: Apparent transfer with palm. Apparent transfer with combination palm. The same. The egg is now really put into the mouth and held there while another egg is taken from the pocket. Then follow three more apparent transfers with combination palm. In the last of these, and while the left hand appears to be dropping an egg down the sleeve, the right-hand fingers pull the right-hand sleeve over the egg in the palm, so that the egg actually rolls out of the sleeve on its reappearance in public. Again the apparent transfer with combination palm is used. The palm concealing the egg is brought right over the egg between the lips and under the cover thus given the egg in the mouth is drawn back again into the mouth and the concealed egg is held for a moment by the lips and then dropped into the hand which was lowered the moment the second egg was in position. Visibly and actually, but during the last movement the left hand has secured one of the eggs from under the vest and finger-palmed it. This egg is transferred to the right hand when it places the visible egg in the left. The two preceding movements are now repeated and the last egg to drop into the hand is, of course, the one which has been held in the mouth from the earlier movement. The particular egg used for this must be selected to fit the mouth comfortably, and may be a little smaller than the others.


Another ball trick and probably one of the most ancient forms of conjuring is “The Cup and Balls.” The principles used are very few and simple. One is to catch a ball (cork balls are used as a rule) between the finger and thumb and roll it quickly with the thumb to the base of the two middle fingers and there retain it by a slight pressure of the fleshy parts of the fingers, at the same time pretending to place it in the other hand. Then you open the fingers of the other hand and apparently leave the ball underneath a cup which is standing mouth downwards on the table. Then you throw the ball a few inches in the air, catch it with the right hand, apparently put it in the left, lift the cup with the right hand and apparently place the ball underneath the cup from the left hand. The right hand now picks up another cup. Calling attention to the fact there is nothing underneath the cup, the performer replaces it on the table and in doing so leaves the ball, which is between the fingers, underneath the cup. This is managed by spreading the hand out and grasping the cup by the lower edge with the finger and thumb, at the same time lowering the other part of the hand, making a slight relaxation of the fingers which hold the ball, and allowing it to drop on to the table underneath the cup at the same instant as the lower edges of the cup touch the table. The performer commences with three cups and one ball. He puts the ball apparently under cup number one and raises cups numbers two and three and shows the ball which he apparently put under cup number one has transferred itself to number two. Then he replaces it under number two and transfers it in the same way to number three. The next step is magically to produce two more balls. This can be done by withdrawing one daintily from the top of a wand, and the other, say, from behind the right ear. These two balls are secured from under the waistcoat where they have been securely hidden up till now. When you have produced them, you lay them on the cups and thus have one for each cup. You now secretly obtain the fourth ball, which you retain in your hand. Picking up one cup with the same hand, you place the ball that was on the top of the cup underneath it, at the same time releasing the hidden ball. Now you pretend to put the centre ball under the centre cup, and cover the third with the third cup. Releasing the ball you should have put under the centre cup, you now have two balls under each of the end cups and nothing in the centre cup. But to the audience you appear to have three balls, one under each cup. You now offer to transfer the ball under the centre cup to either of the end cups. Whichever is chosen you lift up, showing two balls, and turning the centre cup over it is seen to be empty. You now pick up one of the balls and pass it magically under the other end cup, which is proved by displaying the two. You are now left with three balls on the table and one in your right hand, concealed. The next pass one might do is a very pretty one. It may here be mentioned that the cups are made in the shape of truncated cones, with an upright band of metal round the base. The top of each cup is slightly concave and by this shape three balls can be concealed between two cups. To proceed, the performer lifts up the centre cup and, placing it on the table mouth downwards, places a ball on top of it and covers it with one of the other cups, then places the


third cup on top of that. He now lifts up all three, showing the ball beneath the cup, and letting the pile rest in his hand, mouths upward. He takes the bottom one off and quickly puts it on the table; then the second one on the top of the ball, so that there are now two balls underneath that cup; the third one he puts on the table. He now puts another ball on the centre cup and the other two cups on the top; turns them over, shows two balls underneath and repeats the same movement with the third ball. I generally finished here and proceeded with the multiplication pass. I borrowed a handkerchief and held it with three corners to form a sort of bag. I then picked up one of the cups and put the ball underneath it, apparently into the handkerchief, in reality retaining it in the hand; then picked up another cup, leaving the ball underneath that, picked up a ball and apparently threw it into the handkerchief; then picked up another cup and placed the ball that was underneath that into the handkerchief, and kept on thus pretending to pick up the balls and place them in the handkerchief. Finally I picked up the three cups and showing the three balls, took the handkerchief to a gentleman and asked him to’ count the balls, and of course he found the handkerchief empty. In my passage back to the table, I secured two larger balls from underneath my waistcoat, and lifting up two of the cups, replaced them on the table in different positions, leaving the larger balls underneath them. Placing the two balls on the top of the cups, I secured the third ball and did the same with the third cup. You now have three cups with three balls on the top of them, and three larger balls inside them. You want to impress upon the audience to watch the cups, and taking one of the balls you throw it into the air from a little distance into the cup. Now the left hand having done this, you approach the cup with the right hand, while the left hand secures a small orange from the left-hand side of the waistcoat. The right hand takes the cup up, disclosing the larger ball, and quickly transfers the cup to the left hand, coolly inserting the orange into it, when all eyes are on the ball that is just disclosed. The same thing is done with the other two cups, so that you now have three balls visible and three oranges invisible. These you pressed into the upper part of the cups so that by lifting the cups up gently, there is seen to be nothing underneath them. You then pick up one of the visible balls and lifting the cup up again, put it down with a sharp tap, thus dislodging the orange, which falls upon the table now to be disclosed at will, but before doing so you repeat the same movements with the other two cups, getting rid of the larger balls as you go along, finally lifting the cups up and displaying the oranges. This finishes the exhibition, and, to my mind, is the most sensational part of the whole trick. To keep the balls in position under the waistcoat a band of elastic should be inserted beneath the lower edge of the waistcoat and buttoned at the back, thus preventing the balls from slipping down; they are easily rolled in and out of cover.


CHAPTER V FLOWER MAGIC TRICKS with flowers are always effective and well received by any audience. Here is one that Bautier used to do, and which is almost forgotten now. On a table the audience see a small bouquet of flowers in a tumbler, or other holder, generally made up in the form of an early Victorian nosegay, and on the same table is a folded opera hat and a couple of sheets of tissue paper coloured a dark purple. On another table is a cage containing a small dove. The trick is called “The Dream of the Dove.” The performer first picks up the opera hat and the two sheets of paper and shows them, explaining how simple his apparatus is. He then calls attention to the bouquet, and from that to the dove, which he takes out of the cage and carefully wraps in one of the sheets of paper by rolling it up first and turning the ends over. He then asks if there is a gentleman present who is used to rocking a cradle, as he wants someone to rock this dove to sleep. “It is done like this,” says the performer, and putting the parcel into the hat, he commences to swing it up and down. “That’s how you rock a dove to sleep. If one of you gentlemen will hold it in this way? Will you lend me your hat, sir? Allow me to put the dove inside it, so. Now, sir, if you will go on rocking we will have a little suitable music for this,” and the piano plays “Rock a-bye Baby on the tree-top.” The performer goes back to the stage. Taking the bouquet in one hand and the sheet of paper in the other, he rolls it up the same way as he did the dove. Then he suddenly notices, or pretends to notice, the gentleman is not moving the hat rightly, and to illustrate his meaning, puts the parcel he has just made inside his own hat and again moves it round and round. “Now, sir, will you unwrap the dove you are holding. I think you will find it is sound asleep.” The man assisting unrolls the paper parcel and discovers he is holding the bouquet. “What do you say, sir? The dove isn’t there and you have the bouquet of flowers!” (Commences to unroll his own parcel.) “I see what it is, sir, the dove has been dreaming and dreamt it has taken a journey back to me, and here it is.” He replaces the dove in the cage. A most effective trick and yet very simple. The preparations required are: a second bouquet replica of the one shown, and wrapped in a similar piece of paper. This parcel is lying on the table underneath the two visible sheets of paper. First, the performer picks up the hat and springs it open, he is then holding it in the left hand with the mouth facing the audience; he picks up the sheets of paper and the parcel in the other hand and keeping


them hanging down towards the floor, puts them over the mouth of the hat. Catching them with the thumb of his hand holding the hat, he allows the parcel to slip into the hat. Meanwhile he shows the bouquet to the audience, lifting it with the hand he has free. He then puts the hat on the table mouth upwards, and taking one of the papers, he leaves the other beside the hat. He now approaches the dove, takes it out of its cage, and rolls it up into a parcel that looks exactly like the one in the hat containing the bouquet. When he puts this parcel into the hat to illustrate his instructions to the gentleman, he puts it underneath the one already in the hat, and when he is supposed to fake it out, it is the other he takes, leaving the dove in the hat. When he again illustrates, he makes the same change of parcels, thus getting possession of the dove again, ready to disclose it to a wondering audience. Spring flowers are surely the most misused articles in the whole gamut of a conjurer’s apparatus. When in doubt, the conjurer seems to produce a hundred bedraggled spring flowers in the wrong place and under the wrong circumstances. Buatier De Kolta, the inventor of these flowers, twisted a piece of paper into a cornucopia and took spring flowers out of it until they filled an inverted skeleton sunshade to overflowing. Incidentally, Buatier made every flower himself, and he made them not of the watchspring, as now, but of the then “steel wire” which took up much less room. It seems to me that the flowers are seldom used lavishly enough. It requires at least two thousand to make a show, but you seldom see a performer produce so many. A lot of flowers means, of course, a big load, but I had a method which arranged for that. Before I describe it I have another grouse to make. I had used artificial flowers for years without realising that they looked most unlike flowers. In fact they looked more like the paper decorations which are strung together for Christmas time. I was producing a Chinese act when I noticed this, and thereupon I had all the flowers dyed green so that they represented foliage only. Then I added one flower, representing a white or red rose, for every nine leaves of foliage, which gave a natural effect at once—that of a green mass jewelled with flowers. The flowers may be all one colour or of two colours, and should look as much like roses as possible. For this same Chinese act I used a large nickelplated vase, the rest of the apparatus consisting of a large box of bran and a big piece of silken cloth. I dipped into the bran box with the vase, using it to transfer the bran to another receptacle. I did this twice, and the third time I filled it with a fake lining with a false top of brass, which I then covered with a lid. After waving the magic wand over it, I showed the silk cloth, shook it out, and gave it to two assistants to hold stretched out level with their


waists. Then I took the vase in my right hand, and, with the limes directed on to it, took the lid off and immediately the flowers, which were packed, inside, began to spring over the brim of the cup, which I kept gently shaking, and the more that came out, the more it became filled. The assistants gently shook the cloth up and down and kept the flowers dancing. I believe there were two thousand five hundred flowers packed into the vase, all edge up, in various sized packets, each secured by a piece of green ribbon, which was simply twisted round the flowers. The last packet or two was left quite loose and on top, so that they immediately spread out when the lid was taken off. Here was my method of presenting Buatier’s “Flower Trick.” I entered with my sleeves rolled up, though the cuff of the shirt, a stiff one, concealed a big bundle of flowers, which I held between my arm and body, under the right armpit. This bundle, which was about the size of a round two pound box of chocolates, was formed in the following way. The flowers were done up in bundles of fifty or one hundred, and simply wrapped round twice with a piece of green silk ribbon. They were then stacked on a table on edge and surrounded by a band of black cloth, which was coloured green inside. This was fastened with small buckles and drawn tight round the flowers, thus keeping the bundles together. At one point in this belt the cloth was stiffened with millboard and a piece of thread inserted, forming a short handle by which the whole bundle could be hung on the thumb of the right hand. To do the trick, I then tucked the bundle under my arm, hooked my thumb into the handle of thread, then took hold of a piece of cartridge paper in my right hand and held a sunshade open to the left. I then entered from an upper entrance and walked boldly down to the front, put the sunshade on the floor in front of me, and took hold of the other edge of the paper with the left hand and twirled it two or three times between the fingers and thumbs of both hands. I then grasped the paper at the top edge with the right hand and the bottom edge with the left hand. Then lifting my right arm to a new position behind the cartridge paper, I grasped it by the bottom edge. I let go the top edge of the cartridge paper and with the right hand folded the bottom over the flowers and the same with the left hand comer with the left hand. This was all done very coolly and deliberately with no appearance of haste. The right hand was now inserted in the top of the cone and two or three of the bundles of flowers pushed out of their position in the packet with the right hand. The cone was then gently shaken up and down until these flowers became loose and so it went on until with the last of the flowers the cover was slid into the sunshade with them. Another effective flower trick is one that I presented at the Egyptian Hall in the early days when I used gilt furniture of Louis XV style for the stage setting. Two of the chairs were placed some distance apart, back to back, and resting on the backs of them was a board such as is used in greenhouses, consisting of two long slats of wood


joined together with small cross-pieces, and the whole painted green. On the board were four or five receptacles in right to left, as follows: (1) An earthenware saucer, such as is used for underneath flower-pots, and filled with garden mould. (2) A second earthenware saucer also filled with mould, and a metal cone. (3) Two round Japanese trays. (4) A crystal goblet such as is used for celery and containing a rolled piece of cartridge paper. (5) Another earthenware saucer, also filled with mould. (6) A cardboard flower-pot cover. On the seat of one of the chairs there lay folded a sheet of newspaper and a couple of embroidered cloths; also a piece of stick about eighteen inches long, and at one side there was a long stick standing high enough to reach from the floor to the borders. I commenced by emptying number two receptacle into a box which rested on another chair behind the board. Having emptied it into the box of mould, I refilled it with the aid of a trowel. I first took the long stick and pushed it through the earthenware saucer in number one position, for, as you know, these saucers have a hole in them. I let the stick down to the floor and from there it reached to the borders, as I have said before. I then planted a bean in the saucer of mould and surrounded it with the cardboard flowerpot cover. Now, in saucer number two, I planted some wheat. Then I showed the metal cone in all directions empty, and placed it on saucer number two. I showed number three, the Japanese trays, and into one emptied a little mould from the box, then put the two trays together, one inverted over the other. Then I showed a piece of newspaper on both sides and laid this under the saucer number five and emptied the mould from the saucer on to the newspaper, forming a good-sized heap. I then put the discarded saucer into the box of mould and stuck the short stick in the heap of mould on the newspaper, planted some rose seeds, and covered the stick with one of the embroidered cloths forming a sort of tent over the mould. The other cloth I covered over the Japanese trays. The last thing done by way of preparation was to roll the sheet of cartridge paper, which I had previously taken out of the glass goblet, into a rough cone. This I dropped on some lily seeds. Now I first called attention to saucer number one by simply looking at it. By this time there was climbing up the long stick a scarlet runner beanstalk, which twisted around like a snake, and continued to grow slowly throughout the trick. The red flowers on it looked very effective.


I next lifted the cone from number two saucer and found it contained a small sheaf of wheat bespangled with poppies. The Japanese trays covered with the cloth were taken apart and each was seen to contain a dwarf chrysanthemum in flower. The paper cone was unrolled and was found to contain a bunch of lilies, which I presented to one of the ladies. Then, the cloth being taken off the heap of mould, there was seen a small rose bush with one red rose on it, which I cut off and presented to another lady onlooker. I dare say you have guessed how most of these tricks were done. The bean, of course, was coiled inside the saucer under the covering made of zinc pieces and cloth which was coloured like mould, with a thin layer of mould glued on it. Attached to the centre of the coiled beanstalk was a long thread which travelled up to the borders and across two pulleys then down to an assistant in the wings. He pulled slowly, hand over hand, and got one continuous motion of growing upwards. The cone I used was simply the well-known double one. The wheat was a novelty and it looked much more natural than the usual coloured-feather flowers. In one of the Japanese trays there was a flap, which could be released when the trays were together. This flap contained a small chrysanthemum, and filled the bottom tray. The top tray also contained a small plant, which sprang out into position when the trays were apart. Of course, these plants were imitation ones, arranged on springs to fold into the limited space available. It will be understood that the underneath part of the flap was painted to represent the tray. Now we come to the lilies. The chairs were both upholstered in rich tapestry on back and seat; and in the case of the left-hand chair, this was a somewhat hollow deception, for in its seat was concealed an oval tube, with an opening at the side facing the performer. As I took the covers and newspaper from this seat, I put down the sheet of cartridge paper which I had opened out to show. In picking it up again a little later, I inserted two fingers into a loop of wire which projected from the tube and drew the bunch of lilies behind the paper, which I rolled up and put back in the glass. In the hollow back of the chair was another oval tube containing the rose bush, which was arranged round a piece of brass rod and could be pulled up through the mould and through the newspaper which had a cut in it. A little sliding trap in the board completed the deception. Of course I boldly put my hand underneath the tent to draw up this bush, which was on a sliding block and clicked into place at the top. Yet another flower trick is the one I arranged for the Indian Juggler in my sketch called “The Mascot Moth.”


The juggler brought forth a papier mach footbath and placed it on a Moorish stool. He then filled it to the brim with sand which he poured in, in full view, from buckets. He then covered it with an old style tea tray, over which he put an Indian cloth. On lifting this tray, after some mystic incantations, several small plants were seen to be growing from the sand in the bowl. He actually cut one off and threw it to the audience to prove that it was real. He then covered the bowl of sand with the tray once more, with the cloth still hanging over it. A few seconds later this was lifted off to show the bowl completely full of growing roses. There was a full-grown luxuriant bunch of plants, and once more he was able to cut off blooms and distribute them to the audience. This was managed as follows: A little trap-door opened in the bottom of the bath and let all the sand run away into the hollow legs of the Moorish stool. The tray that was placed on first was backed by a loose piece made of a wire-ring covered with paper exactly representing the sand. Sand, in fact, was glued all over it, and it exactly fitted the bowl. Pressed down between the two trays were little plants on spring hinges, also glued to the paper. They were about three inches high and one, of course, was real. While he was cutting this off, an assistant strolled near the wings carrying with him the covered tray. Concealed by the wing for an instant, he quickly exchanged this tray for one similarly covered, which was handed to him by another assistant. When the conjurer placed it on the bowl, the audience did not know that to the back of the tray was clipped a second oval wash-basin which burst through a paper top. This represented the sand now, and when the tray was slid off and lifted upwards it released springs fixed in the second bowl covered with luxuriant growth, chiefly sewn on green cloth. By the way, I reduced the flowers given away to one at each performance, the rest being artificial. I found this just as effective as cutting them all off and distributing them, which to tell the truth was somewhat of an anti-climax. One cut off and thrown carelessly to the audience is just as effective and more economical. Finally there was my favourite flower illusion, of which you may guess the secret if you can. When the curtain rose, all that was to be seen on the stage was a platform, octagonal in shape, about four feet in diameter, and looking like a huge Moorish stool. It stood about eighteen inches from the floor. On it was a large brass flower-pot and behind it, leaning against the leg, was a gauzecovered hoop. This, by the way, could be distinctly seen through and underneath the platform. In front of the platform was a miniature pair of steps. I commenced by stepping on to the platform, using these steps, and picking up the flowerpot to show the audience it was full of mould. I told them that it contained fairy seeds. I picked up the gauze-covered hoop and, opening it out, it appeared to be a bell-shaped affair, which I suspended on a cord which hung above the platform.


I then got off the platform and the gauze cage was lowered down to it. The gauze was of double thickness and so could not be seen through as long as all the light was outside it. I now balled attention to a zinc tray, oblong in shape, about 18 inches by 2-1/2 feet. Having shown all sides, I put it on a couple of trestle legs. I then displayed a miniature conservatory with sloping roof and made of celluloid, which looked like glass. The woodwork frame was very thin and it could be seen through in all directions. After sprinkling some mould on the zinc tray and making some electrical connections with cords which ran from side to side of the stage to plugs which fitted on the zinc tray, I began to talk about the beauties of electric culture and proposed to illustrate it. To each panel of the conservatory was fitted a small spring blind, I began to draw these down, starting with those at the back and finishing with those in front. After some manifestations with the electric current, I quickly opened these blinds again, all except the back ones, and the conservatory was seen to be illuminated and filled with plants in full bloom. One of the flowers I plucked off, and threw it to the audience. I now called attention to the gauze bell which was gradually becoming transparent owing to some lights which were in the top of it, and through the gauze was seen a huge rose tree in the pot, and at the side of this was a beautiful princess in the act of plucking a rose. Behind crouched a huge beast, something between a bear and a gorilla, and to the surprise of the audience the beautiful girl suddenly threw her arms round the neck of the beast and kissed it, whereupon the beast was transformed into a prince who sank on one knee in homage to the lady. The gauze bell was lifted up and the performers stepped from the platform to bow to the applause. I daresay you have been able to guess the secrets of this illusion. In the first place two sheets of mirror glass are placed underneath the octagonal platform. They meet at the top end, that is, the end farthest from the audience, and open out gradually towards the end nearest the audience. They are in fact open wide enough at that end for the prince to climb up through the opening provided in the stage, having climbed up on the top of the platform. (You must remember there was nothing seen through the bell until the lights were put on inside.) The prince now hands the lady up, having already got the rose-tree into position. He now drops some cords to pull his beast’s dress off, which is pulled through the trap a moment or two later by a man beneath, who now closes both traps, the one in the platform and the one in the stage. The legs not being quite enough to conceal the opening between the glasses, a small pair of steps is requisitioned, these are put in front and conceal the extra space taken up. They are put carelessly sideways so they should not be suspect. The zinc tray used for the conservatory was not quite so innocent as it appeared. It was deep enough to conceal a number of plants laid down in rows in opposite ways and attached to pieces of tube, which were in turn attached to rollers lying in the bottom of the space by a simple arrangement of ratchet wheels. The rollers were made to take a quarter


of a revolution, and spring catches kept them in an upright position. The whole of this was covered with zinc, which was hinged at the back and was raised by a lever. The inside of this zinc was covered with blinds similar to those which had been seen pulled down behind the conservatory. Over these dummy blinds were celluloid sheets which looked exactly like glass. On the pretence of moving the levers for electricity, the performer first raised this zinc sheet and the imitation mould slid down to the back of it. He then moved the ratchets, easing the flowers up carefully as he went, and when they were in position he simply had to spring the front blinds up to disclose the flowers.


CHAPTER VI OPENING ILLUSIONS TO turn now to “opening” tricks. An opening trick is a very important part of an act. An old showman once told me that so long as the opening was right and the finish was right, the centre didn’t matter so much. In other words, put your weakest portion in the centre. Here is an opening trick which I have devised. It answers all purposes and can be done in a front cloth set. It is an improved method of doing the “Silver Ball” trick. When the curtain rises an assistant is discovered standing centre. He is holding a tray with several objects upon it. These are, a top hat and a bowler hat, a candlestick with a lighted candle in it, and a folded sheet of newspaper. On the assistant’s right is a small table, or rather a stand. The performer enters, walks direct to the tray and picks up the top hat. He then turns and makes his bow to the audience, and shows the hat in all directions, even flicking the crown with his thumb nail to prove the hollowness and emptiness of the hat. Then suddenly he plunges his hand into it and produces a live rabbit, which he puts on the tray, turning it away from the newspaper. He advises it not to read the paper as the newspapers of to-day are not fit for young rabbits to read. He then proceeds by saying: “I have here another hat,” at the same time picking up the bowler hat and putting down the top hat in its place, and to the audience he says: “There is nothing in this hat, and never has been, as I have always worn it myself. There is nothing in it, nothing at all.” He here places it on his assistant’s head. He then picks up the top hat again, saying: “You noticed there was nothing in this hat except a rabbit; as a matter of fact there is one little thing,” and here he takes from the hat a silver ball, a solid ball of metal about 6 inches in diameter. To prove its solidity he drops it on a board of the stage. Picking the ball up again he places it upon the tray, and now holding the hat in his left hand, he goes to the right hand of the assistant and says: “Now, this is the apparatus I am going to use for this trick. This candle.” —which he takes off the tray and puts on the table. He then transfers the hat to his right hand and, taking hold of the newspaper in the left hand, shakes it out of fold, saying: “This piece of newspaper, that bowler hat,” indicating the hat on the assistant’s head, “and this little rabbit. Now the hat I am going to hang on this candle,” and blowing the candle out, he actually does hang it on the candle, saying: “It’s a funny place to hang a hat, hut it’s my own hat so I can hang it where I like.” Now he puts the newspaper on the tray and the rabbit on it; “The ball I am going to place in the bowler hat, so.” He pushes it into the hat as far as it will go, about half of it is protruding from the hat. He then replaces the hat containing the ball on the tray with the ball facing the audience, and passing again to the other side of the assistant, takes the newspaper


from the tray and opens it out fully and apparently wraps the rabbit in it, but he suddenly screws the paper into a ball and the rabbit seems to have vanished. He throws this ball on to the tray and takes the bowler hat with the silver ball in it, saying: “So much for the rabbit! Now for the ball.” Holding the hat by the brim with both hands he swings it up and down. In one of the upward movements the ball vanishes and becomes the rabbit. He now throws the hat on the tray, mouth downwards, and places the rabbit beside it. He again crosses to the other side of the assistant, and lifting the hat from the candle, discovers the candle is not there, but the silver ball has taken its place, and after dropping this ball on the floor boards with a thud, takes the candle from his inside coat pocket and replaces it in the stick. This is an exact description of the effect, but one or two things require an explanation. In the first place, the board referred to on which the ball is dropped is a piece of wood about 12 inches square and is" framed" up so that the heavy ball is prevented from rolling about the stage, and besides, it makes more noise on a board of this description than it would on the solid stage. The ball itself is made of aluminium, and therefore is not as heavy as it seems. There is a second ball hidden behind the folded newspaper which rests half upon the tray and half against the body of the assistant; projecting from the back edge of the tray at this point are two light metal arms on which the second ball rests. When it is lifted off these arms they are drawn in by two springs and lie concealed behind the edge of the tray. The ball I am referring to is made of two hemispheres, one slightly larger than the other, riveted together at opposite points. The inner half is lined like the bowler hat. The rabbit is placed between the two which are closed together by a simple catch, a spring knob working in a hole. When the newspaper is first lifted from the tray, the heavy ball is upon it on the lower fold, the upper fold concealing the second ball. When the performer takes the newspaper, he holds the top hat so that the weight of it rests on the bottom edge. One quick upward movement of the newspaper propels the ball into the hat disclosing the second ball, which the assistant has lifted on to the tray at the same moment as the performer is rolling the first ball into the hat. When he hangs this hat upon the candle the weight of the ball pushes the candle down into the hollow stick, the candle being formed of a metal tube carefully fitted to slide up and down in the hollow stick. The candle is about six inches long, the diameter of the ball. The ball in the first place was under the bowler hat, which was first discovered lying mouth downwards on the tray. The placing of the top hat over the ball is done at the same time as the bowler hat is lifted from it. This is rather a difficult movement to describe, but a little experiment will soon show the idea. At one moment the hats are mouth to mouth, when one displaces the other. The vanishing of the rabbit is explained by a dummy coat front, which the assistant wears, really forming a big pocket, the front of which is made like his coat and the front top edge attached to the back edge of the tray and the back of the pocket tied round his waist. The front of the pocket is stiffened by a sheet of metal or cardboard. Under the cover of the open sheet of paper held with the lower edge just touching the tray, the rabbit is dropped into the pocket.


I had almost forgotten to explain how I first produced the rabbit. The animal is concealed in a pocket sewn inside the waistcoat, just below the opening of a dress suit waistcoat. The top hat, after being shown empty, is held mouth upwards, just level with the bottom opening of the waistcoat, and for an instant is tilted towards the body, whilst the right hand of the performer swoops d6wn and extracts the rabbit by its ears from the pocket and draws it upwards, at the same time bringing the hat forward a bit. Under these circumstances the rabbit appears to come from the hat. There are one or two other little things to mention. For instance, there is a depression made in the tray for the ball to rest in while it is covered with the bowler hat. When this is taken off and the top hat takes its place it would not do to have the ball rolling about. The bowler hat must be made to fit the larger hemisphere of the hollow ball snugly, and underneath the hat-band must be puffed out with cotton wool, so that when the other hemisphere is revolved and the rabbit discovered, the edges of the ball cannot be seen. Besides, this padding process prevents the shells slipping out when the hat is replaced on the tray. The candle is a piece of tubing covered with white glazed paper and fitted with a little Cup at the top and in which is put a small slice of candle and wick. Little things, but very important. Such little things can make or mar a performance. It was a little thing, literally a little thing, that made my late partner, Mr. J. N. Maskelyne, a conjurer. He was fascinated with Droz’s" Singing Bird." It was a tiny thing, but the only thing at the Exhibition of 1851 for him, and it set his mind on mechanics as applied to illusionary effects. And it was another little thing that set him on the road as an actual exhibitor of conjuring—just the dropping of a curtain which covered a window at a matinee performance of the Davenport Brothers. This little accident enabled Maskelyne to see exactly how the Davenport Brothers were working and from that one glimpse he was able to reconstruct the whole performance. But what a little thing; the dropping of a curtain! That reminds me of seeing a performance quite marred by a little thing. Here again it was a dropping curtain.


A man was seated bound in a chair and a curtain was lowered over him as a sort of cabinet. It was lowered as far as the seat of the chair only, and held there by one of the performers. Another performer asked him for something and to get it he had to leave go of the curtain, which then reached the floor, while he darted across the stage and fetched the article. Then he pulled the curtain up again to its previous position, and in that moment or two the man had escaped through a trap-door in the stage. That is how it should have appeared to the audience, excepting, of course, at that moment, as both his hands were held by onlookers, this appeared impossible as he was securely bound in the chair. The dropping of the curtain was so natural, or should have been, that it wasn’t suspected as part of the trick. And now I will tell you how it was marred. When the curtain was lowered in the first place, the iron frame by which it was weighted caught on a bolt or something of that sort and refused to go right to the floor. Seeing this, the performer who had lowered it completed its journey by pressure of his foot, thus showing to the astute audience that it was necessary for the curtain to reach the floor. The astonishing thing is that this was done for months, twice daily, and no one in authority apparently noticed it, but a good producer would have noticed it instantly. Only the other day I saw a performance in which a lady was asked to take a card, and then certain preparations were gone through and the performer was all ready to disclose the card in an unsuspected place. “Now what was your card?” he questioned the lady. “I don’t know,” she replied," I didn’t look at it." Of course, she hadn’t been asked to. She happened to have seen very few conjuring performances and didn’t know what was expected of her. The conjurer should never have assumed that she would look at it.


CHAPTER VII MECHANICAL MAGIC SOME years ago when I was in Philadelphia I visited my friend Kellar, then the leading

American magician, who was filling the biggest theatres with a two hours’ show of magic. He had just added a trick to his repertoire which consisted of a large ball which ran up and down a board without any apparent motive power. The effect was very striking, and although the board was suspicious-looking, owing to its thickness and the way it was supported by a very plump demon at one end, Kellar complained that it had cost him a great deal of money and was a great nuisance to carry. The trick was accomplished by a series of magnets controlled by electricity, but I came to my own conclusions as to how it could be done by much simpler means. When I had thought it out, I asked Kellar if he would give me permission to use the trick, provided I could show him it working within a week. Kellar said he was sure it was impossible. He was convinced of this by the number of experiments he had made. Anyway, he ac-


cepted my challenge, and well within the week I showed it to him working merrily, in Martinkas’ back shop in New York City. Martinka’s, a well-known meeting place of conjurers, were also manufacturers of tricks and to them I had entrusted the making of the simple apparatus I required. My board was resting on the back of an ordinary chair and was freely handled and shown to be free of any connection with the chair. Then a large gilt ball was thrown to me by one of the assistants. I threw this on the plank and it naturally rolled down. I ordered it to stop, which it instantly did. Then it obeyed a series of orders, such as: “Go Up,” “Come Down,” “Go Slowly,” “Come Up Quickly,” “Come Through This Ring,” “Now Back Again,” “Now Go Down Very Slowly.” Finally it was stopped at the lower end of the board and I asked the audience to watch while I explained: “You will see it disappear,” I said. There was an expectant pause during which an assistant came on, picked the ball up and walked off with it. An excellent opening trick, and all done by a little thing—a piece of thread, in fact. I had the ball made in two hemispheres, threeply wood on a framework of steel bands. There were a lot of decorative lines incised on the ball—latitude and longitude, you might say. One of these latitude lines came on the exact equator of the ball and was really where the two hemispheres were joined together, but it looked like one of the other lines which were all painted black. The two halves of the ball were joined together by a core in the centre, something like the wheel in a pulley block, made of hard wood, and closely fitted so that the thread could not jam. The thread was put round this and led up to the back of the stage, went over the back edge of the board down to the floor, through a screw-eye and along to another screweye behind the back cloth. Now an assistant held the two ends and when the ball was required to go down, he simply let it roll down by its own weight and he could stop it at any moment and pull it up again by pulling on one end of the cord. To facilitate the passage of the ball up and down, there was a groove cut in the board, and the board was covered with a greyish-black cloth arranged in a pattern of lines so that the thread could not be detected by the keenest eye. Kellar was very annoyed with me when he saw the simplicity of my dodge, but he at once gave me permission to use the trick freely, and immediately discarded his own trick in favour of my method.


The first ball I had made was of solid wood, but it was too heavy, and about the seventh performance I gave, in rolling down the plank, the thread broke, and the ball’s own impetus took it over the footlights where it landed in the conductor’s lap, to his great astonishment. For a moment I did not know what to do. However, the conductor handed the ball back to me, and I said: “I didn’t mean you to go down there.” I then thought of the joke, described above, for its disappearance. Another example of the importance of detail is in the popular “Milk Effect.” This is usually done with a tube which bears no relation at all to a glass of milk. In my version of the trick I had the tube transformed into a travelling case for a tumbler by the simple process of covering the tube with imitation leather and adding a couple of lids, which fitted on either end. My tube is made to contain a bottomless fake glass of milk between the tube and inner lining, and has room within the lining for a real tumbler. Having marked the end which I shall take off first, I put this tube on a small table, together with a jug of milk, and I enter with an opera hat, holding it folded up, showing all sides of it. I spring it out and stand it on the table mouth upwards. Then I call attention to the travelling case, take the lid off and pull out the real tumbler. Then with my wand passing through the tube, I push off the other lid into the hat beneath and leave it there. I look through the tube from the small end, thus proving indirectly that the tube is empty. I now place the tube on the table, and taking up the tumbler, fill it nearly to the brim from the jug. I take a sip from the glass of milk to correspond with a stain that has been made already on the fake, just round the brim. I now lower the tumbler of milk into the travelling case and

put the lid on. I now lift the case up slowly, discovering the fake glass of milk. This fake glass of milk I proceed to put into the hat, explaining that my trick is to make the glass of milk come back to the case by itself. I then take the lid off the case, and lifting it up, push


the glass of milk from the end and take it out at the top. I now undertake to pass the glass of milk from the case to the hat. First, I explain that I want the other lid, which I find on looking around to be in the hat. I then turn the hat over and drop the lid on the table taking care that the fake glass of milk is held securely with my fingers and is not seen. I now ask if they would like the glass passed visibly or invisibly into the hat. Whatever their answer, I lower the glass of milk into the hat. If the answer is “Visibly,” I say: “Oh, that is easy, I do it like this”; if someone says “Invisibly” I do the same thing and say: “This is how I do it visibly, anyone can do that.” I then apparently take the glass of milk out of the hat. I really take the fake and, taking care to spread my fingers round the brim and handling it as if it were really full of milk, I now place this fake tumbler on the lid, which I have just rescued from the hat, and lower the case over it. I then wave the wand between the case and the hat, take the glass of milk out of the hat and pour the milk back into the jug, shut up the opera hat, and finally take both lids off the case and look through it again. I do not put this forward as an improvement on any particular version of the trick, but my sole object is to make it appear more or less natural. The moves are such as to allow scope for good patter and good patter is the flesh and blood of any trick. This is simply the skeleton. It may be mentioned here for the sake of the uninitiated that the ugly word “fake” is one used by conjurers to denote any trick apparatus. Frequently the article is an imitation of an everyday one. In this case, the glass of milk is made of a piece of celluloid, the milk is paint inside the supposed tumbler—which is left without any bottom, for the purpose outlined above. In my early days on the music halls, when I used to appear at the London Pavilion between Albert Chevalier and Dan Leno, I had very little money for apparatus and had to content myself with a simple opening trick.


There was a lighted candle on the table and I entered with three small sheets of tissue in my hand—red, white and blue. After showing these I screwed them up and lit them at the candle-flame. I then showed both my hands to be otherwise empty, pulled my sleeves out of the way, squashed the burning papers between my two hands, and suddenly threw out three pieces of silk ribbon about 12 feet long. These I pulled back into my hand, rubbed them together a bit and they seemed to blend and become a large Union Jack, which I spread out for display to the tune of “Rule Britannia.” This was accomplished by having a roll of ribbons joined together at the ends, placed under the left armpit, and a Union Jack tucked up into a ball shape and kept under the waistcoat on the left-hand side. First I showed the papers with an awful pun about sneezing paper and tissue paper and showing my hands empty. I did it one at a time. Then I said: “There’s nothing up my sleeves,” and pulled first the right, then the left-hand sleeve up. Here my hand came under the armpit. I let the concealed ribbons drop into it, and bending the fingers a little, retained it, concealed in the hand. When I had squashed the flames out, I drew the ribbons out. The inner end of the roll was, of course, left loose, and whilst waving the ribbons about in a serpentine fashion, I turned a little to my left and quickly pulled the Union Jack down from under my waistcoat, just as quickly brought my hands together, and holding the flag in the right hand, pulled the ribbons in over it, finally twisting them about so that the flag was made to conceal the gathered ribbons in my right hand.


CHAPTER VIII FAMOUS ILLUSIONS REVEALED BY a curious chance a Hove policeman became the first spectator of one of my best illusions. It was called “The Mascot Moth,” and it happened in this way: My friend, Mr. Bate, had made the apparatus for this illusion and wired me one night that it was complete and ready for trial. Going down to Brighton after a show in London and arriving late, I found that he had been good enough to make a trap-door in the floor of his photographic studio, beneath which was his workshop. This made it possible to try the illusion there and then. The lady I had brought with me, Miss Nancy Grogan, was willing, and we set to work. Through one of the blinds in the glass roof being defective a policeman, who happened to live in a house close by, was attracted to this aperture by hearing some blood-curdling shouts coming from the studio. So piqued was he that he climbed over a roof to get a better view. Looking through a hole, he saw a lady in a silk dress, which was painted to represent a moth. She had gorgeous wings attached to her arms and was waving them about when I approached her with a candlestick, making pantomime motions, meant to represent temptation by the bright flame of the candle. She repeatedly folded her wings over her face when I stealthily walked up behind her and was just about to apply the flame to the wings when I gave one of the aforesaid blood-curdling shouts, and lo! the woman was gone in the twinkling of an eye. Dress, wings and all had completely disappeared in a flash. Now the policeman who was watching saw me begin to manipulate a black velvet screen. He jumped to the conclusion that it was a case of Black Magic. He made his way round to Mr. Bate’s front door and politely asked for an explanation, requesting him to notice that he was not in uniform and that this visit was entirely unofficial.


Mr. Bate came back to me and asked me what he should say. I suggested it would be a good idea to show him the trick and he could see the effect at close quarters. So he was invited in, and placed in a chair three feet from the Moth, which I again vanished as before. We then explained to him that it was a stage illusion. He was pretty bewildered by this time and stumbled out with apologies and promises to keep the matter to himself, which promise I think he has faithfully kept. It so happens that I was inspired with the idea of this illusion by a dream. One night my wife saw me get up, light a candle at the bedside and sit watching the flame intently for some time. I then blew the candle out and got back to bed. In the morning I told her that I had had a wonderful dream. I had dreamt I was chasing a moth about the stage, a moth who was a human being with wings, and was trying to tempt it towards me with the candle

flame when it suddenly shrivelled up and disappeared. At that moment I became imbued with a desire to emulate this wonderful dream and one day I had the happy thought of bringing a tube up through the stage behind the person to be vanished, who would be wearing a special dress. This dress was made in such a way that it could be supported by the tube and looked the same whether she was in it or not, In the first place it all hung from the neck and the collar, or yoke, was formed by a steel spring shape. Attached to this was a rubber-covered reel which, in turn, was attached to a plug of wood snugly fitted into the tube. The reel had some strong cord wound on it, and lay in a pocket at the back of the dress. In one of my various journeys to the lady I picked out this reel and dropped it down the tube which was behind her, then I fitted the plug into the tube, she having folded her wings across her face and locked them together by a steel wire which ran through the top of each wing and hooked them together. Now the weight of the dress was entirely on the tube, the lady gave three taps with her toe and a small bracket-lift would glide gently downwards. This was controlled by a windlass. While this was going on, one of the assistants had looped the cord from the reel over two pulley blocks, one in the


floor and one in the ceiling above his head, so that he could get a strong, quick pull on it. 4










The lift having been fastened off, the man who had controlled it stood by the tube underneath the stage. The man with the cord now pulled on the dress and pulled it right through

the tube. The moment it was through the man holding the tube let it drop into his hand. The aperture was covered with a small spring flap. All these things had to be scrutinized carefully, and my part of it was to get my left foot in front of the tube, which was facilitated by two stops let into the boards, so that I could get it in the right position when I wanted to work the “vanish.” The cord was pulled on my giving a shout. Immediately afterwards the tube was drawn down and the process covered by my right foot being brought up sharply with the left, the heel of the left foot going into the side of the right foot. In this position the tube was entirely covered in its passage downwards. It was a difficult thing to get right in rehearsal, and Mr. Maskelyne described it as “the trickiest trick” he had ever seen. Anyway, I think it was the best I have ever done.


It was a glad day when I persuaded Mrs. Nesbit, who wrote such charming fairy stories for the Strand Magazine, to write us a play, which she entitled The Magician’s Heart. The villain was a wicked magician who had to boil his heart to make it the least bit tender. He also had a foolish apprentice who, wandering about in the magician’s laboratory, got hold of a philtre which produced dreams. By means of this he produced a beautiful dream woman with whom he fell in love and thus he began to neglect his work. The magician caught him in the act and promptly vanished the dream woman into space. Mrs. Nesbit thought it would be quite easy for me to do this as she had seen the “Mascot Moth” vanished as she wanted the dream woman to vanish, but, of course, she did not know how useful the moth’s wings were in effecting that disappearance. Suddenly I had a brain wave. I got the Dream Woman to turn her back on the British public. She had golden hair hanging right down her back and she wore a white silk dress la Galatea. The golden hair was a wig which was attached to a sort of skeleton head-piece made of steel wire and also shoulder-pieces made to fold upwards and all attached to a small plate or tongue of metal. The tube used was a much bigger one than that for the “Mascot Moth.” It had a block of wood at the top of it into which the Dream Woman inserted the metal tongue and all was pulled down together as before. In this case I wore a long cloak which I put round the tube as the dress was making its way down. Most people thought it vanished into my clothes somehow or somewhere, but they couldn’t give a satisfactory explanation about the woman, so they were not much nearer the truth. Soon after this my friend, the late Julian Wylie, suggested to me that I should put this “vanish” in my “Artist’s Dream” sketch, and in this I did the same thing in a dressing-gown. “The Artist’s Dream” was a pretty little sketch in which an artist was discovered working on a picture of his late wife. Over-tired, he covers the picture with a small curtain and falls asleep on a couch, when the Spirit of Mercy enters, mysteriously produced at the back of the stage. She approaches the


picture, uncovers it, and it is seen to be alive, in fact the woman comes down and embraces her husband, then she goes back and disappears in the same way. The artist wakes up and rushing to the picture, tears it down from the easel and, turning, sees the Spirit of Mercy. He approaches her, but the moment he touches her she disappears in a flash and the artist falls dead on the stage—a very dramatic finish. “The Picture Comes to Life” was the slogan I gave Mr. Maskelyne when I was showing him a model of “The Artist’s Dream.” Some two weeks before, I had shown him my very first illusion, which was called “Vice Versa.” This was made under trying circumstances. I was very poor indeed at the time, and had persuaded the manager of an hotel in Buxton to lend me the services of his carpenter to build this illusion. It consisted of a cabinet which had four posts, a platform, and a frame at the top. In other words, it was a skeleton cabinet. There were curtains attached to the upper frame, all of which could be drawn up with one string. This was exhibited on a platform brilliantly lit and the audience could see right through. The background consisted of a red velvet curtain and between the back posts of the cabinet was a similar velvet curtain which looked exactly like the backcloth because the

both were equally well lit. The effect was that a man was put into the cabinet with a sealed ribbon attached to his waist. The ribbon was tied to his waist and sealed and the loose ends were drawn round the


front posts of the cabinet and thence to persons in the stalls who held them. Then the curtains were drawn, hiding the man, who then changed places with a woman, who had been standing on a little triangular platform at the back of the cabinet. He cut the ribbons at his back and tied them round her waist. When the curtains were drawn again the audience saw that the man had apparently changed into a woman. Then I came forward, hauled the ribbons in and cut them right off the back of the lady, incidentally cutting the knot off and palming it and throwing the ribbons out for the audience to examine the seal, which was still intact on the front knot. This was a most successful illusion, and the principle was my own original device. I performed this illusion publicly at the Opera Theatre, Crystal Palace, and also at the Trocadero Music Hall (now the Trocadero Restaurant), where Mr. Maskelyne saw it. He said that he liked it but that the apparatus was too big for his stage and asked me to think of another illusion on the same principle, and in a few days I had the bright idea of “The Artist’s Dream.” I got a frame-maker to make the model and a few days afterwards showed it to Mr. Maskelyne in his office. The easel was an ordinary-looking one, a square frame on legs divided into three panels by wooden slats. The centre panel was filled by a triangular screen of red velvet which was fixed on a small triangular platform. The front part of the triangle of velvet represented the back-cloth, while the other two sides kept the lady, who was to represent the picture, all snug. The picture was really two pictures; one was a background only and the other was a painted representation of the lady. There was a practicable swing in between the two canvasses. At the beginning of the scene the picture was on a small easel, and the artist carried it over to the larger easel. In doing so he exhibited the back of it. Attached to the frame was a light curtain. The artist, getting tired of painting, had drawn this curtain over the picture and the lady behind had meanwhile pulled up the background picture which was held by a roller like a blind. As soon as the front was closed, she raised the front picture in the same way and came through to the front and sat upon a swing. She then lowered the background behind her and was all ready to be discovered. When the Spirit of Mercy closed the curtain again the whole process was reversed. When the artist again took the picture down the mysterious woman had disappeared completely. The advent of the Spirit of Mercy was managed by a series of gauze screens which were gradually drawn away from each side of an open doorway, giving an impression of the gradual materialisation of the Spirit.


CHAPTER IX MORE FAMOUS ILLUSIONS THE next illusion whose secret I am going to reveal was called “Beau Brocade” and was so entitled by permission of the Baroness Orczy. A box was brought on the stage. It was on legs so that it was raised from the ground and in bringing it in all sides were shown. It was wheeled round and the lid opened. The front was made to let down, so that every inch of the interior could be seen. A tray was taken out from the top and in this were six sheets of glass—one was slid in front of the box in grooves made for the purpose, one was put at each end, one at the back and another on the floor of the box; the remaining one was left in the tray, which was replaced and the box shut up. There was then exhibited a large cloth which was proved to be whole by putting a strong light behind it. It was shown to be all in one piece. Then entered Beau Brocade, and I apparently hypnotised her. She fell into the arms of an assistant and he and another man laid her on the centre of the cloth, which had been spread on the floor. They now took hold of the four corners of the cloth and thus lifted the lady and brought her forward to the footlights, I now put my arms underneath her and the audience were allowed to see her face and, in fact, most of her body, before the cloth was finally wrapped round her, while she was in my arms. I carried her down to the audience in the midst of the stalls and asked a gentleman to make sure she was still there. In fact, I invited him to take hold of her. Just as he did so, she suddenly vanished, leaving nothing but the cloth, which I tossed back to the assistant on the stage. Then I shouted out, “Open the box,” and lo, the lady was disclosed within, tripped out and off amid great applause! I am ashamed to say that once again I deceived the public. The lady found in the box was not the one that disappeared, but her twin sister. The box was a special one and the back of it lifted up, carrying with it the sheet of glass. Then there were two flaps that opened out at the back, leaving room for a triangular platform, which slid out for the lady to rest upon. In the first place, she was in the box while it was being wheeled round and round, while bringing it on. When the box had come to rest she quickly pushed the flaps out, also the sliding platform, and got on it in a kneeling position while the lid and front were opened. The moment they were replaced and the lid shut she got back into the box, letting the hinder flap holding the glass go back into its right position.


While the lady, Beau Brocade, was being hypnotised, the lights were put out for a moment and strong lights directed upon the lady alone. This was for effect, but the audience did not

notice a couple of cords attached to the corners of a cloth underneath the cloth that had been laid down. By pulling on the cords from front to back, the two cloths were rolled up and rolled off underneath the back-cloth, leaving a replica of the original cloths laid down, so that when the lights went up, apparently nothing had been disturbed.

Lifting the lady from the floor in the cloth, the assistants took hold of the front corners first and lifted them up before the others. This gave an opportunity for two assistants underneath to push up a trap, which was a board on centre pivots. The lady rolled off the board


into a sort of hammock beneath. At the same time the assistants took hold of the back corners of the cloth which were attached to the front corners of the revolving trap. The cloth now contained a rubber figure replica of the lady, with a wax head, made in an exact counterpart of her own face, white wig and all complete. Beneath this figure was a ring of wood about the size of a jam jar and with a cover very similar to those used for actual jars, made

of rubber and tied on in the same way. All this was firmly attached to the figure and was tested for any leakage of air. On my pushing the cover in with my fingers, the whole thing became deflated and was shrivelled up beneath the cloth, in which condition it was tossed back to the assistant, who hung it over his arms while attention was at once directed to the box. To the layman it may seem that my assistants do more for these illusions than I do myself. He may also, I am afraid, be shocked by the simplicity of the methods employed. If so, I would ask him to remember that if the effects appear crude they are the outcome of much thought and organisation, and although they appear simple now, their evolution has been no simple task. I am merely acting the part of the magician. I remember as a boy seeing Sir Henry Irving’s production of Faust, and being greatly impressed by his awesome Brocken scene and then, a few nights afterwards, being taken behind the scenes at the same theatre. I remember the awful shock of disillusion I got when I saw the labyrinth of canvas scenery and ropes, and the men in shirt-sleeves working lights. Still I hope that these exposures will shock the students of conjuring and goad them on to do something more wonderful themselves.


For my next problem I again used twins. In this case I saw the twins first and then thought of the most original effect that I had ever done. I had a narrow cabinet made just big enough to hold one of the twins, who was dressed as a pageboy. He was fastened to a board by members of the audience. The board had wrought-iron shoulder-pieces and straps for his hands and feet, so that he was helpless to move. This was fixed to the back of the cabinet. Then I told a tale of a magician who made a dummy of his client’s enemy and, for a certain amount of money, so bewitched the doll that anything done to it would also happen to the enemy. Then I turned the doll upside down, and on the cabinet being opened the page was shown in a similar position. Thus garnished with a tale and helped by publicity gained by calling it “A Trick without a Title” and offering £50 for the best title, it was a great success. Incidentally, the £50 was won with the title of “The New Page.” Here is more disillusionment. While the assistant was steadying the cabinet, and as soon as the door was shut in front, he pushed on one side of the panel at the back and it turned round to enable us to get the other boy inside the cabinet upside down. He was duly taken out and unstrapped by the person who had strapped him up. Of course, the back of the cabinet was first shown when wheeled in, and when it was got into position in the centre of the stage, the revolving board was quickly turned, thus bringing the page to the back. There was a second board similar to that to which he was strapped, which was examined and fastened to the other page. This was done before the cabinet was brought in, and was fixed to the back of the cabinet by four tongues of metal, which went beneath the frame of the back panel of the cabinet.

“The Magic Mirror” was the title I gave to another big illusion, featuring a large mirror in which ghostly forms appeared to materialise and then disappear. In the first place, I will tell you what actually happened and then reveal the secret. A large mirror was standing in the centre of the stage, an attendant beside it, with two black cloaks over his arm. I asked a gentleman from the audience to come and assist me


with this experiment. By the way, one has to be prepared to meet all sorts of gentlemen when one invites a person upon the stage. Sometimes the person will turn out to be intoxicated, which is very awkward for a serious performance, but the showman must put up with this. If he turned a man back he would be looked upon with suspicion. Now having got the man up, I asked him to don one of the cloaks, explaining that the rites he was about to witness required a cloak. I myself wore the other cloak. Now I took the man round the back of the mirror, and let him examine it. He expressed himself satisfied that it was an ordinary mirror. Then the lights were lowered slightly, and I asked the man to watch the mirror intently. A small red glow appeared in it, which gradually got bigger and bigger, until the figure of Mephistopheles could be seen in all his red glory. This was a most unearthly figure because it was semi-transparent. We could actually see our faces reflected in the mirror through the figure. After solemnly beckoning the man towards him, he gradually dematerialised. Again the man was taken round the mirror and again stood in front of it. I then said: “You have seen your awful past, now I will give you a glimpse of the future.” Then the figure of a girl in full bridal array gradually appeared. The man, prompted by myself, stepped forward to touch the figure. “No,” I interrupted, “that is for the future,” whereupon the figure disappeared gradually. The man was then invited to put on the hood which was attached to his cloak. I did the same. These hoods were fitted with goggle-eyes, and once more he was led round the mirror. Once more we stood before it. This time I myself appeared in the mirror, shouting out: “Here am I, away and apart from what you hold.” The figure the audience thought was me threw off his cloak and was found to be Mephistopheles. The now thoroughly bewildered man was then led off the stage and the curtain descended with a glare of red lights and general applause. Now for the secret. The back of the mirror was not as innocent as it looked. It appeared to be boarded over in the usual way and supported by slats. In reality, it was divided down the centre and opened like two doors. The centre slat of wood overlapped the edge of one of these doors, which, for easy reference, we will call the outer door. They were prevented from opening too far by pieces of velvet tacked on


the top edges of the doors and the back edge of the frame, containing the glass. Both doors were lined inside with black velvet, so that the persons to be materialised could be seen easily. He, or she, took a small stool in with them also covered with black, on which they stood during the demonstration.The procedure was this: The person to be shown as the ghost passed in from the back of the stage and pulled the outer door open (this could only be done by pulling on a certain place). They then put the stool inside and got in themselves. Afterwards they pulled the inner door open, and took their place in the centre. They were invisible through the glass until it was illuminated inside. This was done by tubular lamps fixed inside the frame of the glass and directed on to the back by shades. These lights were attached to a resistance so that they could be very gradually brought to brightness or faded away. The greatest secret of all was that the glass was thinly coated with silver. A glass prepared like this will last for years, providing it is not scratched. There was also a passage from the back of the stage, through a table, which was a replica of the one we had used earlier in the performance. This table had looking-glass between its legs at right angles to the back cloth, so that it formed a tunnel towards the glass. Through this tunnel came the performers. The supposed goggles in the hoods attached to the cloaks were not all alike. In the pair put on by the member of the audience, the goggles were dummies, and he could not see through them, but a whisper that it was only for a moment reassured him, and he was led round the back. When Mephisto changed places with me, it was he who led the man out into the front for the dnouement.


CHAPTER X EGG MAGIC EGGS, owing to their fragile structure, have always been fascinating objects for a conjurer. One of the most successful tricks I ever did, from the point of view of raising laughs, was the production of an apparently unlimited supply of eggs. I called this “Boy, Girl and Eggs.” First, I invited a boy on to the stage and asked him to look round the audience. “That’s the audience,” I remarked, “all those little round things,” and asked him to select a little girl. When he had pointed at one, which was a rude but very natural thing to do, I asked him to go and fetch her. “Make her your best bow, give her your arm and escort her down the aisle.” This was done amid much laughter and to the tune of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. Having got them both up on to the stage, I asked the little girl her name and also the little boy. We will assume their names were Mary and John. “Well, my name is David,” I said, and formally introduced John to Mary. As they shook hands, I remarked: “Bless you, my children!” I then took a hat, a gentleman’s bowler hat, from the back of a chair where it had been hanging. Standing between my two juvenile assistants, I said, “I want you to look at this hat and see if there is anything in it. Can you see anything?” All they saw was an ordinary and empty hat. Now, I went on, “can you see those little white atoms floating about in the air? I don’t suppose you can, they are quite invisible except to a magician. All a magician has to do is to catch one of them, develop it, and it becomes an egg. ”Supposing I had caught an atom like this... (closing my hand)... I use this old hat as a developing chamber, all I have to do is to cover my hand for a moment with this hat and the atom becomes an egg, you see. I am going to produce several of these eggs, and as I produce them I want you, Mary, to take them one at a time and pass them on to John. I will stand here, and you stand where you are Mary, and John will stand where he is now. Now we will try the movement with this one egg. I give it to you, Mary, you pass it on to John quickly. He takes it and you come back to me for another egg." The action is suited to the words as egg after egg is passed from the girl to the boy. He gets confused and begins to drop them and so the fun becomes fast and furious until the supply of eggs is exhausted. Actually only about twenty-five eggs were used and they were all in the hat, concealed by a cover made by sewing a steel band inside the hat just underneath the leather band. This steel band was perforated with holes at frequent intervals. One half of it was hinged to the other half so that when the lid was closed the back-cloth, which was stitched on to the ring, stretched the cloth over the eggs beneath it. This cloth was, of course, dead black. The hinges upon which the lid opened were at the front and back of the hat. There was a hole in the cloth at one side, the side nearest to the rim of the hat into which I had inserted my


thumb, thus holding it down tightly during the preliminary movements. You will notice I made a great point of the development of the eggs by using the hat as a cover; there was no suggestion that I produced the eggs from the hat. I did this trick at the first Command Performance that was ever held in the Variety world. As there were no children present on that occasion at the Palace Theatre, I commandeered the services of my daughter Vida, and little Jasper Maskelyne, both children at the time. Unfortunately they rather marred the performance by fixing their eyes upon the Royal Box, and paying no attention to my trick. They had seen my trick often enough and Royalty were infinitely more interesting. One fine Easter week in Vienna, there might have been seen perambulating the streets a four-wheeled cab with a huge egg on the roof, marked, “The Giant’s Breakfast, Soften Salle, nightly.” This was an advertisement for an illusion I produced there for the first time. Hanging in the centre of the stage was a gilt frame about six feet by four, hanging quite central so that it was isolated from anything else. In the frame was a blank canvas, and beneath it on the stage itself was a sort of skeleton stand shaped like a giant egg-cup. The illusion commenced by the assistants taking out the canvas from the frame and it was seen to have been put in back to front. The assistants rectified this by taking it out and putting it back the right way. I then waved a stick round the whole thing and the picture, which was of an ogre’s head, burst, and its place was taken by a large egg. The frame was unhooked from this and the egg lowered into the egg-cup. I then tapped the egg with a stick, cracking the top to pieces, and a chicken emerged, which, upon lifting up its head, proved to be a woman. Again my principle of “The Artist’s Dream” came in useful. The egg was made in two halves, one to revolve up the other, the join being concealed by ornamental ribbons which were used apparently to suspend it. The interior of the frame was covered with red velvet to match the back-cloth and when the canvas was put in the second time (the canvas, of course, was paper really) the chicken (who was seated in the back half of the egg) at once unhooked the velvet cloth from the pins on which it was stretched and folded it up and put it at her feet. She then caught hold of a loop of webbing which pulled the front part of the egg round to its proper position, at the same time breaking the paper on which the picture was painted. While on the subject of eggs, it would hardly be complete without a reference to the classical egg-bag trick which deals with the disappearance and appearance of an elusive egg. The means used are very simple; nevertheless, it has been made a star turn in the programme of many performers. It is a sure success where the performer can put it over with suitable address. The whole apparatus consists of a small cloth bag about 6 inches by 4 inches and an egg. The performer starts by showing the bag upside down and inside out. Having turned it inside out once or twice, he even tramples it on the floor, and, in fact, conclusively proves it to be empty, as are also his hands. He dips his fingers into the bag and produces an egg.


Having exhibited this he apparently puts it into his pocket, then again turning the bag inside out two or three times, produces the egg. This time he drops it visibly into the bag and again makes it disappear. Then he holds the bag in front of one of the spectators and invites him to grasp his wrists. Another spectator feels into the bottom of the bag and pronounces it to be empty. On one of his wrists being released the performer dips in and pulls out a small white handkerchief, and again dipping in produces a small yellow handkerchief. Again the bag is turned inside out, and once more he produces the egg, and finally puts it into his pocket. As may be imagined the bag is not so simple as it seems. One of its sides is made double with an opening along the bottom edge, or partly along the bottom edge if preferred. When the egg is put in, it is slipped underneath this bottom edge of the double lining, and when the bag is turned upside down it is grasped when it falls to the bottom between the two pieces of cloth. When the spectator is invited to hold the performer’s wrists, the latter is really holding the egg the whole time, but it is hidden by the false side of the bag and protected by his fingers. The finding of the two silk handkerchiefs is a novel twist suggested by W. F. Curtis. The handkerchiefs are, of course, supposed to represent the white and yolk of an egg and are obtained by stuffing them into what is known as a “Stodare” egg, which is an egg with an opening in the side of it. Both eggs are made of celluloid, although it could be done with a real egg, but with the risk of making a mess of it. Stodare’s trick was to bring forward an egg resting on a silk handkerchief, in fact, tied to it by a piece of cotton. In the folds of the handkerchief he had a small silk handkerchief concealed, in the other hand a tumbler into which he let the egg drop in the act of covering the tumbler over with the silk handkerchief. He then took another handkerchief from his waistcoat and gradually worked it between his hands and it became an egg and, the handkerchief being taken off the tumbler disclosed the other silk handkerchief, the egg being drawn away by means of the cotton. Colonel Stodare was a very clever conjurer who occupied the Egyptian Hall before Mr. Maskelyne, and introduced, among other illusions, one called the “Sphinx,” in which a decapitated head resting apparently on an ordinary table spoke to the audience.


CHAPTER XI THE INDIAN ROPE TRICK MY visit to Vienna, already mentioned, was productive of another illusion which Mr. Bate and I evolved during that time. This was my own version of “The Indian Rope Trick” and was the first attempt ever made to put this mythical trick into practice. As a setting for it I wrote a little sketch called The Magical Master. The Magical Master was discovered introducing his butler into a secret room in the house. This room was used for magical experiments, and could only be approached by secret panels in the walls. The butler was frightened of the whole subject, so the Master proceeds to show him what magic really is. For instance, he puts an orange on the neck of a decanter, covers it with a little silk handkerchief and the orange becomes an apple. Treated in the same way again, it becomes an egg, this in turn becomes a ball of yellow wool, which appears mysteriously embroidered on a tablecloth. The magician also exchanges ties with the butler merely by snapping his fingers. Then he takes four or five circus hoops, made of tissue paper, smashes them one at a time over the butler’s head. Each time the butler is dressed in various parts of a costume. First a highly-coloured dress, then a cloak to match of a variety called Dolman, then a feather boa, and lastly an enormous hat. The Master then calls his attention to a rope loop which is hanging through a ring in the ceiling of the stage. The magician explains the utter impossibility of the Indian rope trick, says that he cannot possibly throw the rope up in the way described in the usual tale, but that he hopes to produce the more important parts of the climbing up and disappearing. He then calls attention to a large suit-case which is resting on a stand. The butler helps him to unpack this, when, wrapped up in cloths, they find the dismembered portions of a man’s body; a head, two arms, trunk, and legs. Having also found written instructions, he and the butler decide to try the trick. The first stage is to cover the portions of body, repacked in the trunk, with a piece of cloth. This rises up gradually and discloses an Indian. He brings with him another sealed letter. This is a spell to produce a fairy. There is a dining-room table in the room and a couple of screens are set round in this, covered up in front with curtains. The fairy is discovered, on the curtains being taken down, gracefully reclining in a coral grotto. She is then given a seat and asked to watch the Indian rope trick. The Indian duly climbs up the rope and when about ten feet up suddenly disappears like a flash of lightning, much to the astonishment of the fairy, who also disappears in a puff of smoke.


Now to reveal the secrets. Of course, the orange was an apple covered by a carefully knitted orange-silk cover. This was pulled off under the little handkerchief. The apple had an egg in its interior. The apple in turn was pulled off the egg. The apple had a tubular inside where the core should have been. This was also taken off under cover of the handkerchief, being fitted with a little button which had a piece of thread attached to it, so the apple was hanging underneath the handkerchief without the shape being seen. The next thing was to change the egg into a ball of wool. This was done by filling a celluloid egg with a ball of wool, having split the egg open and hinged the two halves together. The egg was also covered with the handkerchief and the wool taken out under cover of it. The articles as discarded were got rid of by dropping them into a dish of fruit. The tie trick was very effective. We each wore a dummy front, the butler carrying a bow tie put over a sailor’s knot tie which he wore attached to the dummy front. Through rings in his trousers was a cord which led down to his trouser pocket. One quick pull and the dummy front was pulled down inside his waistcoat. I, wearing a bow tie, covered by a dummy sailor’s knot tie, did the same thing at the same time. Consequently, we were able to take our respective ties off after the trick and exchange them. Now for the hoops. They were not of tissue paper, but of a somewhat stouter paper and were made in the following way. A steel hoop with a raised edge was laid upon the floor, a sheet of paper was laid over that and gripped by another hoop, then the dress was laid in, leaving a hole in the centre. Then another sheet of paper was spread upon this and, finally, clipped down with a third hoop. The cape and the feather boa were prepared in the same way, whilst the hat was got from the back of a chair to the back of another hoop. These hoops were arranged in a stand so that the audience could see the whole of them at one time. There were five of them altogether. The first one was smashed over his head as an illustration and had no effect. The suitcase, from which the Indian appeared, looked like an ordinary suitcase in the distance, except when I picked it up it had an iron rod underneath it projecting from the stool on which I was placing it. This small piece of projecting rod had a counterweight attached to it underneath the stage, so that I was able to pick the heavy case up carelessly with one hand. It really contained the man as well as the dummy in pieces. The man was really packed very tightly in this case and it seemed impossible that a human being could have been packed with the dummy in such a small space, but so it was. The fairy had a much more comfortable place. She was concealed in an ordinary-looking dining-room table. This was of ordinary thickness in front, but the top and bottom were shaped like a wedge so that at the back of the table there was enough space for her to lay down in. The top of the table was formed by a flap, painted on the inside like a coral cave, and then there were what we called ground rows, really pieces of scenery laid along the ground. There were two or three flaps like this in the table. The fairy had to do all the work of putting these into position, and the whole setting with blue lights looked most effective. While these blue lights were put on all the other lights were turned off, and during this


black-out the rope which I had been displaying to the butler was pulled up out of the way and a similar double rope took its place. This double rope was not at all genuine, part of it was only a casing covered with rope, and folded in this hollow part was what is known as a “lazy tongs,” something like scissors which opened out on each side of the rope. Attached to the points of these was red velvet to merge with the background. They were actuated by a sliding rod at the back of which was a large hook, and the Indian who climbed the rope wore a harness between his legs and round his waist with a large ring in front of it. When he got up to the level of the hook he dropped the ring over the hook and dinging on to the rope with hands and feet, he let his weight rest on the ring. When he threw out his arms and legs, the sliding rod, impelled by his weight, shot out the screens and thus concealed him from view. These were also helped by a little steel spring which propelled the screens outward. I forgot to mention that the dummy pieces dropped again from the flys; apparently the Indian became dismembered again. The fairy had sat down on a Moorish stool and she wore a framework under her flowing dress. This she attached to the top of the stool and was then free to descend through the stage by a lift. The whole inner part of the stool was made to drop, carrying the dummy figure of the fairy with it in its descent, and releasing a spring blind which covered the opening at the top. At the same moment a little gunpowder was set off by an electric fuse wire, which gave a puff of smoke at the critical moment.


CHAPTER XII MAGICAL MYSTERIES “THE Window of the Haunted House” was thriller amongst illusions. The late Julian Wylie came to me one day with an idea for an illusion. His idea was based on gauze scenery. He had a front cloth of gauze, painted on the back to resemble the back cloth, in fact an exact replica of it. He thought that if you put a looking-glass mid-way between these two, with all the illuminations on the back side of the gauze, people would see through to the reflection on the glass and take it for part of the back-cloth. If this had been so, an actor could walk across the stage, go behind the glass, and disappear. But this did not work out to plan, because of the edges of the glass which could not be concealed. We tried serrations and other dodges to break the edges. Finally, I went home and thought about it and evolved the mystery of the haunted window. I had a huge gauze cage which was brilliantly illuminated inside. This had a door at the side, so that one could walk in and out of the cage. In the middle of it was a stand made of wood and on the top of that was perched a french window. A pair of steps led up to the front and there was a similar pair at the back. A committee was asked to come up from the audience. They were led up the steps through the wide open window and down the other side and examined everything and found nothing suspicious. They noticed that there were little curtains over the window, which they were asked to draw. Having done this, they were all dismissed except two. These two were stationed in seats at the front corners of the structure to watch events. The lights were dimmed down to twilight and, though everything was left perfectly visible, the dull light gave an eerie effect. I told the audience a little tale about the window having been taken from a haunted house, which was in the process of demolition. For years, people had been seeing ghosts appear at this very window, as a tragedy had occurred in the room. The tale was one of love, jealousy, and murder. Of course, I went on to say that we could not guarantee the appearance of the ghost, but would do our best. “Look,” said I suddenly, “there’s something appearing now,” and sure enough there was a blurred image on the window which gradually became plainer. It was seen to be a man apparently whitewashing the room, then he faded away. His place was taken by another man dressed as a sailor. Then a girl came running in, threw herself into the sailor’s arms and was duly embraced in return. Then entered another man, who pulled the girl away from the sailor, and a fight commenced between the two men. A knife is flashed and the sailor drops dead.


The next scene is a fire. The room is apparently on fire, the windows burst open and a fireman, carrying the girl over his shoulder, with another fireman playing a hose in the background, make the picture upon which the curtain descends. As I said before, most of the illumination was inside the gauze structure. During the twilight, a piece of mirror glass was pushed up through grooves in the wooden stand. Behind this a lift brought up three characters—a house-painter, a sailor, and the girl. They got on the platform which extended beyond the base of the window and hid in the corners which had been covered up till then by two doors. The house-painter was the last to arrive up and he closed the doors together behind him, thus covering the back from any observer. The curtains over the window covered the front, therefore the performers were in a sort of box and it was quite safe to take a person round the structure and even to let him look at the back of the window. All this takes a long time to describe, but as a matter of fact the glass was pushed up attached to counterweights and the front represented the back of the gauze screen, which looked like the front of the back screen. The two pairs of steps were exactly alike, the front looked like the back in the reflection. Having got so far, the first thing the painter does is to open the curtains in the window. These are not seen now because all the illumination is outside and the window itself was covered with a semi-transparent substance used for artificial stained glass windows, a matted paper. There were tubular lights inside the window attached to a resistance, so the painter had to open the curtains, take up his position with the paint brush and give a signal, whereupon the lights were gradually turned on, disclosing a truly ghostly form of a man in a white smock apparently painting the wall of the room. The two men were invited to walk round the structure several times during the performance. Of course, they saw nothing except from the front and they saw what the rest of the audience saw. The painter, having been faded out, took off his smock in the corner, hung it up behind the door, and was ready to play the part of the villain. The love scene was enacted by the other two, then came the murder, and, finally, they both unhooked from the corners costumes of firemen and donned them ready for the finishing tableau. The glass had to be moved very slowly so that the edge was not seen even in the twilight which prevailed. We found one unexpected danger. A man lighting a cigarette one day in the stalls saw a reflection of the light like a brilliant speck in the mirror. This made the trick impossible for music halls where people are constantly lighting pipes, etc. So eventually we had to alter it to a two-framed leg which shut up and opened out into two V shapes. The back “V” was fitted with mirrors which slid up and down and answered the same purpose, only in this case it reflected the sides which looked like the back, and the steps had to be made portable and taken away after the first examination.


Of course, great stress was laid on the fact that the whole thing was surrounded by gauze which made the approach by a human being impossible without breaking it. Now for a couple of small tricks, which are never to be despised. A little trick can be as effective as a big one. As perfect an illusion can be obtained by a piece of paper being torn up into strips and restored, as the illusion of a woman being sawn in halves. The interlude I am going to describe now is called “Black and White.” One has a glass tube about eight inches long and two inches in diameter, a glass bowl with a lip to it (an oldfashioned finger bowl will do), four tumblers, a half-sheet of notepaper, and a lady’s hatpin, all laying upon a tray, the tumblers in a row at the back, two of them being turned upside down. The bowl is filled with water. The performer begins by tearing the half-sheet of note-paper into two pieces. One of these is laid upon one of the up-turned tumblers, whilst he soaks the other one in the water. Having done this he places that piece upon the other inverted tumbler, and then soaks the second piece. With the other hand he picks up the tube, and lays the paper on the end of it, pressing it down a little round the tube. He now turns the tube the other way up and supports the paper by putting two fingers underneath it. He proceeds to fill the tube with water from the bowl and presses the other piece of paper on the top. Now, with the left hand, he takes hold of the tube in the centre and with the right hand draws the paper carefully away at the lower end of the tube. The water remains as if it were frozen. He replaces this paper and takes off the top paper and does this once or twice, then with the hat-pin he pricks the uppermost paper and the lowermost one drops into the bowl, followed by all the water in the tube. He then takes the paper impaled on the hat-pin, drops it into the water and lays the tube down. Fishing out the pieces of paper, he screws them up into a ball and drops them on the tray. He now half fills one of the tumblers and the water remains colourless, but on filling the next to the same height the contents become black. He does the same with the next two tumblers. Now he has white and black alternately and the bowl is empty. He first pours the white water of the first tumbler back into the bowl and the contents of the next one turn all black. The next tumbler of white turns the black into white and the next tumbler of black turns into white on pouring it into the bowl. “That proves that white is black and black is white,” says the performer, but whether the audience believe him or not is another thing. The tube has to be specially prepared for this, having each end ground down a little. There are also two discs, ground down to fit the ends of the tube. One of these discs has a hole in its centre. In the first place these discs are laying on the top of the upturned tumblers, and the hole in the disc is stopped up with soap. The tumblers are prepared in the following way. The first one, standing the ordinary way up, has about a tablespoonful of saturated solution of tannin, the next one, upturned, has a few drops of perchloride of iron, or steel drops, which adhere to the bottom of the tumbler.


The third tumbler has a spoonful of oxalic acid; this, by the way, is a poison, and due precaution should be taken. The fourth upturned glass contains some more steel drops. The next illusion I am going to describe is one of my favourites. On a small table at the side of the stage was seen a goblet of celery-glass shape filled with a black liquid and beside it was resting a tumbler and an ordinary glass custard-cup. On the opposite side of the stage was seen a similar vase half full of water with a glass jug of water beside it and a small sheet of glass lying on top of it. The conjurer invites a gentleman to come on the stage. Before doing this he proves to the audience that the vase on their left actually contains black liquid. He does this by dipping the custard glass into it and emptying the contents into the tumbler. He repeats this and then pours the ink (he calls it ink) into the vase again. When the gentleman comes up he conducts him to the table on the right of the audience, informs him he wants him to examine the things on the table, and, further, asks him to fill the vase with water from that in the jug. He is then asked to lay the sheet of glass over the mouth of the goblet and hold it there while the other hand holds the foot of the goblet. The conjurer then quickly walks over to the other table, and while the gentleman is filling the goblet with water, the performer lifts the vase of ink from the other table. He now asks the gentleman to face him and explains it is a matter now of getting the vases into line with each other so that the electrons and protons can pass each other and so cause the liquids to change places. Then comes the dramatic pause. Then it happens. The clear water in the gentleman’s vase instantaneously turns to ink, while the ink in the performer’s vase as suddenly becomes water. In this trick the foot of the performer’s vase is hollow. It is made of turned wood or nickelplated metal, The vase itself is double and a black bag exactly fits over the inner shell. It is attached through the hollow stem of the water glass to a spring roller in the foot, which is released by a catch, which the performer can press open with a button. The silk bag is instantaneously rolled on the spring roller. The ink is tannic acid with a few drops of perchloride of iron. Inside the tumbler is cemented a small glass tube which contains oxalic acid, which clears the supposed ink when it is poured back into the vase from the tumbler. Here follows the prescription for making the other change to black about twenty-eight seconds after they have been mixed together: {A.) 10 grammes of iodic acid dissolved in one litre (1000 c.c.) of water. Label this (a). (B.) Procure a saturated solution of sulphurous acid. Label this (b). (C.) Take 25 c.c. of B., make up to 1000 c.c. with water. Label this {c). 1. In one glass put 50 c.c. of A and add 250 c.c. of water (or one part of A to 5 parts of water). 2. In another glass put 5 c.c. of C and add 250 c.c. of water {or 1 part C to 5 parts of water).


To each glass add ten drops of solution of starch containing salicylic acid. Procure starch solution by boiling enough starch as will lie on a shilling in about one ounce of water. Add a little salicylic acid (about one-third the quantity of the starch used) and boil again. Keep this in a stoppered bottle. After the above is completed, mix the contents of glasses 1 and 2. In this formula the time elapsing before the change in colour varies from twenty-four to twenty-eight seconds. This can be altered by experiment. “The Chocolate Soldier” illusion, or “The Man who Diminishes,” was suggested by the way in which electric light baths were being used at that time for health purposes. What I set out to do was to show the effect of a red, white, and blue electric bath on a chocolate soldier. The setting consisted of three ten-feet triangular wooden stands on wheels, the upper part of each being a pillar of light, one red, one blue, and one white. We used ordinary electric strips in what we call a batten. These were painted white inside to get the maximum of reflected light. Then there was a table about four feet high with quite a thin top. The soldier marched in to the well-known tune of “The Chocolate Soldier,” performing the goose step and made up like a toy soldier; white trousers, red coat and wooden busby. I shouted out “Halt!” and he stiffened up and was lifted by two attendants on to the table. After some comic business he was got to stand up and set marking time. The stands were then arranged round the table, the white lights being at the back. Three Union Jacks were now introduced and hung by a ring screwed into the end of each staff on to a little rod or arm projecting from the top of each stand. Two of these flags were hung on the arms of the white lights stand. Now the attendants armed themselves with sticks with a forked piece at the end, and with these they lifted the flags so that the end of the staff near the flag rested on the arms of the opposite stand to which they were hanging. Thus a triangular enclosure was formed with the apex at the back, and the broad side facing the audience. After pointing out how perfectly the whole thing was isolated from the scenery, a signal was given and the flags were dropped by unhooking one end of each. They disclosed the soldier reduced to the size of a small doll, still marking time merrily. The stands were then drawn back, the flags unhooked and waved. Curtain. Once owing to the exigencies of the War I had to ask a lady member of the company to take the part of the soldier. After a rehearsal at which everything seemed to go quite smoothly we tried it in public. When the lady was enclosed I noticed the table shaking and peeped into the back to see what was happening. The lady was struggling with a black suit. “What’s the matter?” said I. In an agonised whisper came the reply, “I can’t get my trousers on.” You see she had to don a black suit in one piece, coat and trousers combined, fastened behind at the neck, and she was, in her nervous haste, trying to insert her feet in the arms of the coat instead of the legs of the trousers. So I pointed out her mistake and had to fill in the time by telling a tale to the audience. The lady, when she got the suit on, put a loose cap or


hood on to conceal her face, and thus entirely dressed in black velvet to match the backcloth, had simply to step out on to a triangular platform at the base of the row of white electric lights, and in this position she was quite invisible to the audience. A great deal of the success of this illusion may be put down to good music, coloured lights and the Union Jacks. Still the effect was novel, and the whole thing was a success. Mr. Neville Maskelyne helped a great deal in this by making a perfect miniature of the soldier, which laid flat in the table-top covered by a trap-door. The last thing the lady did before she got into her “invisible” position was to lift this out of the trap and it automatically started marking time, an exact imitation of the larger soldier. The children were convinced that it was a chocolate soldier by our giving the model an extra finger of chocolate, which could be broken off and thrown to the audience as a convincing proof. During the War I gave a finishing touch to this illusion by having a girl at the side dressed as Britannia. The moment the curtain came down she hopped in with her long skirts above her knees, climbed up some steps on to the table and took up the traditional pose which brought down the house and the final curtain.


CHAPTER XIII MORE MAGICAL MYSTERIES “THE Obliging Kettle” was the the title I gave to one of my most popular tricks, and it was my custom to introduce it, with an air of great sincerity, with the following entirely imaginary “history”: “This kettle,” I began, “has a story attached—as well as a handle and a spout. When in Edinburgh I was taken to a shebeen. A shebeen is a place where one buys drinks during prohibited hours, but I don’t suppose there is such a place in London, unless it is under some other title. “The reason I went to the shebeen was not to get a drink; I went there to interview the old gentleman, now passed away, who kept the place. He had the reputation of being a magician. He showed me one or two of his tricks and I showed him one or two of mine, and as a souvenir of my visit the old man gave me this tin kettle. The trick he did with the kettle was this: “Suppose a person came in to buy a glass of whisky. The old man would pour it out of the kettle as I am doing now. Is there any gentleman here who happens to know the taste of whisky? A gentleman over there looks rather like it. Is that good whisky, sir? Good! Now, supposing a policeman, or any other total abstainer came in and asked the proprietor what he kept in that kettle, he would pour out a glass of cold, white, wet water, as I do now. “Now is there a gentleman who knows the taste of water? Perhaps the gentleman who had the whisky would like the water after it?” “I have improved this kettle. It will oblige with any recognised drink you like to name.... ales, wines or spirits, liqueurs or cordials. Now don’t shout! Just whisper your orders to the attendants; then no one will hear you, and you can have what you like.” Thus I introduced my “Obliging Kettle.” It originated more or less as a joke and a skit on the “Magic Kettle,” which was the title given to the outbreak on the Music Halls of the “Liquid Air” experiments. This “Magic Kettle” was all the rage at the time, and my wife suggested that I should do a trick with a kettle. I thought it would be a good opportunity to revive the old trick of “The Inexhaustible Bottle,” and with a kettle it could, of course, be done on a much bigger scale.


Mr. Bate made me a kettle with five air-tight compartments with thin pipes connecting them with the spout of the kettle, and five other thin pipes connected with the handle coming out at practically the positions which the fingers and thumb take up. They came out at the side of the handle with the thumb in front on top of the handle. Each terminal of the pipe had a small piece of valve rubber put over it. These, under pressure of the fingers, made the pipes quite airtight. The one in the front had no valve rubber, just a counter-sunk hole level with the handle on which the thumb rested. It will be obvious that air let into any of these compartments causes the liquids therein to run from the spout when the kettle is tilted in the usual way. The contents of the kettle consisted of: (1) A good claret of Beaune; (2) pure water; (3) ale; (4) whisky; (5) most important of all—a mixture of gin and water, well sugared, about one-third gin and two-thirds water. There was a large tray of glasses, the smallest and thickest goblet-shaped glasses I could get, of the sort used by ice-cream men. The glass I have in mind is a very common glass, all the cheaper to lose or to be broken, as the trick was expensive enough without that. The glasses on the tray were prepared, at least a good many of them were. For instance, four of them contained Benedictine, about a small teaspoonful of it. The same with the other liqueurs, such as, Crme de Menthe, green and yellow Chartreuse, Kummell, etc., also one containing a little milk or whitening and water. In picking the glasses up to pour out the requested liqueurs, they were all picked up in a certain manner, between the two middle fingers of the hand, with the fingers curled upwards. If the glass was an empty one, before the liquid was poured in, the fingers were flattened out, thus showing every inch of the glass, but if it contained the liqueur, the performer commenced pouring before he showed the bottom part of the glass. The glasses were arranged on the tray following a thought-out plan, which the performer had to remember. A copy of this plan was given to the assistant, who prepared the tray. With the above preparations we (the audience and I) had quite a cocktail party. The port wine, for instance, was made by pouring out a third of claret and two-thirds of sugared gin-water. Whisky and water could be supplied pure, also claret. After all, a lot of people shouting at once for drinks allowed plenty of discrimination to the performer. The glass of milk was left as a joke until the end. The port was as pure as some grocers’ port and the gin was definitely weaker. The whole thing proved a great draw to the public. I had one set-back, however. We had booked a Temperance Hall at Leicester, and I found our contract prevented the introduction of any alcohol. It was strictly forbidden and it was useless my talking about small quantities and fairy distillers, so I had to resort to teetotal drinks. I decided upon hot coffee, hot tea, hot cocoa, hot milk, and lemonade, la naturel. This was much easier, but it had a fault, a decided snag—for the lemonade came out boiling hot! But afterwards this mistake stood me in good stead, because in Vienna hot lemonade is a recognised drink. Incidentally, the kettle dispensing these drinks came in very useful at children’s matinees.


“The Burmese Gong,” another striking effect, was a combination of illusions which were presented in quick succession. The apparatus consisted of a large wooden trunk standing on a platform about eight inches high, and placed in the centre of the stage towards the back. On the prompt side stood a wooden cage just large enough to allow a person to stand upright. This was standing on a platform about four feet square and one foot from the floor. There were wooden posts at each corner of this platform, supporting a roof of the same size, about two inches thick. A curtain dropped over the cage to conceal one of the performers when required. On the O.P. side an iron stand, about five feet high, was placed. On this was an ordinarylooking chair. The top of the stand was only just large enough to hold the chair and a person seated on it. To enable a lady to get up to the chair a small portable staircase was provided. In the centre of the stage, near the footlights, was seen a curious old gong, on a carved stand. At the first performance of “The Burmese Gong” the apparatus was quite undecorated; in fact, it was purposely made as plainly as possible and the three performers were dressed as attendants. Later on, when it was sent to the music halls, special Oriental dresses were provided, and the scenery and apparatus were richly coloured. Three complete sets were made in that way, as well as the plainer set which was used at St. George’s Hall. The series of illusions produced with this apparatus was suggested to me in a somewhat curious way. While performing at a Midland town I was approached by a wholesale furniture manufacturer who claimed to have made a box for the “Box Trick” on a new principle. He wished me to go and look at it. I did so, and found that although the box was ingenious it was not suitable for the “Box Trick” and very inferior to the one I had in use. However, the interview led to the gentleman in question asking for terms for lessons and arranging with me to give him a course during the stay of the company. But when two lessons had been given the gentleman was persuaded, or commanded, by his wife to give them up. He explained his difficulty to me and offered to pay for them all the same. I refused to take the money, and then the would-be conjurer offered me the box as a present. I accepted this box and very soon afterwards thought of a novel way of using it. A lady was locked in the trunk while it was raised from the floor; a man was to stand on the lid; he was to have a piece of cloth thrown to him which he was to hold across his body for a second. Then the cloth was to be dropped and, instead of the man, the girl was to be standing on the box, and on the box being opened the man was to be discovered inside it. Here was a transposition trick of the kind that had been done with a box with one person inside and the other outside, changing places under cover of a curtain cabinet. But this was quicker, neater, and very much more effective than anything else that had preceded it.


While the rehearsals for this box trick were proceeding, the show was in Glasgow, in the Waterloo Rooms. I went over to Edinburgh to see the Waverley Market Fair. There I met a Mr. Howard who was doing an illusion as a side-show, and the cage above described was used to “change” one person into another. Mr. Howard offered to sell me this apparatus, and it was then that the idea of the combination occurred to me. I closed with the offer and sent to London for a table and chair which I had in stock and with which “The Vanishing Lady” trick could be done on any stage. For the first performance in Edinburgh these were used, but were afterwards replaced by the skeleton stand and steps. The effects in “The Burmese Gong” were as follows: One man dressed as a Prince in a Burmese costume, one man dressed as a Slave, and a woman dressed as a Princess were discovered ‘standing in the centre of the stage. The apparatus was in the positions already described. I entered, struck the gong once. Then followed three minutes of very bewildering work. The lady was put into the trunk and the man dressed as a Prince stood on the top. The cloth was thrown up to him. He shook it out and held it at arm’s length with both hands. He had barely covered himself from view when I struck the gong. The cloth dropped and the lady was in the place of the Prince. She was quickly handed down; the box was opened, and the Prince was seen there. He was not allowed to leave the box, but was locked in again. The lady was handed up to the chair on the stand and covered with a piece of silk. The Slave was put into the cage, the gong struck, and he was changed to the Prince, who had been left in the box. Again I struck the gong and the box was opened by the Slave who was inside. I ran up the stage to adjust the silk covering the lady, when the Slave suddenly struck the gong on his own account and the lady vanished from the chair, leaving the silk shawl in my hands. I angrily pushed the Slave back into the cage, and again struck the gong. The lid of the box was pushed up and the Prince stepped out of it. Once again the gong was struck and, on pulling the curtain which covered the cage the Princess was discovered within in place of the Slave. “Where is the other man?” I shouted. I dropped the curtain over the empty cage, struck the gong, immediately pulled up the curtain again, and the Slave was seen to be in the cage, thus completing the trio. Shortly after we altered this and opened by producing the three persons in the cage by striking the gong three times in quick succession, to add still more to the mystery. The box was standing on a platform eight inches high, and there was an opening at the back of the box. Then there was another platform on the top of the box about six inches high. Both these platforms were provided with roller blinds like the background. When the Princess was put into the box the platform was put on to the top and the Prince held the cloth in front of himself. After climbing on to the platform, he held the cloth up to his neck and the Princess got out of the opening at the back of the box; the Prince lowered the cloth for a moment over the front of the platform, while the Princess pulled the roller blind down to a catch, then she climbed up between the Prince’s legs and stood up in front of him. She then put her hands underneath his and took hold of the cloth, and on being told to show his face she lowered the cloth sufficiently to do so, then raised it again, while he climbed down


quickly behind her and into the box and shut the panel behind him, while the lady wrapped the cloth around her and there was nothing to show that it was not the Prince. The cage, as described, had a fitting of mirror glass, two pieces to be exact, one running from the back post to the cage, pointing at right angles to the back scenery, and the other running from the back of the cage to the back post of the outer cabinet and this touched the scenery. Under cover of the looking-glass a person could pass from the side and opening the glass at the back, now concealed by the curtain over the cage, could push it open and get inside. There was no curtain at the back of the cage. The stand on which “The Vanishing Lady” was done was a metal one with a glass platform let in underneath the upper platform. The steps were the same height as the upper platform. The Princess had first to climb down to the glass and then twist herself into the box-like steps through a trap door in the side of them. The space between the glass platform and the upper platform was hidden by the cloth that covered herself. When she was safely inside the steps, they were pushed carelessly against the scenery, allowing her to get through another trap and make her way to the cage. The Slave was pottering about the stage. His first job was to lift the platform off the top of the box, and when the Prince was shut up again in the box the Slave pushed the steps towards the platform on which the lady was intended to vanish. I covered her after guiding her up the steps and seating her upon the chair which was provided with a wire shape which was lifted up from behind the back of the chair and made a perfect form. I then got down, took hold of the Slave, and pushed him into the cage. I then banged the gong and lifted the curtain of the cabinet and the Slave had become the Prince, who had made his way to the cage via a trap door in the stage behind the box. Again I banged the gong, and the lid of the box opened and the Slave arose. He sauntered down the stage and sat down by the gong, while I got on the platform steps and was arranging the lady’s covering and the Slave took it upon himself to bang the gong, thus vanishing the lady. I now pushed the steps to one side and rushed to the cabinet to find the Prince had also gone. I then put the Slave into the cabinet again, struck the gong, and the slave became the Princess. Once more I lowered the curtain, and after handing the Princess out, struck the gong again and brought the Prince back. Another bang brought back the Slave. Thus the trio was completed. This illusion was hard work, and most difficult to describe, but it was a great success in the actual performance. “The Curious Case” is another trick for which the apparatus was made by Mr. Bate. This apparatus consisted in a small platform on which was a polished mahogany box with large glass panels, so that one could see right through it. Above this hung a wooden packing case made of unpolished wood. The performer pointed out that the box was isolated from the floor, and after he had tapped the wooden box, tapped the glass box and had got into the former, it was lowered down into the latter. A loose lid was put on the wooden box and the hinged lid of the mahogany box was locked down on to it. The whole thing was swung into the air with the performer still inside. An assistant exhibited a card inviting any of the audience to come up on the stage and watch, and then another one, saying: “The more the


merrier.” A number of the audience came up and stood around, and with a little prompting by the assistant, formed a semi-circle. Suddenly there was a pistol shot and the whole inner case disappeared, the outer case being clearly seen through. It was evident that the performer had disappeared and the next moment one of the committee having made a remark, such as: “Marvellous!” to call attention to himself, proceeded to take off a false moustache and disclose himself as the performer, clad in a light dust coat. No attention was called to the platform, which was a good deal thicker at the back than at the front, in fact large enough to hold the performer when he got out at the back of the case, or rather the two cases, as one of the panels at the back of the larger box had no real existence. Before getting out he undid three panels of wood, which were covered in front by spring blinds. These he laid on the floor of the case and got into the platform, when the box was swung forward. The guide ropes were attached to the outer case to prevent it swinging too far into the auditorium, but far enough to allow the tableaux curtains to drop behind it, thus covering the platform from view. The performer quickly got out of this, donned his disguise, and rushed round to the front ready to take his place with the committee on the stage. The rest was done by the guide ropes. The spring blind was connected together with three catches on one rod, operated by pulling the guide ropes directly downwards, which caused the blinds to spring up and the panels in the inner box, coinciding with the glass panels in the outer, showed the whole thing to be empty. Thus ended the trick of the conjurer who conjured with himself.


CHAPTER XIV MAGICAL SKETCHES MAGICAL sketches are an excellent means of making one or two illusions go a long way. They are also very important, or can be made to seem important by atmosphere and setting, thereby greatly enhancing the total effect of the illusion. The plot of “St. Valentine’s Eve” was a simple one. An old bachelor is reading his love letters on St. Valentine’s Eve, love letters connected with an affair, of his early youth. He also comes across a book of spells and incantations, some of them for St. Valentine’s Eve. His housekeeper bursts into the room. She has just received an ugly Valentine and is very wrath about it. The old man takes very little notice of her and lets her carry on with her diatribe against people who send ugly Valentines to innocent housekeepers. The old man finally invokes her assistance to try some of the experiments he has found in the book. He takes a ball of tissue paper and sends his housekeeper out for a child’s wooden hoop. He then makes the ball of tissue paper float in the air and passes the hoop right over it. This is done by a thread stretched across the stage, over which the paper is crumpled, and running through the hoop off the stage. When the hoop is brought on, the thread is already through it and it is an easy matter to pass the hoop over the paper, and even twirl it round the paper the other way by holding the thread with the hoop at the same time. Amongst the love letters he has been looking up are a couple of old newspapers announcing the girl’s marriage to a rival, and as the spell calls for some memento to be burnt, he decides these will be the best things to be sacrificed. He then proceeds to place a small stool in front of the table, which is an ordinary-looking table covered with a cloth. They utilise the curtain chains to make a sort of line, which they hang above the stool and on this line they suspend the two open newspapers and underneath them and in front of them they put an old flower-pot with the letters and Valentines. The newspapers are clipped upon the line by means of pieces of sheet lead which are bent over them something like clothes pegs, so that a pull on the newspaper will bring it down. Unknown to the audience and concealed in the table top, is the old sweetheart, who emerges through a trap-door in the table-top as soon as the newspapers are hung up. She carries a wooden stick with her, round which are rolled two things—one, a representation of a large sealed envelope made of linen, and secondly, a representation of the Valentine frame made out of silver paper and lace. The stick or batten is provided with a couple of hooks which fit on the chain underneath the newspaper. As soon as she has hooked it up she pulls a tape which releases the whole thing and it rolls down behind the paper at the


same moment the bachelor lights the contents of the bowl, which flare up, being made chiefly of flash paper. At the same time they pull down the sheets of newspaper, thus disclosing the envelope; this is attached to the batten on which it was rolled by a couple of loops held in place by two small bolts. The sweetheart lifts her hands and suddenly pulls the bolts. The envelope at once drops down, disclosing herself as a beautiful Valentine. This climax is enhanced by spot lights and followed by the curtain. On the first night of “The Enchanted Hive,” a skit on melodrama, which I produced in Manchester, one might have seen a bee-hive walking. I had produced this scena and had not given myself sufficient rehearsal. When I crouched down in the hive to hide from the detective who was hunting me, and who had then just entered, I overbalanced myself and positively went head over heels into the orchestra. The detective pretended not to see me and gagged frantically with Sambo, another member of the cast. During this impromptu I had walked up to my stool again with the hive still clinging round, and I managed to get into position again. The stool in question was about eighteen inches high and was set in the centre of the stage, a low fence at the sides and back being placed at equal distance. The stool was a three-legged one with the legs formed from rough logs, apparently. These legs had slots in them through which pieces of mirror glass worked up and down. They reflected the sides of the fence, which looked like the back. Of course, the lighting had to be done very carefully. The advantage of having a fence was, when the glasses were up, that characters could still pass behind the stool as long as they kept behind the fence. The situation was this: The detective was known to be quite close and, on the advice of an old witch, the hero had been persuaded to hide in the bee-hive. A string was attached to the branches of a tree above by previous instructions of the witch, and the negro was told to attach the string to the hive at the critical moment. Sambo was to give away the hiding-place to the detective, the witch promising to see that everything would be all right. The moment the detective enters, Sambo tells him confidentially where the wanted man is and explains that the old witch mesmerised him and that he is still asleep. The detective then makes a plan, takes his dust-coat off and hangs it on a branch of a tree at the side, and from the pockets he produces a skirt and shawl, also a poke-bonnet, a black mask and, finally, a pistol. “Now,” he says, “I am ready for him.” The old witch in the background beckons to Sambo to attach the cord to the hive, when she instantly pulls it up just as the detective approaches it, and, to his astonishment, the hero has vanished and his place is taken by the sweetheart, who is dressed as an enormous bee, while the detective throws off his disguise and appears as Dick, the hero. All this was rendered possible by two pieces of mirror and careful manipulation of the coat at the side. This was lifted up to get at the pockets, first the skirt and then the shawl being taken out. Finally as she dived down into a pocket for the pistol the detective was hidden for a moment and his place taken by Dick, who had got down from the stool behind the mirrors and made his way underneath the stage and up to the side.


In 1931, Pearsons published a little book called The Best Tricks and How to Do Them. In this book I described a ghost trick in which I actually employed a member of the audience as a confederate, which was opposed to all the ethics of conjuring. As the whole affair was a joke on the Magic Circle, this was perhaps pardonable. Anyway, no one seemed to notice it at the time, and it was only when I thought of doing it in public I realised my own sin. The trick consisted of disappearing a ghost under strict conditions. There were eight screens used, each of them having four folds. Two of these were arranged round the ghost, which had glided slowly in to weird music. Having made this magic square round the ghost, which might have been an automaton, but moved as though it were alive (which, in fact, it was), a circle with two entrances to it was formed around the square with the remaining screens. A number of the audience were invited to stand at each entrance. I then went into the ghost, carrying a small despatch case, and later invited the committee to come and join hands around the inner square as quickly as possible. They entered at both entrances at once, but neither of them noticed that there was a man inside already, because those who entered at the right entrance thought he had come from the left, and vice versa. He was a well-known member of the audience, in fact my own secretary, Mr. G. Facer, who had slipped out from his place at the dinner-table just before the event and donned a gauzy smoke-coloured dress which transformed him into the ghost. There was no shape about it, but plenty of floating tails of fabric. Now the problem was to do this without a confederate and still make the public believe I had shut up the ghost in the despatch-case, which really only enclosed his costume. I got over it in this way. I had three assistants, one was the ghost, another was his twin brother, and the third was another man. The two assistants brought in and arranged the screens, the committee being on the stage the whole time watching, and they had already examined the carpet upon which the ghost stood. When I took my position within the inner screens, the ghost had slipped out and stood there on guard inviting the committee to join hands. It was impossible for them to tell from which side he had come and his twin brother by this time had left the stage. Presently he, too, walked out, coolly giving a finishing touch to the outer screens, and then walked off, while the other man did the same thing the other side. Thus I deceived the public again.


CHAPTER XV MASTERPIECES OF MAGIC WE will begin this chapter with an effective little opening trick. On a table is seen a lighted candle in a candlestick, and also a queer-looking pistol and a table knife. The performer blows out the candle and says: “I have here an ordinary candle which I am going to cut into pieces, discarding the wick end. You see there are four pieces,” and suiting the action to the word he puts the wick end on one side and arranges the other pieces in a row. “Now I want there to be no mistake about this matter, therefore we will remember these pieces—call this Number 1, Number 2, Number 3, and Number 4. Now I want one of you gentlemen to choose one of the numbers.” Supposing the gentleman says Number 3. “This is the one you mean, sir?” Taking up the one previously designated by that number, he places it in the candlestick. “We will put this here all by itself so you can all watch it; meanwhile I want a rich man to lend me a tenshilling note. Is there anyone here who will trust me with that amount? Thank you, sir, you are very confiding. I want you to keep one eye on this note and the other on the candle. Have you any objection to my increasing the note? I don’t mean to make it any more valuable, but simply to fold it into creases ! Sounds almost like a pun, doesn’t it? “Now I want to call your attention to this peculiar-looking pistol into which I will load this note. I want you to watch me carefully. Now this pistol does not go off with a bang, but what it does do is to emit a powerful invisible ray, and the effect of this ray is to dissolve solid objects one into the other. “Now will you watch the candle. I take aim carefully and fire! You might say I have clicked. I am sorry you cannot see what the invisible ray did, but I can show you the result. I take this piece of candle, and you notice there is a dark substance sticking out here. We pull it out, unfold it, and discover to our great surprise it is your note, sir. Will you kindly identify it?” There are two pieces of necessary apparatus for this experiment—a pistol with a barrel long enough to hold an ordinary piece of candle, or rather a piece of tube covered with celluloid to imitate a piece of candle. There is a small shoulder at the end of this tube which rests on the lip of the muzzle to prevent it going too fat, and it can be easily taken out by clipping the fingers around it, when the performer carelessly lets the barrel rest in his hands whilst talking. The other essential is a prepared candlestick, which is made of a piece of tube with an ornamental foot and cup to look like an ordinary candlestick. This tube is fitted inside with a plunger, which is brought to a stop by a groove in the ornamental cup, which presses on a small split piece or tongue and so holds the plunger tightly


enough to hold it in position. It is released by pressing on to the cup, which slowly moves down, thus releasing the groove from the tongue, which in turn causes the plunger and candle to sink noiselessly to the bottom. The performer pretends, of course, to pick up the piece of candle from the top, though he never really touches it, but it sinks out of sight when he substitutes for it the other piece he has in his fingers. For one of my most ambitious experiments, which I called “Biff!” I used the same idea of an invisible ray as part of the patter. Once, in course of conversation with a Scottish amateur conjurer, I mentioned that I was willing to pay money for any fresh idea in conjuring. I would find a means of doing the trick if I could get a suggestion of what to do. The very next night he came to me with the suggestion that I vanished a motor-cycle while the engine was going, and vanished the rider as well. After five minutes’ thought over the problem, I gave him a cheque for £10 and began to think of a means to produce the effect. Some months afterwards he sent me a photograph of himself proudly showing the cheque in a frame. He kept it there for a couple of years or so. At last his Scotch instinct overcame him and he cashed it. I had certainly never thought of vanishing a motor-cycle with cyclist, but this was the way I finally solved the problem: A large packing-case was seen in the centre of the stage, standing on legs about 18 inches high. The case was made of white deal and had a board run-up into a doorway in the side of the case. As soon as the cyclist had ridden inside, the door was shut and the case pulled up into the air by four ropes attached to the corners. Then I directed my imaginary ray upon it. The case could be seen shaking by the action of the engine, which was still going at full pelt and making all its usual noise—in fact there was no doubt at all that the cycle was inside the case. Suddenly the engine stopped, and at the same instant the box literally fell to pieces, hundreds of its parts fell to the ground, leaving a mere skeleton framework, without a trace of either rider or cycle. This remarkable effect was obtained by having a separate compartment at the back of the box into which the cyclist rode. This compartment could be released and slid back and behind the main structure of the case along iron bars, like a drawer coming out of a chest, by the weight of the cycle and cyclist. The side of the compartment nearest the audience was covered with black velvet to match the background, so one had a frame-cloth as in the Artist’s Dream. There were wires which lead to flaps keeping in hundreds of pieces of battens, forming sides, top, and bottom of the case, which could all be released by one pull. The cyclist pulled this at the same instant as he stopped his engine. Another example of a simple illusion with a great effect. In 1897 I had one of the first machines for exhibiting animated photographs. The films were very scarce and very short; they portrayed incidents rather than stories. To support the machine for a tour it was necessary to provide other attractions, so I devised a spectacle of Black Magic, which Bautier first introduced. He had only done two effects with it, the production of a hand, and the production of a woman. My effects included the building of a small box from which a gnome appeared—this gnome went through various tricks and


transformations, such as producing a basket of flowers from which emerged a cherubim, which flew and floated about the stage. This was a great success on tour and I eventually brought it to the Egyptian Hall. It was called “Die Zauberwunder,” but we altered this title to the “Gnome’s Grot,” the scene of which was a cave in the mountains in which a hermit dwelt. To this hermit came a knight, accompanied by his comic servant, and wishing to know certain things about his lady love. The hermit undertakes to satisfy him and commences by building a small box upon a little platform. This box suddenly breaks asunder and a red gnome appears. A huge nugget of gold is produced in the gnome’s hands and from it emerges the head of a sphinx which recites a prophecy. Then the gnome gets on the platform and is covered with a cloth by the hermit. The knight is invited to pull the cloth off, and there stands the ghost of his lady love. Before he has time to embrace her, the hermit coolly covers her over again and at once she becomes a gnome. The knight pleads for one more vision of her, whereupon the magician causes a sort of rainbow to appear in which is the future bride. All these effects were produced by very simple means. In the first place, the cave accounts for the darkness in a natural sort of way. The first thing that was done was a dancing table. This was accomplished by a man all dressed in black velvet, who lifts the table up and moves it about in space. To get the gnome into the box a screen was employed with a hole in it the size of the back of the box, the back panel of which lifted up to allow the gnome to enter. The screen was slid across the stage by the man in black. When it was in position the gnome entered behind another screen. When he was at the back of the first screen he crawled through the hole in the back of the box. The screens were drawn off again by the black man. The box was then free for the magician to walk round reciting his incantation. The nugget was produced from behind another black screen. This time the magician made a cover with a cloth. It was placed over the outstretched hands of the kneeling gnome, the man in black placing the nugget into the gnome’s hands under the cover of the cloth. When the nugget was put on the table another screen with a hole in it was pulled in to the place behind the nugget. The sphinx then inserted her head into the nugget, which was open at the back. Subsequently she walked about the stage, and, being all dressed in black except for her head, gave the appearance of a head floating about the stage. The transformation of the gnome into the knight’s lady fair was produced by another screen carried up to the back of the platform with the girl walking behind it. Directly the magician spread the cloth out she stepped on to the platform behind the cloth, coming from behind the screen, which was again drawn off, then brought back with the gnome behind it. When the magician again spread the cloth in front of the lady they change places, so that when the cloth is pulled off the supposed lady, the gnome is discovered. Meanwhile, two screens have been put at the back of the stage, meeting in the centre. Behind these is arranged a transparent gauze rainbow. The magician waves his outspread cloth in front of this, the screens are drawn off quickly and the transparent rainbow is disclosed. This is illuminated by lights behind it, which gradually become brighter and brighter, until the vision of the lady is clearly, seen.


Here is another interlude which I called “The A.B.C, Fly.” For this there was a gilt frame on a turned wooden stand with a single stem. in the frame was the picture of a huge fly. This was taken out and reversed and on the other side were the letters of the alphabet in proper order and plainly set forth. Three newspapers, all alike, were distributed among the audience. One person was asked to choose a page, the other a column and the third a word. When this word was found, it was quite obvious it was freely chosen. I now introduced the educated fly, or the A.B.C. Fly as I called it, “because it was caught in an A.B.C. teashop.” I had a little box in my hand which I now rested against the canvas. The lid was seen to rise and a large fly crawled out of the box, up and over the canvas, and I said: “That’s the only educated fly in the world.... I have another one in this little box. To prove it is educated, it will now spell out the word you have chosen if you will let me know what it is.” Whatever it was the fly crawled from letter to letter and spelt it out. If the fly had been closely examined there would be found attached to the centre of the underneath part of its body a slightly projecting metal disc, and the canvas, had it been examined, would have been seen to consist of two canvases on a frame. These were left open at the base, allowing for a rod to push up a metal frame. This rod carried an electrified magnet. The frame worked up and down from the top to the bottom of the canvas showing the letters, and the right to left movement was managed by a cord, or rather two cords, which pulled the magnet along a rail above fitted with small wheels, so that it glided easily along. These cords carried the current to the magnet, and the whole thing was duplicated underneath the stage. There the attendants had only to push the underneath magnet about to get the same movements duplicated above. While this was going on the performer could twist the frame about to all parts of the house, while the fly was spelling out the words. There was a bright light thrown on the objects and all seemed above-board, whereas, in fact precisely the reverse was the case. I should add there was a slot in the front of the box which held the fly between the metal disc and its body. When this became attracted through the canvas to the metal disc, the rising of the fly lifted the light loose lid so that the fly appeared to crawl out of the box.


CHAPTER XVI MENTAL MAGIC IN this chapter I am going to impart one of my most cherished secrets which has defied detection for a number of years. Even the Maskelynes could not find it out, although they had the opportunity of watching the trick night after night. I should be sorry to deny that there is nothing in telepathy without the use of tricks and certainly my sister, who acted as my assistant, often understood what I wanted done without my resource to the code. Still, I always told the public frankly that there was nothing but natural means employed. Here is the speech I used to make at the beginning of the performance: “Ladies and Gentlemen: I now have the pleasure of presenting to you some experiments in what I call ‘Mental Magnetism.’ Some people prefer to call it ‘Mental Telepathy.’ It represents a remarkable faculty of one mind communicating with another without the usual means being employed. “What I do is this: I ask several members of the audience to suggest to me in a whisper, or write down and hand to me, something for my sister to do. Neither she nor I speak a word during the whole performance. That is why I am now saying all I have got to say before we commence. “My sister does not describe objects, but she will do anything on earth that a lady can do on a stage. The reason why she does not describe objects in the usual way is because we both want to be silent, and again it is different to the usual procedure and I maintain it’s much more difficult. Supposing a person had a telegram to send describing a silver cigarette case containing twenty-three cigarettes, the description might run as follows: “’Silver cigarette case, twenty-three.’ It would be a perfect description for anyone expecting such a message. Supposing it were the description of an action that was required that might run something like this: ”Take a cigarette case from a certain pocket, take out one particular cigarette, put it behind the right ear of the owner and replace the cigarette-case, not in the pocket it was taken from but in another pocket.’ Just imagine what a telegram that would be! It wants a lot of words to describe such an action to my sister. “I want to say most sincerely that neither my sister’s health nor mine is affected by these experiments, and that the means used are perfectly natural and have nothing supernatural about them.


“I will now introduce my sister to you.” I escorted her to a chair and when she had seated herself I proceeded solemnly to look into her eyes and wave my hands at her in the accepted way of hypnotic passes. She closed her eyes, and I said: “To all intents and purposes my sister is asleep, but to make everything more certain, in case she wakes up suddenly, I am going to blindfold her with this bandage, which I will ask a member of the audience to examine.” I handed it to a spectator and asked him to put it over his eyes and see if he could see through it, and he declared he could not. I then put it over my sister’s eyes and buttoned it at the back of her head. But this bandage was not as innocent as it appeared. It was made up of three or four layers of crpe de chine, which were laid one on top of another and sewn together down the centre, lengthwise. In going back to my sister I took hold of the front piece and shook the other folds down on to the lower half so that my sister had actually only one layer over her eyes, which allowed her to see all that was necessary. I then asked the audience to give me some things my sister could do, just to whisper them to me, so that she could not possibly hear. I then pointed at her with outstretched arm, still making hypnotic passes, such as waving my hand up and down, but always the same movements were repeated throughout. For anyone who proposes to reproduce this trick, the first thing to learn is the following table of articles and actions.

ARTICLES AND ACTIONS 1. Picture: Owl flying out of umbrella. UMBRELLA or PARASOL. Take, open, hold above owner’s head, shut and replace. 2. Picture: NOAH, programme or newspaper, coming out of the ark. PROGRAMME or NEWSPAPER. Tear into two pieces. The action to tear or pull. 3. PERSON. ME. Action, to touch any part of lady indicated. 4. Picture: An arrow shot through a ring. RING. Take off one finger, place on another, Fingers indicated counting 1 to 10 from person’s left hand little finger. 5. Picture: IVY, with flowers growing through it. FLOWERS. Take, smell them, pin on person indicated. No sign of the giver of flowers (1) the person on your right, (2) the person on your left, (3) yourself. 6. Picture: A bee flying out of a card case. POCKETS and CARDCASE. The action to take things out of certain pockets counting from my right hand.


Top pocket No. 1—to No. 10. 10. Inside pocket under handkerchief pocket if it exists. 4. Inside breast pocket. 7. Picture: A watch on a tea table. WATCH. Take out, listen to ticking, replace. 8. Picture: A lovely pin in a shoe. PIN. Lady’s hat pin, withdraw and hand to her. Gentleman’s tie pin, touch. 9. KEYS. Bunch of keys, shake by largest or smallest. If single key go through action of unlocking door or box. 10. Picture: A lass with pretty hat. HAT. Place on your own head or other object indicated. 11. Picture: A lily embroidered on a handkerchief. HANDKERCHIEF. Tie number of knots indicated. 12. Picture: A fur or boa round neck of a lion. FUR or BOA. Roll into ball and throw up in air. 13. Picture: A lamb with muff round its legs. MUFF. Pass nearest walking stick through it. 14. Picture: A lyre with walking stick twisted in strings. WALKING-STICK. Use as violin bow. 15. Picture: A loaf, with opera glasses inside. OPERA GLASSES. Take, adjust them, put first large ends to your eyes, then small. 16. Picture: Treading on pair of eyeglasses in a lobby. EYEGLASSES. Place on your own nose. 17. Picture: A lad making a handbag. HANDBAG. Empty contents in person’s lap, if found empty pick up things and put inside bag. 18. Picture: Stabbing a pen or pencil among leeches. PEN or PENCIL Pretend to write if paper put on it. 19. Picture: Purse dropped into lake. PURSE. Take coin out, hand to performer.


20. Picture: String formed into noose. STRING. Tie person’s hands together. 21. Picture: Nail in place of buttons. BUTTONS. Take hold of or pull certain button by performer touching with his left hand the part of clothing immediately after signing you (21). Action to unfasten. 22. Picture: A nun’s veil or shawl. VEIL or SHAWL. Drape over my own head and shoulders. 23. Picture: A gnome smoking a cigar. CIGAR CASE. Take, open, take cigar, hand to owner, shut case. 24. Picture: Matches made in Norway. MATCHES, PIPE, etc. Fill pipe from pouch and light match (if all articles present)—or do with either as indicated. 25. Picture: A Knife cutting your gloves. GLOVES. Put under, in, or on object or nearest vacant chair. 26. Picture: Playing Nap on floor. FLOOR. Pick up anything from floor or place anything there. 27. Picture: Net full of tickets. TICKETS. Take and give to programme seller. 28. Picture: Money hidden in a niche in wall. MONEY. Of any kind. Hide in part of hall indicated. 29. Picture: Necklace on neck. NECKLACE or PENDANT. Touch object. Action to touch. 30. Picture: A stage covered in moss. STAGE. Action is walking or doing anything on stage. 31. Picture: A mole running up sleeve. BRACELETS or SLEEVE. Action of putting up sleeve. 32. Picture: Man in moon powdering his face. POWDER PUFF or SCENt BOTTLE. Go through action of powdering face; if scent bottle, go through action of removing cork and smelling. 33. Picture: A mummy made of sweets. SWEETS. Open bag or box, take one out and eat it.


34. Picture: Yourself the Lady Mayoress. MYSELF. Touch any part of my body indicated. 35. Picture: A lovely mauve fan. FAN. Take, open, fan myself, fan owner, shut up and tap back of chair. Action to tap. 36. Picture: An old map rolled up in a tie. TIE. Gent’s tie, pull ends out of waistcoat. Lady’s tie—twist. 37. Picture: A mat with brooches or sleeve links stuck in it. BROOCH or SLEEVE-LINKS. Take, drop in person’s lap. 38. Picture: Match being cut with a knife. KNIFE or Scissors. Cut anything. Action to cut. 39. Picture: Monkey with charms or chain on neck. CHARM or CHAIN. Put over left hand, stroke with right. 40. Picture: A rose in gentleman’s coat. COATS or CLOAKS. Act of folding—put on back of chair. 41. Picture: Reel of cotton with needle or pin stuck in it. NEEDLE or PIN. Pin folds of dress together. 42. Picture: Fruit soaked with rain. FRUIT. Take, wrap up. Action to wrap. 43. Picture: A lot of stamps stuck together with rum. STAMPS. Action to take out and put back. 44. Picture: A rower with pocket-book in mouth. POCKET BOOK, Count the leaves. Action of counting. 45. Picture: A letter stuck in a roof. LETTER. Take out of envelope, put envelope in fold of letter. Act of transposing. 46. Picture: Lot of girls in orchestra in robes. ORCHESTRA. Take violin up, conduct with bow. Action of doing two things at once. 47. Picture: A rat “squeaking,” or playing with whistle. WHISTLE. Take and blow as many times as indicated. Action, to point. 48. Picture: A rush-bottomed chair. CHAIR (persons). Action to pull person up from chair. Sit on it myself. Action to sit.


49. Picture: Rubbing on a rock. Action to rub or clean. 50. WALLS of ROOM. (Where performance is.) Take article to wall of room indicated hang up or put on suitable projection, such as shelf, etc. Action to hang up: 1 Right hand. 2 Left hand. 3 Facing you. No sign. Stage behind you. 51. Picture: File. BILLIARDS. Action of playing with cue, etc. 52. Picture: Fan. TENNIS. Action of serving with racquet or striking. 53. Picture: Foam. SWIMMING. Action of swimming. 54. Picture: Fire. Fighting fire. BOXING. Action of pugilistic pose, etc. Now, supposing someone asked to have his glasses taken from his nose and cleaned with his handkerchief, I should sign to my sister I wanted her to take 16 and 11 and 49. She would then clean the glasses, that being understood between us. Supposing, on the other hand, he simply wanted us to put his glasses on his nose, I should simply give her 16. Supposing again he wanted her to take his case from his pocket, take out the cleaning cloth therein and then clean the glasses, I should simply give her pocket, say, Number 3, there she would find the case, open it, and know what to do. Supposing another person wanted her to waltz. I should give her Number 3 repeated, which means herself, and 36, the action to twist. Supposing another gentleman wanted her to take his watch from his pocket and transfer it to the pocket opposite, take a sovereign purse from the pocket opposite and put it where the watch had been. I should give her 6 and the two pockets in question, and the number to transpose, which is 45. Now supposing a gentleman wanted the lady to put her hand on her head, the performer would give Number 3 repeated twice, and Number 8 on body diagram, and also Number 1 of body diagram. Now comes the question, how am I to sign to my sister these numbers without being detected? I divided my sister’s body in imagination into five zones or circles, as shown by the diagram. One circle is above her head from the chin upwards; the next circle is from chin to waist, and the last one from waist to feet; two more from shoulders outwards—these are numbered 1, 2, 3 from head to foot, and 4 and 5 shoulder-piece, and pointing in the direction of these, or either of these zones, gives her the number instantly. Thus, if I point with


outstretched hand anywhere above her head it means 1. I have only to lower the hand a little to come beneath the chin and it means 2, and lowering the hand still more it means 3, so that lowering the hand a short distance means 1, 2, 3. The other five numbers are accounted for by numbering the zones again with the higher numbers, viz. 6, 7, 8, 9, o; these were indicated by dropping the fingers of the right hand and pointing to the particular zone required. Thus, for 16 I merely pointed to Number 1 zone and then dropped my fingers which meant 6, while both together meant 16. The whole thing was therefore very simple. You first memorise the list of articles, which you can add to to any extent you wish, then you have to associate with those a list of actions. Each article should suggest its own action. Sometimes a definite one followed by a general one, such as the action to pull out a gentleman’s tie by the ends or to twist a lady’s tie. If the subject finds neither of these articles present, she takes the word “twist” as a general term, but supposing a gentleman asked to have his tie pulled out and twisted, she would naturally pull it out first. I would then again sign her to twist, so in effect the sign would be 36, 36. Supposing she was wanted to kiss a person. I should give her 3 for a person, 3, 3, for herself, 3 meaning mouth in body diagram, and 3 meaning her own mouth; this would be indicated by pointing below the knees, and withdrawing the hand five times with outstretched fingers. As I have explained, the list I have given may be added to to any extent, but I have found the above list quite enough for all practical purposes. In learning the words it may be advantageous to know that each word contains in itself a clue to the name; a, e, i, o, u, and w were only used as fillings, the sound of “ch” or “sh,” the sound of “k” or “ck ”, and the sound of “ss” meant different things. For instance, assume that the word is “Owl.” The most important letter in this is “L.” You think of “1" and one stroke that leads you to think ”L," and you immediately think “Owl.” Then you have to think what the “Owl” was doing, there you get the article, and following that, the action. The second word is “Noah,” in this the important letter is “N,” representing two by its two strokes. Again, it is easy to think of what “Noah” was doing, and you immediately think of the further action. The next word is “Me,” represented by three strokes in the letter “M.” “R” is kept to represent the sound of four, therefore, “Arrow” reminds one of 4, discarding the “a” and “o” and “w,” 5 is represented by “V” or “F,” therefore we pick on the word “Ivy,” the I and “Y” being neutral. “B” or “P” represent 6, therefore in this sentence you have to make a picture of a “Bee.” “T” or “D” represents 7, again the simple word “Tea” will answer our purpose. Then you come to “Shoe,” the “sh” sound is 8. The simple word “Key” represents by its hard sound 9, whereas the sound of “ss” represents 10, you have it in the word “Lass.” Now we come to double figures. You want two strokes for 11, therefore you pick on the word “Lily,” and make a picture of that. Then you want one stroke and two strokes for 12. What can be better than “Lion.” 13 is represented by “Lamb,” the stroke of the “L” and the three of the “M” just remind you. In 14 you want one stroke and an" R," you have" Lyre."


Then in “Loaf” you get one stroke and the sound of “F” which is 5, therefore 15. Now we come to 16, which is “Lobby,” one stroke and “B,” the “L.B.” which is 16. “D” or “T”. represents 7, therefore we use the “D” in this case and the one stroke “L”—"Lad," which gives us 17. Then “Leech” that will do for 18. Then in 19, the “Lake” again the stroke for one and the “K” represents 9, so we have 19. In 20, we come to another series of words, all commencing with “N,” representing 2. So we have Noose, Nail, Nun, Gnome, Norway, Knife, Nap, Net, Niche, Neck. You will notice that two of these examples start with “G” and “K,” but these letters in these words are silent, therefore, neutral. I think I have said enough to show the system on which the memory aid is based. Each figure is a picture and each picture has an action following. In practice, I used to carry a small note-book to keep my left hand occupied. I also found it very useful to make a note of a request, this I did with one word describing the leading article and the action, not using the code figures in case they should be overlooked by the spectators. No doubt you have been wondering how my sister found a person. In a small intimate theatre my sister and I went amongst the audience. I waved her to the entrance of one of the aisles then gave her two signs, say, 4 and 6, the four meant the number of rows and the six meant the person in the row, and just as she was entering the aisle I gave a final sign, either one or two, which meant right and left respectively. In a larger theatre I invited twelve to eighteen members of the audience, both ladies and gentlemen, to come on the stage, and seated them in a semi-circle, my sister being down stage in the centre to keep her out of hearing of the requests. There was usually dead silence while these requests were being taken, but I remember on one occasion when the silence was broken. A gentleman with a long beard was seated in the centre of the semicircle and he beckoned me towards him and as I bent to receive his order, a voice in the gallery went “Baa-aa” in perfect imitation of the bleating of a goat. There was, of course a shout of laughter which continued for about half a minute. The gentleman went on with his request without taking the slightest notice of the disturbance. I found out afterwards he was stone deaf. In the case of finding a person in these seats, my sister would simply take a number from me, counting from where she stood at the moment, and as I said before my sister very often seemed to know intuitively what was wanted. I remember one occasion at an annual dinner of the Savage Club at which his late Majesty King George was present (he was then Prince of Wales). Sitting next to him was Lord Charles Beresford, and the Prince requested that my sister should kiss Lord Charles. My sister walked up to him, put her hands on his shoulders and suddenly blew him a kiss. Romance is never far from the stage. Here is one connected with this telepathy trick. I one day received a letter from a young man who told me he had been out of a job so long that he had had serious thoughts of suicide. In his wanderings he passed St. George’s Hall and was


attracted therein. That evening I was doing the Mental Magnetism, and he, amongst others, had offered suggestions. His idea was to have a ring taken from one of his fingers, and placed on a similar finger belonging to a lady seated some distance away. This my sister did and in going out after the show was over, this lady and gentleman found themselves together. She made some remark about the performance and asked him if the signet ring belonged to So-and-so, an old friend of her father’s. It turned out to be the same person. This led to further conversation and an appointment for another meeting, which led on and on and on and finally ended ih a happy marriage. “Translucidation” is another experiment that caused some sensation. I was very fortunate in having my sister to help me with this also. She was an ideal assistant, exhibiting all the coolness in action that was necessary. For this experiment my sister was seated on a chair close to the footlights, with the semicircle of spectators up stage and behind her. I came forward with a black bag, half a dozen envelopes, and six blank visiting cards. I distributed these to six members of the audience, with the request that they should write some quotation, or a few words of any sort as secretly as possible, and when they had written them, to put the card in the envelope and seal it down carefully, marking the envelope in any way they pleased. When this was done I asked a gentleman to take the black bag, thoroughly examine it, and then collect the envelopes in it. When he had done this, I took the bag from him with the tips of my fingers and at arm’s length, and laid it on my sister’s lap. She put one of her hands inside it, and I said a few words of explanation to the audience, explaining again that I used no means but natural ones. My sister would simply take an envelope out and put it on her forehead and then read the contents. This was duly carried out with the six envelopes. Each one, after it had been read, was handed over the footlights immediately, and passed on to the person who claimed it. It seemed impossible and inexplicable, so much so, that one day Sir Oliver Lodge came to the performance armed with a specially-sealed envelope, which he challenged my sister to read. She read it with the rest and he was so surprised that he got up from his seat in the stalls and made a short speech to the audience. He said he could not understand by what means this marvel had been accomplished, as he knew nothing in science that could account for it, and finally, hinted that I was using some higher powers. Mr. Nevil Maskelyne and I saw him after the performance and tried to assure him it was trickery, but he frankly said that he did not believe it. I promised one day to disclose the secret and here it is. Had the audience been able to see beneath my sister’s skirt they would have seen a small trapdoor in the stage open and another lady’s hand emerge, take hold of a piece of speaking-tube which was attached to my sister’s dress, and join it up with another piece which had also come through the trap, thus connecting a speaking-tube from a cabinet beneath the stage to my sister’s ear. When the hand had done this business it went exploring still further until it rested under a slit in my sister’s lap. This slit was concealed in her dress, the edges being covered with suitable embroidery. My sister simply pushed the envelopes which she had gathered together within the bag; she pushed them into the hand of the lady, who immediately handed them down to a man who took them into the cabinet in


which was the speaking-tube. There was also in this cabinet a box just the size of the envelope containing a powerful electric light, and placing the envelope in grooves in front of the box he was able to read the contents quite easily. The moment he had read the first one, he handed it back to the lady and spoke into the speaking-tube, telling my sister what was written on it. Meanwhile, the lady had passed the envelope to my sister via the slit, and she, pretending to take it from the bag, held it to her forehead and was duly able to “read” it. In the rare event of one of the cards being doubled over, we boldly opened the envelope and, after reading the contents, replaced it and reproduced any signs or marks upon it. And that is exactly how the trick was done.


CHAPTER XVII THREE UNPRODUCED ILLUSIONS “THE Advent of Peter Pan ”is an altogether original illusion consisting not only of a new method of presentation, but employing also an entirely new principle. The effect is this: A transparent conservatory is shown, illuminated inside, and as slender as possible in make, leaving no apparent place for concealment. The interior is covered up by a series of blinds which conceal the whole conservatory. When these blinds are drawn and the spell, or other incantation, pronounced, the blinds fly up and the conservatory is seen to be full of roses and from these there gradually emerges a living Peter Pan. A simple effect produced by simple means. But to emphasise the fact that magical illusions are not always as simple as they seem I give in an Appendix the full plans and working notes which are essential for the production of this illusion. In these it is explained how the girl who takes the part of Peter Pan is concealed behind the conservatory all the time. I got the idea for this illusion by watching a railway porter who suddenly appeared out of the darkness outside a railway carriage window. His features were plainly seen by the occupants of the carriage, but behind him all was nebulous. Standing out behind the conservatory I have a shelf with sufficient room left for a man to put his head and shoulders between the shelf and actual back, thus indirectly proving to the audience that they can see right through the conservatory. The figure on the shelf is covered with a cloth of nebulous colour, blurred and indefinite. This makes a perfect illusion to the keenest eye. It has never yet been performed except in rehearsal. The procedure of exhibition is as follows: Two assistants both go behind the conservatory and polish it up with a white cloth, and proceed to polish it all over as well. Then they draw the blinds, the end ones first, then those for the front and roof, and finally, those at the back. When they are supposed to be drawing the back blinds, which are non-existent, they are really releasing the lady on the shelf, and letting the whole thing slide into the conservatory. The moment she is in, the lady releases a huge quantity of spring flowers representing roses and their foliage. This is done by the simple expedient of a flap made heavy and sewn to the cloth down the centre,


which is lifted up and over by means of a stick at the rear edge. The flowers, impelled by the springs, then fill the casket. Of course, the lights have to be carefully arranged to get the right effect.

“Transformation,” originally intended for revue, was a fanciful introduction to a song. The scene represented winter in a forest—the trees were all stark and bare. Enter Harlequin dancing. He does a short dance, then strikes a tree trunk, which is centre, and by this stroke of his magic wand, transforms it into a bower of roses. At the same time the whole scene becomes summerlike, and a girl is seen amongst the roses picking them. She is handed out by Harlequin and bursts into song. The back-cloth here is made of gauze, painted lightly to resemble tree trunks, frost and snow. On brilliant lights being put on behind this gauze scene, and taken off the front, people see through the gauze a scene of summer beauty. Converging from the tree trunk in the centre are a couple of mirrors which reflect the sides of the scene which matches the back. Concealed behind these mirrors is a woman. The tree trunk with the woman behind are both standing on a revolving platform, which is raised just sufficiently for it to revolve easily, the slight rise in the ground being covered by a canvas. Of course, the revolving platform is screwed to the stage first, and is actuated by two lines which to go the side of the stage and pull it round the necessary half-revolution, thus bringing the woman and the roses, which are behind the mirrors, to the front. The lights are changed at the same moment and the whole scene becomes one of summer beauty. The front edges of the mirrors are concealed by the tree trunk and the back edging is partly painted so as to make it merge into the scene. The lighting is very subdued, and blue in colour. At the same instant that the tree revolves, the upper part of the trunk falls down behind the mirrors, or what is now the back of the mirrors.

Another untried illusion somewhat akin to the principle of Peter Pan, I call “The Cage of Luck.” In this there is a wooden cage suspended in the centre of the stage. It is about 3 feet 10 inches square, and is folded up when it is first seen, with the exception of the roof or top. The sides and back are cut to represent a swastika. Two assistants enter and proceed to open the cage out. The side carrying the door is opened first, then the other side, and the floor pushed down from behind. Then a spring blind is pulled down at the back, and the assistants doing this allowthemselves to be freely seen. Having lowered the back blind, they then lower the side blinds, and finally, the one in the front. The performer then explains that Cupid will occupy this cage of luck and will fire arrows amongst the audience which will bring good luck to those who are touched by them.


He then opens the front blind and the two sideblinds and the cage is seen to contain a girl in a kneeling posture. A pair of steps are put into position to enable her to descend to the stage, and she at once begins shooting her arrows of good fortune. Behind the cage is a triangular compartment, the apex of the triangle being in the centre of the cage. This is made of tubes screwed together, and boarded in one side and bottom. The other side is covered by a curtain running free on one of the tubes, in fact, both sides are covered with curtains, only one is not movable. The back of the cage is divided into two equal parts, one of which opens inwards. The first thing the girl does when she wishes to enter the cage is to open a loose curtain, then let the blind of the cage go up. After that she has to push open the gate and enter the cage; then replace the blind and shut the gate. Of course, both cage and hiding-place have to be securely fastened together to take the weight of the girl.


CHAPTER XVIII CREATING AN ILLUSION IN creating an illusion, the first essential is, of course, an idea and preferably an idea of a new effect, rather than the means of obtaining it, although the latter may sometimes lead to the same thing. It is certainly better to start with the idea for an effect. An idea is a very elusive thing, just a fleeting fancy which cannot be pinned down, but which may prove the clue to a great success in illusion. I should strongly advise anyone commencing conjuring to write down all their ideas in a book. They would be surprised what an inspiration they will prove to be in later years. Having selected an idea, the idea of an effect, the next thing is to select a means of doing it. The first thing a practical conjurer does when he gets hold of what sounds to be a good effect is to run through all possible means of obtaining that effect. I have just thought of an idea; it is something like this: There is to be a platform or table on which is resting an ordinary wireless set. It is switched on and immediately there is heard a lively fox-trot played by, say, a banjo quartet. After listening for a while, the performer then talks about television, and says he has succeeded in getting good results after experiments; has actually obtained some stereoscopic figures. He then by some means has to produce four figures playing the same fox-trot the audience has been listening to. This sounds a good idea, how can it be done. I think carefully of all the means I know and none of them seems to apply, or satisfy me. I try to think of something original. Here again I fail. I am almost giving up the idea, when I suddenly remember one of my old illusions called “Beauty and the Beast,” which I have already described in this book. Here, surely, is the very thing. There is a good-sized platform, shaped like a Moorish stool. On this is the wireless set, which is made to revolve, and behind the stool is resting the gauze cage in its collapsed condition. The audience plainly see this through the legs of the stool, in fact the stool seems quite isolated from the ground. The cage is then attached to a rope dependent from the flies, and thus hung above the set over which it is lowered. The performer then illuminates it inside, explains this is his picture collector and asks them to watch. He then turns off the light, which makes the gauze quite opaque, and turns on the music again and gradually turns on the lights again. Now through the gauze are seen four men with banjos playing the identical tune. To simulate the effect of a photograph, the men are dressed in greys,


and blacks, and whites, so that they appear to have stepped out of a photograph. There might possibly be folding seats on the set, one behind on which a man could straddle, one each side, and one in front near the floor of the platform. To prove it is really a stereoscopic effect, the men get up and walk away, still playing. Quite an effective illusion, I think, but one has carefully to consider what can be done with it. Even a magician has to consider overhead expenses. For this illusion you have the expense of four expert banjoists to provide for, and at least a couple of men to set the apparatus and work it from underneath. Then there is storage, for such an illusion requires almost a room in which to store it. Then again there are travelling costs. These expenses come into all illusions and it behoves the beginner to consider very carefully how far his takings are likely to meet these expenses. An illusion show requires capital like any other business, and it is far wiser for a performer to select material of a simpler nature for his illusion. He must always remember the public are apt to take little notice of the expense involved and are very often equally pleased with a smaller effect which costs the performer practically nothing to produce. In this case there need not be the expense of a wireless set at all. All the dummy set need contain is a loud-speaker concealed in its interior and wired to a microphone to, say, a dressing-room beneath the stage, in which the men sit to play the first time. Incidentally, a very good plan in building most illusions is to make an inch to the foot model, and then to make it full size of old packing cases, or what-not, to get a true idea of the actual size you propose to adopt. This is the best way to arrive at the most suitable sizes. I have often been asked which type of man makes the most successful pupil from a magical point of view. My experience points to an actor, because a trained actor takes up his cues properly. I remember Sir Barry Jackson once asking me to produce an Oriental act at very short notice for one of his plays. I first rehearsed the whole thing, then called in the actor who was to take the part of the Magician. He responded splendidly to the cues I had arranged, and within an hour and a half he had mastered the whole act, which lasted fifteen minutes and was full of complicated tricks. Another question I am often asked is if I have had any romance in my life. The most romantic incident I can remember was my first meeting with my late dear wife. I was exhibiting some American midgets at the time, named, aptly enough, General and Mrs. Mite. At a certain point in the performance I descended from the stage and walked round the hall, answering enquiries from spectators. Looking into a mirror on the wall one day, I first caught sight of my wife. It was a case of love at first sight, or would you call it second sight? Anyway, we got acquainted and thereafter my life was wrapped up in hers.


Perhaps the most curious feature of our meeting, though, was that it was by the sheerest chance that I was in the hall that day. The midget company had been laid off for a few weeks and had only opened again that day. The pianist and I had been summoned from London by telegram, and our funds were nearly exhausted. However, we scraped together sufficient money for the journey and a cab to the station, which was necessary for our baggage. When we got to the booking office we found we were exactly a two-shilling piece short of the fare. I must have given it to the cabman for a penny. The only thing I could think of was a small silver watch I had, which I rushed out and pawned just in time. If I had not had the silver watch on me I should never have been at that matinee at “The Hall by the Sea” in Margate, I should never have met my wife, and the whole course of my life would have been altered. Again I have been asked what is the most disturbing experience that ever happened to me. It was undoubtedly the occasion when I was commanded to make money in front of a madman. On a moonlight night in a country lane I was walking to the station, having just concluded a show at a big asylum, when there suddenly darted from the hedge a hatless man with a wild expression. “You are the man who makes money,” said he, but I assured him I made very little. “Can’t I believe my own eyes?” he replied. “I have just seen you doing it. I want you to make some for me now.” He had a nasty glint in his eyes, so I thought it best to obey, having realised it was a lunatic I was dealing with. So I took off my hat, and with a capital of twenty half-crowns, I managed to make a good display, until, to my great relief, I saw a man’s head over the hedge behind my aggressor. This turned out to be one of the two keepers who quickly secured the patient and took him back to the asylum. Calculated misdirection is a most important thing in conjuring, and the first inference of it which I remember was published in my book Magic Made Easy many years ago. It was a bottle and glass trick, very popular at the time, known as “The Passe-passe Bottle and Glass Trick.” The bottle was a dummy one made of tin, and in the hollow base of it was concealed a glass tumbler. By way of proving to the audience that this was an ordinary glass bottle, I had a hole made in the side of the bottle, through which I held the glass tumbler in position. I then held a plate on the tips of the fingers of the other hand, calling attention to the solidity of the plate, knocked the tumbler, which, of course, formed the bottom of the bottle, two or three times against the plate, thus obtaining an unmistakable ring of glass against china. You will notice I did not refer to the bottle at all, but the inference is obvious. Some years ago there was a trick introduced by someone, I never knew whom, in which a paper cone was made and a handkerchief spread over the top of it, and apparently pushed


down into the interior by the wand—though really it was pushed into the interior of the hollow wand by a rod held in readiness beneath the handkerchief in the paper. But somehow this did not look very convincing when I did the trick. Then I did it with a candle-case, in which I first placed a lighted candle. After having produced the handkerchief from the flame, I gave one lady the case to hold, and the handkerchief to another, asking her to hold it by the corners between her two hands. I then rolled a piece of cartridge paper round the wand, thus forming a long tube, which was held securely by a rubber band. Withdrawing the wand, but retaining the inner rod in the tube, I then approached the lady holding the handkerchief, and this is where the misdirection came in. I promised her I would not even touch the handkerchief with my hands, and asked her to place it on the top of my wand, which I held in such a position that she could hardly do otherwise. Then taking it on the wand, I pushed it into the tube in the other hand, but from the bottom, not the top. Having pushed it right into the tube, I, of course, secured the core rod and laid the wand on the table, and opening the paper tube, showed the handkerchief was gone, only to be discovered later in the candle-case, the candle being produced from the performer’s pocket. Elsewhere in this book Mr. Oswald Williams has a very ingenious way of showing two slates to be apparently devoid of preparation, but clever as it is, I rather feel the method lays too much stress on the slates, and might arouse suspicion. An alternative method of dealing with two slates is to mark one of the corners of each slate with a figure, thus, 1, 2, 3, 4. These slates have a flap and in the inner side of the flap is marked the corresponding figure shown on the inner side of the top slate, while the inner side of the bottom slate is marked with the figure previously written on the flap. On one side of the flap is a written message. For instance, “The spirits declare the answer to be,” and on the inner side of the bottom slate, say, 1, 2, 3, 4, the answer to a sum, so that the slates are brought forward and shown as clean slates. They are then marked with figures in the corners, placed together, the one with the flap on top, which now drops down to the bottom. When they are taken apart it shows the" spirit message" on both slates, and the wonder of the message is emphasised, rather than people’s minds being concentrated on the slates. Incidentally, the most comical piece of misdirection I ever did was boldly to show a hat—into which I had just loaded a cannon-ball of no inconsiderable weight—to a gentleman in the audience, asking if he had ever seen such a funny lining. He replied, quite truly, that he had not, when, to the astonishment of everyone, I produced the cannon-ball.


CHAPTER XIX SOME AWKWARD MOMENTS THERE are moments that can prove very awkward for a conjurer. I remember one at a police station where I had gone to emulate in friendly rivalry, my friend Houdini. I had offered to let the police inspector handcuff me with his own cuffs and lock me in a cell for a few moments, when I would try to escape. The police superintendent took the offer and had already fixed one cuff on my hand, when he asked if he could fasten me to something else. I couldn’t very well refuse, but I was rather taken aback when he beckoned a very hefty policeman towards him and said: “The ‘something’ I want to fasten you to is this policeman’s wrist.” Again I had to acquiesce to save my face. I was duly handcuffed to the policeman, pushed into a cell with him and the door was shut. It was an awkward moment and I had to think quickly. Said I to the policeman: “Have you got the time on you?” “Yes,” he replied, and began to fumble at his tunic with his free hand. This was my only opportunity and in a moment I had released my hand from the cuff. The policeman heard a click. I had just clicked shut the empty cuff. That took less than a minute. “You can call them in now,” I said. In they came and were duly astonished. But the most surprised was the policeman I had been fastened to. I remember another awkward moment when I involuntarily appeared as a dancer. I had a trick with a crystal clock dial which had a hand that told the time without any works. At feast the audience did not see them. There was a bell on the top of this clock dial made of glass, with a metal hammer. Both the dial and the bell were worked by threads from one side of the stage. I had forgotten I could not walk round the dial on that side without danger and when I did so I caught my feet in the threads. At once the bell began to chime violently, the hand twisted round like a roulette-wheel and I appeared to be dancing madly. I was really trying to shake the threads from my feet. I did not succeed and at last had to blame the spirits and talk about bad entities. Another unpleasant moment was when I got an unexpected bath. I was trying to improve the kettle trick, which I have already described. My idea was to produce a fountain of coloured water from it, constantly changing as the audience desired. To do this, I had some tanks fixed up in the flies, each containing a different coloured water. Pipes lead from these to one single pipe which was secretly attached to a pipe coming underneath my trouser leg, up over my shoulder, and down to my cuff, from whence I could pull it out and secretly attach it to the kettle. In the centre of the stage was a series of trays, fitted on a rod in the centre of a sort of a bath. When the top cup overflowed it poured down to the second,


thus the water went from cup to cup, a very semblance of a fountain. The coloured water was controlled by taps on the various pipes leading from above. This was all working merrily, when I felt a sudden dampness about my shoulder. The tube had split and soon the water was pouring down inside and outside my clothes. A very awkward moment, indeed so unpleasant that I decided not to risk repeating it, and discarded that particular illusion. The tinkle of a wedding ring on the floor figured in another very awkward moment, because the floor happened to be the cracked deck of a pier and I was responsible for the wedding ring. I had handed to the old lady who had lent me the ring an envelope, which I asked her to open and assured her she would find the ring inside. I waited and heard that tinkle, and the old lady asserting that the ring was not there. We looked round but could not find it. I am glad to say we found it after the show, but it entirely spoilt my performance. A colleague once told me of an awkward moment that came to him. He was giving a performance in a music hall which was next to a theatre. The stage doors of both were at the end of a long narrow passage. At the sides were entrances to the auditorium of the theatre and the music hall. My friend’s assistant was put in a piece of apparatus and immediately escaped through the stage. Then he had to make his way through the stage door, enter the auditorium by one of the doors in the passage. At a certain moment he was to fire a pistol and say, “I am here.” On this particular evening he entered the theatre by mistake. When he got in he fired his pistol, saying, “I am here” as usual, before he realised he was in the theatre disturbing Little Willie’s Death Scene, while the illusionist in the music hall next door was frantically shouting, “Where are you?” In my early boyhood, when I commenced conjuring I had a trick in which I fired a pistol. Arriving at a Sunday-school treat one day to do a show, I found I had no gunpowder for my old-fashioned pistol and sent a boy to an oil-shop for some. He brought me some rough blasting-powder, having been told at the oil-shop that it was all they had. I supposed a similar quantity would do as well, so loaded my pistol accordingly. In the course of the trick I put a watch into a paper bag and requested the superintendent of the Sunday-school to hold it, which he did at first at arm’s length. Then somehow he got the bag in front of his face. I followed the bag with my pistol and let it off. The poor man dropped the bag, watch and all, and put both hands up to his face, shouting, “I’m shot!” So he was, for his face was covered with little black specks. The vicar immediately stopped the show, and never again did I use a pistol for tricks. Another awkward moment! In a contraption called “The Ghost Tube,” which is made for producing articles, is a perfectly innocent-looking tube which one can look through and see nothing suspicious. To prevent anything getting in or out of it, pieces of paper are clipped on the ends with rings. Nevertheless there is a secret compartment which holds a considerable quantity of textile stuff. One day I was doing this trick and was just putting the second sheet of paper on when I noticed the secret part was empty. The assistant had forgotten to load it. For a moment I didn’t know what to do. Then I called for the assistant to bring the things that I was going to produce from the tube, and calmly proceeded to place them inside it. By making them


disappear and afterwards making them come back and producing them, I was thus enabled to get on with the trick. That was another awkward moment. On another occasion in the early days of my career as a wizard, I was giving a series of entertainments for school children. Owing to depression in the receipts, there was a scarcity of plums in the pudding that I produced in the trick, until it became eventually plum duff without the plums! In fact, the children would not eat it, became unruly, and used my pudding as missiles in a free fight. Most of it stuck on the walls of the hall as it was a very adhesive pudding. It was another very awkward moment for me when the hall-keeper marched up the aisle and gave me a formal notice to quit. This same pudding trick was done with a saucepan which had an outer covering. I used to borrow a handkerchief, throw it into a borrowed top hat, then put my saucepan into the hat for a moment. When the saucepan was withdrawn, there was left behind in the hat a tin lining and a handkerchief belonging to myself. This handkerchief I took out and lit at a candle and then dropped it blazing into the hat, to the great amusement of the onlookers. By putting the saucepan into the hat again, I extinguished the flame and carried away the lining. But one night this lining was left off, and believe it, or believe it not, I actually went through the trick without noticing the saucepan was minus its outer cover. Consequently, the handkerchief I took out of the hat was really the borrowed one and this I lit at the candle and dropped it blazing into the hat. It was only when the hat itself began flaring up that I noticed my mistake. I hurriedly left the stage with them still alight and brought back a hat of my own and another handkerchief, which I handed to the confiding persons who had lent them to me, with a whispered request to say nothing and to come round and see me after the show.



A NEW METHOD FOR THE SPIRIT SLATES By Oswald Williams THERE are many methods of performing the Spirit Slates, but the effect, in most cases, is roughly the same. Two school slates are shown and placed face to face. They are then either tied together or wrapped up and placed in a conspicuous position, or given to somebody to hold. The spirits are then called upon to give the answer to some question of interest, or the answer to a sum, or what not. Mysterious passes are made over the slates, and upon separating them the answer is found to be written in chalk upon the inner side of one of them. So much for the effect, which is good. In the methods used, however, there is generally some weak point. The slates will not bear examination, or they have to be wrapped up or laid on the table for no apparent reason, and in several cases removed from the view of the audience. I therefore set myself the task of materialising a message between two slates upon the following conditions: The slates must be unprepared and given for examination. They must not be wrapped up. They must not be laid down. They must not be removed from sight. Only two slates must be used. The following is the method which I decided upon: You will require two well-made school slates of the same size, and what is known as a flap. This flap is a piece of thin, stiff cardboard. It is painted on both sides to match the actual slate, and is of such size that it will fit easily within the frame of either side of either slate and lie flush on the slate.


When in such position it should pass for the slate itself, and should, therefore, remain unnoticed. On one side of this flap is written the message, or whatever it is wished to “materialise.” This should be written with flat oil paint, as if done with chalk it is likely that it will come off on to the clothing, or the slates, during the moves which take place. The flap is placed, writing side downwards, into the top side of one of the slates, which we will call (A). Upon slate (A) is placed the second slate, which we will call (B). Put a piece of chalk and a large elastic band into a right-hand pocket, and all is ready. The magician advances holding the slates, in the position described, in his left hand. The slates should be parallel with the floor. He takes slate (B) from the top and hands it for examination. On receiving it back he places it back on to slate (A) which is in his left hand, takes the chalk from his pocket with his right hand, and asks the gentleman who examined the slate for his initials. These initials (say “D.D.”) are written boldly on the slate (B). The chalk is returned to the pocket and the slates turned over. This will bring slate (A) to the top, and allow the flap to drop from slate (A) into slate (B). (Note that the writing side of the flap is now outwards on slate B.) Slate (A) is at once taken from tho top and given for examination, the flap remaining in slate (B) with the writing exposed. In order that the writing may not be seen by the audience, slate (B) is turned towards the body as slate (A) is slid off it. The flap is held in place by the thumb, and the slate held close against the body. On receiving slate (A) back, it is placed on top of slate (B) by reversing the previous move, i.e. slate (A) is slid behind slate (B) from the top. At the same time both slates are tipped forward, bringing them parallel with the floor again with slate (A) on top. The second examiner is now asked for his initials (say “O.W.”). The chalk is taken from pocket, the initials written on slate (A) and the chalk returned to pocket. “Now,” says the magician, “these two slates have been examined. They have been found to be entirely above suspicion. In order that you may be certain that only these two slates are used in the experiment, they have been marked ”O.W." on this one, and “D.D.” on this." (As he says “O.W.” the magician points to these initials, and as he says “D.D.” he turns the slates over and points to “D.D.”)


This brings slate (B) to the top and allows the flap to drop, writing side down, into slate (A). (The position is now exactly as at the start of the experiment.) “And,” continues the magician, “the insides are blank.” So saying, the magician takes slate (B) off and shows inner sides of both slates. He then replaces slate (B), takes elastic band from pocket, and passes it around both slates. In doing this he gives the slates one more turn over, bringing {A) to the top, (B) to the bottom, and allowing the flap to fall, writing side up, into slate (B). The slates are now placed in a conspicuous and isolated position, say on the top of a large tumbler or glass vase. The trick is done. It only remains to make some very mysterious passes, remove the elastic band, take off slate (A), and reveal the message on slate (B) to your long-suffering audience. (Mr, Oswald Williams is an Englishman. He was born in London in 188O. He is the son of a Church of England clergyman, and the grandson of the late Mr. Walter Lacy, the one-time famous actor. His original profession was that of an architect. He sends me the following reminiscences of his “magical” career, as well as the excellent trick he has described above.—DAVID DEVANT.)

How I Became a Conjurer By Oswald Williams A HALF-A-CROWN box of conjuring tricks was the cause of all the trouble. My dear old dad bought it to amuse the children with. My brother and sister treated it with contempt, but I was fascinated, and my father had no rest until he had handed it over to me. I mastered every one of those tricks and took a positive delight in mystifying people, with the result that for thirty years I may be said to have lived a life of deception. One day I saw a shilling book of magic in a shop window, and I passed that shop every day on my way to school. I broke the tenth commandment every day until I had saved up the necessary “bob.” My disappointment was bitter when I found that the book dealt mainly with heavy and costly apparatus, things quite beyond my means. One thing, however, it did tell me and that was how to palm a penny.


Having obtained my penny I started out to palm it. I palmed it at home and at school. I palmed it at meal times and in the street. I believe that I palmed it in my sleep. I most certainly palmed it in church. And, believe me, palming is the key-note to magic. Just as the first five-finger exercise is to the pianist, so is palming to the conjurer. Even though he may never use it in his performance. My one trouble was money, for the very simple reason that I never had any, and it became obvious to my young mind that, if I was to become a great wizard, I should have to have the “necessary” with which to purchase my illusions. This is how I got it: With such material as an old soap-box, a mustard tin, and some string, I constructed an automatic match machine, into which kind relatives might be induced to drop one halfpenny, receiving in return a box of matches. Matches were then three halfpence per dozen, so that my profit was large. The kinder-hearted relatives sometimes returned the box of matches after having seen the machine work. So my profit became still larger and I was able to start building illusions. When I was twelve years old, I was taken to see an entertainment at the dear old Egyptian Hall. How I loved it, and thereafter, whenever a shilling could be begged or borrowed I was to be found in the front middle seat of the little circle. I would wait for an hour or more to secure this seat. It was there that I witnessed the performance of the world’s most famous conjurers. And I would go home and copy their tricks with my home-made apparatus. They pulled the old Hall down long ago, but I can never pass the site without thinking of the happy times that I spent there. I added to my repertoire an exhibition of hand shadows and an entertainment known as “Chapeaugraphy.” The latter consists of making a number of different hats with a ring of black felt. This ring of felt was not to be obtained however, but my father, being a clergyman, possessed a hat, the brim of which was the very thing that I wanted. I was told that if I waited in patience until he bought a new hat, I could have his old one and cut the brim from it. I waited, and after many weary months the new one was bought. I set to work with the scissors and was half-way through my task when it dawned upon me that that old hat was looking very new. IT WAS. I gave my first show when I was thirteen years old. The performance consisted of tricks with flags, cards, billiard balls, coins, etc., and concluded with an exhibition of hand shadows. It lasted nearly one hour. I can say with pardonable pride that it was not bad. I received no fee and was engaged to give another performance the next month upon the same terms.


When I was sixteen I was apprenticed to a firm of builders, with the idea of my eventually becoming an architect. I went right through the workshops and became a proficient mechanic (a fact I shall ever be grateful for). At twenty I was draughtsman to the firm. But all the while I was longing to be a conjurer in earnest, and when I was twenty-one I threw up my position and took the plunge. There were three of us in the venture. A singer, a man who did sketches at the piano, and myself doing all I knew. We pooled all our savings to form a capital (it came to twenty pounds) and hied us to a South Coast town. We hired a small hall, put out the bills and opened the doors. Our first night’s takings were fourteen shillings and—well, in a week we had made our capital look very sad, so we left and went to another town by the sea, where I heard the corporation were in need of a troupe of entertainers. We arrived with exactly a sovereign between the three of us. Six and eightpence, or a lawyer’s fee each. That is as low as I have ever gone, for our luck turned. Our entertainment was a success, and we stayed for the whole summer, at the end of which I returned to London and joined the ranks of drawing-room entertainers. I had five years of private entertaining during which time I can claim to have entertained every class of audience in the land. From the lowest to the highest. I have given my performance in a West End drawing-room with Royalty present in the afternoon, and a few hours afterwards to the destitute in an East End slum. The next day to a mothers’ meeting, followed by the children’s ward in one of our big hospitals with all the poor little mites in their beds. I would go round and pull pennies out of their hair. How they loved it all. The next night I was producing gold watches from a top hat for the children of the rich. Such is life. Once I was engaged to entertain the members at a girl’s friendly society at their annual Xmas party. When the show was over, I packed up my traps and was about to depart when an old lady with white ringlet curls approached me and thanked me for my entertainment. I thanked her for the compliment and wished her good night. As I was going out of the door she slipped something into my hand. I was too confused to say anything, but when outside I looked to see what it was. It was a two-shilling piece—my first and only “tip.” Bless her kind heart. I had a cab home on the strength of it. It was usual in those days when I had finished my performance to be offered some refreshment, and wonderfully varied those refreshments were, anything from an orange to a champagne supper. I have dined at a table at which I was the only person not bearing a title, and I have been invited to take a cup of tea in the kitchen. A kind-hearted parson once asked me if I was thirsty, and having been talking for nearly two hours I told him that I was indeed so. He gave me an orange. A gay old stockbroker at whose house I was performing kept breaking in upon my entertainment at intervals of ten minutes and suggesting that it


was time we “split a small bottle.” As my show was to last for an hour and a half, it was a good thing for all concerned that I had the strength to say him “nay.” The fees paid for private entertainments vary greatly, anything from half a guinea to twenty, thirty or even fifty pounds. School treats and other church entertainments are naturally not well paid for, and in many cases they can ill-afford the small fees they do pay, while for entertaining after-dinner parties, etc., very high fees are often paid, and in many cases only a short performance is required. I used to receive quite a large fee for giving a ten minutes’ entertainment at a well-known London restaurant on Sunday evenings. Nobody took the slightest notice of my performance. In fact, I never could understand why I was engaged at all. Still the money was there. I was doing well with my private “shows” when I was asked by the booking manager of a London syndicate to appear at a “benefit performance” which he was organising at one of his theatres. Being anxious to test my strength on the halls I consented. My show was quite a small one, but it was well received and as a result I was offered a week’s engagement at another of his theatres in three months time. The salary was very small, but it was the chance I had been waiting for and I took it. I got busy. I had three months in which to invent and build that show. I invested all my savings in it, and I worked like a demon. Day and night I was at it. And it was here that my mechanical training came to my aid. I made all that first big show with my own hands. Cabinets, tables, woodwork, ironwork, all the lot. I had my own scenery, about a ton of apparatus, and three assistants. We rehearsed for over a month, and had all ready in good time, when my health broke down. On the day of the production I was so ill that I was on the point of giving in. However, my doctor patched me up, and I was able to appear. I was in a ghastly state of nerves, but the show was a success. That was my start. Some time later, at Aldershot, I was giving my performance before a front-cloth, behind which the stage was pretty badly on fire. The audience never knew anything at all about it, for the fire was got under, but as I conjured away for dear life, I was wondering all the time how long it would take me to escape supposing the flames did get the upper hand. Once at the Hackney Empire I had an unexpected bath. The fire sprinklers were accidentally let loose and threw a deluge of cold water on the show. A nasty trick, and it was in the winter too! One of my best-known tricks, “The Chair of Death,” also once had a nasty ending. In this illusion a lady is apparently electrocuted in full view of the audience. On this occasion something went wrong with the electrical appliances used and the seeming electrocution nearly came to a painful reality. The lady received a bad shock. She was not, fortunately, seriously hurt, but the call was rather too close to be agreeable.


I was performing at the London Hippodrome some time later and was having lunch one day when my manager came in to tell me that the King of Spain was coming to see me that same afternoon. Now in those days I was closing my performance with a big flag trick, and it at once occurred to me that it would be a good idea to include a large Spanish flag in this effect. The question was where to get the flag. I telephoned to all the leading flag makers in town, but there was not one to be had. So I decided to make one in the short time at my disposal. I rushed out and bought the necessary silk. Meanwhile my manager had secured the services of two sewing women and sewing machines in a small draper’s shop in Soho. We laid the silk on the shop floor and cut it up, and then those women sewed as they had never sewn before, and in less than twenty minutes we had a flag five yards long finished. His Majesty applauded vigorously when the “finale” came, and stood up in the box and bowed graciously to me. I used a trick jug in one of my tricks. It was a beautifully-made affair and contained some very intricate mechanism. One night that jug was missing. We searched everywhere, but no jug could be found. Suddenly the theatre dresser came into sight, and my jug was full of beer. She had taken it to the local “pub” to get somebody a drink. I drank the beer for spite. I am often asked how I invent my illusions. There is no golden rule and I generally work backwards. I first decide upon the article I am going to conjure with, secondly, what I am going to do with it, and, lastly, how I am going to do it. The more unusual the article and the more crazy the idea the better. Let me take for an example my famous “Merry Widow Hat” illusion. In the first place I was struck by the likeness between one of these huge hats that ladies wear, and the top of a tent. There was the subject—a tent. Next. What should I do with it? Turn it into a" Merry Widow Hat," and produce a lady underneath it. This was the result—I built a bell tent upon a raised platform, fired a pistol at it, when the sides of the tent fell away, revealing a lady with the top of the tent (which had transformed itself into a beautiful hat) upon her head. This illusion caused a great sensation, and the idea was stolen and copied by many of those who lived upon other people’s brains. Illusions cost anything from a few pounds to a few hundreds. There is no knowing beforehand, as you frequently have to make and remake it three or four times before it is perfect. It is, indeed, seldom that you get it perfect the first time. It is often the smallest tricks that cost the most, the work in them is usually so delicate, while much bolder methods can be used in the larger effects. My bell trick was made five times before I was satisfied with it, and cost me well over a hundred pounds. The entire trick lasts under a minute. On the other hand, my “Three Card Trick” cost under twenty pounds, and lasts five minutes.


I am also asked how it is that a first-class illusionist can defy the intelligence of at least two thousand people at every performance. There must be at least one person sharp enough to guess how each trick is worked, say the enquirers. There are, undoubtedly, in many audiences people who are far more intelligent than the conjurer, but in our particular art, artistes of rank have made a life-long study of how to deceive, which is the great foundation on which illusion is built. I have devoted my whole life to foraging out little-known principles which others have not taken the trouble to observe. Consequently in this particular business I am able to hoodwink them for a moment. I will give a sample of what I mean. Get half a dozen people to place as many pennies on the table. Ask them to take up any one penny they please and, in turn, write their initials on it, so that it may be identified again, then get them to place all the pennies in a hat. You then shut your eyes, place your hand in the hat and bring out the marked penny. This apparent miracle is only the direct result of a natural law. While all the six people are handling the penny and scribbling their initials on it, the coin very naturally becomes warm. All the others thrown into the hat at the same time are of an even and lower temperature. Consequently you have only to feel for the warm one to pick out the right penny. Some years ago the Daily Mirror organised a fund to provide Xmas puddings for poor children. I was asked if I could produce some magical puddings for this good cause. I accepted the invitation and promised to make one hundred puddings in the editor’s top hat. I ordered the puddings from one of the stores to be delivered to me on the morning of the ordeal. In the meanwhile I practised the trick without them. All went well till the fateful day arrived and the puddings were delivered. Then the trouble started. Have you ever felt the weight of a hundred puddings? It took two strong men to lift them, and the table we placed them on collapsed beneath their weight. We got them to the Daily Mirror offices on two cabs and managed to smuggle them in a few at a time unobserved. The performance took place in the editor’s room. It was a very cold affair. All the big-wigs were present looking bored stiff. I borrowed the “topper” and started to beat up eggs and flour in it. I was so nervous that I let one egg really go into the hat. It made a beautiful mess of it. I have not heard what that editor said when he found it out. The puddings were duly produced and the audience were kind enough to say that it was “wonderful.” I was never so glad in my life as when that show was over. I give a series of burlesques of famous men as they would appear had they been wizards. Prominent amongst these is a burlesque of Mr. Lloyd George as the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I was giving this entertainment at the Palace one evening, when I noticed a gentleman in the stalls laughing immoderately at my efforts. At the finish of my turn I asked the stage manager who this gentleman was. The answer was Lloyd George. He came another night and brought Winston Churchill (who I was also impersonating) with him.


The Card and Tack Trick By Horace Goldin The Effect—A card is selected from the pack, replaced in the pack, which is shuffled. A cork board is shown, one inch thick, 12 inches to 15 inches in diameter. It is held with both hands. The deck of cards is held in the right hand. The board is thrown in the air with a rotary motion about six feet in height, the pack of cards is then thrown to the centre of the board before it descends. The board is then caught in both hands, and the card selected is found tacked to the cork board. The remainder of the cards fall to the floor. The Swindle and How:—You have two tacks stuck in the back of the cork board. One tack you give to the audience. Hold the second tack in the right hand (it could be palmed). The chosen card is brought to the top of the pack. As you go to get the cork board, stick the tack through the top card, turn the pack over face upwards. Let someone hold the board. Shuffle the pack up carefully. The top card, which is now on the bottom, remains in the same position. Then you ask the holder of the tack to select where the pack should be divided. Place the tack on that card and by placing the other half of the deck on top (don’t press both halves closely) allow the tack to slide down into the left hand and thence away, or it could easily remain in the left hand. Hold pack between second and third finger. The first finger really covers the tack, which is now on top of the pack through the card. Hold the cork board between thumb and first finger of right hand, now throw the board into the air with a rotary motion, quickly throw into the air the deck of cards, aim for the centre of the board, catch board in both hands, shewing the selected card tacked on to the board. (Americans use the word “tack” to describe what we call a drawing-pin.—D.D.)


Some Magical Reminiscences By Horace Goldin, the Royal Illusionist IN sixty years every man expects to have his share of laughter and tears, but a magician, by the very nature of his calling, and by the skill he develops, lays himself more open to the tricks of Fate than most men. Very early in my career, at the age of thirteen, I discovered this truth, and although the incident is amusing to look back upon, at the time I did not realise its humour. I used to do a trick of placing cherry stones in my eyes, mouth and nose, and making them all appear in one place. One day, one of the cherry stones did a vanishing trick all on its own, and for thirteen years I had to carry that cherry stone in my ear until it condescended to reappear. One of the feats of which I am proudest of all earned me exactly two dollars. It came about in this way. I was in New York at the time and was arrested by a speed cop for driving too fast. I was taken to the station where I was told I could have bail until the next day for one hundred dollars. All I had in my pockets was ninety-eight dollars, which I offered together with a valuable diamond ring. The official explained that he could only accept bail from another person. The only person with me was my coloured chauffeur, and I asked him to pay it. He stared at me aghast. “For Heaven’s sake, boss, I ain’t got no money.” By means of a little sleight of hand I placed my ninety-eight dollars in Rastus’s pocket, and the coloured man nearly fainted when he found the money there. The police official solemnly counted it and then reported that it would not do, as it was two dollars short. I myself counted the money, palmed a two-dollar bill from the wad and slipped it into Rastus’s pocket. This “extra” two-dollar note satisfied the police. Next day in Court my attorney said to the speed cop: “I suppose you did a clever bit of driving to overtake Mr. Goldin?” “Oh, yes,” was the proud answer; “I was doing twenty-three miles an hour.” “That being so,” snapped my attorney, “Mr. Goldin must have been going at a much less speed, otherwise he would not have been overtaken.” The case collapsed and I was given costs against the prosecution. Best of all, the police handed me back one hundred dollars bail money, and so I cleared two dollars.


There is a well-known story of a magician who, performing in Japan, had to ask a member of the audience to step on the stage and act as interpreter. Every trick was greeted with roars of laughter, and the magician later found that his interpreter was telling the audience whenever he saw things which the audience were not supposed to see. This story reminds me of an experience I once had in Tokio. I, too, asked for a helper who could speak English and a Japanese lady stepped forward. There was an audience of three thousand, and to my horror the lady, after handing me a bouquet, turned to the audience and made a long impassioned speech. I stood there helpless. She was holding up my show and for all I knew she might have been making a political speech, and I foresaw trouble. That she was popular was evident from the thunder of applause which came at the end of her speech. I wondered why they were applauding and she turned to me, bowed, and said: “For you, Mr. Goldin.” “For me?” “Yes. I have told the audience that you were my master, and that you taught me magic, and that I am proud to hail you as a great illusionist.” Even then I did not understand, but the lady, Madame Tankoocha. the daughter of Tenichi, was the most famous illusionist in Japan. Many years previously I had met her and her father in New York City. She was then twelve years of age, and at the request of her father I gave her lessons in conjuring. I had thought her study of magic—merely a hobby, but she had proved herself the magician of the century, and although I had forgotten her, she remembered me, and took this unconventional method of showing her gratitude. As I have often entertained kings and queens, and have had the honour of giving as many as four Royal Command Performances in eight days, I have attained the title of “The Royal Illusionist.” I have had conferred upon me the Medal of Art by their late Majesties King George the Fifth, King Edward the Seventh, and also by the Queen of Saxony, and the King of Siam. I remember that on one occasion I performed a trick with a watch and a card before a party which included the late Queen Alexandra. Queen Alexandra was one of the most charming personages it has ever been my honour to entertain, and she was keenly interested in this trick. Some years later I performed this same trick at the Duke of Marlborough’s house, and the Queen was again present. She expressed a desire to come on the stage, and she watched me closely. When the card with which I did the trick proved to be the five of spades, Her Majesty said: “Oh, Mr. Goldin, three years ago at Sandringham it was the three of hearts.” Another humorous incident connected with Royalty occured in Siam. The King of Siam sent for me and said he wanted to see a show at the Palace. There was no theatre, so he set one thousand men to work in the courtyard with orders that they were to


complete the theatre within seven days. I had to act as architect. On the night of the performance the King came to greet me as man to man, and revealed that in 1906, when he had visited London with his father, he and I used to meet at the Hotel Cecil as friends. At this all my apprehensions vanished. I have always found Royalty a good audience. When I was about to give my first Royal Command Performance, I had had no sleep for a night or two and indeed had contemplated writing a letter stating that I was indisposed, so great was my nervousness. My friends warned me of what I must and must not do and say, yet I found that everything was easy and natural, and that I could use ordinary patter and actions in my performance. One of the funniest adventures I ever had was staged at Southend. At the time I was performing a trick which involved the disappearance of a real tiger. In practising with the tiger I bumped its head, and I began to think that if the tiger cared to turn obstinate or bad tempered my trick would be spoilt. I obtained a dummy tiger and practised and experimented until the trick was perfect. Then I went to my hotel. In the early hours I was awakened by a policeman with the news that my tiger was loose in the theatre. Without stopping to dress properly, I rushed to the theatre and found that policemen and firemen were on the roof and were firing at my tiger through a skylight. It seemed that the night watchmen, in going his rounds, thought that he saw my tiger crouching on the stage, which, after rehearsal, I had placed behind the cage, and therefore had given the alarm. The town was almost panic stricken and it was a long time before I could persuade the police and fire brigade that my tiger was safely caged and that they were firing at a dummy. Evidently the night watchman was unaware that I used a dummy tiger to practise with, in fact he was deceived without witnessing an illusion. In other words, it was an illusion without a mystery for the watchman. (Mr. Goldin is justly proud of four tie-pins presented to him by four monarchs: H.M. King Edward VII. H.M. King of Siam. H.M. King George V. H.M. Queen of Saxony. The following are a few of the Societies to which Mr. Goldin belongs: President of the Magicians’ Club, London. Pacific Lodge, New York, 32nd degree Life Member. V.A.F. A.P.T.M. Water Rats. Artisten-Loge, Berlin. S.A.M., New York, Chartered Member. Savage Club, London. Hon Member Magical Society, Vienna. Hon. Member Magical Society, Budapest. Music Hall and Variety Artistes Society, Paris.Music Hall and Variety Artistes


Society, Brussels. And many others.—DAVID DEVANT.)

Invisible Dye By Douglas Dexter WHEN Mr. David Devant first performed the effect of dyeing three white silks by pushing them through a paper tube, he created one of the most entrancing effects in magic. Always fascinated by this effect I devised the following method of producing it, which, I venture to think, is the more logical way, but is essentially a stage method. Standing behind a bare table, black with red, blue and orange ornamentations, the performer shows an empty flask, but asserts that it contains an invisible dye which will dye materials any colour desired. He then shows an imitation cut-glass bowl, turning it upside down and holding it mouth to audience. Replacing it on the table, he pours into it some of the “dye.” Picking up a white silk about 2 feet square, he offers to give a demonstration with it. He also shows half a dozen discs of various colours, pink, green, red, yellow and purple. Dipping the pink disc into the bowl for a moment and stirring it round, he makes it plain that the audience can see the disc through the bowl. Then dipping the silk in and moving it up and down with the same movements that are used for dyeing, he takes it right out and shows that one half of it is now tinted pink. Taking the blue disc, he stirs that round in the bowl, withdraws it, and picking up the silk, dips the undyed portion in the bowl, and after stirring it round and lifting it up and down a few times, takes it right out and displays it. Part of the remaining white portion is now dyed blue. He then asks the audience to choose one of the remaining colours, yellow, green, red or purple; whichever they name, the corresponding disc is stirred round in the bowl, the silk dipped in, and when withdrawn is seen to be still further dyed with the chosen colour. This may be repeated once or twice more, until all the white of the original silk is stained with the various colours. Finally, the silk is cleansed by being pushed through a “bleaching” tube, “ready,” as the performer says, “for the next performance.” The “bleaching” tube is our old friend the paper tube, and the silk is restored to its pristine whiteness by means of the usual dye tube. An attractive presentation I sometimes favoured was to use six white silks, each one being dyed any colour chosen by the audience, so that at the finish there were six silk squares of various colours. These were then available for the sympathetic silks or any other effect employing large coloured silks. The accompanying sketches should make the method clear. The table already mentioned consisted of a box lid, that is, the actual top was hinged to the box part, which latter could be screwed on to the legs with thumb screws for convenience in packing (see Fig. 1). One of the circular floral designs on the top of the table camouflaged


a trap hinged to open downwards on a spring hinge (see Fig. 2). Underneath the lid, and pivoted to it by means of six wire arms, like the spokes of a wheel, were six cylindrical metal cups. Opposite them, the opposite segment of the wheel as it were, was a semicircular metal band, to which were fastened six cords, and these were led out through six holes in the back edge of the table top (see Fig. 3). To prevent them twisting or ge{ting jammed, small metal tubes were fixed inside the edge as guides for the cords to run through. Another cord a little distance away opened the trap. A knot at the end of the cord was slipped through a cleat protruding from the back edge of the table. This held the trap open until the knot was released, when the trap would automatically close. Each string had a little piece of coloured silk fastened to its end, to correspond with the silk in the cup which would be brought under the trap when that particular cord was pulled. Thus any one of the six cups could be brought under the trap as required. All six cups were loaded with such coloured silks as were required, the “indicators” at the ends of the cords being carefully matched. The glass bowl was an imitation cut-glass bowl with the bottom cut out, leaving a circular hole slightly larger than the opening of the trap. I also obtained from the glass-cutter a disc of thickish and rather cloudy glass large enough to cover the hole. Any small wine decanter or glass flask will do to hold the “invisible dye.” The object of the glass disc was that, in showing the bowl to the audience, the disc, palmed, was held against the hole, so that when the bowl was momentarily turned mouth to the audience, it appeared to be quite unprepared. In replacing it on the table, however, it was stood over the trap and the disc palmed away. When “pouring” some of the dye into the bowl from the flask, the trap string was quietly pulled, thus opening the trap under the hole in the bowl. Then, assuming pink to be the first colour required, the string with the pink tab on was pulled, this bringing the pink, or partly pink, silk in its cup immediately under the bowl. This action, done with the left hand, was quite covered by the right hand dipping the pink disc in the bowl and stirring it round. Laying down the disc, the right hand then takes up the white silk and lowers it into the bowl. During the movements of stirring it round and round, the fingers begin to draw out the silk in the cup, and, as soon as it is out, to tuck the white silk into the now empty cup. When it is all in, the coloured silk is developed, opened out, and finally lifted high out of the bowl. The beauty of the effect is that the audience actually see the white through the fluted sides of the bowl, apparently gradually assume the pink shade. This was repeated with the remaining silks, as required. Finally, when lifting out the last silk the trap spring was released, so closing the trap. The bowl could then be picked up and shown empty as before. The table was 34 inches high, the top 22 by 40 inches, and the depth of the “box” 4-1/2 inches. The cups were 3-1/4 inches deep by 1-1/2 inches in diameter. These measurements can, of course, be altered to suit individual requirements.


A New “Thought-Wave” Experiment By H. Park Shackleton, O.B.E. (Mil.), M.B., Ch.B., M.I.M.C., etc. [Founder and First Past-President of the Yorkshire Magical Club. Vice-President of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians. Gold Medallist 1932 Competition Magical Circle and Affiliated Societies Member of the Magic Circle and I.B.M. {British Ring).] TAKE any twenty cards, fan the top four and ask a spectator on your extreme right (A) to think of one. Put these at the bottom and repeat with the next four to a spectator half-right (B). Put at the bottom and ask spectator in centre (C) to think of one of the next four. Spectator half-left (D), and (E), on the extreme left, see the last two lots. This brings the cards into their original order. Now take the top two cards (position unchanged) in the right hand, and put one card on top of these, one underneath, one on top, one underneath, throughout the pack. Repeat this exactly. Fan the top five cards, and you will find that they are arranged A, B, C, D, E. The next five are E, D, C, B, A. The following five A, B, C, D, E. And the last five E, D, C, B, A.. Actual Performance: The performer is blindfolded, but I need not tell you that he can see down his nose in the usual manner. Any twenty cards are handed to him, face down, from any part of a shuffled pack. (I emphasise the fact that nobody knows a single card.) Turning to your extreme right.... “Would some gentleman over here put a hand up. I do this to avoid confusion as I only want one member of the assembled multitude to help me.”.... (Here the audience invariably tell you that this has been done.) “Could you wait until I have finished this trick, sir? Oh! you’re going to help me.” Show him the top four cards. “Would you just think of one of those cards? And do you mind if I call you Mr. A?” (The case is now almost forgotten, and there is no stigma attached to it.) Turn facing half-right, and have next four cards ready to fan, (The first lot have gone to the bottom as described above.) “Would some lady indicate that she will think of a card? Thank you, have you thought of one of those? May I call you Miss B.? I do hope your name is not Beatrice.... I’m not trying to be familiar, but as I cannot see I just want to know where you all are. “Mr. C. got a hand up?.... “Ladies love to play the d... Will you, Miss D.?


“I am usually the mystery, but I now want Mr. E. over here.” Now do the alternate shuffle described at the beginning, during which: “It is very difficult to shuffle cards whilst blindfolded, but I will do my best. Remember, five cards have been mentally selected, and nobody, except the five helpers, can possibly know what they are. “To prove that I have done nothing but shuffle the cards, I will ask my assistants to verify that their cards are still here. Please say ‘Yes’ when you see your card.” Show the cards in fans of five. The diagram shows the position of each assistant’s card in the four fans. Place the fans, face down, of course, on a table, and remember where the cards are. This is really very easy, as the spectators are well spread out, and it is simple to hear which one is speaking. It is amazing how often all the cards arrive in the last hand, in which case you have performed a miracle. You merely explain that when you shuffled them, you were selecting the mentally chosen cards and arranging them in their correct order. Glance down the nose and name the cards. If some of the cards are in the fans on the table, name any left in the last hand, then stab the others with a knife, glancing at, and naming the card as you bring it towards the spectator who thought of it. Possibly you haven’t tried it, but you will be staggered how far forward you can see down the nose when “blindfolded.” One tip. Whenever you are doing a blindfold trick, always keep your eyes shut when you do not want to glance at anything. As you really cannot see, it improves your acting, and convinces the audience that the blindfold is genuine. I discovered that the “alternate shuffle” arranged the cards as above, quite accidentally, some years ago, and I can assure you that if you try it once, you will add a very entertaining five minutes to your repertoire for “smokers,” cabarets, etc.

A Surprising Finish to a Cigarette Production Act By Len Burnell, L.M.S. Requirements. Cigarette producer for production at finger-tips. Any pattern desired, or if preferred this can be dispensed with and a sleight of hand used. A bowler hat (or opera hat). A cigarette bomb. These are sold as table fireworks and throw a shower of cigarettes when the fuse is lighted. Procurable at most tobacconists. Preparation. The “bomb” is suspended behind the table by means of the double wire loop, and the headless nail. (This method is too well known to require description.) Method. The hat (preferably borrowed) is proved empty and placed face down on the table, whilst one or two passes are being made with the first cigarette produced. These fin-


ished, the production proper commences and the hat is turned over (mouth up) to receive the cigarettes as produced. This gives the necessary load by means of the finger in the loop in the orthodox manner. Production of the cigarettes is proceeded with, using, of course only one, and dropping it into the hat. When this is finished, at the discretion of the performer, he extracts a cigarette from the hat (the only one, by the way) and proceeds to light it. Apparently realising just before extinguishing the match, that he has been guilty of very bad manners in not offering the audience “smokes,” he places the lighted match into the hat, touches the fuse, and a shower of cigarettes is sent into the air to be caught by the audience. A finale which is magically surprising and always appreciated. Note. As soon as the match goes into the hat slightly tilt the mouth of same towards the audience. This directs the cigarettes over them and not on to the stage.

The Spirit Message By G. W. Eade AN ordinary blackboard on a white easel stands in the middle of stage. The operator shows both sides of board to the audience, raps it to show its genuineness. He then replaces it on the easel and retires to one side, facing towards the board, but some distance from it. The lights are now dimmed so that board and operator are just visible. Operator then calls for the spirits to give their message written on the board. No other light is visible, save that on the message which stands out boldly. At a word of command it vanishes. The lights go up showing the operator in same place, and board devoid of any writing. The message is written on the blackboard with a solution of quinine sulphate in gum arabic, and this, when dry, is practically invisible, even to close scrutiny. The message will only appear in a subdued light when the rays from a special lamp fall on it. The lamp is operated by an assistant. Any lamp giving ultra-violet rays will do (e.g. a Phillips Sunlight Lamp), but it is important that all white light is excluded. This is done by passing light through a special filter which only permits the ultra-violet rays to pass. These rays are invisible even in the dark, but they will cause the message to appear in a mystifying way, and when the lamp is shut off, the message will vanish. The basic idea in this illusion will lend itself to many other applications in the realm of magic. (The above is a splendid effort by a pure amateur who is busily engaged in a shop all day and devotes his spare time to magic.—D.D.)

£1000 Challenge Effect By Fred Hocking, M.I.M.C.


QUITE a showy experiment and very simple to work. This exciting title is so used because I offer the sum of £1000 to anyone in the world who can find out how it is done under three conditions: (1) You must discover the secret. (2) If you do find out you must not divulge the method. (3) If you do win, you must tell me where I can get the £1000 to pay you. Time occupied. Ten minutes. Effect. A white silk, 27 inches square, is shown both sides and placed in a glass tumbler. A skein of black wool is exhibited and also placed in the tumbler. A nickel silver tube is proved to be empty, after which the ends are covered with tissue paper. Ten numbered cards (playing size) are displayed, each bearing the title of a well-known song; the audience is invited to select one. Silk and wool then vanish from tumbler and are found in nickel tube, but the wool has mysteriously worked itself into two bars of music which correctly interpret the song chosen. Requisites. Two white silks, each 27 inches square, one embroidered with two bars of a song. (Staff notation.) Skein of wool. Glass tumbler with movable mica lining and cardboard cover. Ghost tube. Ten cards bearing numbers one to ten in large figures, also title of the same song typed or printed on each. Electric torch. Well-top table. Another table (or chair). Presentation. Well-top table on performer’s left, on which stands glass tumbler with mica lining, also cardboard cover. Table (or chair) on right which accommodate ghost tube, with music silk loaded, tissue paper for ends. Plain white silk, skein of wool, electric torch, and magic wand. Performer shows silk both sides and places it in the tumbler. Exhibits wool which is also inserted in glass; the whole is stood near well, on table. Ghost tube then taken with loaded side towards performer, held on wand which proves it to be empty, and the ends stopped with tissue paper. This is placed on table (or chair) on right. Cards are shown to the audience, and the performer states that each bears the title of a well-known song, and apparently reading each calls out ten different titles. Member of audience is invited to call out a number between one and ten. Selected card is then handed to him (or her) with a request to announce the title thereon. Preparations completed, the performer proceeds thus: Place cardboard cover over tumbler, and after mystic passes remove cover by placing thumb outside, and the first and second fingers inside, allowing the fingers to grip the mica lining, and draw the contents from the glass concealed by the cover. In placing the cover on


table, the lining is allowed to drop into well. Advance to table (or chair) on right and hold ghost tube in front of lighted torch which proves the former to bo empty. You then announce that the contents of the glass have gone by magic to the nearest publishing office, and you are awaiting their speedy return. Again hold the tube in front of the torch as before, and after a moment, if the ray be directed to the loaded part, it would appear that something had just arrived. Burst the paper from the rear end of the tube and bring forth the missing silk which displays the first two bars of the song selected.

My earliest attempt to associate myself with magic was a visit to “Blands” when eight years old, to enquire the price of “The Chinese Rings.” The gentleman in charge asked me how much money I had. I replied: “One shilling.” (It was an eighth birthday present.) He then told me to go and bring my father. I gained my early practical knowledge from Professor Hoffmann’s books, and witnessed every magical show possible and was a frequent visitor at the Egyptian Hall and later St. George’s Hall. Joined the Magic Circle in 1913, raised to the associate degree in 1915, and called to the Inner Circle in 1916. Was elected Hon. Secretary to the Occult Committee in 1914, and have held that office ever since.

A “Tee Bee” Effect (Raffles) By Tom Burnett, L.M.S. Props. required. One dollar bill tube, one Roterberg card box, two pay envelopes—one with a slit cut across face to pass note through, the other containing a piece of paper folded as near to the note you borrow. On the paper you have written the following: “Dear Friend, I am afraid you are not much use as a detective, I robbed the bank with perfect ease. Please try some other kind of occupation. Yours ever, Raffles.” This note is sealed in envelope and placed in the bottom portion of Roterberg box and covered by the hinged flap, the other envelope with slit lies in the top portion of hinged flap, lid open. Two false noses, two fancy paper hats, two toy pistols, table and chairs.


Setting. Card box on left of table fixed as explained. Inner bill tube with screw cap and loose bottom on right side, the tight-fitting inner lining stands inside the outer tube in centre of table with lid just at side. Chairs at either side. Hats, noses, pistols, etc., on chair behind. Working. Borrow a ten shilling or a pound note and have number taken down to verify later. Now fold up note small enough to go through slit in envelope. Now state that for safety you will place it inside a small pay envelope. Take envelope from Roterberg box and place note inside, but push through slit. Hold note behind with fingers of left hand and seal up envelope. (Here is where you get note away.) Ask for a boy to assist, and while he is coming along, take envelope in right hand and prop it up against the outer tube in centre of table and let note drop inside. It will be, of course, in the tight inner lining which rests inside the outer tube. When the boy comes up, ask him to sit on the chair at the left and request him to imagine the said chair to be representing the Bank of England, and he a detective guarding the same. Tell him to imagine the envelope contains the wealth of the nation and, to make it more secure, you will place it inside one of the vaults. Pick up card box, place envelope inside, and close lid. Open again and state that he may care to initial envelope. He does so, but of course it is the duplicate, the one that contains the written note. Now give box to boy and ask him to put the envelope inside and close the door of the vault and not let you get at it any time. Now ask for the assistance of another boy; he is asked to take the other chair and to imagine it to be the home of that well-known cracksman, Mr. Raffles. Explain that he also is a detective and that the tube on your table is a safe belonging to Raffles, which he is to take charge of and see that Mr. Raffles does not place anything inside. Pick up and show, screwing off cap and letting boy look inside. (Loose bottom will hold in position.) Screw cap back, and as you do so, pull away the bottom and let it drop into palm of hand. (This can be got away any time.) State you will make it even more secure by placing it inside another tube. This you proceed to do. Take the tube you are holding in right hand and place it inside the tube in centre of table and pick both up with left hand. Slide out and you will find the inner lining which contains the note comes out with it and fits perfectly. Let boy put it back and put on the lid or cap. When all this is done, turn to the boys and say: “Oh, by the way, it might be a good idea if you were to be disguised. Now let us see what we can do in that line.” Proceed to put on false noses and hats and give them the pistols. {This gets roars of laughter.) Explain you are going to play the part of Mr. Raffles. Now from here on it is just byplay on your part, pretending to try and get the note. Boy has been instructed to shoot any time you go near box. At the finish tell the boy that while he was off his guard for a second, you got in by the back door. Ask him to open the vault, take out the envelope and open it himself. When he takes out the note, ask him to read out what is written on it. Then turn to the other boy and ask him to open the safe he holds and he finds the missing ten-shilling note. Have number verified and give back to owner. Take off boys’ disguise and thank them for assisting.


Misdirection By Arthur Sherwood, M.I.M.C. THE author of this book having suggested that an article by me on the subject of Misdirection would interest and possibly assist beginners or more advanced students of conjuring, I gladly comply because it entails the honour of association with the greatest Master of my day and bestows the privilege of adding a mite to the cause of Magic. Misdirection may be described as a ruse to keep secret those conditions of a magical feat which, if suspected by an audience, would tend to dispel mystery by providing the true solution. It is like house-painting in this respect, that it is the amount of work put into preparation of the under-surface which counts where finish mirrors the success. Therefore it pays to spend odd moments with a putty-knife in one hand and a piece of glass-paper in the other, hunting down the blemish in technique. The best misdirection is not a spasmodic effort on the stage to gloss over some difficult piece of manipulation. Rather, it should be a sort of invisible medium created out of logically conceived and perfectly constructed plots, in which a performer can act his part without the senses of the audience being able to discern the play of falseness. Such an atmosphere is produced by various means. Harmony is one. Harmony existing between each of the properties in use creates a background of suggestion from which a natural theme emerges. This theme the performer skilfully develops by means of harmonious patter into an atmosphere of anticipation and certainty in which the false appears true and laboured design is mistaken for spontaneous idea and action. Now, two examples of practice, the first showing the purely psychological effect of misdirection allied with showmanship, the second revealing its repercussive effect in the presence of strategy with visible and tangible evidences. (1) The act has started, the performer picks up two objects, one innocent, and one faked, he gives an impression that both are to be examined, but, whilst exhibiting some function of the first, he stages a hint that someone wants to handle it. This provides a perfectly natural opportunity for him to put down the second object, as though intending to return to it after the recent suggestion has been complied with. But, by deftly displaying the special feature in article Number 3, intentionally led up to in patter, he fades out interest in Number 2 so that when the time comes for it to be used the existence of a fake is not suspected. (2) The performer wishing at a later stage in a show to use a faked envelope with a double side concealing a card, completes his fakes and then inserts in the envelope in the normal way three postage stamps having edging attached to two of them only. This he puts on the table covered by a handkerchief near a genuine envelope containing three similar stamps with three pieces of edging attached. As the programme proceeds it becomes necessary to


mark an object. The performer, therefore, hands the genuine envelope to some voluntary assistant, asking him to remove the stamps. The pre-arranged piece of edging is torn off by the performer, moistened and stuck on the object for use as a means of written identification. He then ostentatiously replaces the block of stamps and edging into the envelope which at a suitably chosen moment changes place with the hidden fake by the simple act of transferring the handkerchief screen from one hand to the other. Eventually the moment arrives when the card is to be sealed up in an envelope. The performer picks up the fake envelope and after removing the eloquent testimony of three stamps with two bits of edging he inserts the card and seals it up. The climax comes when the envelope is cut open and a different card appears from within. I hope readers have noticed how attention is misdirected from the real intentions underlying the use of both envelope and stamps as well as from the possibility of substitutions, by assigning to each, obviously normal primary and pursuant functions. I leave you to trace the mental processes of the amateur Sherlock Holmes, who, if misdirection has been carried to subtlety in the third degree, remarks next day: “I know the envelope wasn’t faked, because I asked the chap who took out the stamps, and besides, I happened to find it on the table after the show.” It is necessary here to issue warning and instruction. Remember that misdirection is not an end in itself, but only the means to an end. Do not exaggerate, but employ it as a lady uses delicate scent to enhance her charms by the potency of its elusiveness. Furthermore, never attempt to show off the strength of your misdirection or you may share Samson’s fate. Everyone knows that pillars keep up temple roofs, so leave them as well as envelopes and stamp-edging to stick to their jobs and speak for themselves. This is a good recipe to try: Take equal parts of idea and material. Measure out the value of the secret to be preserved, adding enough justification to melt into a homogeneous paste, then mix in mortar of practice with pestle of imagination and a little commonsense, before putting in pan. Let simmer for hours and try out. After removing scum of failure, snags, etc., pour mixture through strainer and throw away sediment of despondency. Now add spirit of resolve, transfer quickly to retort of experience on fire of white hot enthusiasm and distil to a refined essence. Keep covered up or open according to taste, but on no account cast before swine, and beware of noxious fumes which cause swollen head, swank, jealousy, wifeboredom and other ailments. The student should now enter the sphere of Relativity and examine misdirection in perspective by comparing the following clear-cut effect as seen by the Evening News critic, who witnessed it, with the elaborate means of its production. “We watched Mr. Arthur Sherwood pass a marked half-crown from a chocolate box into an envelope placed several feet away and back again. I suppose it is an old trick and simple, but it was done with such pleasant patter and finished skill that the distinguished amateur magician sitting beside me said he had watched for the trick of it in vain.”


In addition to three secret items of Preparation and the use of seven principles of manipulative magic, viz. Covering, Disposal, Retaining, Loading, Duplication, Substitution, and Securing, four other principles of Physical Magic, viz. Secret Cavity Concealed Access, Concealed Connection, and Invisible Suspension came into play. Two personal reminiscences may not be out of place here. Firstly, I recall the thrill of pleasure when, after presenting the above effect on an important occasion, I discovered that my unknown assistant had been no less a person than the charming wife of the great David Devant. The other memory was when David said to me: “I don’t like that coin trick as much as your handkerchief one.” I was disappointed, but gratefully pocketed this gift from the store of his unerring taste. Storm clouds of controversy are dimming the sky of Magic to-day, but on the horizon I seem to see a new generation meeting the challenge of exposure by resort to greater standards of perfection and more agile brains. After all, it is not so many centuries ago since Ancient Men of Magic, forseeing an enlightened public rise with the tide of civilisation above the murk of Superstition, feared that their Art, deprived of such a serviceable cloak, was doomed to perish naked and exposed. The pathway to perfection is a toilsome one at times, but the journey may be lightened by romance as each true student seeks to transmute Humbug into Art, whilst all around him lie the priceless jewels of the past with every facet ready to reflect the personality of some new brilliant star.

The Career of Arthur Sherwood 1874. Born July 30th. 1880. Thrilled by first conjurer seen. 1886. Joined school conjuring club of three members. 1888. First public show. 1895. Style influenced and invention stimulated by seeing James Stuart. 1902-4. Discovered rudiments of handkerchief act and coin with box effect. 1921-35. Joined Magic Circle—-became semiprofessional. Further inventions. Royal Command (Windsor). 1930-35. Elected Honorary Member of Magicians Club, London. Royal Command (Prince of Wales). Medal of Merit.


Chapter XXI Magic of my Contemporaries (Continued) A.B.C. Time-Table Watch And Card Trick By Herbert J. Collings Effect: A watch is handed to a member of the audience and he is asked to set it at any time he likes (it is not going but the hands can be moved.) Having done this, the watch is placed on an inverted wine-glass. A card is selected and, instead of being returned to the pack, is inserted in the leaves of an A.B.C. railway time-table. Performer then apparently reads the thoughts of assistant and tells the name of the card. On opening the A.B.C., card is found to be correct. The chooser of the card is then asked to count down the names of the places and stop at the one corresponding to the pips on the card. Say, the fifth, which is Hastings. On now looking at the watch the hands have gone round to the time of the last train to Hastings. I come forward with an A.B.C. time-table (in which is concealed a playing card). In my left hand (under cover of the time-table) I have a duplicate watch set at the time wanted. In my right hand I hold up a watch. “Ladies and gentlemen, we hear a lot nowadays about the B.B.C., but I am now going to show you something extraordinary with an A.B.C. and a train of thought.” Hand the watch to a gentleman in the audience and say: “Would you kindly set this watch to any time you like, in fact, you can have the time of your life. Thank you, sir.” Taking the watch in the right hand make a half-turn to the platform, bring the right hand under the time-table, at the same time removing left hand and hold up the duplicate watch. Lay the time-table and the other watch down on the table. Pick up, or borrow, a large wine-glass, calling it a Scotch liqueur glass, and place the prepared watch in it. You now ask a lady to select a card (force the card in the usual way): “Thank you, madam,” instead of replacing it in the pack in the usual way, “and I am going to ask you to slide it into this A.B.C.” (Hold the A.B.C. in both hands as this is being done, in the event of her


putting the card in the same page as your duplicate, nothing can be seen.) “About the centre, please, so as to avoid the boarding-houses with the one-way traffic system for the vegetables, you know, never returning after once passing by. “Please think of the card.” (Hold the A.B.C. to your forehead.) “I shall now try and read your thoughts, not all your thoughts, it wouldn’t be fair to anyone to read all your thoughts. Your card was, I believe, the eight of clubs, correct? Yes.” I now open the A.B.C. and show the card (the duplicate one already put there) to be correct. (In the event of the two cards being in the same page, quickly pick up the two as one.) “Would you kindly count down to the eighth place..Nelson, a one-eyed place I should think!” Bring forward the glass and asked the gentleman who set the watch to tell the audience what time it now shows. “11.30. The time of the last train to Nelson. Would you kindly check this, madam. Thank you!” Notes: If there is an “e” against the last train signifying Saturday only and you are performing on another day of the week, see the watch is set correctly and draw special attention to the fact. Once it happened the audience set the watch to exactly the same time as the duplicate. I noticed this and did not change the watch, but asked the assistant to keep it in front of him. Needless to say, I got a lot of extra kudos from this.

A Pack of Cards Arranged by Graham Adams THE problem is to arrange a pack of cards which on the first deal of four hands delivers thirteen trumps to the fourth or dealer’s hand. Each of the other hands is shown to be of mixed suits. The cards are collected, shuffled, and again dealt, this deal gives one complete suit in each hand. The dealer’s hand has thirteen cards arranged in order, Ace to King, the other hands are not so arranged. The first hand is used as a “spelling bee” when the cards come to order, Ace to King. Hands Numbers 2 and 3 are used for a dealing routine experiment, coming to order, Ace to King.


Finally, the cards are shuffled together when they become arranged in the “Si Stebbins” system. 1 Jack of Hearts

27 Ace of Diamonds

2 Five of Clubs

28 Ace of Spades

3 King of Diamonds

29 Nine of Diamonds

4 Queen of Spades

30 Four of Hearts

5 Three of Diamonds

31 Eight of Clubs

6 Jack of Clubs

32 Three of Spades

7 Ten of Spades

33 Six of Clubs

8 Three of Spades

34 Seven of Diamonds

9 Three of Clubs

35 Seven of Hearts

10 Queen of Diamonds

36 Five of Spades

11 Three of Hearts

37 Nine of Hearts

12 Eight of Spades

38 Queen of Clubs

13 King of Hearts

39 Two of Diamonds

14 Seven of Clubs

40 Seven of Spades

15 Five of Diamonds

41 Jack of Diamonds

16 Six of Spades

42 Two of Hearts

17 Four of Diamonds

43 Ace of Clubs

18 Six of Hearts

44 Nine of Spades

19 Nine of Clubs

45 King of Clubs

20 Four of Spades

46 Six of Diamonds

21 Two of Clubs

47 Ace of Hearts

22 Ten of Diamonds

48 Jack of Spades

23 Eight of Hearts

49 Five of Hearts

24 Two of Spades

50 Four of Clubs

25 Ten of Hearts

51 Eight of Diamonds

26 Ten of Clubs

52 King of Spades 133

THE DEALS With the Pack arranged in order, make a false shuffle and false cut. The performer may then make a number of preliminary experiments, such as, telling the number of cards by weight, cutting a desired number from the pack, and finding any card called for from the pockets. The performer then deals four hands of thirteen cards as in whist or bridge, the fourth hand gives thirteen Spades, the other hands are shown to consist of indifferent cards. The Spade hand is again shown, with the remark that the cards are all of one suit, but the cards are not in any set order, they are counted from the hand to the table, but in counting deal from the top and bottom alternately, the cards then come out Ace to King. This may be shown to the audience now or after the next deal. Hand Number 1 is shown first, laid face upwards on the table, Number 2 is laid face upwards on this, then Number 3 on Number 2, and lastly, the Spade hand on Number 3. The cards are false shuffled and false cut, then dealt. In this deal every fourth card is dealt from the bottom of the pack. When performing this deal explain to the audience you are teaching them “how it is done.” Show the fourth hand to consist of Spades from Ace to King. Then, for the benefit of those who have learnt the lesson, pick up the first hand and show it to be all Hearts, Number 2 all Clubs, and Number 3 all Diamonds.

The Spade hand is Ace to King, none of the others are so arranged. Take the Heart heap, show it, then use it as a spelling bee. ACE spelling Ace. (I presume the readers of this article know the idea, for those who wish to know of this and the other sleights, I give a list of books at the end.) The Heart heap is spelled from the Ace, which is laid on the table face upwards, the two on the Ace right through to the King. Then pick up the Spade heap, saying: “Now two heaps are in order. Here are the Spades.” Quickly run through these, reversing the order from King at the face, to the Ace at the face. Show the Heart heap, but do not reverse it. Cut the three of Hearts to the front, and pick up the Spade heap, cutting the seven to the front. Place the Spades face upwards on the Hearts and with the twenty-six cards make the “Milk Build Shuffle,” milking or taking one from the top and bottom together thirteen times.


As you do this, say: “We have no further use for these, they have arranged themselves, so we’ll lay them aside and look at the other heaps.” Hand Number 2 consists of Clubs. Hand Number 3 consists of Diamonds. Show hand Number 2, then pick up hand Number 3, place it on hand Number 2, run through it, shewing all the Diamonds, turn the cards face down, and deal one heap of thirteen cards counting aloud. Saying: “We will deal the black cards on the left of table.” In dealing, deal top and bottom cards alternately. Show the face of the remaining cards, saying: “We’ll deal the red cards on the right of the table.” Count aloud again, this time, however, deal from the bottom of the cards then the top alternately. Pick up the right-hand heap, saying: “And here we have the King of Diamonds. ”Turning it face up on the table, then turn up the next card, which is the King of Clubs. “That’s funny, it should be a Queen.” Lay the card on the right of the other, turning up the next, a red card, lay it on the King of Diamonds, turn up the next, a black one, laying it on the King of Clubs. Run through the cards in this way, sorting them out again into two heaps, one of red cards, and the other of black. Place the red cards face up on the black, turn them all face down, saying: “We’ll try again.” This time deal thirteen cards in each heap. For the first heap, deal as follows: Top, bottom, bottom, top, bottom, bottom, top, top, top, bottom, bottom, bottom, top. For the second heap deal: Bottom, top, top, bottom, top, top, bottom, bottom, bottom, top, top, top, top. Say: “Thirteen cards in each heap.” “On my left the black.” Pick up this heap showing the bottom card of the heap. “This heap we will mark with a black card.” Replace the heap face down on the table, picking up the top card of the heap and placing it face upwards immediately behind the heap. Do exactly the same with the red cards. Say: “Whatever I do with one heap of cards, the same thing happens to the other. If I change a card or cards from one heap to the other, then a card will transpose itself without you seeing it go. Watch!” Show the turned-up red card in the right hand and the black in the left.


Cross the hand placing the red card face up behind the black heap and vice versa. Then With the right and left hands simultaneously take a card from each heap, showing the cards, placing them face up on the two indicating cards. Do this again, placing the cards as before. Do it once more. Say: “We’ll change about again and see what happens.” Change the face-up heaps over and slowly take the next three cards, then change over again, taking the next two cards. Change as before, taking a single card. Change as before, taking two cards. Change as before, showing the last card. The Clubs are now together, likewise the Diamonds. Show this, saying: “But they aren’t in order.” Take the Clubs and deal them face down as follows: Bottom, top, top, bottom, top, top, bottom, bottom, bottom, top, top, top, top. Diamonds as follows: Top, bottom, bottom, top, bottom, bottom, top top, top, bottom, bottom, bottom, top. Say: “I wonder what has happened now they are reversed.” With both hands working together, take the cards one at a time from each heap, saying aloud: “Ace, two, three, etc., to the King.” Take the Club heap with the King to the face, place it face upwards on the Hearts and Spades which were shuffled together previously. Again make the “Milk Build Shuffle.” This time “Milk, Build,” alternately. That is, with the cards in the right hand for the overhand shuffle, take two cards in the left hand together, one from the top and bottom. That action is the “Milk.” Then take one from the top, this being the “Build.” Do this “Milk, Build” thirteen times. Reverse the Diamond heap, Ace to the front, King at the back. Cut the ten to the front. Place the Diamonds face up on the other cards, and shuffle again.


This time shuffle, “milk, build, build, milk, build, build.” Do this thirteen times and the pack is then set up in the Si Stebbins order. Should you desire it to be set up for the Ernest Hammond order, arrange as follows: Hearts. Ace to front. King at the back. Cut the seven to the front. Spades. King to the front. Ace at the back. Cut the three to the front. Clubs. Ace to the front. King at the back. Cut the ten to the front. “Milk, build,” thirteen times. Diamonds. King to the front. Ace at the back. “Milk, build, build,” thirteen times.

Here is a list of books dealing with shuffles, bottom deals, prepared, or pre-arranged packs: Erdnase: Expert at the Card Table. Merlin: And a Pack of Cards. Nikola: Nikola Card System. Proskauer: How’d ja do that? Farelli: Farelli’s Card Magic.

The Caledonian Mystery By W. Donald Forsyth THE performer announces that he had intended to show his audience a demonstration of sleight of hand, but unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be anything suitable on his table for this purpose. On the table is a plate, on which is a bowler hat, (crown downwards). The performer picks up the hat (1) and holds it so that the interior can be seen by audience to contain nothing in the way of rabbits, floating ladies, etc.


“Of course, this is quite unsuitable for the purpose,” remarks the performer, “my hands are not large enough!” The hat is now turned crown towards the audience, and the conjurer apparently sees a speck of something white upon it. The “something” happens to be an egg (2). Hat is replaced on plate. 3. Sundry sleights are now indulged in, such as, displaying egg in right hand, taking it in the left, and “squeezing” it away, recovering from left elbow. Egg is apparently then swallowed, and recovered from under vest. 4. Conjurer explains that sleight of hand is merely a matter of practice, the “first seven years” being the most difficult. 5. Egg is now rubbed between the palms, performer closes right hand over egg, left hand, palm outwards, is lowered to left side, the right hand, being still closed, is knocked against right knee and then opened, palm outwards. (Both hands are now in the same position.) The left hand momentarily goes behind left knee and reproduces the egg. 6. Performer explains that before one can do that sort of thing one must first practise how to handle the egg. (Performer has table on his left.) The egg is then placed by the left hand into the hat, hand is withdrawn slowly to show—without calling direct attention to it—that the hand is empty. The right hand, which is also casually shown to be empty, reaches into the hat and takes out the egg, and places it back into the left hand. The above movements are repeated twice, with this exception, that when this is done for the third time, the egg is left in the hat, and not withdrawn by right hand. 7. Performer picks up hat with right hand, remarking to audience: “You have watched that egg very closely, I take it for granted that you can account for these as well.” Four eggs are then taken from hat, one at a time, and put upon plate. 8. Performer shows interior of hat (casually): hat is held in right hand, then taken in left, whilst right hand picks up plate and eggs. 9. Performer replaces hat on table, crown upwards, and extends plate of" hen fruit “towards audience, at the same time remarking ”these eggs are well and truly laid—upon the plate." 10. The hat is now lifted from table and the plate of eggs replaced on table. Hat is passed to right hand (11) and the eggs are put back in the hat, performer counting as the eggs are replaced. “You have seen four eggs placed in the hat,” says the performer, but, he continues: “In this sort of business ‘seeing is not always believing,’ because I can only see one egg, and here it is.” (12) Large egg produced from hat, hat shown empty.


Furniture, Properties, Accessories A black art table, 12 x 12-inch top, containing a well, 6-1/2 x 4 x 4 inches. The table was specially made for this trick. (Please see note re table top.) A coloured porridge plate. (A coloured plate is chosen as a contrast to eggs.) A porridge plate is used as the depression in it is greater than in an ordinary plate. (The “depression” should be in the plate, not in the performer.) A “Delveen” hat, described in the December, 1919, issue of the Magazine of Magic (Goldston), Vol. 7, No. 1, page 10. Four eggs. Three of the eggs can be real, or “property.” (The eggs used by the writer are pivorine.) The fourth egg is of the Stodare variety (Modern Magic, Hoffmann, page 260) with an addition of my own, the addition is a V-shaped clip. An egg so equipped can be (apparently) finger-, thumb-, or back-palmed, with impunity. (Please see Fig. 1 and note re “Egg.”)

Large (cardboard) egg, 5-1/2 x 3-3/4 inches. Attached to large egg on the long side, is a 2inch loop of very thin wire (see Fig. 2).

Preparation and Arrangement Preparation. (1) Large egg in well, loop protruding, loose cover spread over egg. (2) Plate upon table. Three eggs are placed in secret portion of hat. The “Vandy” egg, clip outwards, is under the brim of the hat, the rolled edge of the brim holds the egg quite securely.


Hat is placed upon plate—longways—with the secret portion nearest the performer, who stands facing audience, with table on his left. Stage Manner. “’Devant’-like and bland, to play at a game they do not understand.” Manner of Presentation. Slow and deliberate. The performer is standing with the table on his left, facing audience.

Working Instructions 1. Performer picks up hat with left hand, on doing so the clip of the concealed egg is gripped between second and third fingers, and the interior of hat is exhibited. In turning the crown of hat towards audience, the right hand grasps the opposite side of brim, the left hand at the same time getting the egg into the finger palm position, the index finger pointing towards the crown of the hat. 2. Remove the “speck of something” by extending fingers against hat, and display egg. Shake egg close to ear, and remark, “Good egg!” Replace hat on table. 3. Sundry sleights I leave to the performer himself—not too many, please, the audience know we’re clever, that’s why they have paid good money to come in (or let’s hope so). 4. Conjurer then explains that sleight of hand is merely a matter of practice, the first seven years being the most difficult. 5. Proceed with the final sleight of passing egg through knees. 6. Proceed with demonstration as to how to handle the egg. 7. Pick up hat with the right hand by part of brim nearest to audience, remarking: “You have watched that egg very closely, I take it for granted you can account for these as well.” The four eggs are then taken from the hat, one at a time, by the left hand, and put upon plate. 8. Performer shows interior of hat (casually). Hat is passed to left hand as performer makes a half left turn towards table; he picks up the plate of eggs with the right hand, whilst the hat is placed upon table, crown upwards, with left, retain hold on hat. 9. In this position the large egg is “loaded,” as follows, whilst the plate of “hen fruit” is being displayed the left hand, (thumb on top of brim, fingers underneath (has not been idle. By the time the patter has been delivered re “well and truly laid,” the middle finger should have got into the loop of wire (to which, of course, the large egg is clinging) in readiness to


levitate the egg into the hat. As the plate is replaced on table, the hat is lifted, with an upward and backward movement; owing to position of fingers the egg goes easily into the hat. 10. The hat is now clear of table, in making a half right turn, the hat is passed into right hand, and if the hat has been properly manipulated the large egg should be resting on the false half-crown of hat. 11. Eggs are put back in the hat, performer counting as they are replaced. The eggs are, of course, packed into the secret space between the true crown and the false half, both hands now hold the hat. 12. As the end of the patter is reached, the performer tilts the hat and produces large egg, with right hand, making a half left turn, the interior of the hat is displayed, the performer looks at egg, then at hat, raises the egg to right ear, shakes it, and remarks, “Good egg!”

Origin of the Idea With regard to how I got the idea—I find this query rather difficult to answer. It is the result of having read a large number of books and magazines relating to magic, and possessing a retentive memory as regards matters magical, and also by having a large number of books at my disposal. Eggs have for a very long time been used in magical performances; performers have done all sorts of things with them, such as manipulation transposition, production, multiplication, diminishing, expansion, etc. I quote a few examples of what I have seen and read: “The Egg Bag” is a very fine effect, and has been done by “Everyman.” “The Mislaid Eggs,” by Selbit, is a very good transposition. “Taking Eggs to Market,” by W. Simpson. “Hen Fruit from Nowhere,” by Devant, is the largest egg production I know. “Eggs at Finger Tips ”—nearly as popular as “Egg Bag.” Egg items from More Novel Notions (R. Keene) gives valuable information, as does also Modern, More and Later Magic (Hoffman). An egg costing only one shilling has been the means of at least one person “going off the straight path;” my egg cost only ninepence, so I haven’t gone so far wrong.


Having a fair knowledge of what had been done previously with eggs, I set about arranging something different from what I had ever seen or read. The result was the effect now submitted, which is production, manipulation, multiplication, and expansion merged together to produce an apparently new effect.

Egg Notes The “Stodare” egg I use was purchased from Paul Vandy, the magical juggler, many years ago, hence my name for it. The “clip” idea, as applied to magical accessories, is old; I first came across the idea in The Young Conjurer (Goldston), Vol. 2, page 22, in connection with a handkerchief appliance. In applying the clip to a Stodare egg, you possess a handy appliance of general utility. Readers who possess an Aerial Egg, as described by Harry Leat in his book Magic of the Depots, 1924, page 37, have just the very egg for the effect described. The method of wiring the large egg is, in my opinion, better than the ordinary loop as better control is obtained.

Notes re Table The drawings are not to scale; the plan (1) shows arrangement of large egg; dotted line represents hinged velvet cover.

Sketch 2 shows the “all ready” arrangement; the diameter of plate used is eight inches, the top of table being 12 x 12 inches, there is no need for the plate to be exactly central with table support.


A black art table is not necessary, my reason for using one was that I had had previous experiences of people behind stage at concerts, etc., wanting to see and know more than I was prepared to divulge.

HAT 1. Plan of hat 2. Section of hat Not to scale, and the shape is not all it should be. (Sketch 3.)

Were I ever again to present the same effect on a theatre stage, I would use a skeleton top table, minus drapery; the large egg would be constructed on the lines of the cannon ball, described in a book of which you have probably heard, viz. Our Magic.

The Diminishing Card Trick By Edward Victor IT is with pleasure that I comply with Mr. Devant’s request to describe the “Diminishing Card Trick.” I first saw this effect performed when quite a small boy by Charles Bertram at (if I remember rightly) the Hastings Pier Pavilion, and well remember my wonderment at the peculiar noise that occurred (like the passing of one’s finger-nail over the teeth of a comb, and presumably made with his mouth) each time the cards were “squeezed” and shown smaller. I have performed the “Diminishing Cards” now for a good number of years in public, and was the first to originate the idea of removing a card from the pack each time it is “diminished” and displaying the various smaller-sized cards side by side on a stand. Various ways have been published in magical literature for performing this trick, and other effective methods are on the market to-day. I have, personally, remained more or less faithful to Bertram’s sequence as described in The Modern Conjurer (Lang Neil), but only make use of two smaller sets. One is a half and the other an eighth the size of an ordinary playing-card.


The half-sized set (consisting of seven or eight cards pivoted together at one end) contains one loose card, half-size and also a quarter-sized card which slides into a thin strip of paper or linen attached to the back of the front card of the set in such a way that it can be easily pulled out. The eighth-sized set contains a loose card, eighth-size, and also a sixteenth-sized card attached behind the front card as already described. The eighth-sized set fits into a little pocket at the back of the half-sized set. (Fig. 1.) The other requirements are: (1) A card stand, measuring about 12 x 4 inches, preferably painted a dark colour. (2) A match-box. (3) Some loose confetti. (4) A penny-piece.

The card stand is on your table, near the front, and immediately behind it are about twelve to fifteen loose playing-cards with the sets under them, all laying face upwards. On the match-box, which lays next to the cards, is a single card, face up, and on which is placed a little loose confetti. The penny is placed in the right trouser pocket. As the working of this trick and the “patter” should blend together, the “moves” and the “lines” that accompany them are given below in sequence. “Moves” and “patter.” Pick up the loose cards with the sets behind them, and turning your right side to the audience, fan the cards out in the left hand with the right thumb and fingers; the cards of course are held face outwards.


Make as large a fan as possible by pushing up the centre cards of the packet. Patter. “Few people are aware that playing cards are elastic, and can be ‘squeezed’ or ‘diminished’ quite easily at will. Here I have a hand of full-sized cards. Every time I squeeze them they will become smaller and smaller....” Close up the fan with the right hand, still keeping your right side turned towards the audience. Now place the left thumb about one-third of the way up from the bottom end of the cards (Fig. 2) and re-open the fan with the right hand, the left thumb acting as a pivot. If the packet is held and opened out thus, the cards will appear to be smaller. Patter. “Already you see the cards are not quite so large; perhaps you would like them a little smaller....” Again close up the fan with the right hand and, in the act of once more “squeezing,” palm the full-sized loose cards in the right hand; this hand immediately fans out the half-size set. You now turn and face the audience, and lower the right hand behind the card stand, leaving all the palmed cards on the table except one, which is brought up in the hand. (You appear to have picked up one card from the table.) This same (right) hand, still holding the card picked up, now removes the loose half-sized card from the open fan in the left hand, and both cards are laid side by side on the card stand, faces up, and in full view of the audience. Patter. “You observe the pack is now about half the size of an ordinary playing-card. I will squeeze them a little more....” Close up the half-sized packet with the right hand, this time with the faces of the cards towards the palm, and push it half-way down in the left hand. Fan out the cards again with the right hand. Patter. “The more you squeeze them the smaller they get—just like the British taxpayer’s income!....” Remove the quarter-sized card from behind the front card with the right hand and lay it on the card stand beside the other two cards. Patter. “The pack is now, as you see, one quarter its original size....” Closing the fan once more, palm off the half-set in the right hand, leaving the eighth-sized set from the little packet in the left hand, and fan them out.


Patter. “These are very young cards! In fact, they are so tiny that a penny piece will cover them....” Take a penny from the right trouser pocket, leaving the half-set there, and compare its size with that of the small cards. Replace the coin in your pocket and take out the quarter-sized loose card from the fan, laying it on the card stand with the others. Patter. “Did I overhear someone remark: ‘Make them smaller still?’.... Very well, we will try another squeeze!” Close up the fan and slide it half-way down the left hand. Re-open it and pull out the small sixteenth-sized card, laying it on the stand with the others. Patter. “These are the smallest cards they make, IN THIS SIZE!” Closing up the small cards, take the packet in the right hand lengthwise in the curled-up fingers. Patter. “Now, for the last time, watch my hands....” Apparently take the packet in the left hand (standing with your left side towards the audience), but actually back-palm the packet in the right hand. As the left hand proceeds to “squeeze” the small cards it supposedly holds, the right hand goes behind the card stand, and the back-palmed packet is dropped on the table. The right hand immediately picks up the card which is resting on the match-box, and bringing it in a level position below the left hand, the cards, supposed to be in that hand, are apparently dropped on to the card. Raising it to the level of the mouth and giving a little blow the pieces of confetti fly into the air. Patter. “And these, ladies and gentlemen, are the smallest cards I can possibly show you.”

The Indestructible Handkerchief By Allen Benbow Presentation. The performer shakes out a nicely ironed and folded white handkerchief and lays it on his uplifted knee. With thumb and forefinger of his right hand he picks up the handkerchief by its centre and transfers it to his left hand, leaving it with its centre protruding from his fist. With a pair of scissors he cuts off the protruding fabric and allows the piece to fall on to a table. The handkerchief is now opened out and a large jagged hole is seen.


The handkerchief is again picked up and held in the same manner in the left fist. The piece of fabric which has been cut off is lifted on the points of the scissors and tucked into the fist. The handkerchief is then opened out and found to be whole once more. Patter. “It is nice to have a nice handkerchief. I am most careful with my hankies; but if I should have the misfortune to cut a hole like this in one of them it would not worry me in the slightest. I should just replace the piece—making sure to put it back in the right way so that it fits exactly—and the hanky would be whole again.” Explanation. The secret of this illusion lies in the use of a jagged patch of black material adherent to one side of the handkerchief so that, when the handkerchief is held against the performer, part of his evening suit appears to be visible through the supposed hole which, in reality, is only the black patch. Conversely, the patch cannot be seen through the handkerchief when the latter is reversed and again held next to the performer. Those who are familiar with the use of the thumb-tip, will appreciate that the fragment apparently cut from the handkerchief is taken from a piece of cambric secreted in a tip on the left thumb, and that it is eventually returned to the tip and concealed therein.

Torn Strip of Paper By Ralph Delvin Requirements. A small metal drum or winder, similar to a fishing line reel, 1-inch in diameter, with 3/8-inch revolving centre. A garter of 1-inch elastic. Attach garter to winder. About nine feet of 1-inch hat coil paper. About eight inches of fine thread, and a black pin. Preparation. Wind paper on drum, and tie thread on end of paper, and pin on end of thread. Slip garter over right hand several inches up the arm next to the flesh, so that reel is in line with wrist (inside) just above where the cuff joins the shirt, allow thread and pin to drop down sleeve, then bring over shirt cuff and sleeve of jacket and make fast pin in jacket sleeve about three inches up. Presentation. Exhibit about nine feet strip of paper, and invite any member of the audience on performer’s right (this is important) to tear the strip into pieces, and roll them into a ball. Whilst this is being done show both hands are empty, even allow them to be examined, then walk over to the person with the pieces, and ask him to place them fairly in the right hand; whilst this is being done, casually rest the fingers of the left hand on the pin and withdraw it. As soon as the torn pieces are in the right hand, immediately turn it so that the back faces the audience, and walk to the other side of the room, at the same time pull the thread sharply, which will bring the end of the paper on the reel into the right hand holding


the pieces. Pretend to fumble for a loose end with the first finger and thumb of the left hand between the finger and thumb of the right closed fist, but actually get possession of the end of the strip with the thread and pin attached, tear off an inch or so, and drop on floor, together with thread and pin—the audience imagines this is one of the torn pieces—dig once more into the right fist, this time pull out several inches, and ask someone to hold it tightly. Immediately this is done walk away as quickly as possible, keeping the right hand back to audience—the strip rapidly unwinds from reel, but cannot be seen entering the hand, as the wrist gives the necessary cover. Gather up strip and throw away with pieces. From the time the pieces are placed in the right hand, the trick should be over in two or three seconds.

The “Miracle” Torn and Restored Paper An original version by Ellis Stanyon Explanation. The complete act requires five pieces of tissue paper each 10 inches square. The sheets usually sold cut into this size without waste; otherwise the size is immaterial and paper of any colour may be used. In readiness for the trick the five papers are disposed as follows: Three are screwed up into a ball, each separately. One of the screwed up papers is laid on the table (to your left), hidden from view under one of the rear corners of another flat sheet. The remaining two balled papers are “finger-palmed” in the left hand (one under the other across the fingers) where their presence is masked by the remaining sheet, held at the finger tips—and all is ready. Right hand now tears off (downwards) two-thirds of the visible sheet, placing the torn-off portion in front of the other in the left hand; the right hand then tears the front portion (downwards) in half, again placing torn-off piece in front of others in left hand. The bottom ends of the several pieces are now turned upwards to the right, and again torn in like manner, the torn-off pieces being again placed in front of the others in the left hand. The whole of the pieces are now screwed up into a ball and pushed into top of left fist; when the pieces are completely out of sight, the thumb of right hand dislodges the lower “palmed” ball (whole piece) which falls to the floor (apparently by accident); at the same time the remaining two balls (presumably one only) are taken by the fingers of the right hand (whole piece in front) and shown together as one. Without taking the slightest notice of the fallen ball, which all will readily believe to be the torn pieces (a beautiful bit of misdirection), the performer returns the two bails (now readily believed to be one only) to his left hand, “finger-palming” one (the torn pieces), while he opens out the other and shows it to be whole.


He then screws up the restored paper, with ball of torn pieces inside it, and throws the packet aside or thrusts it into left side pocket, remarking at the same time, “Well, that would have been a good trick if I hadn’t dropped the ball of torn pieces. But a real magician should be able to restore paper actually torn.” He thereupon picks up the fallen ball, breathes upon it, then opens it out and shows it to be completely restored, and forthwith hands it for examination. Taking back the same piece of paper, he very openly rolls it into a ball and places it between first and second fingers of right hand, asking all present to keep their eyes upon it, while he repeats the trick and shows “how the old-time conjurers did actually change one piece for another.” Left hand now picks up the remaining sheet from table, at the same time “palming” loose ball of paper; the same tearing process is enacted and the pieces screwed up as before. And now for THE MASTER MOVE. In the act of presumably placing this ball of torn pieces between third and little fingers of right hand, the whole piece is put into that position, while the torn pieces are retained in the left hand—easily done under cover of the right hand. The left hand then takes the piece from between the first and second fingers of the right hand (demonstrating the change); this is opened out, found to be whole and is forthwith screwed up, TOGETHER WITH THE TORN PIECES, and the whole put into the pocket—the action calls for no comment, since all believe the torn pieces still in the right hand. Performer remarks: “As regards the torn pieces, well, some conjurers dispose of them one way, some another, but I just breathe on them—and that does the trick.” He then opens out the paper, showing it to be completely restored. There is a clever variation in working the first part of trick for which I am indebted to my friend E. Brian MacCarthy. Instead of commencing the trick with two separate balls of paper in the left hand, the one ball is rolled up inside another paper—a sort of ball within a ball. In this case, the trick proceeds exactly as described above, up to the point where the paper is opened out and shown to be whole. In opening out the paper, the enclosed ball is, of course, dropped automatically. The sympathetic remarks made by the spectators, as they see what they believe to be the ball of torn pieces fall to the floor, are highly gratifying to the performer (in this case) and give him considerable assurance.

Handkerchief,Tumbler and Flowers By Will Blyth, M.I.M.C. Effect. Performershakes out a handkerchief and proves it to be quite unprepared. He produces from it a transparent tumbler which is shown to be quite ordinary. Into this is dropped a few magic seeds and at the word of command, without any cover, the seeds suddenly transform themselves into a mass of gorgeous flowers, overflowing the tumbler.


Preparation. This may be easily followed from Fig. 1. About fifty De Kolta spring flowers are formed into a bouquet by fixing strings at the base and to these a length of strong black thread is attached. This thread passes through a tiny hole drilled in the bottom of a glass tumbler. A knot is arranged on the thread a few inches from the bouquet so that after production an extra pull on the tumbler in an outwards direction causes the thread to break by reason of the knot being held taut at the bottom of the tumbler. Thus freed, the production may be placed upon the table for decorative purposes. Working. The blossoms are folded together and fixed in a safety-pin paper-clip holder. The safety-pin is fastened inside the vest between two buttons, one being left unfastened to ensure easy egress of the folded bouquet. The opposite free end of the thread is securely fixed to the right hand trousers button. The tumbler is concealed inside the breast pocket of the coat or is allowed to protrude from the right hand vest pocket, its presence being covered by the coat.

The handkerchief is shown both sides, shaken out and thrown over the right arm. Under cover of the handkerchief the left hand takes the tumbler from its concealed position and produces same as if taken from the handkerchief. Care must be taken here not to draw the bouquet prematurely from the vest. If preferred, however, the handkerchief may be dispensed with and in that case performer enters holding the tumbler in his right hand. The tumbler is then demonstrated empty, tapped with the wand, and a few magic seeds dropped therein (sic). At the word of command the performer thrusts the tumbler outwards, thus disengaging the folded bouquet, which is brought within and about the tumbler as shown in Fig. 2. The appearance of the brightly coloured flowers is instantaneous and effective. Opportunity is taken to give an extra strain on the thread, thus causing it to break at the knot. It is, of course, possible to produce the bouquet and break the thread in one movement, but the main point is to ensure the instantaneous appearance of the flowers. The breaking of the thread is a secondary matter. The tumbler of flowers is then placed upon the table, forming a pleasing table decoration.


“The Allotment” By Vincent Dalban “THE Allotment” is the rather fanciful title of an effect that forms a very suitable opening for a spectacular act. The whole thing takes only a few moments and is in the nature of a surprise. It was first produced by me at the King’s Theatre, Gainsborough, on June 13th, 1921. The Effect. On a tray held by an assistant rests a light skeleton wooden framework. Panels are dropped into grooves at the sides and top, forming a cubical shaped structure. Upon this being lifted, four pots of flowers are revealed standing on the tray. The Apparatus. The tray consists of a thin board 14 inches from side to side and 12 inches from back to front. Hinged to this board is a flap 10 inches by 10 inches. This flap normally lies flat on and in the centre of the tray, but the front edge can be raised, so that the flap stands at an angle of 90 degrees, near the back edge of the tray. With the flap lying flat on the tray, the pots are permanently attached to the flap. The underside of the flap is completely covered by a piece of material similar to and made to resemble the front part of the assistant’s coat or uniform. The wooden framework, which measures 12 by 12 by 12 inches is made of inch by inch material. It is not permanently attached to the tray, but there are four short dowels at the bottom and these fit into four holes in the tray, made to receive them. These keep the framework steady and in place and at the same time allow it to be lifted off the tray when required at the end of the effect. Stretched over and completely covering in the back of the framework is a sheet of thin rubber 12 inches by 12 inches. This rubber is permanently fixed round the four edges at the back of the framework. The panels slide into grooves made in the framework. They are of three-ply wood and bear a floral decoration. The flower pots are collapsible and consist of two round wooden discs—one the size of the top of the pot and the other the size of the bottom of the pot. These two discs are joined together by a spiral spring, something similar in design to those used in the upholstery of chairs, but not so strong. The sides of the pots are made of thin canvas material, painted the necessary colour. The pots are normally held extended by means of the spring, but can be crushed flat by pressure.


The plants, which are made of feather flowers, are attached to the wooden disc at the top of the pot by means of a spring hinge, so that normally they stand upright, as a plant should, but, when desired they can be folded over at right angles to the pot. With the plant folded over and the pot pressed flat, they occupy comparatively little space. The upper surface of the disc at the top of the pot is painted to represent earth moss. The Preparation. The wooden framework with the sheet rubber to the rear is placed on the tray over the flap and pots and the dowels engaged in the holes. The plants are folded over and the pots pressed flat. The flap, to which the pots are attached, is then folded back against the rubber at the back of the framework and secured in place by a catch. The pots and flowers in a collapsed condition are now concealed between the flap at the front and the sheet rubber at the back. This brings the underside of the flap, with the fake of the assistant’s uniform attached to it, into view. With the apparatus held in front of him by the assistant, this piece of material will appear to be part of his uniform and will give an apparently uninterrupted view right through the framework. A piece of green string attached at one end to the front edge of the flap passes through a hole in the middle of the top rear crosspiece of the framework and the other end is twisted round the left hand of the assistant. At the outset the panels are resting inside and leaning against the back of the framework immediately in front of the fake. This is a natural position and prevents the audience from seeing the fake for too long. The Working. The assistant, holding the tray, on which is the framework, stands on the right side of the performer. The latter takes one of the panels—it is the back one—and after showing it, drops it into position by sliding it down immediately in front of the fake material, where it is held in position by a small catch. The other panels are lifted out just before this one goes into position, thus allowing the audience only a brief view of the fake. The two sides are dropped into position, then the front and finally the top. As the top panel is being placed in position, the performer apparently steadies the apparatus by placing his hand at the left front lower corner, really he takes the weight of the tray at that side. At once the assistant releases his hold with his left hand and holds the string taut. The performer releases the catch and the flap (and the back panel) drops, but it does not fall with a crash, for immediately the catch is released the string takes the strain and the assistant lowers the flap gently down until it lies flat on the tray. At the same time the pots extend and the plants stand erect. Immediately afterwards the assistant lets go of the string and regains hold of the tray.


The performer lifts the framework from the tray, revealing the flowers, the string comes free through the holes and drops amongst the plants, where it remains unseen. Although here described exactly as worked, using an assistant, this effect can be adapted for presentation single-handed. In this case the tray could rest on a table or stand and the performer standing at the rear would occupy the position of the assistant during the brief time the fake was visible to the audience. The fake, of course, would be made to resemble the front of the performer’s clothes or costume, instead of that of the assistant, as in the foregoing description.

Shopping by Wireless By Ralph Chart (Raoul) Effect. Performer displays six separate lengths of different coloured silks, each piece is 9 inches wide and 1 yard long. He explains that he has evolved a method by means of which one’s shopping can now be done by wireless rays. The lengths of silks are placed into a bag, which the audience are asked to imagine represents the shop. An empty glass tumbler is shown, covered with a handkerchief, and placed on a small pedestal. The glass represents the customer. The audience are now asked to select from a number of cards displayed on a board what length of silk and whichever colour they desire to purchase. Assuming three-quarters of a yard of the blue silk is suggested, the magician directs a wireless ray from the bag to the glass.


On uncovering the glass, three-quarters of a yard of the blue silk is seen to have appeared. Removing the silks from the bag, all are complete excepting the blue, of which only a quarter of a yard remains. Requirements. The requirements for this pretty effect are as follows: Six lengths of different coloured silks measuring 9 x 36 inches. (Say, black, gold, green, red, white, and blue.) One length measuring 9 x 36 inches of the black, gold, green, red, and white. One length of blue measuring 9 x 9 inches. One length of blue measuring 9 x 27 inches. A pocket lamp and a handkerchief. One bottomless tumbler. One changing bag. (See footnote.) Twenty cards (described later). One board for displaying cards. A pedestal from which a silk is invisibly loaded into the tumbler. The top of the pedestal (Fig. A) is a little larger that the bottom of the tumbler, which, having been shown empty, is placed on the pedestal held in the left hand. The glass is covered with a handkerchief, and in the act of placing the pedestal on to the table, the top of the pedestal is pushed down at the same moment as the base touches the table, thereby loading the three-quarters of a yard of silk into the bottomless glass. The board requires our next consideration. This measures 27 x 18 inches. The board is dead black. Beneath each of the four cards on the top ledge and the six cards on the bottom ledge is a duplicate painted black on the outer side and the same number and colour on the inner side that it is desired to force (Fig. B). The cards measure 3-1/2 x 4-1/2 inches. Twenty are required altogether.


Four have written or printed on them 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1. Four have written or printed on them 3/4, 3/4, 3/4, 3/4, and are blacked on the inner side. Six have written or printed black, gold, green, red, white, blue. Six have written or printed blue, blue, blue, blue, blue, blue, and are blacked on the inner side. The cards are displayed on the board as illustrated, with the blackened cards beneath them, black sides outwards. Working. Show the six lengths of silk and place in the changing bag. Show empty tumbler, place it on the pedestal and cover it with the handkerchief and stand it on the table. 8



3 and 10




















Pick up the cards (top ones only) A, B, C, D, shuffle them and replace them face downwards on board. Repeat with cards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, replacing them face downwards too. Switch on pocket lamp, directing ray from “shop” to “customer.” Uncover glass tumbler, showing the three-quarters of a yard of blue silk. Remove the silks from bag, showing that only a quarter of a yard of the blue silk remains. (Note.—Mr. Chart seems to be under the impression that everyone knows what a “changing bag” is. This is, I hope, far from being the case. Anyway, for the benefit of those who do not know, I had better explain that a changing bag has a partition down the centre of its interior. By holding this cloth partition the contents can be shown one side or the other. In this case the bundle of silks containing the small piece of chosen colour is put in one side of the partition; the bag is then turned inside out to show that it is empty, and the genuine silks are put in the other side. When they are taken out, it is of course the substitute bundle which is displayed.—DAVID DEVANT.)


Blindfold Card Reading By George Johnson THE performer having been blindfolded, cards are taken (by an assistant from the audience), shuffled, distributed to various spectators and the conjurer names the cards. The simplicity of the method of working this effect need not deter the performer from presenting it to a small gathering. Indeed, the presentation requires some showmanship; the trick creates a better sensation with a comparatively small audience. It should be presented impressively. The performer asks for the assistance of a spectator who is willing to do that which is required. Having obtained a (let us hope) non-clumsy person, the conjurer asks that he personally may be blindfolded. He takes a pack of cards from his pocket and, in a somewhat fumbling manner, due apparently to the blindfold, executes a few cuts and shuffles. “Now,” he exclaims, suddenly turning to his temporary assistant, “please take a bunch of cards, mix them, and as quickly as you can distribute them to other spectators.” This being done the performer successfully names the chosen cards. The “picturing” of the cards, doubts and difficulties expressed, errors in one pip and so forth, are matters where the showmanship comes in. All that is required is a stacked pack. The cards may be in any arrangement that the performer is used to. The Stebbins system, the “Eight, King, Three, Ten, etc.,” or any of the other systems of stacking wherein a glance at the bottom card of the pack conveys the necessary information as to the position of the cards. This is all the secret. When the assistant grasps a small handful of cards, the performer cuts the pack at the break, glances down under his “blindfold,” notes the visible card, tosses the pack on the table and proceeds to name the distributed cards. The fact that the assistant shuffles the cards, of course, destroys the arrangement, but when the conjurer calls out the various denominations the spectators, holding one card each, are engaged in waiting for their card to be named—stacked packs, sometimes called “cold decks,” should be to them a thing unknown! It should be mentioned that the performer calls attention to the fact that he places himself unreservedly in his assistant’s hands, and that unless he does just as requested the experiment may not succeed. The writer once presented this at a smoking concert. After the show another amateur conjurer came up and remarked: “I liked that card reading trick, but how in the name of wonder did you force so many cards—I have trouble enough with one!” It has occurred to me that I perhaps omitted to mention the fact that the conjurer does not know exactly how many cards have been taken by his temporary assistant. I used to guess


this, and when I thought I was nearing the end of the bunch I remarked, with the usual hand-waving and striving of the thought reader: “That leaves, I think, three cards; would you please hold them up; is that right?” Usually someone called out the number of cards left and all was well. In any case the performer is pretty safe if he does not exceed the number of cards held by spectators. It would be a disaster if the conjurer went on with his eight, King, ten-ing—or whatever system he uses—when the cards out were exhausted! I never had this contretemps. For the benefit of lay readers it may be explained that the above code arrangement mentioned is as follows: With this memory aid each of the thirteen cards are represented. The word “chased” is used to represent the order of suites—C is Clubs—H is Hearts—S is Spades and D is Diamonds. Therefore you keep them in the same order.

The Vanity Bag Illusion By Cecil Lyle Effect. A large vanity bag hangs in the centre of stage on two wide ribbons. It is opened by allowing the front of bag and handle to fall down. The inside of the bag has a large pocket which contains a mirror, with handle and a big powder puff. These are displayed and the material of the bag is turned inside out and then replaced, together with the mirror and puff, in the pocket. The bag is then closed and twisted round, then immediately opened, when a lady is disclosed, sitting inside the bag, holding up the mirror and powdering her face with the powder puff. A very charming picture which always makes a hit with the ladies. Working. The bag is made on the principle of the old changing bag, with a movable partition of cloth. Firstly, a square steel frame is constructed with a small wooden seat in the lower half, on which the lady can sit. The handles of the bag are flat wooden semi-circles about four inches wide and the “catch” to shut the bag is made of a large billiard ball. There is a semi-circular flat metal band which shuts either against the back or front of the wooden handle at will, so that when the lady originally takes up her position in the bag, on the seat, the partition is closed over her, the fiat metal band is locked with a small catch to the back handle and the front of the bag is then closed. There is a steel cable inside the ribbon which is fastened to a batten from the flies. The bag revolves on this to show all round and the lady’s form cannot be discerned if there is plenty of fullness in the material. There are two mirrors and two puffs. When the bag is opened the second time the catch holding the partition is released and this falls with the front, disclosing the lady.



The Great Presto Painting Mystery By Wm. G. Stickland IN describing the working of this exceptionally novel effect, the writer is parting with a jealously-guarded secret. In including this effect in this book, however, the writer feels that he is offering at least one “gem”. ‘Tis said there is nothing new in Magic and although this effect is claimed to be one of the most novel magical inventions of recent years it is, after all, nothing more than a combination of the inexhaustible box combined with an elaborate adaptation of the dyeing silks trick. Effect. An elaborately-painted model garage or paint shop, fitted with a door at each end, is observed on the magician’s centre table. One door being opened, a small black model car is removed, and at the same time the audience is given the opportunity of seeing that the garage is quite empty. The garage is now removed from the table and, by means of “running boards” attached to each end of same, it is placed on the backs of two chairs ( la plate of glass in the Spirit Hand effect), the front facing the audience. Both doors are now opened; and in order to further prove the absence of deception the magician pushes his wand through the garage, and the car is allowed to run through same either way. Two colours are now “selected” by the audience and on the car being again run through on its own power it is seen to emerge painted in the selected colours. This is certainly a quick-fire effect, as the car is seen to run straight through the garage, being out of sight only for a fraction of a second. Requirements. Two model clockwork motor cars (about 10 inches long), one painted black, the other in any bright colours. The clockwork unit is removed from the coloured car, as it is not required and it tends to check the speed of the car. A tin hook is fixed to the back of the coloured car. The garage is constructed of three-ply wood, edges being reinforced to add to stability and to take door hinges, with floor of 3/4-inch matchboard. Its dimensions are: length 15 inches, height 10 inches (excluding roof), width 7 inches. It will be observed that the garage has a diagonal partition which is cut and hinged 5-1/2 inches from the bottom, forming a flap which can be raised to a position where it is held in place till pushed back by reason of the tightness of its fitting to the sides of the garage. This portion of the partition is, of course, glued in position. Guide pieces are attached to the partition, and these keep the car in position and ensure its keeping a straight course as it runs down the partition. The coloured car is secured on the partition, by means of a catch attached to a stout brass wire rod which engages with the hook on back of the car. The catch is operated by a lever riveted to the end of the rod, and which is out of sight under the eaves of the roof in the top right-hand corner of the back of the garage. The hook on the car, being made of tin, can


easily be adjusted to its correct position so that it is securely held by catch and does not fail to disengage from same when lever is operated. The running board is made in three sections, in such a manner that it folds underneath the garage when same is not in use. The sections are made of timber of similar substance to the bottom of the box, or, to make a lighter job, of three-ply with edges of this wood. Of the three sections, A is 13 inches long, B 14 inches, C 8 inches, and the latter is fitted with a hinged piece to act as a stop to prevent the car from meeting with disaster. A block of 1-inch square wood is glued to the bottom end of the garage, and a similar block to one end of the section B (C is hinged to the other end), and small brass hinges attached to the bottom of these blocks join B to the garage. A is hinged to the other end of the garage. All hinges are attached to the bottom of the running boards. A can now be folded under the garage, and by reason of the blocks, B, with C folded under same, can be folded under A. The exterior of the garage is decorated, the interior being painted a dull black. The interior can, of course, be viewed through the door, and from a few feet has the appearance of entire emptiness, the diagonal serving the same purpose as that in the well-known inexhaustible box. To prepare. The flap is in its normal position. With lever C at its bottom position the coloured car is being pushed to the top of the partition, being guided by guide-pieces, and the lever is now pushed up, catching and securing the car in position. The garage rests on table, one end towards audience, with the black car inside. Patter and Presentation. “I have recently been appointed the director of an enterprising firm known as the Presto Painting Co., Ltd. The object of this firm is to paint cars quicker, better and cheaper than hitherto. Motorists can now have their cars painted for them whilst they wait for the sum of five shillings, and ladies with minds of a changeable nature can have a different coloured car daily at reduced terms. We are looking for people with money to burn—I mean invest—and my object here this evening is to give you a practical demonstration of Presto Painting. For this purpose I will make use of this model car.” (Door is opened and black car removed.) “I believe it is a Morris, although I am not quite sure whether it is an ‘ Ox’ or a ‘ Cow’; it is so black it might even be a ‘ minor.’” (During this patter, door has been left open so that, without directly having their attention called to the fact, the garage is seen by the audience to be" empty.") “Here we have a model of our upto-date Presto Painting Works at Hey; in other words, the Hey Presto Painting WorkS.’’ (Garage is now placed on chair-backs and arm or wand pushed through ostensibly to prove the innocence of the garage and to open far door, but at the same time the flap is raised). “It will be seen that the paint shop has two doors, one by which the car enters, the other by which the car leaves, so.” (The flap being “up,” the car can be run through the garage once or twice from end to end, and finally the the opposite way, this gives an opportunity to push the flap back into position.) “It will be agreed that it has been proved beyond doubt that the paint shop is quite empty and unprepared, and everything is now in readiness for the demonstration. All that remains to be done before commencing is to decide what colour the car shall be painted. Presto Painting can be carried out in any colours, and as it is the fashion nowadays to paint cars in two colours I should like two colours suggested.” (It


is left to the individual performer to make use of his own pet methods of forcing the colours, there being so many well-known methods of doing so.) “Red and yellow? Thank you, madam—a very excellent combination! All one has to do now is to run the car through the paint shop at not less than thirty miles per hour—this is very important as otherwise the driver might get painted himself, and he would feel very ‘blue’ if he had to go through life with a coat of red paint. I want you to keep one eye on the car as it enters here, one eye on same as it leaves here, and any other eyes you may have to spare you might keep on the windows—you might see through them even if you can’t see through the trick. Now then, one, two, three, go!” (Car, having been wound up, is held by right hand at end of running board A, and on the word “Go!” it is released; at the same time the release catch lever is pushed down by left hand—performer is standing behind garage, so this action is entirely screened. Black car is stopped by partition and red car runs out, having reverted to the horizontal, under cover of the open door. A little practice is required to accurately time these two movements, but no difficulty will be found in this direction.)

The Optical Pass By Chris Van Bern, M.I.M.C. I HAVE mystified many card men with the sleight I am now about to describe, and am now divulging the method for the first time. Try it with the cards in your hand, as you follow the instructions. You will even deceive yourself, if you try it a few times in front of a mirror. You will not see the move made although you will know you have done it. Have the cards shuffled. One selected. Cards are now held, squared, in left hand. First and second fingers on top edge away from the body. Thumb on lower edge. Third and fourth finger behind pack. Drop half of the pack off into the right hand. Have chosen card replaced on top of this half. Now drop a few cards off top of left portion on to the chosen card. This will bring your third finger touching the chosen card, masked by the cards that are dropping. As the left hand is drawn away to drop more cards on, the chosen card is drawn up and off, gripped between the third and fourth finger, and is at once placed at the back. You continue to drop the cards from left hand until finished. If the chosen card is wanted on the top the same procedure is followed, but instead of putting the lifted chosen card at the back it is placed on the front of the right-hand pile. The movement is repeated, throwing a few cards at a time alternately back and front until all are finished, and picking the chosen card up each time and putting on the front. Anyone who is looking for the pass is thrown entirely off the scent, as the moves cannot be followed.


A New Spirit Message Effect By Oswald Rae I WORKED this little stunt out some time ago, the main idea being to get away from the usual slates, etc., for a change. The effect briefly is as follows: A large envelope is shown—it has the main portion of the front cut out, thus forming a “window.” The envelope may be examined if desired. A piece of white paper is shown both sides and inserted into the envelope. Through the window, the spectators can see the paper slowly going down inside the envelope. The envelope is then sealed, and a spectator marks the white paper for identification. This is done through the window. On performer opening the envelope, the paper is withdrawn, and the spectators plainly see this being done through the window. The envelope is obviously empty, and the paper is shown. On its reverse side is written a message from the spirits. The paper is then handed to the spectator as a souvenir. The envelope is ordinary except for the piece cut out. The paper at the start is not quite so innocent. To prepare this, first take a second envelope and cut away the front. This leaves the back with the join showing all the way down. With paste stick a piece of white paper on to the back of this. The result is a piece of paper white on one side, whilst the other matches the inside back of the window envelope. Another piece of similar white paper is now taken and a tiny quantity of paste or mucilage is carefully run along one end. This is stuck to the bottom of the other piece on the side that matches the envelope. It must only be stuck along the extreme bottom edge and the result is that this piece is neatly kept in position, and if held together at the top end, it may be handled quite freely. The whole can thus be shown back and front, and appears simply a sheet of white paper. After manufacturing it, it will generally be found necessary to trim it up all the way round, so there are no tell-tale edges of paper showing. On the inside of the loose piece of paper the message, a forced word from a dictionary, name of a forced chosen card, or whatever is desired, is written. When presenting, the envelope is first shown, and the fact that it is perfectly empty made obvious. The fake piece of paper is now shown with several ordinary sheets of similar paper under it. These pieces are fanned out, and a spectator is asked to select one. He does so, and the performer says he will use it, takes it, and returns to his table. En route he top changes the selected piece for the chosen one. This movement is just as easy with sheets of paper as with cards.


The fake piece is held at the top or loose end, shown back and front and inserted into the window envelope. It is inserted with the loose or message piece in front, and the stuck end is inserted first, the fingers thus preventing the loose end from moving. As soon as it is in the envelope it is pushed well home—the envelope is sealed, and in that state may be handed to the spectator to mark the piece of paper he chose (?) through the window. On receiving it back, the performer lodges it in some prominent place, with the window facing the audience. Incidentally, he picks it up again at the finish so that it is upside down, but as the flap is upstage, that is not visible to the audience. If possible, it is as well to get the spectator to mark his paper sideways, and then even the mark will not give away the fact that the envelope is turned. After due business, the envelope is cut open with shears. This cuts through the envelope and faked piece of paper as well, so that the narrow portion that is stuck is cut right off. This comes inside the top, or rather bottom, of the envelope and is thus safely hidden. It is now possible to remove the marked piece of paper with its message on the reverse side, and leave the remainder of the faked portion in the envelope. As the only visible portion of this exactly matches the real back of the envelope, to all intents and purposes the envelope is empty and the spectacle of the marked paper being withdrawn, and revealing only the back of the envelope (?), is so convincing that no one ever dreams of wanting to see the envelope. All interest is naturally on the paper and its message. I have found that this little stunt causes considerable comment, and always leaves them talking.

Perhaps a more simple way to prepare the fake paper and envelope back would be, instead of pasting one end of message sheet, simply to fold a single sheet so as to cover both sides of the fake envelope back, but which is free to be removed when bottom end of envelope is cut away. While the effect is practical for use in a small size, a better effect may be obtained by using a much larger envelope, say 6 x 8 inches or thereabouts. This novel idea presents wonderful possibilities, and any ingenious performer will appreciate its use in many ways. Merely a suggestion: Have a number of plain cards on which you have various questions such as: “When will my wish come true? Whom will I marry? Will I get my old job back again?” etc. Force a card on a married gentleman with this question: “When will the next great war take


place?” Have the message on the paper read: “To-night, if you remain out as late as you did last night.”

A Coin and Card Divination By Edward Bagshaw THE performer asks for the loan of four coins of a like value, say, four half-crowns or pennies. He receives the coins, on being forthcoming, upon his outstretched left hand, and, keeping them in view, returns to his table, on which they are laid out in a row. An assistant member of the audience selects one of the coins, and in order to isolate this for the time being he is asked to drop it into an ordinary tumbler, which reposes upon a chair. A pack of cards is introduced, shown, shuffled. Now the assistant is requested to place it upon the table and cut it into two nearly equal portions—then to pick up either half, and subject it to a thorough shuffle. The performer now picks up the remaining half of the pack, and shuffles this also. The assistant is asked to decide which half shall be used for the trick, and whichever he chooses is taken by the performer, who discards the other half. The chosen half is spread out, face down, upon the table. The assistant now removes the chosen coin from the tumbler. He is requested to look at the “tail” side of the coin, and the performer states that he will endeavour to get a mental impression which will enable him to perform a curious feat with the cards, So saying, and apparently controlled by the helper, he slowly pushes out four cards from those lying on the table. These cards remain face down whilst the performer gathers up the remaining cards and puts them aside. Now the spectator is asked to reveal the date upon the coin he is holding. Immediately, the performer picks up the four cards and lays them out face up in a row—-or, preferably, displays them on a stand—and it is seen that they form the date just called out (thus an Ace, Nine, Three, and Five would represent 1935). This little effect has the advantage that it can be quickly arranged for presentation, and further, the articles used are not specially prepared in any manner. The coin used for the trick is the performer’s own, and thus he is already acquainted with the date to be revealed. On commencing, this coin (say a half-crown) is finger-palmed in his right hand. He asks for the loan of four half-crowns, which he receives on the palm of his open left hand. The following moves, which are very easy, account for the exchange of one of these coins for the concealed coin, during which operation it will be observed that the coins never leave the spectators’ sight. The four coins are transferred to the right hand, being placed just over the finger-palmed one, and are displayed in this hand—it being impossible for the onlookers to tell that five


coins are actually present. This stack of coins is now picked up by the left hand, turned over so that the previously palmed coin is on top, and gripped by the right hand. The performer returns to table, keeping coins visible, and as he reaches it the lowermost coin is allowed to drop and is finger-palmed. The four coins between fingers and thumb are now laid out in a row upon the table, heads up, the changed coin being placed third in the row as seen by the audience. It is now a simple matter to get the assisting spectator to select the desired coin, and if preferred, this may be done by allowing him to throw a small faked die. Another way is to ask him to choose between two coins at the left of the table and the two at the right—if his choice embraces the desired coin the other two are picked up and placed aside, and should he choose the other two they are removed in the same way. He now indicates one of the remaining coins and the procedure is the same, so that the known coin is always left on the table. This is now dropped into a tumbler,by the assistant. The performer has meanwhile disposed of the finger-palmed coin by pocketing. He now introduces the pack of cards. The pack is an ordinary one, the only peculiarity being that it is of the “one-way” description—that is, the design on the back is such that if a card is reversed it becomes easily detectable to the performer. Previous to the effect the pack has been cut in two, and at the centre of each half four cards corresponding to the known date have been reversed end for end. In use, the pack is given a false shuffle, placed on the table, and the assistant then cuts it in two, He chooses one half and shuffles it, whilst the performer shuffles the other half. As both halves of the pack are arranged in the same way in respect of the reversed cards, the assistant is at liberty to choose whichever half he would like the trick worked with, and this half is spread out upon the table. The performer is easily able to locate the reversed cards forming the required date, and it only remains for him to bring the trick to a successful conclusion in the manner previously outlined.

The Multiple Laundry Mystery By Kershaw Thomas THIS little effect was thought out for two reasons. Firstly, in order to make an additional item for a children’s party given by the proprietor of a laundry and, secondly, gently to pull the leg of the aforesaid laundry proprietor over the matter of a few missing and ruined handkerchiefs. It is as a children’s effect that I pass it on to my brother magicians in the hope that they will have as much success with it as I myself have had.


Effect. The magician first asks for the assistance of a little girl, preferably one who is domesticated and who would like to know what goes on behind the walls of the local laundry. Having selected a suitable girl from the dozens who will no doubt rush forward, he proceeds to make her at home by pinning on an apron and sitting her on a chair slightly to the left of his table (facing audience). The performer explains that in order to demonstrate the workings of a laundry he must have something to laundeer, or launder, or whatever the word might be! He borrows a white handkerchief. The handkerchief is then folded so that it eventually becomes about two to two and a half inches square. Demonstrating the method which mother herself would use, the magician sprinkles some water on the handkerchief, places it on his table, and picks up a formidable-looking flat-iron, with which he proceeds to iron the handkerchief. As the magician rightly points out, anybody knows how to do that, but does everybody know how it is done at a laundry? He goes on to show various little pieces of modern laundry machinery, such as the machine for tearing off shirt buttons, the table-cover tearer, and the sock loser! Finally he shows the “handkerchief hole maker.” Simply an ordinary bodkin, but quite capable of doing its work. To prove his statements, performer pushes the bodkin through the handkerchief. Remarking that a handkerchief would only come back from the laundry in such a condition once, he proceeds to demonstrate the “hole enlarger,” which is used on the handkerchief on its second visit—in other words, a pair of scissors, but quite a good enough weapon for enlarging the hole from a small tear to one about an inch in diameter! Performer then states that a very unfortunate thing happened to him when he last sent one of his handkerchiefs. The laundry closed down, but, worse still, before closing down they cut his handkerchief into small pieces. He proceeds to demonstrate this, again with the borrowed handkerchief. Performer then seriously states that he’s afraid he cannot tell the audience very much about the modem laundry, at the same time handing the pieces of handkerchief back to the member of the audience. It then occurs to him to carry on his story. He says that he doesn’t know what brought it to his mind, but he sent the tattered handkerchief to what is known as a Multiple Laundry, or, in other words, one large laundry, generally in London, and a large number of provincial laundries. He shows a model of a laundry on his table. The laundry is labelled LONDON—HEADQUARTERS, in front, in the best sign-writing style performer can do. The pieces of handkerchief are wrapped up in a piece of paper tied up with cotton and dangled in mid-air on a length of cotton. Unfortunately they dangle too near a lighted candle and the whole lot goes up with a flash, but mysteriously leaves an envelope addressed to the performer, dangling at the end of the cotton!


Performer opens envelope and reads a message to the effect that the handkerchief is at the Leeds Branch! The London Branch is opened and is found to contain a smaller laundry labelled BIRMINGHAM. This in turn contains the MANCHESTER Branch. Opening this the HULL Branch is found, and in this is the LEEDS Branch. The Leeds Branch is taken across to the girl assistant, who opens it and finds inside the borrowed handkerchief, which is then returned to its owner none the worse for its adventures. Method. Little description will be necessary, the apparatus being mainly old props in new guise. The “Multiple Laundry,” for instance, will be easily recognised as the nest of boxes, but how many, even conjurers, will recognise the flatiron as an adaptation of the old “card table pedestal” which used to be so handy for changing a card. Actually the iron has a sort of shallow lid which fits across its flat surface, the underside is polished tin, just the same as the actual iron, the upper side is covered with black velvet to match the tabletop. In the cavity between the iron and the shell fake is the duplicate handkerchief. When handkerchief is borrowed it is placed on table with one corner of it hanging into a black art well in which is the smallest “laundry,” with its top open. Performer slides iron about on tabletop finally, apparently sliding it over the handkerchief. What he actually does, however, is to knock the handkerchief into the well, and consequently into the open “laundry,” at the same time lifting up the iron and bringing into view the duplicate handkerchief. The shell from the iron effectually covers the well until it is required again. The duplicate is then picked up and with it the performer goes through the “business” of showing the various “cod” apparatus for tearing clothes, etc., used by the “modern” laundry. Finally, he wraps the tattered handkerchief up in a piece of flash paper—actually pushing the handkerchief into a second well. The flash paper has the message in its envelope stuck between two thicknesses, and is threaded, not with cotton, as the performer states, but with fine black wire. Consequently, upon setting fire to the flash paper the wire does not burn, as would cotton, and the letter is left dangling in place of the flash paper parcel. The message is read and the nest of “laundries” produced. They are slowly taken from each other until performer comes to the Hull Branch. This he stands on his table and slides it to the centre, in this way sliding the shell covering off the black art well containing the Leeds laundry. The Hull laundry, of course, has no bottom and the performer simply puts his hand in from the top and pulls the Leeds laundry right out of the well. The borrowed handkerchief is, of course, then taken out of the Leeds laundry and handed back to its owner.


The Tests of the Court Magician Being an interesting fifteen-minute act for the entertainment of children. By Francis White (Member of the Inner Magic Circle and Fellow of the Institute of Magicians) INTRODUCING the story, the performer tells of a mighty King who was desirous of securing a Court Magician to become attached to the Palace Staff. From numerous applicants for the post the King selected one or two for the final tests and the successful magician was discovered in the following manner. Inviting the candidate to dine, the King placed before him a jug of milk and a piece of tissue paper, requesting that the milk should be caused to vanish, to reappear in the headgear of an attendant. The conjurer, eager to do the King’s bidding, took the hat from the startled attendant and poured the whole of the milk into it. To relieve the worried watchers who believed the hat damaged, the performer takes the milk from the hat, which is now inside a tumbler. This is placed upon the hand and the tissue paper wrapped around, thereby concealing it from view. On the word “Go,” the paper is crushed in the hand and the tumbler of milk has vanished and is produced again from the attendant’s hat. You will recognise this effect as an improvement upon the “Milk Eau” sensation which has been seen in many guises. A special fake is made in the following manner:

Take a small piece of thin celluloid or cellophane cut to the shape shown in Fig. 1, and paint within a half inch of the top with white paint. Having allowed this to dry, gum the sides together and a passable representation of a tumbler of milk will result.


This is nested inside a glass tumbler, and after showing the hat empty they are loaded in. The milk is then poured into the hat and it passes through the fake into the tumbler. Produce the lake and place a piece of tissue paper over the top and vanish by crushing between the hands. You will find the perfect illusion of a visible vanish of milk. It is a simple matter to reproduce the real tumbler of milk from the hat. This completes the first of the two tests for the magician. The second and last test introduces a fair lady who is locked in a castle and the magician is compelled, at the King’s bidding, to rescue her from her prison. A model castle is shown and the roof placed upon the top after a white silk to represent the lady is put safely inside. A second silk is shown to represent the hero of the story, and when taken into the performer’s hand becomes changed instantly to a magic wand, the emblem of his art. Upon undoing the roof of the castle the white silk is withdrawn and the second silk is found to be tied to it with a true lover’s knot, depicting the rescue. A description of the castle must first hold our attention. It is based on the jap box principle for the envanishment of silks and consists of an oblong box with a flap at one end which can be dropped or raised by a mere touch of the finger. See Fig. 2. Into this flap are placed two duplicate silks tied together, and the flap is shut. The roof is unprepared and just stands upon the top of the box. The base is attached to the main part and has a small hole at the flap end to allow the finger to raise or shut the flap without effort. The whole thing is decorated to represent a castle, and when introduced is shown empty and is placed on the table, allowing the flap to drop. The white silk is placed therein and when the finale is due the duplicates are produced and the single silk locked into the flap to allow the box to be again shown empty.

Changing the hero silk into a magic wand is based upon the silk to sausage trick. A spring wand is constructed with a hook on the inside of the top which allows the silk to be at-


tached to the collapsed wand. Upon the wand being released the silk vanishes inside the wand, which extends to its full size. The general story can be enlarged to bring in other suitable effects, but the outline is given from the writer’s own original offering of the story.

The Sunshade Trick By L. Davenport ONE dark night in 1916 a man might have been seen in a room at the back of a shop in Oxford Street making a contraption of tubes for his first show at St. George’s Hall—a very important event to him. The thing he was making was like a towel-horse and was meant to display a long parcel containing a sunshade. Suddenly he stopped at his work and scratched his head thoughtfully; the tubes had given him an idea. But first I had better tell you what the Sunshade Trick is. It is a very old trick done with a sunshade and some silk handkerchiefs. The sunshade is wrapped up in a sheet of brown paper, or rolled up in a Japanese mat, then the silk handkerchiefs are put into another receptacle, such as a tea caddy or bag. A magic pass is made, the sunshade is pulled out from its cover and pendant from each rib, with the now skeleton sunshade which has lost its own cover. This is found to have taken the place of the handkerchiefs in the caddy, or other receptacle. For many years this had been done in one way. There was first concealed in the paper in which the sunshade was to be rolled (the paper being made double for this purpose) a second sunshade, which was the skeleton, together with the handkerchiefs. This had its weak points. For instance, the handle had to be pushed right into the cover, and then the handle of the other sunshade pulled out, and again, one could only open the paper at the finish, being careful not to show the hidden sunshade. But on this night the young man who was working in the back shop at Oxford Street had the idea of putting a tube as the central support of the principal sunshade. Then he made the second sunshade with a very thin central support and he halved the handkerchiefs by cutting them across from corner to corner diagonally, so that the whole thing could slide into the central tube and it was made to jam into the top, and thus, by holding the outer sunshade firmly and pulling on the handle of the inner one, it could be pulled out from the centre, whereas if the handle was pushed back again and no pressure was exerted on the outer sunshade, the latter could be pulled out with it and displayed as an ordinary sunshade. Best of all, the paper in which they had been wrapped could be torn in halves or small pieces, conclusively proving by conjurer’s logic that only one sunshade was used, and thus improving the trick enormously. (It is a great privilege that Mr. Davenport has accorded me in thus disclosing, for the first time, the principle of this improvement. Mr. Davenport has invented many tricks, and


with the help of his sons and daughter, runs a Magic Shop in Oxford Street, which he opened when he was eighteen. His latest deal has been to buy the remaining apparatus of Maskelyne’s Mysteries, with permission to use the name.—DAVID DEVANT.)

Early Days of Magic By the late Charles Moritt MYSTERY Entertainments first drew my attention in 1877, when a great sensation was caused in England by the Davenport Brothers. The papers gave a description of their amusing performance and the subject so fascinated me that I at once began to study it. The first result was that I made a light wooden sance cabinet, inside which I placed a person, closed the door, and then showed the cabinet empty. This was of course simple. I had a slide at the back, the person inside pushed it out and stepped out and stood on it; then, when the doors were reopened, the person was inside once more. Soon afterwards I read in The Era of someone from India wishing to buy mysteries. I at once wrote to him that I had a cabinet for sale. He came to see me at my home in Leeds and promptly bought my cabinet for ten pounds. I then set to work to get together a programme of Mysteries with a view to giving my first show. This debut was duly made in 1878, and I may say I had the courage, or audacity, to make my first a full two hours’ entertainment at the Public Hall, Selby, Yorks, with no other person on the bill. I advertised extensively and my programme consisted, first, of catching half-crowns in the air and throwing into a tall hat; then going amongst the audience and taking them from people’s noses of the audience, and finally producing a rabbit from a hat. My second item was a series of card tricks, concluding with the rising cards from a bottle, which made a good impression. I then gave cartoon sketches on large papers on the usual cartoonist’s frame. The sketches were three feet square and brought much applause—the audience little knowing it was all done by trickery. Here is the explanation of it. I first sketched the figures on the papers during the daytime by using glycerine, and when they were in front of the audience it was impossible for the drawings to be seen. I sketched all the popular personages of that time, including Queen Victoria, King Edward (who was at that time Prince of Wales), Lord Beaconsfield, Gladstone, Dr. Kenealy (the man who defended the Tichborne claimant), and I found nothing brought so much applause as these cartoons. The next item was to get two members of the audience to come upon the stage and tie my hands behind my back with a piece of tape about eighteen inches long. I first had them to tie my left wrist, then I placed my hands behind my back, keeping my hands a foot apart. They then tied the other wrist, but meanwhile I kept the tape taut so that the man could


only tie a slip knot. I then got one of the audience to seal the knot. This being done I went into the cabinet and the door was closed. On the door being opened a few seconds later I was seen with my coat off—yet when two men examined the knots they found them still intact and sealed. I then went back into cabinet and did the usual experiments, drinking water, lighting a candle, etc. My concluding item was “Thought Reading,” by the late Irving Bishop, who was creating a sensation by finding a hidden pin amongst the audience. I had never seen Irving Bishop, but as “pin finding” seemed popular I concluded my programme by asking two members of the audience to blindfold and take me into the dressing-room and stay with me until a third member of the audience had hidden a pin in the hall. Then the two men brought me from the dressing-room to the person on the stage who had hidden the pin. I took this person’s hand, held it to my forehead, worked him up to excitement, and he became so nervous that he simply worked my hands to where the pin was hidden, and the audience were spellbound as to how it was done. This concluded my first two hours’ entertainment, and the local Selby paper was good enough to say it was the best mystery entertainment ever given in Selby. My first performance in London was in 1886, at the Princes Hall, Piccadilly, with the late Chas. Duval’s Entertainment, when I was the first to introduce to an audience my silent transmission of thought. I stayed at the Princes six months, then went for six months on English Music Halls. I went to America in 1887 and joined Herrman the Great, came back to England in 1888 and opened at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly. For three years I stayed there. It was there I invented the Mahatma Mystery entitled “Oh!” I produced for Mr. David Devant at St. George’s Hall, Regent Street, “The Vanishing Donkey,” “The Pillar Box Mystery,” “Chubbs Safe Mystery,” “Black and White,” and “Ragtime Magic.” I invented and produced “Flyto” and the “Convict’s Escape,” which were shown at The Empire, Leicester Square, and London Pavilion.

The Mystery of Asrah By Servais Le Roy (Asrah was the name that Servais Le Roy gave to a most successful illusion, in which a lady was hypnotised and laid upon a table. She was then covered with a silken cloth and floated upwards into the air, without any apparent means of support. The performer took hold of the corner of the silk cover, suddenly snatched it away—and lo! the woman had gone! I wrote and asked Le Roy for a few particulars of this illusion. Here is his reply.—D.D.) “AT one time I thought Asrah the greatest mystery of the nineties, and somehow it still appears to remain a mystery, more especially to the many who have tried to solve it by actual


practice. Certainly I have seen many strange versions, yet not a single one hundred per cent performance. “And right here your old friend must also include himself, for I must honestly admit that I was constantly finding new improvements possible. One of these improvements I built for De Bier, but never used it myself. Another improvement was a vastly better ‘Pass the hoop over the lady’ effect. This I only tried out myself once to a storm of subdued applause, then gave the thing up entirely rather than see a good thing murdered by others. “And here we are at the crux of the matter. Like the Father of this great country, ‘I cannot tell a lie’ (Le Roy is now living in America—D.D.) even if tempted by the great army of racketeers, kidnappers, honest political strategists, and grafters, No—’I cannot tell a lie!’ “The truth will be disastrous to that dear old maid, Miss Asrah. However, if you insist on her being married to your book, my friend, I will try and tell you something of her past life. “She was born in the early nineties on the stage of the Circle Theatre, Columbus Circle, New York, early one morning in the presence of one assistant and Leon Bosco, who were looking on to see if they could see something, somewhere, somehow, whilst sitting in front. “A few minutes later she had been broken up as a distant possibility. “Some three years later Miss Asrah reappeared at the Empire Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa, and made her appearance before an enthusiastic public and a somewhat doubtful performer. “This great night had also seen the presentation of two other effects and the father of triplets in illusions was still doubtful when he arrived in England and tried it out at the Alhambra, London. It turned out to be O.K. Of the other two, one only remained, and is still Rip-van-winkling in Camberwell, London, S.E. It is known to us as ‘The Chefs’—its goose is cooked. ‘Alas, such a finish, Jacob, such a finish.’ And then what?—why am I still searching, still finding, still wondering if my finish will be as puzzling as my past?”


Appendix I Notes re Construction of Conservatory, “Peter Pan” THE conservatory and stand are made chiefly of wood. The dimensions of the timbers should be varied from those mentioned, if, in practice, it is found convenient to do so, the object being to have as portable a construction as possible, and one in which the strength is not sacrificed to slenderness. Stand. The more rigid this supporting stand is, the better. The legs may, however, be made to fold, or be taken apart from the top framework, if, by means of iron stays, the stand is quite rigid when erected. Screwed sockets may be sunk into the framework of top of stand into which studs screw tightly, fitted to top ends of table legs. Thin steel rods passing through the legs near their lower ends, and held in place by fly nuts, will help to keep the legs rigid. Alternatively, the legs could be hinged to fold flat against the underside of table, the legs being strained apart by iron rods when stand is erected. Strong angle plates are fixed to front side of front legs of stand to secure them to stage (by stage screws) so that the stand cannot be tilted over by the weight of load on shelf at rear when same is outside the conservatory. The table legs to be about 2-1/2 inches square, slightly tapered for neatness. Top framing of stand 3 x 2, arranged to permit protruding portion of bearers (which carry shelf when outside conservatory) to fold in flush with back of framework. Table-top of 3-ply wood in three panels (between ends of stand and bearers) so arranged as not to interfere with shelf being pushed into conservatory, i.e. groove left clear for flange on shelf. Bearers. These have to be so placed that when the shelf is loaded the shelf will not sag. The bearers are each in two portions (a) the fixed portions inside conservatory—which also act as stiffening pieces for the framework of top of stand and (b) the portions which protrude to carry shelf when same is outside. The latter portions may either be pivoted to the rear framework of stand so as to fold flush after shelf has been pushed into conservatory, or, if better in practice, secured to the rear framework by very long strap hinges with the same object, i.e. to fold against rear framework.



The bearers are fitted at intervals of about six inches along upper edge with rollers, and the protruding bearers are arranged with a slight tilt so that there is a tendency for the loaded shelf to run into conservatory of its own accord when permitted to do so. Bearers about same dimensions as framework of stand top (3 x 2). Small steel rails are screwed to one side of each bearer (the inner face in each case) to form a groove for flanges which are screwed, to suit, on under side of movable shelf. These act as guides, enabling the shelf to be held in place while resting on the rollers on bearers. The rollers are so placed that the shelf always rests on two of them—on each bearer. Shelf. To be of stiff plywood (5-ply) or other suitable stiff timber shaped at rear side to save angle views as much as possible when fully drawn back, as in plan. The small steel flanges are screwed to underside to register with groove formed by edge of bearer and steel rail screwed to same. The shelf rests on the rollers (on the bearers) and the flanges are merely provided to prevent shelf moving sideways and to enable it to run back and forth as required. A sheet of thin iron will assist in preventing this thin shelf from sagging with weight of load. Stops. Metal “stops” are provided on the fixed bearers inside conservatory to limit the forward run of shelf, and also at the outer end of protruding bearer to prevent shelf running off bearers, when drawn out of conservatory. A catch, or stop, is also necessary to keep shelf from running forward when loaded, until the desired moment. This stop may be released by “load” assistant. Note. A point that is not at present clear is the form the framework of top of stand will take. The bearers with their rollers must be flush with top of framework to allow shelf to run forward and straight into conservatory. If they are flush with top of framework, the latter will have to be recessed (see Figure 2) to permit the protruding portions of bearers to fold in flush with the rear line of conservatory. If, on the other hand, there is no objection to the folded bearers projecting (as Figure 3), the framework need not be recessed as in Figure 2. Conservatory. To be as slender in appearance as possible and made up in separate panels for bolting together (for portability). The gabled—or pointed—end panels in one piece. Screwed studs project from framing of the end panels and pass through holes in framing of top, front and rear panels when assembled and secured together with fly nuts. The rear panel of conservatory made up of three panels; two single-pane portions (one at each end of rear side) and a six-pane portion hung on pivot fittings to enable same to swing outward porn the top (see Figure 4) to admit load. Note.—The shelf must be pushed sufficiently far into conservatory to enable pivoted “sash” to swing back into place after “load” assistant is inside, i.e. the stops on inner bearers must be placed to suit this. A catch or turnbuckle will be required to prevent pivoted sash swinging open before required movement.


Electric Light. The interior of conservatory is lighted with lamps in lampholders fixed to a removable batten at the apex of conservatory. The cable passes out through a hole in framework of one end panel, which is also fitted with a plug for stage lead. Glass. To save weight, the glass of the conservatory is replaced by the non-inflammable transparent material used for windscreens of cars. The triangular panels of two end frameworks are filled in with dark blue similar material to be semi-transparent. Roller Blinds. Neat close-rolling spring blinds are provided to top, front, and two end panels (to the square part of latter, hence the dark blue filling of triangular portion), As the long panels are 7 feet long, these surfaces have to be covered with two or three blinds in the length (meeting above sash bars) so as completely to hide the interior when the blinds are drawn. (See Figure 5.) A means of releasing all the blinds so that they fly up simultaneously may be devised. Note re Bearers. The simplest method of arranging these would appear to be to have the rear framework of stand continuous in its length to give strength (i.e. not recessed). The inner bearers flush with the top of framework help to stiffen the framework. The protruding bearers strongly strap-hinged (specially made) to the outside of the framework (see Figure 1), a stop being provided at X to prevent bearer opening at a greater angle than a tight angle as shown. This arrangement does not permit the bearers to fold absolutely flush with rear framework, but the total projection of the bearers when folded will not be more than 6 inches.


View more...


Copyright ©2017 KUPDF Inc.