For the purpose of this trick, you require half a dozen cents, of which the center portion has been cut out, leaving each a mere rim of metal. Upon these is placed a complete cent, and the whole are connected together by a rivet, running through the whole thickness of the pile. When placed upon the table, with the complete coin upward, they have all the appearance of a pile of ordinary pennies, the slight lateral play allowed by the rivet aiding the illusion. A little leather cap (shaped something like a fez, with a little b.u.t.ton on the top, and of such size as to fit loosely over the pile of cents) with an ordinary die, such as backgammon is played with, complete the necessary apparatus.
You begin by drawing attention to your magic cap and die, and in order to exhibit their mystic powers, you request the loan of half a dozen cents (the number must, of course, correspond with that of your own pile). While they are being collected, you take the opportunity to slip the little cap over your prepared pile, which should be placed ready to hand behind some small object on the table, so as to be unseen by the spectators. Pressing the side of the cap, you lift the pile with it, and place the whole together in full view, in close proximity to the die. The required cents having been now collected, you beg all to observe that you place the leather cap (which the spectators suppose to be empty) fairly over the die. Taking the genuine coins in either hand, you pretend, by one or the other of the "pa.s.ses", to transfer them to the other. Holding the hand which is now supposed to contain the coins immediately above the cap, you announce that they will at your command pa.s.s under the cap, from which the die will disappear to make room for them. Saying, "One, two, three! Pa.s.s!"
you open your hand, and show that the coins have vanished; and then, lifting up the cap by the b.u.t.ton, you show the hollow pile, covering the die and appearing to be the genuine coins. Once more covering the pile with the cap, you announce that you will again extract the coins, and replace the die; and to make the trick still more extraordinary, you will this time pa.s.s the coins right through the table. Placing the hand which holds the genuine coins beneath the table, and once more saying, "One, two, three! Pa.s.s!" you c.h.i.n.k the coins, and, bringing them up, place them on the table. Again picking up the cap, but this time pressing its sides, you lift up the hollow pile with it and disclose the die. Quickly transferring the cap, without the pile, to the other hand, you place it on the table, to bear the brunt of examination, while you get rid of the prepared coins.
THE PEPPER-BOX, FOR VANISHING MONEY
This is a small tin box, of the pepper-box or flour-dredger shape, standing three to four inches high. The "box" portion (as distinguished from the lid) is made double, consisting of two tin tubes sliding the one within the other, the bottom being soldered to the inner one only. By pulling the bottom downward, therefore, you draw down with it the inner tube, telescope fashion. By so doing you bring into view a slit or opening at one side of the inner tube, level with the bottom, and of such a size as to let a half-dollar pa.s.s through it easily. The lid is also specially prepared. It has an inner or false top, and between the true and false top a loose bit of tin is introduced which rattles when the box is shaken, unless you at the same time press a little point of wire projecting from one of the holes at the top, and so render it, for the time being silent. The box is first exhibited with the inner tube pushed up into its place, and the opening thereby concealed. A marked coin is borrowed, but either before or after the coin is placed therein, as may best suit his purpose, the performer secretly draws out the inner tube a quarter of an inch or so, thus allowing the coin to slip through into his hand.
As he places the box on the table, a very slight pressure suffices to force the tube up again into its original position, and close the opening. Having made the necessary disposition of the coin, the performer takes up the box and shakes it, to show (apparently) that the coin is still there, pressing on the little point above mentioned when he desires it to appear that it has departed, and immediately opening the box to show that it is empty. The pepper-box will not bear minute inspection, and is in this particular inferior to the rattle box.
A NEST OF BOXES
This consists of half a dozen circular wooden boxes, one within the other, the outer box having much the appearance, but being nearly double the size, of an ordinary tooth-powder box, and the smallest being just large enough to contain a quarter. The series is so accurately made that, by arranging the boxes in due order one within the other, and the lids in like manner, you may, by simply putting on all the lids together, close all the boxes at once, though they can only be opened one by one.
These are placed, the boxes together and the lids together, anywhere so as to be just out of sight of the audience. If on your table, they may be hidden by any more bulky article. Having secretly obtained possession, by either of the means before described, of a coin which is ostensibly deposited in some other piece of apparatus, you seize your opportunity to drop it into the innermost box, and to put on the united lids. You then bring forward the nest of boxes (which the spectators naturally take to be one box only), and announce that the twenty-five cent piece will at your command pa.s.s from the place in which it has been deposited into the box which you hold in your hand, and which you forthwith deliver to one of the audience for safe keeping. Touching both articles with the mystic wand, you invite inspection of the first to show that the money has departed, and then of the box wherein it is to be found. The holder opens the box, and finds another, and then another, and in the innermost of all, the marked coin. Seeing how long the several boxes have taken to open, the spectators naturally infer that they must take as long to close, and (apart from the other mysteries of the trick) are utterly at a loss to imagine how, with the mere moment of time at your command, you could have managed to insert the coin, and close so many boxes. If you desire to use the nest for a coin larger than a quarter, you can make it available for that purpose by removing beforehand the smallest box.
THE BALL OF BERLIN WOOL
An easy and effective mode of terminating a money trick is to pa.s.s the marked coin into the center of a large ball of Berlin wool or worsted, the whole of which has to be unwound before the coin can be reached.
The modus operandi, though perplexing to the uninitiated, is absurdly simple when the secret is revealed. The only apparatus necessary over and above the wool (of which you must have enough for a good-sized ball), is a flat tin tube, three to four inches in length, and just large enough to allow a quarter or half-dollar (whichever you intend to use for the trick) to slip through it easily. You prepare for the trick by winding the wool on one end of the tube, in such manner that when the whole is wound in a ball, an inch or so of the tube may project from it. This you place in your pocket, or anywhere out of sight of the audience. You commence the trick by requesting some one to mark a coin, which you forthwith exchange by one or the other of the means already described, for a subst.i.tute of your own, and leave the latter in the possession or in view of the spectators, while you retire to fetch the ball of wool, or simply take it from your pocket.
Before producing it, you drop the genuine coin down the tube into the center of the ball, and withdraw the tube giving the ball a squeeze to remove all trace of an opening. You then bring it forward, and place it in a gla.s.s goblet or tumbler, which you hand to a spectator to hold. Taking the subst.i.tute coin, you announce that you will make it pa.s.s invisibly into the very center of the ball of wool, which you accordingly pretend to do, getting rid of it by means of one or other of the "pa.s.ses" already described. You then request a second spectator to take the loose end of the wool, and to unwind the ball, which, when he has done, the coin falls out into the goblet.
The only drawback to the trick is the tediousness of unwinding. To obviate this, some performers use a wheel made for the purpose, which materially shortens the length of the operation.
SLEIGHT OF HAND
TO BALANCE AN EGG
Lay a looking gla.s.s upon an even table; take a fresh egg, and shake it for some time, so that the yolk may be broken and mixed up with the white. You may then balance it on its point, and make it stand on the gla.s.s. This it would be impossible to do if the egg was in its natural state.
THE JUGGLER'S LUNCH
Pare some large apples that are rather of a yellow tint; cut several pieces out of them, in the shape of a candle-end, round, of course, at the bottom, and square at the top; in fact, as much as possible like a candle that has burnt down within an inch or so. Then, cut some slips out of the insides of sweet almonds, fashion them as much in the shape of spermaceti wicks as you can, stick them into your mock candles, light them for an instant, so as to make their tops black, blow them out again, and they are ready for use. When you produce them, light them (the almond will readily take fire, and flame for a few moments), put them into your mouth, chew and swallow them one after another.
RING AND RIBBON
Select two pieces of ribbon, alike in length, breadth, and color; double each separately, so that the ends meet; then tie them together neatly, with a bit of silk of their own color, by the middle, or crease made in doubling them. This must all be done in advance. When you are going to exhibit this trick, pa.s.s some rings on the doubled ribbons, and give the two ends of one ribbon to one person to hold, and the two ends of the other to another. Do not let them pull hard, or the silk will break, and your trick be discovered by the rings falling on the ground on account of the separation of the ribbons.
Request the two persons to approach each other, and take one end from each of them, and without their perceiving it, return to each of them the end which the other had previously held. By now giving the rings, which appeared strung on the ribbon, a slight pull, you may break the silk, and they will fall into your hand.
THE CHANGING BALL TRICK
Take a ball in each hand, and stretch your hands as far as you can, one from the other; then state that you will contrive to make both the b.a.l.l.s come into either hand, without bringing the hands near each other. If any one dispute your power of doing this, you have no more to do than to lay one ball down upon the table, turn yourself, and take it up with your other hand. Thus both the b.a.l.l.s will be in one of your hands, without their approaching each other.
THE SENSITIVE GOBLET
To fill a gla.s.s with water, so that no one may touch it without spilling all the water. Fill a common gla.s.s or goblet with water, and place upon it a bit of paper, so as to cover the water and edge of the gla.s.s; put the palm of your hand on the paper, and taking hold of the gla.s.s with the other, suddenly invert it on a very smooth table, and gently draw out the paper; the water will remain suspended in the gla.s.s, and it will be impossible to move the gla.s.s without spilling all the water.
TO LIGHT A CANDLE BY SMOKE
When a candle is burnt so long as to leave a tolerably large wick, blow it out; a dense smoke, which is composed of hydrogen and carbon, will immediately rise. Then, if another candle, or lighted taper, be applied to the utmost verge of this smoke, a very strange phenomenon will take place. The flame of the lighted candle will be conveyed to that just blown out, as if it were borne on a cloud, or, rather, it will seem like a mimic flash of lightning proceeding at a slow rate.
THE MAGIC RE-ILLUMINATION
After having exhibited the trick of lighting a candle by smoke, privately put a bit of paper between your fingers, and retire to one corner of the room with a single candle, and pa.s.s the hand in which you hold the paper several times slowly over the candle until the paper takes fire; then immediately blow the candle out, and presently pa.s.s your hand over the snuff and relight it with the paper. You may then crumple the paper, at the same time extinguishing the flame, by squeezing it suddenly, without burning yourself. If this trick be performed dextrously, it is a very good one. It is not necessary for the performance of this trick that all the other lights in the room should be extinguished; in fact the trick is more liable to discovery in a dark room, than in one where the candles are burning, on account of the light thrown out by the paper while it is burning, previous to the re-illumination.
THE MOVING BALL
Roll up a piece of paper, or other light substance, and privately put into it any small insect, such as a lady-bird, or beetle; then, as the creature will naturally endeavor to free itself from captivity, it will move its covering toward the edge of the table, and when it comes there, will immediately return, for fear of falling; and thus, by moving backward and forward, will excite much diversion to those who are ignorant of the cause.
THE PAPER FURNACE
Enclose a bullet in paper, as smoothly as possible, and suspend it above the flame of a lamp or candle; you will soon see it melt and fall, drop by drop, through a hole which it will make in the paper; but the paper, except the hole mentioned, will not be burnt. The art of performing this trick consists in using a smooth round bullet, and enclosing it in the paper with but few folds or uneven places.
STORM AND CALM
Pour water into a gla.s.s until it is nearly three parts full; then almost fill it up with oil; but be sure to leave a little s.p.a.ce between the oil and the top of the gla.s.s. Tie a bit of string round the gla.s.s, and fasten the two ends of another piece of string to it, one on each side, so that, when you take hold of the middle of it to lift up the gla.s.s it may be about a foot from your hand Now swing the gla.s.s to and fro, and the oil will be smooth and unruffled, while the surface of the water beneath it will be violently agitated.