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Odd Tricks

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In this chapter you will find tricks in which all kinds of objects are used. Most of them can be found around the house. By doing tricks with different things you will add variety and interest to your program.


In this trick, you show that both hands are empty, and when you pull up your sleeves, a handkerchief appears in your hands.

The best kind of handkerchief to use in all magic tricks is silk. Magicians use all sizes. They call them "silks." You will find that a silk about a foot square is the best size to use. A bright color shows up well. You can use a scrap of dress material, or a silk scarf. You should hem the edges so that they won't unravel, unless you buy your silks already hemmed.

To make the handkerchief appear, fold it into a small bundle and place it in the bend of your left elbow. Pull a fold of your coat sleeve over it to hide it. Now show that your hands are empty, and pull up your right sleeve. Keep your arms bent all the time, to keep the silk from coming out. Now, pull up your left sleeve, and as you do so, get the silk into your right hand and palm it.

Bring your hands together, away from your body, and move them slowly up and down, letting the silk unfold. Now separate your hands, and show the silk. It looks as if it materialized out of thin air.

This trick is best used as the first in a program, because you must keep your arm slightly bent. The first trick in a magician's program is called the "opener." This is a good opener because it is quick, surprising, and attention getting.


You pull up your sleeves and roll a silk in your hand. The silk seems to grow smaller and finally vanishes altogether.

Once again, use a 12-inch-square silk. You can use the one you have just produced in the above trick. You also will need a "pull." You can make a pull very easily from a piece of mailing tube about an inch in diameter. Cut a piece of tube about 2 inches long, and paint it black. By means of a piece of wire (paper clip, or hairpin, bent to shape) or a piece of string run through the tube at the end, a piece of elastic cord is attached. The elastic should be about a foot long.

Tie or pin the free end of elastic to the center of your trousers in the back. You can tie it to your belt loop; or tie it to a safety pin and then pin it in place. Run the pull through the next belt-loop on your left side. The pull should then hang down on your left hip, but should not show below your coat. Lengthen or shorten the elastic so the pull will be in place.

Now take the pull and place it either in your left trouser pocket, or tuck it in the top of your trousers on the left side so that it may be reached easily.

Hold the silk in your right hand and wave it up and down a couple of times to draw attention to it. Turn slightly so that your left side is away from the audience and get the pull in your left hand. Turn to the front and place your hands together. Move your hands slowly up and down, and stuff the silk slowly into the pull.

When it is all the way in, turn once again to the side so that your left side is away from the audience. Open your hands very slightly, while still moving them up and down as before, so that the pull will fly under your coat out of sight. Face front once again, and continue with the motion of your hands. Slowly, with a wringing motion, open your hands and show that the silk has vanished.


This is another method of vanishing or producing a silk. It uses a principle in magic that most people don't realize. That is, you can place a silk in your pocket, and still pull the pocket out to show it is empty.

Put a silk in your pocket and push it up to the tap and towards the center of your body. You will find a space large enough to conceal a silk or a small object. If you pull your pocket out, the silk won't show.

So you see, you could produce a silk by the method in "The Appearing Handkerchief" (page 87), and place it in your pocket. After you say a magic word, pull out your pocket and the silk has vanished. Place a silk in your pocket, show that your pocket is empty, then produce the silk from that same pocket by pulling it dawn with your thumb as you push your pocket back in and vanish it by the method shown in "The Vanishing Handkerchief" (page 88).


You wrap a small silk in several sheets of paper. This is held by a spectator. The silk is removed from the paper bundle, it vanishes, and is found back in the bundle held by the spectator.

You will need two duplicate silks. Place one in the breast pocket of your coat. The other one should be folded into a small bundle and placed in your left coat pocket. You also need a pull (page 88).

Ask a spectator to help you. As he is coming up to the platform, take the silk secretly out of your coat pocket and palm it (page 9) in your left hand. Have several sheets of paper napkins lying on your table. Ask the spectator to hand you one sheet. Take it in your right hand, and lay it over your left hand, which contains the palmed-silk. Crush the sheet of paper around the silk and make a small ball.

Ask for another sheet, and take the silk out of your breast pocket, show it and wrap it in the second sheet of paper, crushing it with the first sheet and silk. The audience believes that you have taken a silk out of your pocket and wrapped it in a sheet of paper. Hand the bundle to the spectator and have him go over to the other side of the stage and hold the bundle up so that everyone can see it.

Now announce that you are going to cause the handkerchief to leave the bundle of paper in the spectator's hands, and fly into your hand. Make several motions towards the paper held by the spectator. Act as if the trick has gone wrong because the handkerchief stays in the paper instead of flying into your hand. Go over to the spectator and see if the handkerchief is still there. Open the bundle and remove one of the silks. Be careful not to let the one still in the paper show. Tell your audience that you are going to do the trick backwards, that instead of having the handkerchief come to you, you are going to cause it to go to the spectator. The audience thinks you have removed the only silk from the paper. They don't know that you had placed two silks in the paper at the start of the trick. They believe the paper is now empty.

Now walk back to the other end of the stage, away from the spectator, and as you do so, get the pull in your left hand. Vanish the silk by the pull, and make a waving motion towards the bundle with your hands. Now tell the audience that the handkerchief has returned to the paper held by the spectator. Ask him to open the bundle and he will find the silk inside. It looks as if you had caused it to fly back invisibly to the paper held by the spectator.


You show a small bottle and a short length of rope. As you tell a story about an old Chinese magician, you place the rope in the neck of the bottle, turn it upside down, and the rope stays in the bottle. You then turn the bottle upright, grasp the rope and the bottle hangs from it. Both bottle and rope may be examined as they are ordinary ones.

You will need a bottle with a narrow neck. It should either be painted or made of very dark glass. You will also need a piece of stiff clothesline about 10 inches long, and a small rubber or cork ball, small enough to drop easily into the bottle. The diameter of the rope and ball together should be slightly larger than the neck of the bottle.

Start with the ball in the bottle-the ball cannot be seen-and the rope lying nearby. Tell about a Chinese magician who would ask a prayer every day using this bottle. Push the rope into the bottle so that its end touches the bottom.

Turn the bottle upside down by the neck, holding the rope so it won't fall out. The ball will roll down into the neck of the bottle and wedge itself against the rope and sides of the bottle neck. Pull on the rope slightly to make a tight wedge. Let go of the rope and hold the bottle by its bottom, your hand not touching the rope.

Now continue your story and say that if the magician's prayer was to be answered, the rope would stay in the bottle. If it was a very big prayer, he would try something else. Take the rope in your other hand, and let the bottle swing freely on it.

Now place the bottle on the table and push the rope down into the bottle. This causes the ball to drop down into the bottle. You can now remove the rope. Just lift it right out and drop it on the table, or hand it to a spectator to examine. Pick up the bottle by its neck and turn it upside down. The ball will roll into your hand. Hold it in the thumb-palm position (page 72) and say, "You see there are no hooks on the bottom." Turn the bottle right side up and place it on the table. Let the spectators examine it, as well as the rope. While they are doing this, slip the ball into your pocket.


Tie what appears to be a tight knot in a silk. When the ends are pulled, the knot dissolves.

Hold the silk in your hands by diagonally opposite corners. Bring your right hand away from your body, and place the end of the silk over your left wrist. This will form a loop. Thrust the right-hand-end through this loop from the side away from your body. Now when the ends are pulled, the knot will dissolve.

This trick is not always easy to learn. You have to get the "feel" of it. The only way is to try and keep trying, following the directions very carefully, until you get it.

After you push the right end through the loop, the silk will be wrapped around your wrists. Hold the ends tightly, and let the center part of the silk fall off your wrists, while you pull on the ends. Once you have learned how to do this, you should do it quite rapidly.


You hold a handkerchief by its corner and let it hang down. When you shake it, a knot appears tied in its corner.

Tie a knot in the corner of a silk handkerchief. Hold the knot between the thumb and forefinger of your right hand.

Show the silk, and take the corner that is hanging down, between the thumb and forefinger of your left hand. Shake the silk several times and on the final shake (a hard snap), open the fingers of your right hand and let go of the silk. The knot appears on the silk held in your left hand. This gives the illusion that the knot shakes itself into the corner of the handkerchief.


You hang an empty matchbox on a ribbon or string by pushing the ribbon between the drawer and the cover. You are able to remove the box while the ends of the ribbon are held by spectators.

Pull or cut one side of a matchbox cover so that one side and the top lift up like a hinge. Put a daub of beeswax or "magicians' wax" on the inside and press it back so the cover will look whole.

Open the box and push the ribbon through from end to end and close the box. Cover it with a handkerchief, and have a spectator hold the ends of the ribbon. Reach under the handkerchief, lift up the side of the box, and slip it off the ribbon. Press the sides of the cover back in place so that it stays together. Remove the box from under the handkerchief, and then lift the handkerchief from the ribbon, while the spectator still holds the ends of the ribbon.


You place a penny in an empty matchbox and mix it up with two other boxes which are empty. No one is able to find the box that contains the penny, even though it rattles.

Get four small matchboxes. Put a penny in one, close it and fasten it to your left wrist with a wide rubber band, or ribbon. It should be under your coat sleeve, hidden from view.

Place the three empty boxes on the table and borrow a penny. Drop it into one of the boxes, and as you close the box, let the penny slip out of the box into your hand. Hold it in the finger-palm position ( page 9). Close the other two boxes, and move them around on the table so that no one can tell which is which. Pick up one of the boxes in your left hand, and shake it. It will sound as if it has a penny inside, because of the box in your sleeve. Tell the audience they must keep their eyes on the box that rattles. Then ask them to point to a box, to see if it is the one that rattles. Either pick up with your right hand the one that they point to, or let them pick it up and shake it. It will be empty.

Now pick up one of the other boxes, and shake it with your left hand so that it rattles. Tell them to follow the box closely. Repeat this several times. They are never able to find the box that rattles.

At the end of the trick, have someone pick up one box. This one won't rattle. Ask someone else to pick a box that rattles from the remaining two. But this one doesn't rattle either. Now pick up the last box with your right hand, and open it. As you pick it up, let the penny that you have palmed drop on the table, as if it had come from the box.


Here are a couple of little stunts that have to do with eggs.

The first deals with the art of spinning an egg. No one is able to spin an egg but you. It's very easy. Just use fresh raw eggs for the spectators to spin, and a hard-boiled one for yourself. The fresh ones won't spin, but the hard-boiled one will.

Hand someone an egg. Ask him to balance it on its end. He'll say it can't be done. You can do this either by shaking the egg so that the yolk settles, or by putting a small amount of salt on the tablecloth, and making a little mound. Press the egg carefully into the salt, and it will balance.


You drop a borrowed ring over the end of a pencil. You make it climb up and down the pencil, and start and stop on command. At the end of the trick, the spectators examine the ring and the pencil.

Use a pencil with an eraser. Push a straight pin into the eraser, so that it doesn't show. Tie a length of black thread to the pin, and tie the other end of the thread to your vest or suit button. If you wish, you may eliminate the pin, and just tie the thread to the top of the pencil, and the other end to your button. Place the pencil in your outside breast pocket.

Borrow a finger ring, and hold the pencil with the eraser pointing up. Drop the ring over the end of the pencil and thread. Be sure to have enough slack in the thread so that the ring will drop to the bottom end of the pencil.

Now, by moving the pencil slowly away from your body, you make the ring climb up the pencil. Command the ring to stop, and simply hold your hand still. To make the ring go down the pencil, slowly move your hand closer to your body.

Turn the pencil upside down, and let the ring drop off, into your hand. Hand it back to the spectator. As you do this, either pull the pin out of the eraser, or slip it off the top of the pencil if it is tied, and hand the pencil around for examination.


You walk up to a spectator, unbutton the cuffs of his shirt, and remove his tie. You then reach behind his neck, grab the collar of his shirt and pull it up and off over his head. His coat will remain buttoned as before.

Once again you will need a secret assistant. Before you begin your show, have him come to you to prepare secretly. He must first remove his coat, shirt and tie. Drape his shirt over his back, like a cape. Do not put his arms through the sleeves of the shirt. Bring his collar around to the front and button the first two shirt buttons. Put his tie on and tie it in the regular way. Button the cuffs of his shirt around his wrists so that his sleeves lie along his arms. Now have him put on his coat, and sit in the audience.

When you are ready to do the shirt trick, ask for a spectator to help you. Have your secret assistant volunteer to come up. Admire his tie, and remove it. Unbutton the top two buttons of his shirt. Now unbutton his shirt cuffs. Reach behind his neck, grasp the back of his shirt collar, and with a sudden sweep of your arm pull his shirt completely off, over his head. He will stand there in his coat, with his shirt gone. This is a very funny stunt.


You show a pocket handkerchief, fold it up and produce several eggs which you drop into a borrowed hat. The hat when returned to the owner is empty.

You may use a fake wooden egg, or a rubber ball for this trick. Push a thumbtack into the end of the egg. You will also need a man's large handkerchief. Attach a short length of black thread to the egg or ball by tying it around the thumbtack. The other end of the thread is attached to the center of one edge of the handkerchief, so that if the handkerchief were held up by the two corners of that edge, the egg would hang in the center of the handkerchief. Lay the handkerchief on the table, in such a way that you can pick it up by the corners causing the egg to hang out of sight.

Borrow a man's hat and place it on the table. Pick up the handkerchief so that the egg hangs behind it and is not seen by your audience. Bring the two top corners together and hold them between the thumb and forefinger of your right hand. Grasp the two corners that are hanging down with your left hand. Now bring your right and left hands to a horizontal position. Tip one end of the handkerchief, so that the egg will roll along the inside center of it and fall out the other end into the hat. Drop the handkerchief on the edge of the hat, reach in and show the egg by lifting it from the hat. Drop it back into the hat, and pick up the handkerchief by the four corners, two in each hand. Produce another egg in the same way, by letting it roll into the hat. Make sure the audience can see the egg as it drops in. Repeat this several times, until it appears as if you have produced almost a hatful of eggs.

Now ask the spectator who loaned you the hat if he would like to have the eggs. Place the handkerchief (with the egg wrapped inside) in your pocket. Pick up the hat and pretend to throw the eggs at the audience. The hat is empty. Return it to the owner.