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Paper Tricks - Magic Tricks
( Article orginally published July 1927 )
1. The Floating Paper Ball.
The "Floating Paper Ball" is a very pretty little experiment, when performed under proper conditions.
The magician crumples a piece of paper into a ball, and holds it in his left hand, with his right hand above it. He takes his left hand away, and the ball floats in the air, rising slowly to the right hand. The trick is accomplished with a piece of black silk thread. A loop is formed in one end, and is placed over the magician's right ear. The other end is attached loosely to a coat button.
When the paper ball is formed, it is squeezed around the loose end of the thread.. When the right hand goes above the ball, it catches the thread over the right thumb, and draws the thread taut, so that when the left hand is removed, the ball floats. Advancing the hand raises the ball, withdrawing it lowers the ball.
Finally the left hand takes the ball and draws it from the thread. The right hand brushes back the hair, and in so doing lifts the loop from the ear, letting the thread fall to the floor.
2. A Generous Offer.
The magician hands a square piece of paper to a person and tells him that if he can tear it into four equal pieces, the magician will give him a quarter.
Tearing the paper as required sounds easy enough; so the person does so, and demands payment. The magician asks to look at the four slips of paper, and says:
"Yes, you did it. Here's your quarter." Thereupon he gives the person one of the four pieces of paper, which is a quarter-of the sheet of paper!
This can be varied by using a slang expression, and offering to donate "two bits". In this case, two of the pieces of paper are given, as they represent the two bits mentioned.
3. Blow Them Away.
Three pieces of paper are laid on the back of the hand. The magician states that he will blow away one, two, or three, as required, the audience specifying the pieces to be blown away. But the others will not leave the hand.
It seems impossible to blow away two pieces without disturbing the third-or one without blowing the other two also. But the magician accomplishes the feat by placing the fingers of the other hand upon the papers designated to remain. Then when he blows, only the loose paper will fly away.
4. A Paper Tearing Trick.
There are some very clever methods of tearing and restoring a sheet of tissue paper. This one, however, is new and different.
The magician shows two pieces of tissue paper; one white, the other black. He tear; both together and folds them into a small packet. When he unfolds the papers, the3 are restored-but in the form of a large whit( square with a square black center.
No trace of the torn sheets remains. The restored paper is formed beforehand by pasting a black square on each side of the large white one. On one side, the black square is pasted around the edges, and one edge is left open.
The restored paper is then folded into a small package, with the opening on the outside, and it is laid behind an object on a table. Two ordinary sheets-white and black-are shown. They are laid on the table for a moment. When picked up, the restored package is behind them. They are torn into quarters (keeping the restored sheet hidden), and the entire bundle is turned over, bringing the restored piece to the front. Under cover of this, the hands, with a wavy motion, double up the torn pieces together, and then gradually open the restored paper. This affords ample opportunity to poke the torn pieces into the secret pocket. Thus when the restored paper is fully unfolded, it may be shown on both sides, and the hands can be shown absolutely empty.
5. It Looks Easy.
Take a sheet of paper, and tear it into thirds, but do not quite tear the end sections loose. The result is a sheet of paper with two parallel slits, making three flaps.
Hand this to a person and tell him to take hold of the end flaps and keep one in each hand. Then he must tear the end flaps from the center portion of the paper.
It looks easy-but it isn't.
When the person tries to do it, he will surely tear away just one of the end flaps, and not both, as the pull is bound to be unevenly distributed.
6. From the Ashes.
The magician uses a strip of tissue paper which he attaches to a wire, and burns in a candle flame. He lets the ashes fall in one empty hand, and showing the other hand empty, rubs the ashes between his hands,and draws forth the piece of paper, restored to original condition.
A duplicate strip of paper is used. It is pleated, or folded, and is wrapped into a very small bundle, covered with pink or light mannila tissue paper. One hand is wearing finger ring, and the paper bundle is tucked under the ring.
Both hands can be shown apparently empty; at a distance of a few feet, the little packet cannot be seen, especially if the hands are kept in motion.
In rubbing the ashes it is easy to extract the bundle and draw forth the restored strip of paper. The wrapping falls to the floor.
7. The Animated Fish.
Obtain some of the thin, transparent paper used as an outer wrapping for candy boxes. This is a smooth substance that resembles isinglass.
From it, cut out a small figure shaped like a fish. Lay the "fish" on the palm of your hand, and when you breathe upon it it will twist and turn, raising its head and its tail, as though imbued with life.
If the hand is slightly moist, the "fish" will become more active.
8. The Mystic Name.
A square sheet of paper is folded carefully into nine perfect squares. On one of these the magician writes his name; then he carefully tears the squares apart and drops them all in a hat.
A spectator is invited to shake the hat much as he pleases; yet when the magician reaches into the hat, he immediately produces the paper with the name upon it.
He does this, even though he is blindfloed, or the hat is held above his head.
It will be noted that as the slips of paper are small, they are not folded when they dropped into the hat. Therein lies the secert of the mystery.
Every one of the slips of paper, with exception of the one that bears the name, at least one smooth edge. This is because name is written on the center slip, which four rough edges. Then it is not difficult the magician to pick out the written slip, pending upon the sense of touch alone.
He has only one chance in nine-but he can win every time!
9. The Magic Blow.
The magician rests a book upon the table, and upon it stands another book. Both books are quite heavy, yet he states that he can knock over the top book by the force of his breath!
This sounds impossible, and it would be, if the magician blew directly upon the book. But just before he is ready, he sets both books upon a large paper bag. Then he blows into the paper bag, inflating it, and that upsets the upper book.
10. A Paper Snake.
This paper snake is formed from the outer wrapping of drinking straws-thin paper which comes in envelope form, and keeps the straws clean.
The paper covering is broken at one end, and then it is slid down the straws, telescoping as it goes along, until it forms a short pleated tube about two inches long.
When the short tube is laid upon a plate, it begins to act in a snake-like fashion, twisting and turning, raising its head, and becoming very wiggly.
To make the "snake" act in this life-like manner, the magician must first pour a few drops of water on the plate. When the paper tube is set upon a water-drop it begins to absorb water, and immediately comes to life.