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Hand Tricks - Magic Tricks
( Article orginally published July 1927 )
1. The Mummified Finger.
The magician exhibits a small cardboard box. He removes the lid, and shows a finger inside, the finger being packed in cotton. He states that it is a mummified finger; and when someone starts to inspect it closely, the finger suddenly moves.
The finger is the second finger of the magician's left hand. There is a hole in the bottom of the box, through which the finger is thrust. The box appears to be set on the palm of the left hand. If the finger is covered with talcum powder or chalk, the surprise will be great.
2. The Extended Finger.
The magician pulls on the forefinger of his right hand, and it suddenly stretches to twice its original length. Then it is restored to its normal size.
The finger is first placed across the knuckles of the first and third fingers of the left hand, with the left second finger over it, resting on the knuckle of the right forefinger.
Then the tip of the right forefinger is turned so that it rests on the knuckle of the left forefinger, both forefingers pointing in the same direction. At the same instant, the left second finger is bent across the nail of the right forefinger. Thus the left forefinger appears to be an extension of the right forefinger. The hands should be kept in motion during this procedure, and finally the fingers are brought back to their original position. This is a very surprising illusion.
3. Stretching the Thumb.
This is a variation of the "Removable Thumb" trick. In this case the magician apparently stretches his thumb to twice its natural length.
The right thumb is bent into the palm and the back of the hand is turned toward the audience. The left thumb is extended, and the back of the hand is also toward the audience.
The right hand moves sideways, and it appears as though it is bending the left third finger. Then the hand is moved away, carrying the finger, which is immediately replaced. The right hand is quickly turned over, and at the same instant, the left finger is extended, under cover of the right hand.
In both of these tricks, as well as in others requiring movements of the hands, the reader may work the tricks with the other hands, if he finds it more convenient. The usual procedure is to "remove" the right thumb, or the left third finger; but some may find it easier to use the left thumb or the right third finger.
The right fingers cover the left thumb, which is pushed between them and the right thumb, but the tip of the right thumb is allowed to protrude alongside the right little finger. It appears to be the tip of the left thumb.
The right hand is moved slowly to the right, and the illusion is created of stretching the left thumb to twice its length. Then the right hand goes back to the left, and the left thumb is shown as good as ever.
4. Eleven Fingers.
This is more of a joke than a trick; yet it really mystifies many people. The magician states that he has eleven fingers, counting his thumbs.
Using his right forefinger as a pointer he touches each finger of the left hand, counting "One, two, three, four, five".
Then his left forefinger counts the right fingers: "Six, seven, eight, nine, ten". "Strange", remarks the magician. thought I had eleven. Let's try again".
He starts counting backwards, pointing to the fingers of the right hand. "Ten, nine, eight, seven, six". Then he stops, holds up his left hand, and says: "And five are eleven!"
Executed rapidly, this clever method of counting is very deceptive.
This is something of an optical illusion. The palms are placed together, and are bent back and forth, the fingers being extended. Suddenly each hand seems to bend back almost to the wrist, as though the magician possessed remarkable double joints.
This is accomplished by turning the hands from right to left. As the back of the right hand comes into view, hiding the left hand, the left fingers are doubled slightly, allowing the right fingers to bend over them. As both thumbs are together, the effect is that the left fingers have bent back. A quick turn the other way, and the right fingers double up, letting the left fingers bend over them. This is done after several pretended attempts to bend the fingers back, and it is quite surprising.
6. Clapping the Hands.
Here is a method of clapping the hands without taking them apart. To convince everyone that the hands are not separated, the fingers are locked together. Yet when the hands are moved up and down rapidly, they clap very audibly.
To do this, separate the heels of the hands and bring them together very rapidly, while the hands move up and down to hide the slight motion of them. With a little practice, loud applause may be produced although the hands move less than an inch or so apart.
7. Tough Knuckles.
A blow on the knuckle's is usually quite painful. Yet the magician can strike his knuckles forcibly against the edge of a table without either hurting his hands or the furniture.
Needless to say, there is a trick to it. The knuckles do not touch the table at all. The magician taps them against the edge of the table a few times; then he makes a hard swing, and as his hand is in motion, he extends his fingers, so that the tips and not the knuckles, strike the wood. The hand is immediately doubled up before the swing is completed.
To all appearances, the knuckles have been struck forcibly against the table edge, as everyone can hear the blow.
10. An Illusion of Touch.
By a very simple expedient, it is possible to make a single object, such as a small ball, or a pencil, appear as two.
This is done by crossing two fingers. Then ;place the ball or the pencil so that it touches the tips of both fingers.
Due to the unnatural position of the fingers, two distinct touch impressions are recorded. If the eyes are shut, or are turned away from the hand, it is difficult to believe that the fingers are touching a single object only.