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Handkerchief Tricks - Magic Tricks
( Article orginally published July 1927 )
Handkerchief tricks may be performed with silk handkerchiefs or linen handkerchiefs. Where knots are required, silk handkerchiefs should generally be used, as they, slide more easily than those of thicker cloth. In the various tricks described, it will be specified which type of handkerchief is best. If no such instructions are given, the material is immaterial-paradoxical though that may seem.
1. The Hypnotized Handkerchief.
The magician takes a folded handkerchief from his pocket-a neat handkerchief which has been ironed. He spreads it upon the table, and grasping the center, raises it slowly upward. When he has the handkerchief almost standing, he removes his hand, makes a mystic pass, and there the handkerchief remains.
The obvious conclusion is that something is supporting it; but the magician lifts the handkerchief, spreads it out, and shows that it contains nothing.
As a matter of fact, nothing is necessary to make the handkerchief stand in this peculiar position. It does so of its own accord, due to the creases, which support its slight weight.
2. The Flying Handkerchief.
The magician takes a silk handkerchief and stretches it between his hands. Suddenly the handkerchief leaves his hands and flies through the air like an arrow. It goes to the right and the right hand overtakes and catches it after it has traveled several feet.
The handkerchief is held by diagonally opposite corners.
The left hand draws it very tightly, and suddenly lets it go with an imperceptible snap. The right hand instantly releases it and the handkerchef sails through the air. The right hand follows it. and catches it by the left hand corner.
There is a certain knack necessary; once it is acquired, the trick works very easily, and the handkerchief can be made to fly in either direction. It is essential to release both hands at almost the same instant, the handkerchief being held horizontally. People who try to duplicate this feat will find it very difficultin fact they will almost invariably fail.
3. The Perfect Dissolving Knot.
There are various methods of making two silk handkerchiefs untie themselves; here is one that is new, effective, and certain. The two corners of two handkerchiefs are tied in what appears to be a double knot. In fact the knot may be drawn tight by anyone. But when the handkerchiefs are tossed in the air, the knot immediately disappears.
The first knot, made rapidly, is nothing but a twist. The second knot, which seems to make it a double knot, is a simple single knot.. The single knot would not hold the handkerchiefs together, but because of the twist, it does hold them, and it can be pulled very tightly, provided that the hands hold the handkerchiefs to keep the twist from coming undone. The twist stops the single knot, and the result is a tight-looking knot that is strong enough to support the lower handkerchief when the upper one is held alone.
When the handkerchiefs are thrown in the air, or shaken, they instantly fall apart.
4. A Sudden Knot.
The magician takes a silk handkerchief and lays it across his left thumb, the end going down between the thumb and the palm. He takes the free end of the handkerchief and brings it up under the thumb, then he doubles down the free end, and holds it between the tips of the left thumb and forefinger, making a loop.
Seizing the lower end of the handkerchief with his right hand, he states that he will push it through the loop instantly, with his eyes shut. With a quick motion, he apparently does so, tying the hankerchief into a sudden knot.
The end of the handkerchief is not pushed through the loop at all. Instead it is quickly swung around the tip of the left thumb and pulled straight back. The left hand must not release the handkerchief at all. A knot is immediately formed upon the left thumb, with a loop that appears to be the one originally there.
This trick is surprisingly easy to perform and is quickly learned when tried.
5. An Escape.
The magician takes a handkerchief and wraps it around his left wrist. He places his right wrist on top, and asks someone to draw the ends of the handkerchief around it, and tie them in a knot. The magician then appears to be tightly bound; but when he turns his back, he instantly escapes.
When the ends of the handkerchief are brought up over the left wrist, the right end should be in front. The right wrist is laid upon the crossing, with the right fingers pointing to the left elbow. Then the ends are brought over the right wrist and are tied.
Everything looks secure; and the hands are held in a stout binding which is shaped exactly like a figure 8.
To release, the magician simply swings his right hand to the right and his left to the left, so that the fingers come together. This untwists the handkerchief and makes an immediate release possible.
A person can get back into this tie as easily as he got out, by reversing the movements, It can be done behind the back, if desired.
6. Handkerchief on the String.
The wrists are tied with a piece of cord, a length of string extending between them. The magician shows a handkerchief which is tied so that it forms a loop-two diagonal corners being tied together.
Turning his back for a moment, he passes the handkerchief on the length of string which is between his wrists.
Method: Slide the handkerchief up the arm, drawing it under the loop of cord that encircles the left wrist. It will then fall on the string between the wrists. The whole operation takes but a few seconds.