Van Cleve


This routine is reprinted from Van Cleve's booklet "Weird Magic." The manuscript is available from the author for $3.50. His address is 1830 Bennett- Apt. 222A- Dallas Texas 75206 and is highly recommended as a source of offbeat magic. Further notes from Van Cleve follow this description.

Effect: A black candle is lighted. It burns brightly for a moment, then the flame shrinks to barely a glow. Upon command- or the rites of exorcism- the flame grows bright again. No gimmicks.

Patter Theme: The powers of darkness try to snuff out the candle as a shadowy hand attempts to pinch out the flame. Magical incantations drive away [email protected] darkling demons and the light grows bright.

Working: The candle must have a fairly long straight wick which is stand ing straight up. A candle which has been burnt for a time, then put out and let cool, works best.

Light only the tip of the wick with a match. The rest is automatic. When the heat of the flame reaches the body of the candle, melting the wax, the flame grows brighter.

But as the wick is warming up, the flame burns low. Time the patter accordingly. Different candles work differently, so be sure to test out the timing for the candle you use.

In a letter extending permission to reprint this routine, Van Cleve added the following notes:

"The effect works best in a small, closed seance-room setting. In most platform or stage performances, the air conditioning sets up currents in the room that cause the flame to flare and flicker. This spoils the proper working of the effect.

"Miller Cravens adds his usual delightful addition to the effect. On one occasion, the wind currents messed up the working of the effect,but the power of suggestion is so great that the audience saw the light dim and drow brighter anyway. Perhaps^Miller has found the best secret of all."

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