to use shortest end, as this end is lengthened by the upsetting. Under pretense of tightening, or under cover of moving hands forward to show knot to a spectator, you can slip it slightly, making both ends the same length. This also makes it easier to slip knot open later.
Dai Vernon's technique for upsetting a square knot is given in "The Dai Vernon Book of Magic", p. 157. Slydini's methods for upsetting knots, of all types are given in "The Magic of Slydini", Chapter 13.
47. A classic of impromptu magic which, as Sachs puts it, "should never be despised", is the magical dissolution of a double knot tied with opposite corners of a pocket hank. The knot recommended by Sachs is No. 45 above. Pretend to pull it tight. Hold knot by thumb and forefinger of right hand, the third and fourth fingers clipping the cloth below knot, on the end to be slipped (Fig. 401). Left hand takes a corner of hank, as shown, and covers knot with center of hank. As this is done, right third and fourth fingers slip the knot. Although one end slides completely out of knot, other end remains bunched in the form of a knot.
Through the cloth it feels like a genuine knot. Left hand holds hank at the base of this apparent knot (Fig. 402) and spectator is asked to hold knot tightly through the cloth. If right fingers do not succeed in slipping end completely free, which may occur if end is long, then the slipping can be completed after left hand has grasped hank as in
Fig. 402. Right hand merely completes the pull- COMMENTS AND ADDITIONS ing as it emerges from hank.
After spectator has grasped knot through the Source: cloth, and you have made a few appropriate remarks, take hold of the end that has been slipped Date: out of knot. It will be twisted slightly, but as you seize it, smooth it out. Ask him to release his grip slightly, holding knot less firmly. As he does so, he feels the bunched up end start to uncoil. The sensation is that of a knot magically coming undone. Slowly lift up hank by the corner you are holding, shaking hank slightly as you raise it. If you wish, blow against it to open it further. Left hand takes the corner adjacent to one you are holding. Hank shakes open slowly, without a trace of original knot.
If you prefer, spectator may tie the double knot. Upset it while pretending to pull it tighter (as in No. 46 above), then proceed as before.
48. A comedy variation of above trick, not recommended because it repeats too often the slipping of a knot and tends to give away the method, is as follows. After spectator has grasped knot through the cloth, find two more ends and tie them the same way as before. Slip this second knot also as you place it beneath the cloth, alongside of first one. Spectator now holds what he believes to be two knots. Two free ends, however, can still be found. Tie them in a third knot, placing it with the other two, and slipping it as you do so. One end now remains, apparently proving the hank has seven ends. Grasp this end, ask spectator to let go, then shake hank open to show that all three knots have vanished.
49. This is similar to No. 47, except that five or six knots are tied, one on top of another. It is most effective if these knots are tied by spectators. Silk or nylon hanks are best to use. The first knot must be pulled down until only a small loop remains (Fig. 403). You can do this yourself, then have spectator tie second knot. Or you can hold hank in the center, palm down, and have spectator tie a double knot on the back of your
Upset the knot as you pretend to tighten, then have another spectator tie a third knot. Upset it as you tighten. Continue having knots tied, forming a tight chain, until one last knot can be tied only with difficulty because of the shortness of ends. This sells notion that you are having as many knots tied as possible. Due to your adjustments after each knot is tied, one end remains straight throughout. It can be slipped by right hand as you cover the chain of knots with center of hank. Finish as in No. 47.
If properly dramatized, this is one of the strongest of parlor effects. Chief problem to overcome is that of one end becoming much shorter than the other as knots are added. To compensate partially for this, tie first knot with one end longer than other. Pull on shortest end when you upset this and succeeding knots. Finally, after each knot is upset, pretend to pull it still tighter, actually sliding knot until the straight end becomes a trifle shorter than the other. If you prefer, you can do this sliding as you extend hank to a different spectator for the next knot. A skillful use of these devices, covered by patter and misdirection, will keep ends always at approximately the same length, down to Final knot.
The trick is well described in "The Magician's Own Book", p. 14.
50. Charles Waller's method. This effect is similar to the preceding, but the method involves an exchange of hanks. Prepare one hank in advance by tying a slip knot near the center (Fig. 404). Pull
it tight, then tie another slip knot on top (Fig. 405). Continue adding slip knots until hank looks like Fig. 406. Leave ends long enough for one final knot. Carry hank in right outside coat pocket.
Show duplicate hank and patter about how your wife kept reminding you, at the breakfast table, of errands she wanted you to do before you came home later in the day. You decide to tie a knot in your hank to remind you of each errand. After each knot is tied, start to put hank in your coat pocket, without letting it get completely out of sight. Then your wife remembers something else, and you bring out hank to tie another knot.
After the last knot, right hand goes completely into pocket where you switch hanks. Bring out the hank with slip knots, and tie one final knot. Use the first single knot of No. 39 above, or tie it as described in No. 36, both of which produce only twisted ends. Pretend to pull knot tight. Patter about how you came home, after having forgotten about the errands. When your wife reminds you of the knots, you are forced to call upon your magical knowledge to extricate yourself. "But my dear", you say, "there are no knots here at all." Pull on the ends, and all the knots pull out.
Jean Hugard, in HMM, March, 1952, describes a version performed while seated at table. Left hand, holding knotted hank, is lowered to table edge after each knot is tied. Duplicate rests in lap. Switch is made by dropping hank from left hand, as it rests on edge of table. Right hand secretly takes duplicate from lap, brings it up to be grasped by left fingers.
Another version is to let spectators tie the knots (in this case patter about the wife should be omitted), then a pocket switch is made as you reach into your pockets to find a small object of some sort. The object is then waved over the hank, or touched to hank, to cause the knots to become slip knots.
51. Two hanks, the ends tied with a double knot, may be released in many dramatic ways. For example, cover knot with center of either hank, slipping knot as you do so. Grasp bunched end thru the cloth, and hold hanks as in Fig. 407. A slight shake, and lower hank falls free. Slydini liked to push knot into a glass on table. When free, the ends of hanks are slowly lifted, the hanks emerge from glass unjoined. For comedy effect, Slydini holds knot in one hand, and with other hand offers an end of hank to spectator to hold. He walks away, leaving single hank in spectator's hand.
52. Three hanks tied together with two double knots may be released by slipping each knot individually as the hanks are bunched together and placed on table, or as each knot is placed inside a glass on table. A simpler method, which slips both knots at once, is as follows:
Tie each knot as in No. 45 above. Straight end of each knot must belong to center hank (an easy way to make sure of this is to keep center hank in left hand while each knot is tied). Tie both knots loosely, with short projecting ends. Pretend to pull each one tight.
Left hand displays the chain of hanks. Grasp center hank with right hand, and drape chain over left (Fig. 408. For clarity, end hanks are shown darker in color.) Right hand now clips center hank between the fingers as shown in Fig. 409, which insures a tight grip. Move right hand under the left hand forward, palm up, until it can grasp the central portions of the other two hanks (Fig. 410).
As right hand moves forward, it carries with it COMMENTS AND ADDITIONS the ends of center hank, slipping them out of the knots. The move should be continuous, with no hesitation. Source:
Both hands place hanks in a pile on table. As you do this, see that the formerly knotted ends A and B project backward. Fig. 411 shows this from above. These ends, especially if you are not using silk or nylon, may be slightly twisted. To show hanks as separated, take one of these ends and raise hank slowly. The end that hangs free will show no twists, and the effect is cleaner. Pick up next hank in same manner. Remaining hank is the former center one, which has no twisted ends.
The Sympathetic Silks, for which this move is useful, can hardly be presented impromptu, and therefore will not be discussed. For a description, see "Tarbell", Vol. 1, p. 378; Hugard, "Silken Sorcery", p. 60; Edward Proudlock's manuscript "Sympathetic Silks", sold by dealers; and Keith Clark, "Silks Supreme", p. 13. Al Baker's "Ways and Means", p. 66 gives a version with four silks instead of six, including an excellent count move.
53. The knotted chain. Many performers, notably Hermann, have featured this effect. Six or more borrowed hanks are tied in a chain, a different spectator making each knot. In pretending to tighten each knot, it is upset. The knots are slipped one at a time as hanks are arranged in a pile on table or placed in a hat. Hat is shaken, then hanks are lifted out one at a time to show that knots have vanished. For a classic description, see Sachs, who considers the trick "worth half a dozen apparatus tricks put together."
53a. A beautiful effect, made famous by Slydini, is to knot three hanks in a chain. Each knot is pushed down into an empty glass. Each end hank is then lifted slowly upward. It pulls free of center hank, which remains with its ends still in two glasses. Slydini's handling has not been published. Dr. Daley's method of slipping the two knots simultaneously is given in "The Phoenix", March 5, 1954,p.7.
53b. Slydini's method of apparently tying what Sach's calls the "bete noir" knot, then splitting the knot apart so that a knot remains on the ends of each silk, is given in "The Magic of Slydini", Chapter 13.
54. Shaking knot in end of hank. Knot is previously tied at tip of one end. This end is held by right hand, as in Fig. 412. State you intend to shake a knot into lower end. Left hands lifts up this end, which is seized by right thumb and finger (Fig. 412-A). Give hank a shake, either vertically or horizontally to the right, at same time releasing unknotted end. No knot appears. Repeat once more. On third attempt, retain grip with thumb and finger, release knotted end.
55. A more effective version of the above, which I worked out recently, begins by holding hank in left hand as in Fig. 413. The previously tied knot is concealed behind the cloth as shown. Ask spectator which end, top or bottom, he wishes you to shake into a knot. If he chooses lower end, bring right hand up behind hank apparently to seize top end. Actually, right first and second fingers secretly clip corner "B." Left hand now lowers hank so right thumb and forefinger can seize top end (Fig. 414). (This is better than continuing to raise
right hand, which makes more noticeable a slight disturbance of lower end.) Spectators are not aware, of course, that two ends are being held by right hand.
Give a slight shake, releasing end held by thumb and finger, and retaining grip on other end. The knot suddenly appears in lowest end. The move should be continuous, with no hesitation between the seizing of upper end and the shake.
If spectator chooses top end, seize both ends in either hand, and pull taut. You can now reverse the hank without danger of the knot swinging into view. Finish as before.
56. Two separate hanks are placed together and tossed in the air. Two ends instantly become knotted. Accomplished by a small rubber band secretly carried around first two fingers of either hand. The band is not slipped over the ends, but over a small bight (Fig. 415). Some performers
like to finish the Sympathetic Silks by placing all six together and tossing them into the air, using rubber bands (of the same color as silks) for apparently knotting all six.
57. Though not strictly impromptu, it should be mentioned that wax also may be used for magically knotting two hanks. Small knots are previously tied in a comer of each hank, and each knot covered with wax. Fingers of each hand conceal the knots when hanks are exhibited, one in each hand. Place the ends together, pressing one knot against other, and toss upward.
58. A knot is tied in center of hank. When hank is shaken, a second knot appears. A knot is previously tied, near one end, but hank is held so fingers conceal this knot. Tie another knot, tying it loosely, with first knot concealed within it (Fig. 416). Hold upper end and give a quick shake (or pull on both ends) to make second knot appear.
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