I know of no book or pamphlet dealing exclusively with impromptu tricks using ordinary pocket handkerchiefs. Will Blyth's "Handkerchief Magic", 1922, comes the closest to such a work. There are, however, a large number of booklets which treat exclusively of "silks," and which contain impromptu items applicable to pocket handkerchiefs. Some of them will be cited later as references.
No attempt will be made to list silk effects which cannot be performed with handkerchiefs, or tricks such as the classic Sympathetic Silks which can be done with handkerchiefs, but require so many of
them that they are essentially club or platform ef- COMMENTS AND ADDITIONS
fects. Tricks requiring special apparatus or concealed gimmicks (thumb tip, false figure, pull, color change device, hank ball, extra piece of cloth, Source:
etc.) are likewise excluded even though they appear impromptu. Date:
Some sleights for vanishing or producing a silk, without using gimmicks, can be applied to pocket handkerchiefs, but they are awkward for close-up work, and will not be discussed here. They may be found in such standard silk references as Harold Rice's "Encyclopedia of Silk Magic", 1948, and Jean Hugard's "Silken Sorcery", 1937.
If other objects play an essential role in a handkerchief trick (e.g., coin, thimble, cigarette, pencil, etc.) the trick will be found listed elsewhere in the "Encyclopedia", under the object used. In brief, the following are impromptu tricks using pocket handkerchiefs and nothing else.
1. Stretching hank. Hold hank by corners A and B (Fig. 329). Let go of A, grab C. In doing so, bunch the cloth in both fists. Twist it skip rope fashion. Alternately swing it in circles and pull on the ends. With each pull, allow some of the bunched up cloth to come out of the fists, until hank has stretched to its maximum diagonal length.
2. Method No. 2. Start as before. Let go of end A and as left hand grabs center of hank, loop the cloth as in Fig. 330. Loops are concealed by the fist. Right hand tugs alternately on the two ends, to stretch cloth to maximum length. Similar loops can also be secured by both hands, which hold the hank as in Fig. 331 while the hands move outward and appear to stretch it.
3. Method No. 3. The hank is doubled and held by all four corners as in Fig. 332. Twist it skip rope fashion and begin tugging. Left hand releases end A, and right releases end D. Ends B and C are pulled in tugs that alternate with swinging the hank in circles.
4. Overhead vanish. Hank is rolled in small ball, apparently placed in left hand but retained in right. Right hand secretly tosses it over spectator's head under cover of a gesture, such as tapping left fist. Spectator can be completely baffled, and if others are watching, they will be highly amused. Hank falls noiselessly to floor behind spectator, or someone can catch it and secretly return it to you (or you can produce it from his pocket).
5. Invisible thread. Pull center of hank up through left fist so it remains rigid (Fig. 333). Pretend to tie invisible thread to tip of hank. As right hand pulls other end of invisible thread, the end of hank bends over (Fig. 334). When right hand moves back toward hank, the end returns to upright position. This movement is produced by secretly raising and lowering left thumb, and must be perfectly timed with motions of right hand. For Finish, pull hank to bent position, then bend your head down and pretend to bite thread, at same
time letting hank spring upright.
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