1. An ice cube floats in glass of water. Problem: lift it with small piece of string. Must not touch cube with Fmgers, or knot string in any way. Solution: lay string over ice cube (Fig. 457). Shake plenty of salt on top of cube. In a few moments, cube will freeze to string and can be lifted easily. Wooden match, toothpick, or rubber band may be substituted for string.

2. Imitation of Eskimo relieving himself at North Pole. Hold fist in front of fly and let two ice cubes pop out of hand. (Johnny Paul)

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1. Large door key is placed on left palm as in Fig.

459. If hand is tilted slightly forward, key will ro- Source:

tate to position of Fig. 460. Practice until you can make key rotate slowly, due to imperceptible tilt- Date:

ing of palm. While key is turning, hold other hand six inches to right (Fig. 460) and twist it with the key, as though hand were turning key without touching it.

2. An eerie version of the turning key effect was contributed by Dr. Jaks to "Phoenix", January 11, 1952. A heavy key is balanced as in Fig. 461 on extreme tip of middle finger, the key's bit pointing toward you. As you concentrate on key, willing it to turn over, it will slowly rotate in direction of arrow. The position of hand depends on type of key. Experiment, tilting hand forward until you find a spot where the imperceptible quivering of the hand will cause key to rotate slowly. Also works on spectator's finger if you adjust his hand to exact position required.

3. Six door keys, with ring handles, can be interlocked as in Fig. 462 and a glass or bottle balanced on top. From Tom Tit's "La Science Amusante", Vol. l,p. 217.

4. A curious version of the dowsing rod principle is described in "The Secret Out", p. 223. Involves a large old-fashioned door key and a book tied shut around the key (Fig. 463).

Two spectators balance the key's handle on the tips of their left forefingers as shown. The position is precarious, like a bent dowsing rod, with a tendency for a key and book to make a sudden quarter turn. Unconscious muscular action often causes key to turn at specified moments, e.g. on count of ten, or at a certain letter of alphabet. For some spectators, words can even be spelled out by reciting alphabet slowly until the turn indicates a letter, then repeating to get second letter, and so on. Modern keys are too small to hold a book suspended, but same effect can be achieved by hanging or tying a heavy object to key's bit.


1. Knife through coat. Borrowed coat is placed on back of open-backed chair. Magician stands behind chair, holding knife in right hand and folded sheet of newspaper in left. Right hand places knife behind coat while left holds the paper in front. Knife is apparently pushed through both coat and paper. There are many handlings.

A. Knife blade is first pushed through the paper, then right hand withdraws knife and goes behind coat. Actually, knife remains in back of the paper where blade is clipped by left thumb. Empty right hand goes behind coat, pushes against center of coat with tip of finger. This spot is covered in

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front by the paper. Right hand grasps handle of COMMENTS AND ADDITIONS

knife through the cloth and forces blade through the paper, apparently having penetrated the cloth as well. See HMM, Oct., 1948, p. 475 where I Source:

described this version in detail.


B. Coat is placed on chair with back of coat to audience (Fig. 464). The fold behind collar will support a knife, where it is invisible to spectators. Right hand lowers knife behind coat, and in doing so, secretly leaves knife on this fold. Right index finger presses against back of coat as before, while left hand holds paper at level of coat collar. Left thumb secretly picks up knife from the fold, holding it behind the paper. Lower left hand to cover spot where penetration is to occur. Finish as before.

C. Both above versions can be done with borrowed knife (also with a pencil or fountain pen). In this handling, duplicate knife is used. It is concealed behind paper in left hand. Right hand unmistakably carries the other knife behind chair where it is secretly dropped into a side pocket of the coat — easy to do because the pocket openings are accessible from behind if coat is placed on chair with front of coat facing audience. Finish as in previous versions.

An effective presentation is to do the trick twice, using a different method each time.

2. Vincent Harrison's knife through coat. In this effect, the borrowed coat is held horizontally by two or more spectators. Knife goes beneath and is apparently pushed upward through center of coat and a piece of paper (or stage bill). The trick requires a specially prepared knife with a small blade that has been dulled. Before the final penetration of entire knife, this blade is actually shoved through the cloth without damaging it. Works only on losely woven fabrics such as tweed. See "Tarbell" Vol. 5 p. 13, for complete description of several methods of handling.

3. Knife through hank. Two spectators hold a hank horizontally. Knife is pushed upward through the cloth and a piece of paper. There are two methods.

A. Knife is secretly transferred to left hand where it is concealed beneath the paper. Right hand goes under hank and simulates either handle of knife (by pushing upward with tip of finger) or the blade (by pushing a piece of toothpick against the cloth). For details see "Tarbell", Vol. 3, p. 326.

B. Jack Miller's method. Right hand actually places knife beneath hank, but it is tip of thumb which pushes center of cloth upward. First and second fingers hold tip of blade, and extend backward. This brings handle of knife to edge of hank where it is picked up by left fingers while left hand holds the paper near edge of cloth. See HMM, Oct., 1948, p. 475.

In both methods a coat of any type fabric may be used instead of a hank.

4. Sachs, in "Sleight of Hand", describes an effect in which cloth napkin or hank is wrapped around a man's arm. Magician saws a knife blade back and forth against the cloth, on underside of arm, until suddenly spectator feels the blade touching his skin! Actually, back of knife blade saws the cloth. A small pin is secretly pushed through the napkin and coat sleeve by magician's other hand, until the point touches spectator's flesh. See Sachs for detail.

5. Card location. Spectator inserts knife blade into deck. Lift upper half to show card on bottom. In doing so, the packet slides across point of blade, producing a scratch. Card can later be found by either sight or touch.

6. Card discoveries. An effective way of revealing chosen card or cards is by stabbing deck with a knife. The methods are too numerous to go into here.

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7. Opening knife with hank. Not recommended as a trick, because of dangerous features, but useful to know as an out-of-doors method for opening knife with badly stuck blade. Hank is twisted rope fashion, then wound tightly around knife. Free end of hank is twisted around a finger, and knife is thrown forcibly to ground as though spinning a top. Centrifugal force throws open the blade.

8. Many old magic books describe a stunt in which tip of knife blade is pushed into lintel of door (Fig. 465) and a bottle placed on floor directly below. Problem is to make knife fall into bottle by pounding lintel until knife drops. Done by letting water drip from knife, then placing bottle so the drops fall into it. With the bottle accurately placed, the knife is supposed to fall into it. Bruce Elliott once observed that this feat never works - a fact confirmed by my own experiments.

9. Rising knife from bottle. This beautiful table effect is fully described in Sachs"SIeight of Hand". A pocket knife is made to rise slowly out of empty bottle by means of thread attached to performer's coat. A loop in free end of thread goes over knife blade. As knife emerges, weight of handle causes it to topple and fall to table, automatically freeing it from the thread. See Sachs for details.


1. The papers on the blade. The classic description of this great impromptu effect is in Sach's "Sleight of Hand", though it is also described in many earlier books. Six small pieces of paper are moistened with saliva and stuck to the blade of

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a table knife, three pieces on each side. One at a time the pieces are removed by left thumb. A wave of the knife and all six return. Properly performed, it is one of the most startling of close-up effects.

The trick employs what has come to be called the "paddle move" (because of its similarity to a move used by pitchmen in demonstrating paddle tricks).

finish of move. Both sides of blade have apparently been shown. Actually, right thumb has given handle an extra turn so that same side of blade remains uppermost. The moves are reversed to bring knife back to Fig. 466. The right arm should not move at all. The hand simply turns at the wrist.

The secret of the move is that in moving from Fig. 466 to Fig. 467 the knife passes through an almost vertical position. The blade's tip describes a vertical arc indicated by dotted line in Fig. 467. If you do the move slowly you will see that at no time is the underside of blade visible to audience. Hence the move need not be made rapidly. It should be fast enough to hide the double turn, but slow enough to appear off-hand and natural. Although you will catch a glimpse of blade's underside, the spectators will not. The paddle move has other

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variations, but in my opinion this is the best. (In Sachs version, for example, the knife is not turned at all. Only the hand position is altered. This can be done effectively with a small pocket knife, but is difficult to apply to a large table knife.)

The trick is usually performed as follows. After the six pieces of paper have been placed on the blade, in full view of audience, both sides of blade are apparently shown. Actually, the paddle move is executed, even though unnecessary at this point. Otherwise, when the move is made later it will appear slightly different from a genuine turn.

Hold the knife as in Fig. 466 while left thumb removes the piece of paper nearest the handle. Lower left hand to your side and flick the paper from thumb with index finger, without calling attention to it. Raise left hand to position shown in Fig. 466. Make the paddle move. This brings knife to position of Fig. 467. Left thumb is raised while knife turns, so blade can be placed directly on top of curved left forefinger. Actually, tilt left hand forward slightly so that only inner edge of blade touches index finger. Otherwise the finger may displace pieces on lower side.

As soon as knife touches index finger, left thumb is lowered so it goes on top of blade at the blank spot where the paper had formerly been. This should be done casually, but timed carefully so audience does not see the blank spot before thumb is placed on it. The thumb now pretends to remove second piece of paper. Actually, it merely slides across vacant spot. The illusion is perfect if done skillfully. Lower left hand and pretend to flick off the piece. You may even pretend to have some difficulty in getting it off thumb, but don't overdo it.

Now do paddle move once or twice, calling attention to fact that four pieces of paper remain. The next two are apparently removed, using same procedure as before. Repeat paddle move to show that only two pieces remain.

The last two pieces are now apparently removed. If you wish, you can vary last removal by simply wiping base of left palm across entire blade, or by wiping blade against underside of left sleeve. Both sides are shown completely blank.

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