Chinese Paper Mystery

Many years ago a famous Chinese magician, Ching Ling Foo, came to this country. His oriental mysteries were so cleverly performed that even magicians were baffled at the methods he used to obtain his effects. Prominent on his program was an effect in which he showed a piece of tissue paper, tore it up, and restored it again. When I was a boy, I heard of the wonderful mysteries of this clever mystifier and was particularly impressed with the torn and restored paper effect. I set about to find a method by which the effect could be duplicated. The result was the one I am giving you first in this lesson.

This effect has puzzled many, many audiences, and with it I have fooled many magicians too. I have since learned that what was an original method to me was very similar to that used by Ching Ling Foo.


A sheet of colored tissue paper, about 3 1/2 inches by 15 inches, is shown on both sides. Performer rolls sleeves to elbows and shows hands empty. The paper is now torn into a number of pieces, which in turn are rolled into a ball. Attention is called to the fact THAT THE BALL OF PAPER NEVER LEAVES THE SIGHT OF THE AUDIENCE. The performer opens the ball of paper, however, and it is found to be fully restored. It is again shown on both sides and hands are shown empty, fingers wide apart.


Two pieces of heavy dark-colored tissue paper, about 3 1/2 inches by 15 inches in size. Pieces of paper must be exactly the same size.

The more nearly opaque the paper is, the better. A purple or dark green paper is safest. A few years ago good tissue paper was easy to get, but since the war, the quality has been poor. For this reason the effect has had to be modified sometimes by painting Chinese figures on the tissue to be used. Experimenting will soon tell you whether it is necessary to daub figures on the tissue or not.


In trying a tissue that is new to you, examine it carefully when you have ball in place (as explained later). Can you see ball from other side because of transparency of paper? Does it give a black shadow effect? If it is noticeable at all, you will have to remedy it by painting Chinese figures on paper (as in illustration).

Use three Chinese characters or letters as shown, one coming in front of place where ball will be. If black paint or water color is used, you will find that the design will readily shield a ball behind it. The designs, of course, are painted on the opposite side of the paper from where the ball is. The two papers must be painted alike so that the first piece will look like the second. The audience thinks you use only ONE piece of paper.

BEWARE OF ANY LIGHT BEHIND YOU. LIGHT MUST STRIKE FRONT OF PAPER. If you cannot avoid rear lighting, then be sure your Chinese figures are big and heavy enough to conceal ball when light comes through paper.


To prepare: Lay one strip of paper on a table. About 1 3-8 inches from the left end, place a drop of glue. Place the other strip on top of the first and press paper at glue area so that the two strips will stick together. Let glue dry.

Starting at the right end, fold top strip in one-inch folds up to glue. Double the fold. Fold over top, then bottom to center, then left end of strip to form a tight ball. It must be folded tight so that the ball will not undo itself.

The result is a strip of paper with a ball of paper glued onto it. Fold up strip and place in your pocket. You are ready to begin effect.

"Some time ago a great Chinese magician came to this country -- Ching Ling Foo. He was a master mystifier. Even magicians were baffled by his cleverness. I shall never forget the first time I saw him back in the year 1849 (or you can give any other year before you were born). I remember how after he rolled up his sleeves (roll sleeves up), he reached into his pocket and took out a piece of tissue paper about this size (reach into pocket and take out prepared tissue), which he would unfold."

Unfold tissue so that ball comes to rear and is concealed from the audience. At no time should audience get a glance at ball.

Hold paper so that audience can get a good view of hands and see most of the unprepared side of paper.

They can see all of paper if you shift your fingers slightly.

"He said this was Chinese paper, and so that you might see the point, he had a Chinese character placed on each corner. (Call attention to the corners). Then he would say, 'You see my right hand'."

Hold paper with left hand and show right hand slowly and carefully, fingers wide apart.

Transfer paper to right hand and show left hand, fingers wide apart.

"And the paper -- peculiar paper, because it has a side on this side and a side on the other side."

Hold paper in left hand, thumb covering ball. In calling attention to side of paper which left fingers are on, give paper a quick downward stroke with tips of right fingers, front of hand towards audience.

Then turn paper over, thumb of left hand concealing ball. Again give quick stroke with back of right hand. This quick movement tends to overcome close scrutiny of upper part of paper where ball is concealed with left thumb. Turn paper back to original position, ball at rear. Hold paper up again by tips of fingers and thumbs of both hands so that audience can see insides of hands and almost all of paper. ALL OF THIS IS DONE TO CONVINCE AUDIENCE THE YOU USE ONLY ONE SHEET OF TISSUE PAPER AND THAT YOU HAVE NOTHING ELSE IN YOUR HANDS.

"Then he would tear the paper into a number of small pieces."

Hold paper with left hand and tear with right right hand, placing each piece as torn in front of the piece with ball on it.

After you have torn the paper to the end, tear through the pieces all together, taking care not to disturb paper within a half inch of ball. One tear with all the pieces is enough.

"Which he would roll into a small ball, his idea being that the smaller he rolled it, the littler it would become."

Push the paper forward and work into a ball. The piece on which ball is attached acts as a wrapper for the other pieces. You now hold two balls of paper, held together with the bit of glue.

To the audience it looks as if you hold ONLY ONE BALL. Balls should be held one in front of the other. Hold ball so that hands can be freely shown empty and ball ALWAYS IN FULL VIEW. Never wholly cover it.

"He also called particular attention to the fact that the ball of paper never leaves one's sight. You can see the paper at all times. Then came those mysterious words, 'Al - de - be - ron - ti - co - fos - fic - a -form - i - o -van - der - spink - en - toot - le -heimer - chee - lee -bal - e - wong - wa', and then he blew on the paper twice. (Blow twice on paper). That was enough to make it happen. He opened the ball and unrolled it."

During this talk, turn balls around in hand so that ball of torn pieces comes to rear. Open up the ball of whole paper. This will conceal the torn pieces. Holding paper securely with left hand, thumb over ball, unroll paper with right hand. You will have no trouble doing this if you will open ball so that it brings paper to position as shown in first illustration at left. Unroll until paper can be shown in its entirety. Then hold it with tips of fingers and thumbs at each end, so that hands are shown empty and paper can be seen.

"And the paper came out just as it was in the first place. Again he would say. 'My right hand - my left hand - and the paper - a side on this side and a side on the other side'."

In saying this, show paper and hands as you did at beginning of the trick — always careful to conceal ball with thumb of left hand. As a finish, roll up paper and place in pocket, or else hold in readiness for next effect.

"There is one regret, however, about this experiment — and that is, I have never been able to find out how he did it."

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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