First in this lesson, I give you the Famous Needle Trick. The eminent Houdini featured this wonderful effect on his vaudeville programs. He studied it detail by detail from the standpoint of SHOWMANSHIP, and in his hands it became a masterpiece. You, too, must study this effect carefully to make your presentation of it a thing which will make your audiences long remember you.
From one to five packages of needles are shown. Needles are removed from packages and placed on performer's tongue. He swallows the needles and shows his mouth empty. Then magician swallows a yard or two of white cotton thread. He drinks some water to help his swallowing. Next he shows his hands empty, reaches into his mouth, and grasps an end of the thread. He pulls it slowly from his mouth, and to the amazement of all, the needles are threaded one by one on the thread.
1 -- Two packages of needles. Size 5 is suitable. You can determine by experimenting just what size you can handle best.
2 -- A spool of white cotton thread.
3 -- A glass of water. SECRET AND PATTER:
(Note: Houdini apparently swallowed FIVE packages of needles, but to begin with, I shall teach you how to work with one package. As you become more proficient, you may add more needles to the trick. If you use more needles, remember to use longer thread.)
Take the two packages of needles. File the points down on all the needles except ONE. They must be blunt so that they will not prick your mouth. Some performers use them with the regular sharp points, but this requires expert handling and is not necessary.
Now in one package replace the needles as they were at the beginning, putting the one sharp-pointed needle on one side. This needle is the one you pass out for examination. Be sure needles look just as they did when you bought them. Close up the package.
The other package of needles is threaded on about 4 or 5 feet of thread in this way: Be very careful to follow directions here. About 6 inches from one end of thread, place a needle. Tie a knot on each side of the needle so that it will not slip out of place. Thread the rest of the needles at irregular intervals along the thread, knotting each into place. Leave at least six inches free on each end of thread.
Now bunch the needles together carefully. Put the heads together, then fold the thread back and forth in zigzag fashion so that it will not tangle. Figure 3. After the last needle is in place, wrap the remaining thread around the bundle and pull about an inch of the end through the middle of the needles. This will keep the thread in place and will furnish an end for you to grasp when the time comes.
When ready to perform, place the roll of threaded needles in your mouth between your cheek and the base of your gums on the left side of the lower jaw. Heads of needles should point to the front. Package should be well pressed down into jaw. If needles have been properly prepared, you should feel no discomfort from them. You will also find it easy to talk. Some performers carry the needles so arranged in their mouths for many minutes, so that they do not arouse suspicion just before they perform.
Figure 5. To Perform:
Come forward with package of needles and spool of white thread.
"Ladies and gentlemen: One of the puzzling features of Oriental Magic is the Famous Needle Mystery. Because of the difficulty in handling needles and the conditions under which the experiment is performed, it truly deserves its place amongst the so-called East Indian Miracles."
Open package of needles and show it.
"I shall first ask someone to see that this is a package of needles."
Go down to audience. Remove the pointed needle from the package and hand it to spectator to feel.
"Just by feeling the point, needles (needless) to say, you soon discover that needles are needles."
Keep rest of needles in package, but show them freely. Allow spectator to retain the pointed needle. Now, say to another spectator:
"Sir, will you please take this package of needles and help me for a little while?"
Give him the package of needles and assist him up to the stage.
It is not necessary to go into audience to show needles if it is not practical to do so on certain occasions. Instead, have two spectators come up to assist you. Give the sharp needle to one, and the package of needles to the other. Have one stand at your right and the other at your left so that the sharp needle cannot be replaced in package by spectators. Should, by any chance, the needle happen to be replaced, just remove the rest of the needles, leaving that one in the package. This will not be noticed by spectators. Also give spool of thread to spectator holding the sharp needle.
"I shall also ask you to hold this thread."
Give spool of thread to spectator who is on stage assisting you. Have assistant at your right.
Have your table with glass of water on it a little in front of you and to your left.
"You, sir, are to act as chief inspector. First, I want to convince you that my mouth is empty."
Open mouth and show all parts. Push lips away from upper and lower gums in front to show there is nothing concealed there. Show space between upper teeth and cheek on each side. Now apparently show spaces between lower jaw and cheek on each side. To do this reach forefingers into each side of mouth and cover bundle of needles with left forefinger. You must do this rather slowly and carefully to convince audience that there is NOTHING in your mouth. Some performers shift needles from lower to upper jaw and back again, but this requires long practice and great care. This other method will prove entirely satisfactory.
Figure 6 shows fingers being inserted into mouth to show it empty.
"Nothing there. Will you please give me the needles?"
Remove needles from package. Be sure to keep them in plain sight all the time until you get them into your mouth. Show the needles to audience, bunch them up together and hold them between thumb and forefinger of right hand. Show to audience again, holding palm of hand toward audience.
Open your mouth and stick out your tongue. Place this bundle of needles on your tongue, heads toward the rear. Move your head around so that all can see needles on tongue. Show to assistant also.
Now close mouth and with the tongue force the needles over into the space between cheek and lower jaw on right side, opposite to side where prepared needles are concealed.
Pretend to swallow needles. Making a swallowing motion to create the illusion of swallowing the needles.
Do not throw your head back, for there is danger of your actually swallowing some needles. Some performers do throw their heads back in pretending to swallow the needles, but it is unwise for you to do so. You can get the same effect by leaning your head forward. Get the needles into position and then straighten your head. It will appear that you did lean your head back somewhat to swallow.
After this maneuver, sigh and say:
"Not so bad at that. Now for the thread."
Break off about the same length of thread as the one on which you have the needles threaded. Roll up about 12 inches of it into a ball and place in your mouth. Then gradually draw thread into mouth with chewing motion. Be sure not to have hands come near mouth during needle swallowing or eating of thread.
It is easy to get thread into a small wad in your mouth and to force it over on right side with the unthreaded needles. Figure 9 shows positions of bundles of needles—prepared ones are on the left side, unprepared ones and wad of thread on the right.
Note: When working with more than one package of needles for swallowing, each package is apparently swallowed one at a time. In reality, each bundle is pushed over to lower right side of mouth between jaw and cheek and stacked together there. It takes skill to work with several packages, so do not attempt it until you have mastered working with the pretended swallowing of one.
"Rather a light dessert for a needle meal."
Pick up the glass of water and drink some of it.
"That is sure to wash the thread down."
Go through movements again of showing mouth empty, hiding both bundles of needles with forefingers. Do this rather hurriedly.
"I am going to ask, sir, that you help me now and be very careful in doing so. What I intend to do is to cause the needles to thread themselves on the thread while in the stomach, and then I shall pull up the thread with the needles strung on it. I shall ask you to take the thread and pull it slowly. Do not jerk. A slight jerk and I might injure my throat. So be careful."
Now make facial motions as though forcing something up your throat. Do not exaggerate these motions.
Show hands empty, fingers wide apart. With first finger and thumb of right hand reach into mouth. Push needles up from left side of mouth onto your tongue. Grasp end of thread and allow bundle of needles to unroll on tongue.
Slowly pull thread out. When about eighteen inches of thread has appeared, have spectator take hold of thread. This leaves your right hand to assist in getting needles out of mouth. When you come to end of string, grasp it in your mouth. Take other end from spectator again and hold in right hand. Hold string of needles straight out with your coat sleeve as a background to show them up better.
Your effect is now completed, and you may place thread and needles aside.
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.