Eddie Joseph


Nearly four decades ago when I was practically fresh in the business of fooling. I cultivated a strong penchant for tricks involving silks. Like most beginners I naturally had a lot of cock-eyed ideas then about the general principles of magic.

The egocentric novice when left to his own resources usually cares little about the accepted rules of his art. All he is concerned with is to fool with his tricks. If he succeeds in that then he comes to know instinctively that he has a worthy trick. I was that immature magical maniac of those days but what I was forced to learn then by necessity, stands me in good stead even today.

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. Not being aware at that time of any standard gimmick for the bare hand production of silks. I set myself the task of developing a method which should be simple in execution yet possess the important element of mystery. Although the idea was conceived many, many years ago I still consider it as valuable as some of my later developments. I now pass the secret of this early endeavour to the readers of our journal in the belief that they will give it a trial for their personal satisfaction at least.

The effect from the spectators' viewpoint is simply this. The magician reaches into space and by the mere action of rubbing his bare hands together creates a bright coloured silk handkerchief. The handkerchief is draped over the edge of an easel and the previous motion repeated. Another silk appears and so on. This is continued at the performer's discretion.

For this effect I use silk squares of 12" dimension. Several of these are required and each is treated in a special manner for ease in handling. Beside the silks you will also need some black pins. To prepare the silks proceed as follows.

Grip the silk by its two diagonal corners and twist it rope fashion not too tightly. See Fig. 1. Start rolling it by one end, into a tight ball, as shown in Fig. 2. When the silk is used up stick a pin half way in. Fig. 3 depicts this. The pin not only prevents the silk from unrolling but is there for another purpose as well. This you will come to know as we go along.

After you have rolled several of these you either line them up on the table behind some piece of apparatus or arrange them on a hidden ledge at the back of a small easel. In either case the pin head should point upwards.

The production is started off by first getting one of the silk balls in position behind the hand. This is accomplished most naturally under cover of replacing some piece of equipment on the table. As the hand contacts the table, one of the silk balls is picked up. Actually the pin head is clipped behind the hand between the tips of the 2nd and 3rd fingers. Fig. 4 illustrates the point of the trick where the first silk ball is got into position. This, of course, is an exposed or back view of the hand. From the front the hand appears empty. ,

From this position the two hands approach each other as you will see in Fig. 5. The hands came closer together until the left finger tips are obscured momentarily by the right hand as in Fig. 6. At this stage the left fingers take the silk ball away from behind the right hand and the palms of both hands are then brought together. From here on the fingers pull out the pin and develop the silk gradually. The pin is allowed to drop to the floor or is retained in the hand with the silk and disposed of later, along with the silk.

Now after the first silk is fully developed it is displayed between both hands then taken by the tips of the right thumb and first finger and laid on the table or draped over the easel top depending on what the performer is using. As the produced

silk is laid down the same hand pinches the second ball of silk as before and repeats the previous operation. Thus the production continues until several of them are apparently created with the aid of the unseen silkworm.

One point I do wish to emphasise. From the time the hands begin to approach each other until you develop the silk there should be no hesitation. Although our illustration in Fig. 6 shows the fingers of the left hand going behind the right.

this action is never noticed during the actual operation and blends naturally into the rest of the movements.

I shall now explain a further development of mine with silks. I am sure the readers will not fail to recognise a couple of cute dodges here. This is the first time I have ever described it anywhere.

In my previous writings I explained my method of handling the handkerchief ball. I shall

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