Meet the Invisible


EFFECT:—The magician walks onto the stage unaware of the spectators. He stops and listens ! The lights suddenly go dim and brighten up again. Suddenly there is an expression of delight on his face as he moves towards the wing and welcomes an imaginary man onto the stage. He walks forward still talking—apparently with the imaginary man now besides him. He then for the first time notices the spectators and states "Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen—do forgive me—we have here a visitor—meet him—The Invisible Man".

The magician again gives his attention to the invisible man and declares that he would like to entertain him, but alas ! he cannot offer him any thing strong ! Should he care for some wholesome milk, then it is at his disposal. Apparently the invisible man accepts for the magician invites him to be seated.

The spectators see a chair move into position beside the table as if some one has sat down on it. The magician continues—"Look here! I am not going to trust you again with a tumbler, because the one you used last time turned invisible". With this excuse he picks up a piece of brown paper from the table and forms a cone and into this he pours milk from a pitcher. He hands this filled cone to the "Invisible Man".

The spectators see the cone stay in mid air without any visible support, apparently caught by the Invisible Man. Lo ! the cone starts to tilt as if the contents were being drunk. Finally there is a pause and the cone drops, as if done with. The magician walks forward and picks up the cone, opens it and seems quite satisfied that justice has been done to its contents.

The chair moves out again, as if the Invisible Man has got up. The magician walks forward with him. Suddenly the handkerchief from the breast pocket of the magician starts coming out. He grabs this—pushing it back into the pocket and remarks—"You have had the milk, now please wipe your mouth with your own handkerchief". He further requests the Invisible Man to kindly excuse him as he has to entertain the people who have paid to come in . . . Exit the Invisible Man.

REQUIREMENTS :—A Vampire Miracle Pitcher or better still a Vampire Pour Less Milk Bottle. A generous supply of strong black thread, also a good supply of Vampire invisible thread, A square piece of brown paper 18" x 18". A light chair. A white handkerchief and of course an assistant.

WORKING: Effects that you have to bring about are these :

1. To get the chair to move into position beside the table.

2. To get the paper cone to stay in mid air. slowly to tilt and finally to drop.

3. To get the chair to move out.

4. To get the handkerchief to move out of the pocket.

For effects No. 1 and 3. Study the drawing figure 1. Tie two separate pieces of strong black thread to the two fore legs of the chair respectively. Tie the other two ends apart (the distance the same as between the two fore legs of the chair) to a stick—the length of the threads being sufficient to carry the stick off to the left wing—leave the stick there. Take another long piece of thread, tie one end to the rear leg of the chair, the one nearest to the spectators. Take the other end of the thread to the opposite wing and pass it through a fixed eyelet (ground level) and bring the end back to the left wing and tie something to it so that you can easily find it. It will now be noticed that by manipulating the stick, the chair could be worked into position besides the table and that a pull on the other thread could cause the chair to move out as desired.

For effect No. 2 study first figure 3 and then figure 2 of the drawing. The square piece of brown paper has a pin hole at one corner and the opposite diagonal corner is slightly weighted by sticking a small piece of lead foil to it. Now a long piece of Vampire invisible thread is taken. One end is fixed to the opposite wing (five feet high), the other end is passed through the pin hole in the paper—drawn through and tied off to the weighted corner. Take the slack off to the left wing and leave the brown paper on the table with sufficient slack for the magician to pick up the paper, display it and form a cone. To work the effect. After the magician forms the cone, pours in the milk and hands it to the invisible man, the assistant pulls the thread and takes the load on it. The magician after steadying the cone let's go. Now the assistant after the pause, starts to slowly pull the thread with its end tied to the weighted end of the cone towards himself, causing the cone to tilt in the desired way. He does this until such time as the cone is horizontal. Then after a slight pause he lets go the thread. The cone falls as if cast away.

For effect No. 4. (we have already dealt with effect No. 3 along with effect No .1.). A piece of thread is tied to the centre of a handkerchief. This handkerchief centre first is pushed into the breast pocket. The thread is taken over the left shoulder and brought around to the right side and tied off to the lower button of the coat, with just enough slack as illustrated in figure 4. To get the desired effect of the handkerchief popping out. The right hand thumb engages the thread and the hand as a whole moves down.

Concluding Observation :— Personally I perform this effect before a much broken background. To have a plain black background with black thread and strong white light is fatal—the thread shows. If you are using a plain black background, I would suggest you use blue or red light or better still a mixture of both. Further should any of you have better ideas or suggestions to improve this effect, they would be most welcome.

The address : Jim A. Roberts, Roberts* Cottage, Ratlam, (M.B.), India.

"Show Business and The Law"

Published by Stevens and Sons, Limited, 119 and 120, Chancery Lane, London, W.C.2. 25/- net.

Contracts, undertakings, responsibilities— the volatile world of entertainment is full of agreements, written and unwritten. What are the rights of the parties ? Can the writer withhold his script ? May the cast withdraw from their employment ? What are the duties of the management ?

"Show Business and the Law" explains, simply and straightforwardly, the law as it affects all concerned. Theatres and plays, cinemas and film-making, circuses and performing animals,

TV and radio—all are dealt with. Opening with the birth of the show it proceeds from the script, through the engagement of the cast, to the performance, and completes its review with a statement of the responsibilities of the management.

The book is practical. It is easy to understand. It covers the whole field, yet is easy to refer to. It will save endless argument, and point the solution of disputes. It is a handy book covering the whole field of entertainment.

Recommended to all performers.

FLASH PAPER—a few sheets only 1/. each

FLASH WOOL. Per Large Tin 1/. each

RUBBER GUINNESS BOTTLES—Printed labels 3/- each

PLASTIC BILLIARD BALLS (or Shells).—If diameter and If" diameter 5/- each

FINEST CIGARETTE TANKS. For 1 Cigarette 5/- each

For 3 Cigarettes 7/6 each

For 5 Cigarettes 10/- each

BEER FLUID.—For light or dark beer (with froth) 2/6 each

RUBBER COVERS—Finest Quality Rubber (Wineglass) 2/6 each

Before preceding to carry out my promise of last month to give you a different borrowed note effect, I would like to take this opportunity of saying a big "Thank You" to Edward Graves oi the "World's Fair" for the nice write-up he gave to the "Magic Magazine" in his issue of August 20th. and for the complimentary comments upon my series "Comedy Magic". It is grand to know that one's efforts are at least read and—sometimes appreciated. It is quite true to say that I do take Magic seriously, even Comedy Magic, but I must learn a lesson from his remarks and try, in the future not to look so serious. Apparently it creates a wrong impression, as the mentalist said when he found he'd placed the carbon paper wrong way up !

The above was not only a catch phrase in the late twenties, but also the title of a trick I performed quite a lot, way back in those days, (gosh we're going back a bit now !) and, I'm pretty certain that you will want to include it in your reper-toir when you learn how easy it is to perform, and, what is more important, how effective it is upon an audience.


The performer explains that he has been experimenting with a mysterious type of suspension, but, to date, he has only been successful with light weight articles, such as a lady's wedding ring. However, as he knows that most ladies are superstitious and not too keen upon removing wedding rings (room for some nice gags here) he will endeavour to demonstrate the effect if he can borrow some other light article, say a pound note, or even a ten shilling note.

Whichever is handed up—it makes no difference—he first allows the lender to make a note of the number on a piece of paper, or, if tables

are present, as at a smoker or dinner, he provides a piece of chalk and begs the spectator to turn up the tablecloth and write the number on the top of the table ! This is to prove, he says, that he has used a genuine note for the suspension experiment.

He then folds the note and wraps it in a small square of tissue paper. This is done very carefully, so that the spectators actually see the note being wrapped. The folded note is first placed in front of the square of tissue paper and rested against its centre. Then one side of the paper is folded over the note, towards the spectators, and the remaining sides are folded in, always towards the audience, and at the conclusion the performer is left with a neat square package, a little more than one inch square.

With the note held aloft, he explains the method of suspension. Merely the threading of the note upon a length of white cotton. That's all ! Well, not quite all, for here is the secret. The thread has been soaked previously in a solution of cloride of sodium, which, he explains (as if they didn't know it) is common or household salt! He takes from his table a needle, into which is plainly threaded a piece of white cotton.


"If you wish to try this experiment", he continues, "merely soak your thread in a saturated solution of salt, allow it to dry and then suspend any light article—just like this". And here he threads the note by passing the needle through its centre and drawing it half way down the thread. Holding the needle aloft he allows the note to hang on the thread.


"Now here is the strange thing" he says. "You may destroy the thread but you cannot actually burn the salt. I'll show you!" With a lighter he sets fire to the very bottom of the thread, explaining that, while the fabric of the thread may be destroyed, the salt remains, and is sufficiently strong to keep the note in suspension.

This phase of the experiment definitely does hold the attention of the audience, for the thread only gives off a very small flame and this creeps slowly and weirdly from the bottom, upwards. There may be one or two facetious comments from the wily ones, but even they have no idea what is to happen. Neither has the performer, at least that is how it should appear if he acts his part well.

May I break off here for a moment to add that, the surest way to act this part well, is to try to convince yourself that the suspension will take place. Be serious about it, be sincere, and, what follows later should be (or appear to be) just as much a shock to you as it is to the audience.

Well, we left the flame slowly creeping up the thread. Be prepared with the lighter handy, just in case the flame should go out. If it does relight the thread, with the comment, "Too much salt!" The little flame reaches the note and— THERE IS A VIOLENT FLASH OF FLAME. AND THE PERFORMER IS LEFT GAZING IN BEWILDERMENT AT NOTHING BUT A NEEDLE IN HIS LEFT HAND !


(Don't hurry this part of the effect. Keep on gazing at the needle, and not until the laughs have died down do you turn to look at the audience. Say nothing, then look at the lender of the note, and back again at the needle. The more discomfort you can show, the greater will be the laughs. Then turn to the audience—but let's get back to writing in the third person).

When the laughter has died down and the audience is beginning to wonder how the performer Will get out of this mess, the conjurer explains that he is "not sure whether he ever put any salt in at all", but, here is a trick of which he is a little more confident, and, as though dismissing the note episode, he commences to ferret about on his table for an article or two, with which to perform the next trick.

In this search, he picks up a banana, and is about to throw it away, as though annoyed that it should be there at all when he suddenly stops, looks directly at the lender of the note and says "I'm dreadfully sorry about the salt, sir—and your note. Would you like this banana?"

The spectator appears to be none too keen, but the performer assures him that it is quite good, that it was to have been his lunch, unless, of course, he is lucky enough to get paid for the show ! He peels the fruit down on all sides and offers it to a lady to help herself. If she takes some, well and good. In any case the performer helps himself, and eventually, when he has broken off about half the banana, he gazes at the remaining half and says "That's funny! I've never seen a pippin in a banana before!"

Plainly showing the broken half to the audience, it is obvious that something is sticking up right from the centre. A spectator is invited to take this 'pip' out, and just as he reaches out his hand, the performer eases back a bit, saying that it is rather a long stretch and does he mind standing up. Having got the spectator in full view, he allows him to remove the pip, thanks him and carries on t eating the banana.


His attention seems to be focussed then, on the 'pip' and out of curiosity, he asks the spectator what it is. The spectator opens it up, and finds, as you have anticipated, the borrowed note. He asks the spectator to read off the number, and, when the lender confirms that the number is the same, the performer puts his hands together, as in prayer, looks slowly upwards and says "Heaven bless bananas!" The note is returned to the lender, with apologies for any sogginess (there isn't any, really) and the show goes on.


Before going into details, may I implore you to cast your vote in favour of the banana every time, as against any other type of fruit or vegetable. Lemons are messy, so are oranges. Along with potatoes, turnips and other hard vegetables, a knife is necessary to do the peeling, and a certain amount of rubbish is left sprawling the floor. The banana is clean to handle, easy to peel at the desired moment, and, what is perhaps its greatest asset for this type of trick, its appearance, for some reason or other, does bring laughs. Again, and this is equally important from your point of view, it is easy to prepare.

Right then, let's prepare it. Having selected one of a nice colour and fairly firm, you will need a thin metal tube. The type I use is the one sold to take pencil stubs, to bring them back to normal writing length. These are just the correct diameter tube, and if the one you obtain is closed at one end, then open that end, or saw a portion off, so that you have a tube open throughout. To go with this you will need a small piece of dowel which will pass easily through the tube. A pencil, sandpapered down, will do quite nicely.

With the banana in hand, select a spot about the middle of its length and insert the metal tube to a depth of about one-and-a-half inches, but—and this is important, don't force the tube across the banana. Having pierced the skin, incline the tube upwards at about 45 degrees. Give the tube a gentle twist, then withdraw it and you will leave a clean round hole in the banana, to a depth of about one-and-a-half inches.

The tube itself will contain the one and a half inches of fruit which has been bored out, but this is left in the tube for the moment. Now take a pound note, make a record of its number some place where you can easily refer to it later, fold it into a square (twice the long way and once the other way) then roll this square into a tight roll, resembling about half a cigarette.


You now need a piece of grease-proof paper about two inches square, and the rolled note is safely wrapped in this and the whole package in serted into the 'tunnel' bored in the banana. Now with the piece of dowel, gently push out the bored fruit from the tin tube, pushing from the 'skin' end. Remove a little of the fruit itself, to account for the room taken by the inserted note, and push the remainder back into the hole, thus bringing the banana almost back to its normal condition. The plug which has just been inserted is hardily noticeable, but in any case, in presentation, the thumb comes conveniently (?) over this little spot and nothing can be seen. The banana, thus prepared, is placed back of some object on the table.

Next you need three pieces of flashpaper, about 3 inches square. One piece is folded in three both ways, bringing it to the size of the note later on, and this flashpaper is then wrapped in a second piece, just as the borrowed note will be wrapped during the presentation. Please do not grudge this second piece of flashpaper. It makes up a dummy parcel of equal thickness to the one to be made in front of the audience, and, also, it gives a greater flash. This dummy parcel is placed at the back right hand corner of the table, and a bunched up handkerchief is placed in front of it, to hide it from view. The third piece of flashpaper is handy at the front of the table.

The needle is threaded with a four foot length of thread (white) which is pulled through until it is double, giving a length of about two feet. (You will be relieved to know that absolutely no salt is used throughout, or had you already guessed that?) The needle is now threaded into the cloth of the table AT THE FRONT LEFT HAND CORNER, the thread being allowed to hang down in front in full view. There is a definite reason for all this planning, as you will shortly see.

Lastly, and just before the performance, write the number of the note (which is now safely hidden in the banana) in very fine figures on the left thumb nail, using indian ink if possible. Another expedient, which does away with this writing on the thumb nail, is to memorise the number, or, to make it still easier, memorise the last three figures only. You may have a card upon the table with these figures plainly printed, so that you may glance at it just previously, to refresh your memory. Any method may be used so that, with the borrowed note in hand, you may brazenly call out the number of the hidden note while you are apparently reading it from the borrowed one.


Thus prepared, there comes the presentation, but before we go on with that you may have noticed, in the beginning, that the performer asks for the loan of a pound note "or even a ten shilling note will do". This was a little extra I added to the trick after I had got quite used to the routine and I advise you to do the same. Get used to the routine with a pound note and later add the little extra with the ten shilling note. It merely means the faking of another banana with a ten shilling note, the number of which is tabbed on the RIGHT thumb nail, or memorised, or noted for glimpsing on the table top. It's as easy as that, but try it with a pound note first.

Borrow the note, being careful to say nothing about its later destruction, and with the note in hand, give the lender a pencil and paper or piece of chalk, as the case may be, and ask him to note the number, so that later it may be proved (you say) that a genuine note was used. Call out the number from your thumb nail, then proceed to fold the note into a square.

Pick up the loose piece of flash paper (don't be tempted to use ordinary paper here, unless you can match the flashpaper perfectly, for spectators have eyes, remember), and holding it in front of you, shoulder height, place the folded note in front of it and on its centre. Fold over each overlapping side, then the bottom and top. making a square package. There are two reasons for executing the folding thus. One. the spectators actually see that the note is enclosed, and two. most important, it keeps the thumb nails at the back and any writing thereon is not seen.

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