Smith Clmexican Magic by CARLOS H. COLOMBI

Columbi's Mystery

This is a principle that can be used in the presentation of various tricks. I consider this one of the most intriguing effects in this series, and it is with much satisfaction that I explain it here as I believe it to be a principle that will lead to the performance of many so-called miracles.

When I was still experimenting with this and it remained in its theoretical stage, I explained what was in my mind to my very good friend and excellent magician, David T. Bamberg (Fu Manchu, the Chinese Wizard) and his enthusiasm was so great that I immediately carried it to practical effect. It was well received at my first presentation, and I have had much success with it since.

My idea was to establish a contact with the small pocket of the coat (called in South America the "handkerchief pocket") to the larger one below on the left hand side. Communication between the two is by means of a silk tube, or one made from the same material as the lining of the coat. This tube is more or less one inch in diameter and runs between the lining and the coat material from the small pocket to the larger one. The bottom of the small pocket is cut-away, and one end of the tube is sewn thereto. A slit is made in the upper part of the larger pocket, underneath the flap, and inside, to which the other end of the tube is sewn. Thus a communicating tube runs inside the coat from top pocket to bottom, and this operation in no way interferes with the cut, or look, of the coat, since the upper pocket is only used for a handkerchief, and the lower one is not disturbed as the slit is at the top. It is impossible for anyone to imagine that there is a contact between the two pockets. Any small object, i.e., a coin, key, ring, watch, etc. dropped in the top pocket instantaneously falls of its own weight to the bottom pocket, and may be produced in any manner desired. Here is one procedure to utilise this principle.

In the large pocket is placed a bag made of fancy material, and within that bag are seven others of varying sizes which, in effect, make up a "nest of bags" each one with a rubber ring around its neck. Within the smallest bag is placed a metal

tube and the whole lot stretched on to the metal tube. This in turn is attached to the silk tube running within the coat, in such a manner that any object dropped in the smaller pocket, runs down the silk tube and into the "nest of bags".

The magician requests the loan of a ring, and with the remark, "I do not wish to touch the ring myself, will you please be good enough to drop it in my pocket". Whereupon the spectator himself does the work, and the magician immediately takes out the bag from his lower pocket—with the ring inside, although this is at present unknown to the spectator, It will be understood that as soon as the bag (s) are taken from the pocket, the rubber rings cause the whole lot to close.

For my part, I have had my tailor build me a tube in all my suits when making the suit. The only inconvenience was to give him the necessary instructions without revealing the purpose of the gadget. No doubt he thought I was the craziest client he had ever had.

NOTE.—"A" in the illustration is the top 'handkerchief' pocket.

"B" is the silk tube. "C" is the side coat pocket.

"The Spider and The Fly"

Well, if the effect about to be described is half as intriguing as the title, then it ought to be good ! For myself, I think it is good, otherwise I wouldn't be publishing it in the "Magic Magazine" under my name. When I tell you, however, that it is equally effective, whether used on a stage, a platform or for close-up work, you too will be as intrigued, I hope. You see, it all depends on what size you make the apparatus! Hefty white rope for stage and platform, using with it a couple of large wooden discs suitably painted. A shoe lace, black or coloured, together with small bright washers, even small rings, will be quite sufficient for close-up work. But let me first of all describe the effect.

The performer shows a large loop of rope, the ends being securely fastened together by a knot. He particularly calls attention to "The Spider". This is a large disc of wood, suitably painted, and on each face of the disc is an image of a spider . The disc should be three, even four, inches in diameter, and, most important of all, should be about one inch thick.

This thickness is essential so that a hole may be bored through the disc from one edge to the other. With the rope threaded through the hole and the two ends knotted, the appearance should be somewhat as in Figure 1.

Having clearly demonstrated that "The Spider" cannot be removed from the loop of rope, without either cutting the rope or untying the knot, he next introduces "The Fly". This is very similar to "The Spider" disc, the only difference being that it is slightly smaller, and, of course, has a picture of a fly on its two round surfaces.

This "Fly" is threaded over the knot in the rope and down on to the rope, until it reaches "The

Spider", where of course, its progress is halted, it being obviously impossible to make the "Fly" pass the "Spider". In one case the "Spider" is on one single portion of the rope, but has been secured by the two ends being knotted, and in the other case the "Fly" is passing over both ropes of the loop, from the knotted ends downwards but cannot pass beyond "The Spider". See Figure 2.

This position is amply demonstrated by the performer taking the knotted end of the loop in one hand and the portion of the loop directly opposite in the other and see-sawing the discs about on the rope. He even ties another knot in the rope, and after a little more see-sawing of the discs, one end of the loop is lowered, and it is seen that THE FLY HAS, BY SOME MEANS, PASSED THE SPIDER ON THE ROPE, for now, holding the knotted ends as before, "The Fly" can be drawn off the bottom end of the loop, leaving "The Spider" still securely tied on the loop. See Figure 3.


From here on, there are several alternatives. You can leave the mystery just as it is, all contained in the one question, how did "The Fly" get past "The Spider"? . Or—you may cut off the knot, releasing "The Spider", and the lot, the two discs and the rope may be given for examinination, and safely too, for there is nothing suspicious to be found, or . . . again you may cut the rope loop opposite the knot, releasing "The Spider", trim off the knot in the centre of the rope and magically restore the rope to one piece which again, can be passed out for inspection.

That last little bit ought to have given you wily ones a clue to the secret, but in case it hasn't here is the how. First, to prepare the rope, (yes. it is prepared!) Take a piece about five feet long and thread on "The Spider" disc. The hole in this disc should be large enough to allow the rope to pass through it freely. Taking the two ends of the rope, trim these clean and level with a razor blade.

Take a piece of match-stick, about half an inch long and smear one half with Seccotine. Insert this glued end into the hollow portion of one end of the rope and press the rope well round the glued stick. Smear the protruding end of the match-stick with glue and insert it into the other hollow end of the rope. Butt the two squared ends together and press well round the match-stick. Leave to dry for a while and the result will be a perfect joint, barely visible at a few feet.

In passing I would like to add that this is how I have faked my ropes for years, even including the small loops which I have used in many routines. In place of the matchstick, I have found that a small piece of pipe cleaner answers equally well, and might be found to be a little more pliable at the resulting joint. Recently, there has come on to the market a rubber cement, the like of which I have never met before. With two ends of a piece of rope neatly trimmed, both ends are smeared with this rubber solution, which is quite white, and allowed to dry for half an hour. The ends are again treated with the solution and then pressed together, end to end, resulting in a perfect joint, Almost impossible to pull apart. The name of the preparation is "Copydex" (a quaint name for a rubber solution) and if you use faked ropes in your effects, you will be well advised to have some in.


With the circle of rope duly joined, and "The Spider" thereon, we next deal with the 'knot'. Work the loop round until the joint just made is within the hole in the disc and out of sight. At the extreme opposite part of the loop nip the cords together, and round these double cords tie, with one single knot, a small piece of rope, about five or six inches long.

Slide this knot along until it is almost off the double part of the loop and the appearance should then be as in Figure 1. It should appear that a disc has been threaded upon a piece of rope and the two ends have been securely tied together to form a loop. Unknown to your victims, the "knot" would, if pulled upon, come away, leaving an endless circle of rope.

With the disc, which is to represent "The Fly", handy and possibly a pair of scissors, according to how you intend to finish the effect, you are all set.

Having demonstrated that the "Spider" is securely fastened on the loop of rope, take up the smaller disc representing the "Fly", and pass the knotted end of the loop through the hole, sliding "The Fly" down the double ropes as far as the larger disc.

Take the knotted end in the left hand, by pushing the left fingers through the loop and allowing the knot to rest on the left palm. One end of the 'knot', that is, one piece protruding from the knot is clipped between the second and third fingers of the left hand, for a purpose which will soon be clear.

With the right hand, take up the loop at the opposite extreme, that is. the part where "The Spider" rests, the part where the secret join has been made, and with the hands wide apart see-saw the two discs along the rope by lifting first one hand, then the other. Suddenly, the performer stops this movement, and, as if to draw attention to the two discs on the loop, he places the portion of the loop in the right hand over the fingers of the left, and, incidentally (?) over the little portion clipped in the left fingers.



At this stage, two loops will be hanging from the left hand and at the bottom of the loops, the two discs, to which the performer draws the audience's attention, showing how securely they are held on the rope. "We'll even tie another knot", he says, and straightaway, the two 'ears' of the knot in the left palm are brought together and another knot made.

Actually what happens here is that THE NEW KNOT IS MADE AROUND THE PART OF THE LOOP WHICH IS BELOW THE SPIDER, THE PART WHICH WAS, A MOMENT AGO IN THE RIGHT HAND. As this knot is tightened, it is also drawn off the loop at the position it originally occupied. IN OTHER WORDS, THE KNOT HAS BEEN TRANSFERRED FROM ONE SIDE OF THE LOOP TO THE OTHER. Before the extra knot was tied, the knot was on the piece of rope passing over the palm nearest the wrist. Now it is on the piece of rope nearest the finger ends. The position will be much clearer as you try it out with rope in hand.

The right hand now goes to the left to retake its part of the rope but really the part nearest the wrist (now without a knot) is taken up this time and the see sawing continued. The spectators are not given an opportunity to notice, at this stage, that the discs have actually changed places, but, as the performer ceases to see-saw the discs about and slowly lowers the right hand, it is then seen that "The Fly" disc is actually below "The Spider" and the performer slides it completely off the rope and allows "The Spider" to settle once more to the bottom of the loop.


Now to the alternative finishes that I mentioned in the description. At this stage you may, if you wish, 'just leave it at that', merely showing that "The Spider" is now the only occupant of the rope and that "The Fly" is solid and unfaked. In this case, the rope will need very little preparation for the next showing. Undo the faked knot, slide the loop of rope around until the secret joint comes inside "The Spider" and then re-tie the knot on the bite of the rope opposite the joint.

The second alternative is the removal of "The Spider", and to do this, the knot is openly cut away from the rope with scissors. You will remember that this knot is now tied around the secret joint, and by taking a portion of the rope 011 either side of the knot, you not only get rid of the faked knot (a lot of knots flying around, are there not?) but you also get rid of the faked part of the loop, and thus, everything, the rope, and the two discs can be handed out and you are "clean".

Lastly there is the third alternative of performing a cut and restored rope effect in order to remove "The Spider" for inspection. Remember that the knot is around the secret joint of the loop. As the rope hangs from the left hand, knot at the top, disc at the bottom of the loop, the right hand takes hold of the part of the loop to the right of the knot and deliberately slides down towards the disc. This action should appear as if you have merely taken told of the rope at the top and allowed the hand to slide down to the bottom. Actually, what has happened is, that the left hand keeps a tight hold of the knot, the right takes a tight hold of the rope and the latter actually moves, through the knot, and downwards, with the hand, thus taking the secret joint to the bottom of the loop.

Scissors in hand, the loop is cut just to one side of the disc, the latter falls off, and the rope is trimmed to make the two ends equal, thus getting rid of the faked part. With the knot in the centre of the rope, this can be trimmed away to show the rope fully restored, or again, having released "The Spider", tie the two cut ends together, eventually switch the two knots, the genuine and the dummy, cut away the dummy knot, undo the genuine one and again the rope is fully restored.

As I mentioned at first, for close-up work, the articles need not be so large or ponderous Shoe lace would do nicely in place of heavy rope and small rings, washers or even small bobbins would take the place of the "Spider and "Fly" discs. Most shoe laces are 'tubular' and therefore faked joints can be made in them just as easily as in rope. The dummy knot should be formed with two pieces of lace using the ends having metal tags and the resulting loop should look quite genuine.

If you care to experiment a little further with the 'shifting' of the knot, there are other possibilities to take the place of the one where in the first place it is only secured on a bite of the rope, and needs another knot to transfer it to the other part of the loop. For instance, the knot need be nothing more than a very tiny Bulldog clip, covered in rope which has been glued on, or even shoe lace to match that being used, and it would then be possible to quickly transfer the knot from one part of the rope to another. (Anyone using this idea in future rope effects, please credit). Or—using a small piece of the same rope, tie a couple of knots in the centre, leaving two "ears" protruding from the knot. Smear the knot lightly with rubber solution and allow to dry. Also smear the requisite parts of the loop lightly with rubber solution, and stick the knot to one of them. Press this well down and although the knot is on the outside of the rope, it should make a passable imitation of a genuine knot, and it should be relatively easy to remove the knot from its position and then stick it on the other part of the loop also treated with rubber cement.

If either of these methods can be proved to be practical (I haven't tried them out yet) then the tying of the second knot, in order to transfer it from one part to the other can be done away with. Let me know how you get on with this, wont you ?

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