Rice And Dagger

RICE AND DAGGER. The performer would display an empty (?) bowl, by tipping it mouth on to the audience, then from a paper bag or other receptacle, he would pour in a fairly large quantity of rice. Without any further ado, he would take up a dagger, thrust it into the loose rice, and immediately display the bowf, and rice, suspended from the dagger blade. The suspension over, the dagger would be easily removed, and the rice poured out.

It might be noticed here that the one snag to the successful presentation of the trick has been overcome. That is, the packing down of the rice in front of an audience and a certain amount of 'trial and error' sure to be present, until one is certain that the dagger wiil grip.

Reference to Fig. 1 will show that the rice has been carefully packed down before the show began, yet the arrangement is such that the bowl can be shown with impunity, thus doing away with the necessity to pound and pack the rice in front of an audience.

A small bowl of the shape shown in Figure 1 is fixed by some means, (either welded, brazed or rivetted) to the inside base of a larger bowl. When fixed the whole interior of the large bowl and the whole exterior of the small bowl are carefully painted a dead bTack.

The small bowl is then filled with rice and this is pounded down until the rice is packed exceptionally tight, and a trial or two with the dagger will soon decide this. With the rice in its packed state, the small bowl is then filled to the brim and a piece of black paper, of the blotting paper type is glued carefully to the edge or rim. The purpose of this is two-fold. One. to cover the white rice when the bowf is shown empty (?), and two, to ensure that the packed rice does not move when the bowl is tipped.

The presentation should now be quite clear. The performer shows the bowl to be empty, and placing it on a table, he pours in rice from a bag, the quantity of course to be governed by the size of the bowl used. This rice of course settles itself round the smaller bowl and a little may remain on top. The dagger is now thrust into the centre of the bowl, and consequently into the previously packed rice, and a suspension is assured, as the rice in the small bowl is already known to grip.

There is, of course, no need to pour out the rice at the end of the effect, unless the performer so wishes, but if he does, then there need be little fear that very much rice will fall from the smaller bowl, unless, in releasing the dagger, the performer has disturbed the rice very much, and has made an exceptionally large hole in the black paper covering.

A few trials will soon decide these minor details and it is up to the performer to make the most of the fact that the bowl is shown empty, the rice poured in and, without further ado, the dagger suspension is obtained. The sketch (Fig. 1) is in no way to scale, but merely to show the idea of one bowl within another.

SAND AND DAGGER. Here the per former displays a bowl, which is really empty, so he could, if desired 'go to town' with this, by pouring in, say, water and emptying the water out again. The bowl would be dried out, and then, instead of rice, the performer pours SAND (it could even be coloured) into the bowl, until it overflows. The dagger is then taken, thrust into the sand, and the latter and the bowl, appear to adhere to the dagger. The whole may be swung about and around with impunity, yet, at the slightest touch, the dagger is released, the sand poured out and the bowl again shown to be empty. This effect is at least some small departure from the Rice effect, and might succeed in confounding anyone who knows of the old secret.

Reference to Fig. 2 will make things clear. Across the bowl a little lower than the mouth, is stretched a strong wire, shown by the line "B". The dagger is of the type having an "S" shaped guard and latter is used to advantage in this method. Arrangements should be so contrived that, when the dagger point is on the bottom of the bowl, the guard is just tower than the wire by a fraction of an inch.

The wire should be painted to match the interior of the bowl.

The bowl would be shown empty, water poured in and out again if desired. The wiping out of the bowl should present no difficulty as the hand and the cloth can be inserted in one half and the wiping done from there. Then the sand would be poured in, followed by the careful thrusting of the dagger down the centre of the sand, and of course, at the side of the wire. Immediately the dagger touched bottom and before the hand released its hold a quarter turn would be given on the dagger, thus bringing the guard crosswise under the wire.

Having demonstrated the suspension, the reverse movements would release the dagger and the sand could be poured out, and the bowl again shown empty. With a small bowl, holding a lesser quantity of sand, the minor weight involved might allow of a strong black thread being used instead of wire. Only tiny holes would be needed in the sides of the bowl, and the fastidious performer might care to evolve a method where, after the suspension and in pouring out the sand, the thread couid be released and removed, thus making it possible to pass out everything for examination. However, as I have mentioned before, I hardly think this to be necessary. Still, you never know. We all have different views, and these go to the making of variety and consequently spice.

Figure 3. illustrates another method of connecting the dagger to the cross thread or wire. A very small slot is sawn, at a downward angle, in one edge of the blade, and quite adjacent to the handle. The slot in the drawing is of course, exaggerated, to make matters clear. It need only be the finest of slots, and, if the blade is engraved, as many such are, then the slot will be scarcely visible at a few feet.

The effect is exactly as outlined under Sand and Dagger, but, ¡n thrusting the dagger into the sand, the blade is not held parallel to the wire, but at right angles, as though to cut through it. As the dagger lowers into the sand, the performer will 'feel' the slot pass over the wire, and a very slight uplift of the dagger will engage the wire. The reverse movement, after the suspension, will release the dagger.

Before leaving the subject of this method of suspension, and particularly for those who would like to use the thread and later be able to discard it, here is a method of threading and releasing the said thread. With the two small holes suitably drilled, pass a length of thread through both holes, so that it runs straight across the mouth of the bowl, ends of the thread on the outside. Bring the two ends of the thread together on the outside of the bowl, and tie off securely. Trim the knot.

The edges of the dagger, if not already so, should be blunted, with the exception of one small portion of the edge about half wav down the blade. This part, about an inch would be sufficient, is made exceptionally sharp. The method will now have become obvious. In lowering the dagger into the sand, this sharp edge is carefully kept from the thread, but in pulling the dagger out, after the suspension, the edge is drawn across the thread and the sharp portion succeeds in cutting it.

Bearing in mind that the knot is on the outside of the bowl, it should not be found very difficult to withdraw the thread, during the emptying of the sand, and allowing it to drop unnoticed to the floor. The idea is there. I leave the details to you.

WATER AND DAGGER. I reiterate that here is an effect which I do believe can be worked into something worth talking about. I readily admit that it has not been tried out, but every detail, snag or otherwise, has been carefully considered, and given the right amount of experiment and mechanical detail, there seems to be no reason why some enterprising performer cannot include it in his act. Let me fell you what the effect would be. as visualised by me.

First the performer would display a clear glass bowl perfectly empty. He would stand this upon the centre of his thin topped table. Next he woufd display a dagger and he would carefully lower this into the empty bowl until the point touched the bottom and he would hold it steadily there. Picking up a clear glass jug of water, he would pour the latter into the bowl and all around the dagger.

Setting the jug down, he would take a careful grip upon the dagger handle, and after a suitable pause, the dagger would be raised and the bowl of water would be suspended. Performer would walk around a few feet from the table, and then, he would slowly settle the bowl back on its thin top. The dagger would be removed, the bowl picked up and the water poured back into the jug, and the bowl replaced.

Like the welf known clay from China, this sounds a little far-fetched, you might say, but let us see how near to practicability we can get with this. Figure 4. gives a cross section of the idea.

"A" merely shows the lower part of the glass bowl, which rests upon the table top "B". "C" shows a thin rod (which is almost the length of the dagger to be used), the lower end of which terminates in a flat disc, "D". The disc in turn, rests upon a plunger "H", which slides freely up and down the tubular centre leg of the table.

Obviously, there is a very small hole drilled in the bottom of the bowl, only just large enough to take the rod "C", and to make sure that the bowl is easily positioned to allow this rod to enter the bowl, small pins or brads "E" are protruding slightly from the table top.

Attached to the plunger "H" is a length of thread "G" and this is led upwards to exit from the table leg either under or above the table top. In the latter case, a small groove would have to be provided for the thread, so that it was not trapped by the weight of the bowl, for the thread has to be used while the bowl is resting on the table.

Now to some smaller details. The plunger would be so arranged in the table leg that the fop of the rod was just level with the table top, and in no way Interfered with the sliding of the bowl into the three brads placed to position the bowl. The rod would be lowered down the hole in the table top, so that the disc rested on the plunger, but before doing this, the disc itself would be liberally smeared with vaseline. The bowl would then be set on the table. The dagger would be near by, as would also the jug of water, and, an important detail, the thread from the plunger "G" would be securely tied to the jug. All set.

The bowl would be removed from the table, with a slightly backward lift, to bring it out of the brads, shown empty and replaced in its original position. The dagger would be displayed, and then, standing sideways on to the audience, the performer would lower it into the bowi, holding the tip just in front of the hole in the base. See "F", Figure 4. Standing right side on, the right hand would be gripping the dagger and consequently the back of the fist would be to the audience.

The left hand would reach for the jug, which would be brought behind the bowl, ready to pour the water. As the performer would poise the jug, he would also be pulling on the thread, steadily. The plunger would be raised, and with it the rod. which would, of course rise into the bowl, AND BEHIND THE STEADILY HELD DAGGER.

When the rod had reached its limit, the fingers of the right hand, conveniently away from the audience, would grasp it to the handle of the dagger, and the left hand would commence to pour in the water. The carefully vaselined disc, now at the bottom outside of the bowl, would prevent any leakage. Water having been poured in, the jug would be set down, and the releasing of the tension on the thread would allow the plunger to slide down rhe table leg to its original position.

A little care would have to be used in lifting the bowl from the table, but, so long as the wafer was not al towed to swish around, the weight would remain even all round the

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