Shifting Sands

You will find this to be a suitable number for presentation at intimate gatherings. You introduce the mystery by first turning the conversation to the Orient. You explain that when you were in India you saw a miracle performed on the roadside. You refer to the Jadoowalla (Hindu magician) who built a sand mound which he then covered with a sheet of cloth. When this was removed later, there was standing right in front of your eyes a freshly grown mango tree. You then proceed to give a practical demonstration of your experience in India. Although you do not succeed in creating a mango plant at the end nevertheless your efforts prove equally satisfying.

To begin with you will require a pea can. This is a dealer's item and sold under different names. However, this is just a small container with a removable inner lining. You also need a little sand and one of those rubber pineapples.

The pineapple at the start is compressed into a sausage like roll and pushed under the belt on the left side. Fig. 1 illustrates the start of the packing when the stem is folded over the body of the fruit. Fig. 2 shows how the sides are next rolled over and Fig. 3. is the completed parcel and ready to go under the belt. Fig. 4 depicts how the roll is kept in position under the belt. Of course, the coat hides it from view.

A little water is poured into the main body of the can and the inner lining inserted into place. The insert is then filled with sand. It is needless to mention that this is the advance setting and naturally has to be seen to beforehand.

At the appropriate time, the can is introduced and the contents spilt out on to the palm of some spectator. See Fig. 5. This action is a nat-

ural means of satisfying all that the miniature can only contains sand. They are permitted to look inside without having to call direct attention to it.

The sand is next returned to the container and stood on the table. A handkerchief is then spread over it. A hat is now borrowed and then lowered over the whole thing. Fig. 6 depicts the action of placing hat over the complete set-up on the table.

However, as the hat is being lowered on the table with the right hand, the left in the meantime

pulls the pineapple downwards and frees it from under the belt. The right hand then waves over the hat and then raises it and passes it directly to the left hand. Actually what really transpires is that under cover of the hat, the rolled pineapple is introduced into it. Fig. 7 is an exposed photo shot to show how this is accomplished.

Now after the right hand passes the hat to the left, without any hesitation the former hand appears to pinch the centre of the handkerchief and uncovers the can. What really takes place is that the inner lining is also gripped through the cloth and peeled away with the handkerchief. The state of affairs now is as shown in Fig. 8. You will note that the hat is in the left hand ... the right has the hankerchief under which is the inner compartment of the can which incidentally contains all the sand. The handkerchief and the lining is put away into the pocket which action disposes of the sand naturally.

The container is picked up in the right and the hat lowered in its place. Hold out the container, peer inside it and remark that the first sprouts are already out. Move it close to some spectator's eyes and ask him to have a look. Naturally due to the closeness of the container to his eyes, he would naturally not be able to see any thing. Ask him to cup his hand and then spill out the liquid. See Fig. 9.

You then remark that irrigation is necessary before a plant can grow. With these words you grip the rim of the hat that is nearest to you with your first finger and thumb and raise it up. The first finger is UNDER the hat and prevents the concealed pineapple from slipping out. The can is stood on the table and the hat lowered over it. Fig. 10 depicts how the pineapple is kept concealed inside the hat while the container is being placed back on the table. This is all a well calculated plan to convey the idea that there has never been anything under the hat of which they are not aware. It is here that they will be watching out for some secret manoeuvre to follow but then they will have already missed the bus.

The hat is once again lowered over the container and you pretend to take some of the water from the volunteer's hand to sprinkle over it.

In due course after a reasonable lapse the hat is raised finally to reveal the pineapple. The sudden and unexpected appearance of the fruit lends weight to this additional mystery. Actually we can safely reckon upon a duplex mystery in this combination of events. The first being the conversion of sand into water. The second is the unaccountable raising of the pineapple.

There is one little thing more to explain. When the fingers move in to raise the hat for the climax, the pea can is secretly picked up with the hat as well. Fig. 11 illustrates how the can is clipped between the fingers when raising the hat. The climax is shown in Fig. 12.



There is nothing startlingly new about the methods utilised in this prediction but the effect itself is rather different. First of all a pack is cut into two piles and a spectator is allowed a free choice of piles. He is then asked to take a few coins from his pocket and place them head-side up on the table. He then selects one, looks at the date without showing it to the magician, and drops it into an envelope which is promptly sealed and placed in a prominent position. He is asked if he remembers the date. Then he is asked to add together the figures in the date. Say it was 1923. He adds the figures together and gets 15. He is then asked to reduce this to a single digit by adding the

1 to the five. This gives him an answer of 6. All this calculation is done mentally, however, and no-one but the spectator knows the result at that point. He is now handed the pile of cards and asked to deal that number of cards on to the table. He turns up the last card dealt. It is pointed out to him that if his total had been one more or one less, he would have arrived at a different value of card. He is to concentrate merely on the value of the card . . . e.g. a 6. Then he takes the second pile and deals out a number of cards equal to the value of the card he has just sighted ... in our example, six. The last card dealt is removed and placed to one side. It is the selected card ... the others are gathered up. No-one at this stage knows what card has been selected by this mathematical process.

The spectator is now asked to open the envelope. Inside it he finds a second envelope containing his coin. On the outside of the smaller envelope is written "I predict that the card you will choose as a result of a calculation based upon the date of the enclosed coin will be the Eight of Clubs" He reads this out. The chosen card is then turned face-up and proves to be (as if you hadn't guessed!) the 8 of Clubs!

From the point of view of the audience this is impressive because it is clear to them that the performer never saw the date on the borrowed coin and could have no chance of knowing what coins the spectator had in his pocket. The prediction must obviously have been written before the show commenced and the envelopes are handled by the audience and are not feked. The pack is a normal pack which can immediately be handed out for examination. The spectator has had a choice of piles.

I think it was in the "Jinx" that I first read of the stack which is used in this effect. Suffice to say that beyond the ability to remember a simple set-up and to be able to count, the magician needs no skill at all to work this effect. To get the most out of it, of course, requires rather more.

To prepare for the effect write the prediction (we'll assume that you intend to use the 8 of Clubs as the force-card) on the inner envelope and nest the envelopes in such a way that you can easily drop the coin straight into the inner one and can then seal this one before sealing the outer one. If you prefer you can have the smaller one on the table, prediction side down. The coin can then be slid into it, the flap sealed and the small envelope slipped into the larger one. The envelopes are merely dressing. They make the trick seem more interesting and serve to convince the audience that there is no switching of predictions. But at the stage when the coin is placed into the envelopes, and until the final denouement, the audience should not be aware that a prediction has been made at all.

Now for the pack. Take out the four 5's and the four 6's and then arrange the top few cards of the pack so that they run :—X5X6X5X6 X5X6X5X6 etc. (the X's stand for indifferent cards). This set-up covers more ground than you need but will serve to show newcomers to magic how this principle can be extended. Now take out your force card, the 8 of Clubs, and place 5 indifferent cards on top of it. You now have two set-ups on the table . . . one in which the 5's and 6's lie, and another in which the 8 of Clubs has 5 cards on top of it. Both these set-ups should be facedown.

Now take the remaining cards and place some UNDERNEATH each of your set-ups so that there is roughly half the pack in each of the two piles. These are the two piles you will use and it is essential that after you have placed the piles on top of one another, as you are going to do In a moment, you are able to cut the pack instantly so that those two piles are formed again. One way is to break the corner of the top-card of the set-up which contains the 8C. Another way is to put a few grains of salt on the top of that set-up before placing the other on top of it.

In any case, the "5 . . . 6" set-up is placed on top of the set-up containing the force card.

To perform, cut the pack at the break so that you have two piles with a set-up on the top of each of them. Ask a spectator to choose one of the piles. At this stage it is necessary to "force" on him the one with the 5's and 6's in it. If he chooses that, push it towards him. If he chooses the other, tell him to take some coins from his pocket and place them heads up on the table. Have him choose a coin and return the rest to his pocket. Get him to place the chosen coin on top of the chosen pile in this instance. Then get him to peek at the date. When this is done, place the coin in the envelopes and place the envelopes temporarily on top of the "chosen" pile.

In other words, by using conjurer's choice, finish up with the envelopes on top of the packet which has the 8C in it. The other packet is pushed towards him.

Now let us pause for a moment and consider what happens when he does his calculation. Whatever the date, if he reduces the total of its figures until he has only one figure left, that figure must be, in normal circumstances, a number between 1 and 9. So you only have nine possibilities to cover. In the present case you only have eight in fact because you look at the heads of the coins before he makes his choice and you ensure that there is not amongst the coins any of Victoria's reign. You may have to use conjurer's choice to get rid of the coin if there is a Victorian one amongst them but it is not likely that there will be. Ruling Victoria out means that the lowest answer the spectator can get will be 2 and this will happen if he has a coin with 1910 on it (1 plus 9 plus 1 plus 0 = 11; 1 plus 1 = 2).

Now it will be seen from your set-up that if his total is even (i.e. 2, 4, 6. or 8) he will land either on a 5 or a 6 when he counts his cards out. But what if he has an odd total? Well, then you have to do a mild swizzle. After all, you have merely told him to count out that many cards face-down. You haven't told him what to do next. If he counts out an odd number, you merely tell him to place the cards he has just counted beneath the packet from which he has counted. Then you tell him to turn up the next card. It will be either a 5 or a 6, either of which will suit our purposes.

In other words, by varying your instructions according to whether he deals an odd or an even number of cards to the table, you have him finish with a 6 or a 5. It is the value of this card which determines how many cards he is to count from the top of the other pile. But, you will recall, the force--card is sixth from the top of that pile, so by getting him to deal 5 or 6. and then telling him to look at the next card, or the last card dealt, whichever is the case, you can "force" him to look at the 8 of clubs. And that is really all there is to it.

A small point about the 5 ... 6 set-up. Readers may ask why it is necessary to spread out these eight cards when they could simply be placed together, with no indifferent cards inbetween, on top of the deck. There are two points here. In the first place, 8 cards are not strictly necessary. You could use just 6's if you liked, with indifferent cards in between each. This would enable you to manipulate matters so that the spectator looked at a six. whatever number between 2 and 8 inclusive he counted to. I have merely set out the 5's and the 6's in this way to show the novice how with four cards of one value and four of the next highest value, you can cover a section of 16 cards in the pack. This is often used as a good force. Merely have the set-up at the top and ask someone to say stop as you start to deal. Unless you are no psychologist you can surely make them say "stop" before you get beyond the 16th. card.

But why didn't I tell you to bunch the 8 cards together and forget about placing indifferent cards in between ? Well, as 1 say. you need only use the four 6"s if you like, but do put the indifferent cards in between as in the first part of the set«-up. Why ? Well, this enables you. when the spectator has turned up a 6. to turn up the one immediately before, and the one immediately after it (both of which are indifferent cards) to show that if his coin had been one year older or one year younger, he would have "chosen" an entirely different card. And this touch of subtlety not only demonstrates what a "chancey" business the whole trick is; it also suggests, in a cunning way, that there is no particular set-up employed.



Good magic ... a bit of fun. and we present still another routine for the man who believes in real entertainment.

Get hold of the necessary items, which are : One Card Silk (Four of Hearts) One plain silk, with a border same as the border on the card silk. Max supplies them. A forcing pack of cards . . . yes 52 Four of Hearts . . . it's much easier that way. Two Elastic Bands. Finally One Flap Slate. In addition cut out four hearts from some red paper and stick them on the slate (real). Also cut out four diamonds from the same red paper and stick them on the flap of the slate.

Now to set: Have the slate lying on your table, with the flap in position showing the four diamonds. Beside this have your cards lying in their case, and alongside that, the plain bordered silk. In your right pocket, have the two elastic bands, and stuck up in the corner of your pocket have the card silk, rolled tightly. You are ready for the effect.

Get your assistant up from the audience, and ask him to give you any number between 1 and 52. informing him that he is selecting a card by this means . . . assuming that he has stated 14. you now take the cards out of the pack, and count them slowly on to the table. When you have come to the fourteenth, ask him if he wishes the fourteenth card or the one after it, whichever he decides . . . give him the card. The rest of the pack is gathered up and replaced back into the case ... far from prying eyes. Ask him to show the card to the audience, but on no account has he to let you see his selection.

Next pick up the plain bordered silk and point out the fact that it is plain and fancy free, just like your girl-friend. Turn to him casually and tell him to make sure what his card is, then to tear it into about a thousand pieces.

While he is doing this, you remark on the fact that coincidence is rather a strange thing. Draping the silk over your arm you tell the audience that before you came to the Theatre, Hall, Club. Kirk or dive, you had a fairly good idea what card the gentleman would select, and so saying you pick up the slate, and show the audience that here is your prediction. Show the slate, which is actually the flap containing the Four of Diamonds. Do not mention the name of the card, but merely point to it as much as to say . . ."aren't I a clever lad". As you go to lay it down, as an afterthought, pick it up again and dash from side to side of the stage, making sure that everyone present sees the card you have on the slate. Disregard the titters that arise and finally lay down the slate with the flap facing downwards against the top of the table.

Take the handkerchief, previously known as a silk, and going towards the assistant say. "Now Sir. would you give me the card please", he does, but it is torn into very minute pieces. You look at the pieces, look at the audience, and turn to the assistant saying, "What have you done . . . what do you mean by tearing it up like this ?" He will soon inform you that you told him to tear it up. You go on ranting and raving that you were only kidding you didn't really mean him to do this; after all what if you had asked him to take his handkerchief out of his pocket and asked him to tear it up . . . would he have done that ? naturally he replies "No".

While you are saying this, get from your pocket an old white handkerchief, or piece of white material, and palm this, go into his side jacket pocket, and produce this handkerchief, proceed to tear it up, pulling and tearing it to ribbons. The assistant should know that it is not his. as he normally does not keep a handkerchief in his side pocket, but one does get the odd assistant who thinks it really is his nose-wiper, and the look on his face as he watches you tearing it to ribbons is well worth a year's subscription to the Magic Magazine.

Having got over this piece of tomfoolery, let's get back to the position where you have all the pieces of card and the plain silk over your arm. Hand the pieces of card back to the assistant, and ask him to place them into the centre of the silk which you are holding over your hand. Once this has been done, start to roll up the silk, very tightly, in fact in the same manner as the card silk which rests in your pocket. Having rolled these card pieces and silk up, ask if he has an elastic band, and while you are asking him, tell him to look through his pockets, no matter what his answer may be. Meanwhile you have gone through one or two of your own pockets,, and at the same time, you have now discovered a couple of bands in your right hand pocket. While you were retrieving them, you have taken out the card silk, and left behind the silk containing the torn card. This may appear bare-faced, but while you are doing this, the audience are busy looking at the assistant as he goes through his pockets, and the fact that you held the rolled silk and card pieces in your hand while going through your own pockets is hardly noticed.

Take the two elastic bands and wind them around the rolled card silk. Hand this to the assistant for safe keeping. At this point you may do a bit of "recapping" on what has taken place, rubbing in the fact that he has torn up your card.

Now for the finale of this routine. "You will remember ladies and gentlemen that I showed you a slate, and on that slate was the very card that was selected, would you be good enough sir to repeat aloud the name of the card that you selected". Naturally enough he calls out, "THE FOUR OF HEARTS". You in turn look at the audience and exclaim, "and that ladies and gentlemen is exactly what I predicted on that slate before I arrived here". Once again ignore the titters, but someone is bound to shout out that you predicted the wrong card. Turn to the assistant, and ask him to repeat his card, and take the qlastic bands off the silk in his hand, he does so, you take the silk and display it showing the Four of Hearts.

This climax with the silks certainly brings the applause. You thank your assistant and send him off. You then inform the audience that at last you have had success in predicting a card prior to the performance on your slate. The wise guys proceed to shout that you did not show the Four of Hearts on the slate. As if trying to ignore them, you merely look at the audience and say, "The Four of Hearts is the card selected and that is exactly what I had on the slate".

As you will understand, this can be played up as much as you care and dare, finally take up the slate, leaving the flap behind, and say "See what 1 mean . . . The Four of Hearts". This climax brings both the applause and the necessary laughs.


Continued from July Issue.

The above, I think you will agree, makes a very pleasant little interlude, performed apparently impromptu, after a previous effect with matches. It requires the ability to accomplish two things. That described in No. 1 where the matches are taken from opposite thumb crotches and that described under No. 4 where the matches, held at the finger and thumb tips, are struck through out another.

The first came to my knowledge as a mere puzzle, but I soon realised that it could well be combined with the second to make up a logical routine. If you will kindly reach for a couple of matches and then carefully follow my instructions, I am sure that you will do it right away, although if someone were to show it to you and then challenge you to repeat it, you would fail. Indeed, I have known people who could manage the thing one day and not for the life of them could they repeat it the next.

Matches ready? Right. Place one well into the crotch of the left thumb, the head of the match sticking out of the hand and the 'tail' of the match almost touching the palm, which, of course, is facing you. Got that ? Good. Keeping that match where it is, place the second one in the right thumb crotch and in the same position. Both match heads are sticking out of the hand about a quarter of an inch. This position is only essential for me to make the explanation clear, otherwise, once you get the hang of it, it doesn't matter whether the heads are up or down.

Now, as a trial, and keeping the matches held in the crotches, let the right finger and thumb take the left hand match, by its 'head' and 'tail', and the left finger and thumb take the right hand match in the same manner. Please do try this, just to give you some idea of how difficult the spectator will find it, or indeed any uninitiated person, later on.

Turn the hands which way you will in order to take opposite matches, when you try to pull them apart you will find the matches cross one another and prevent you doing this, unless you drop a match or take a fresh hold (that's cheating!) the matches just will not unlink.

Here then is what to do. Matches back in the crotches ? Palms upwards ? Right.

(1) TURN THE LEFT HAND PALM DOWNWARDS AND PLACE IT LIGHTLY OVER THE RIGHT PALM WHICH IS UPWARDS. I have printed that in caps because that is the first and most important part of the 'secret'.

(2) Place the right thumb tip on the 'tail' of the left hand match.

3 Place the left thumb tip on the 'tail' of the right hand match. Notice the position here. The 'insides' of the thumbs are lying together.

(4) Bring the right forefinger round the left thumb and place the tip of the forefinger on the 'head' of the left hand match.

(5) Place the left forefinger around the right thumb, place its tip on the 'head' of the right hand match.

(6) Grip the matches by the 'heads' and 'tails', release the crotch hold, and draw the hands apart. EACH HAND WILL COME AWAY BRINGING WITH IT THE MATCH FROM THE OPPOSITE HAND.


At first this may seem crude and a little strained to you, but with some practice, you will find that your hands automatically take up the correct positions and without any effort on your part the matches can be taken and drawn away. Remember, left hand palm down, placed over the right palm which is up, thumb tips on match 'tails' first, then finger tips on match 'heads' and there you are. Do it and keep on doing it until it becomes second nature with you. The smoother you can perform it, the more mysterious it looks.

Having more or less mastered the above 'puzzle', let us turn to the second essential to the routine, the visible (?) passing of one match through the other, as they are held at the tips of each finger and thumb. Obviously a 'gateway' must be made somewhere and one end of a match must be released at the right moment. In addition to this, some 'hold' for the other end of the released match must be found. There are several such 'holds' and we will take one or two in turn.

First the position of the matches. Let us take the right hand. The ball of the forefinger rests on the'head' of the match and the ball of the thumb on the 'tail'. This, as I have stated before, gives the form of a letter "D", the match making the back of the letter, and the finger and thumb the half circle. The left hand holds the other match in a similar manner, giving a reversed "D". If that is clear, we can take the position of the hands.

The left is held palm outwards, at about shoulder height and close to the shoulder, causing you to turn part left. The match is verticle. The right is held about twelve inches in front of the left palm, and, in a natural position the match will of course be horizontal.

You rare still wondering, maybe, how that 'gateway', to get one match past the other, is going to be formed, but if you have held the matches for a short while, assuming that your hands exude a certain amount of warmth, you will find that the match 'head' actually does stick to the finger tip! You are using the very method that later on you take pains to disclaim ! Subterfuge ! The finger tip needs to be warm and moist to accomplish this and it won't be long before you find, with slight pressure that the match head sticks quite firmly.

The only match you need worry about is the one in the right hand. The left hand match stays put all the time.

Bring the right hand match across the left hand one and gently tap them together a time or two, then with a gentle swing of the wrist and arm. release the right thumb from the 'tail' of the match just as it is about to strike the left hand stick, and immediately replace the thumb as the match passes into the left thumb crotch. The reverse movement brings the match out again, and, once more, some little practice is needed to get the right swing and easy movement, together with the release and the 'hold' at the right time.


You have not forgotten, however, that at this stage the performer cuts off the heads of the matches. Now what about the 'hold'. Exactly. Having cut off the heads (if scissors are not handy, the heads may be broken off, indeed, breaking of the stick may make things easier for you—af first), you again take up the position as before, ready to 'pass' one match through the other, but this time, one end of the right hand match is positioned much nearer to the end of the finger, indeed, when the hand is poised to strike, the matched end is pressed under the nail of the first finger ! If you have broken the match head off, you will readily see that you may have a raggy end and this can be inserted under the nail much easier. A slight grip is all that is necessary.

At the right moment the thumb is released, the nail holds the match momentarily and the 'penetration' is accomplished. The right second finger tip curls over the nail of the forefinger and thus obscures any view of that end of the match.



The glass rods ? Mine are about an eighth of an inch in diameter, and slightly longer than a match, two inches to be exact. The glass droppers supplied with 'Freezone' are just ideal, in fact that is where mine actually came from, and if you have suffered with corns, then you ought surely to know what 'Freezone' is ! If you are fortunate enough not to be pestered with corn trouble, then find someone who is, and beg or steal a couple of glass rods from them. You might possibly obtain some bits of clear plastic rod these days and these will be even better, being a little lighter by weight.

The ends of my glass rods are ground flat (this can be done by gently grinding same on a carborundum stone) and one end of one rod has a dab of conjurer's wax pressed on it. This rod is held in the right hand so that the waxed end comes under the finger tip and the other end, of course, is held by the thumb tip.

The 'penetrations' are carried out once or twice, just as was done with the matches, and then, in apparently positioning the rods to bring them closer to the spectator, the wax is scraped off by the left thumb nail. The rods, being slightly longer than a match, enable you to use even a fourth subterfuge for the 'hold' (we have so far used the 'sticky' match-head, the finger nail, and the waxed end) and this is done as follows.

Holding the rod between the right finger tip and the thumb tip, the end is this time placed to one side of the finger tip and nearer to the second finger, so that, just at the right moment, the second finger tip presses underneath the first finger tip and holds the end of the rod. Immediately the penetration has been done, the second finger takes up its natural position and the rod is genuinely held between the first finger and thumb only.

This secret move is executed again for the unlinking, almost under the spectator's nose, and finally, placing the rods in the thumb crotches, the operation as described under (1) is carried through and the rods left with the spectator for him to try.

Well there you are. A couple of 'oldies' joined together to make a routine, an acceptable routine, I hope, and if you, my readers, happen to be one of the 'seen it before' group, then I trust that of the four methods given, one of them is at least new.

Yours magically,

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