The Ghostly Signature by f g cleaver

In spite of the number of fine self-working tricks that exist, I have no doubt that there are many artists who do not feel satisfied unless a certain amount of sleight of hand has been employed. The following is an original routine for close up work, using two different sleights which are not too difficult, and when well done go to make a very surprising experiment.

The Effect.— Five blank cards are shown back and front, and a spectator is asked to choose any one, which is laid on the table. On the table there should also be an ash tray and a box of matches. You now draw attention to the fact that once the card is chosen, you do not touch it again with your fingers.

While explaining this you take one of the other cards in your right fingers, and use this as a pointer to the card on the table, also flip it over to show the card blank on both sides. Do this to get the spectators accustomed to seeing you use a pointer card in the right hand. Now say, again pointing to the card on the table, "Please sign your name on the card, in ink. After this is done you say: "And now I turn your signed card face down," which you proceed to do by flipping it over with the card in the right hand. You now have four cards in your hands which you again show to be blanks on both sides, and ask for one more to be chosen, which is laid on the table well clear of the first one.

Now with the remaining three cards pick up the face down s;gned card, by its edges, as though held by pincers, and holding it over the ash tray ask one of the spectators to set fire to it. When it is nearly burnt away drop it into the ash tray so that the three cards in the hand are not damaged or scorched. Having thus apparently proved that the signature has been destroyed by fire, all that remains is to turn over the second card selected, which had been previously shown to be blank on both sides, and the spectators original signature is found to have reappeared!

Working.— The cards used should be approximately the size of playing cards, and sufficiently opaque for the signature not to show through, when the card is turned face down. Using the pointer card, the chosen card is flipped over once or twice, and the spectator asked to sign his name. After this has been done the card is flipped face down, but this time the Mexican Turnover is executed. The card left in the right hand, with the signature face down is immediately added to the three cards in the left hand. I do not consider it necessary to describe the Mexican Turnover here, but the next sleight, i.e. to be able to show the remaining four cards all bianks, I will try and describe in detail, as the moves may not be so well known.

It is a beautiful and convincing bit of deception, which can be performed without any hurry. You say, " I have now four blank cards left,' and count the first three, one by one, into the right hand without altering their position. The fourth you place on top of the three already in the right hand. You continue: " Let me show you these cards, one by one, on both sides," saying which you turn the whole packet over and place in the left hand, dealing position. Now come the tricky moves. With the left thumb the top card is pushed off a little to the right, and with the right fingers it is flipped over and then taken off and placed on the table, both sides having been shown blank. Now with exactly the same movement push the next two cards, as one, to the right. There is a knack of doing this which keeps the two cards perfectly coincided. To obtain this effect proceed as follows, hold the cards with the top left corners on the third phalange of the first finger of the left hand (natural dealing position) then with the ball of the thumb squeeze the top left corner of the cards very hard and at the same time push to the right, when it will be found that the two top cards go as one. These two, as one, are flipped over with the fingers of the right hand, squared with the last card, and the one top card is placed on the table. This is the one with the signature. The remaining two cards are flipped over, one by one, and placed on the table. You have thus apparently shown four cards blank on both sides.

There are now several ways of finishing the effect. First you may arrive at the desired card by the conjurer's choice force. Personally, however, I again prefer a perfectly free choice from the four cards, as there is a great possibility of the correct one being chosen anyway, in which case a miracle has been worked. If the correct one is not chosen, do not worry, but again take one of the cards in the right hand (the one with signature) and again use this as a pointer, and when the time comes to reveal the restored signature, simply again execute the Mexican Turnover. Any of the spectators who may be suspicious with the first Mexican Turnover, have the wind taken out of their sails when you immediately show the four remaining cards to be blank on both sides!

The Romance of India

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