The Tear

Hold envelope in the left hand with fingers in front and thumb at the back resting on portion 'A'. The right hand is brought alongside the left with its thumb resting on the end of note outside the envelope. The thumb of the right hand now slides the note a couple of inches more and then folds it over behind portion 'A'—the left thumb presses it in position at the back. The envelope is now torn slowly down the centre along the slit. Fig. 3 is your view of envelope before you begin the first tear.

Now after the tear, you will have one half of envelope in each hand. The left hand will have the "A" half and the right the "B" half. Half the note will be inside the "A" half and the remainder folded over at the back. Fig. 4. Now place the "B" half behind "A" and turn both over together so as to reverse their position i.e. "B" to the front facing audience. This is done ostensibly to show both sides of the pieces but it also serves to pave the way for the next move.

The right fingers now go in front of the "B" half and rhe thumb inserted at back into the opening of the "A" half. The two hands are now separated and this action is sufficient to cause the bill to slip out of "A" and remain concealed behind "B". Figure 5.

At this point, you bring the two halves together—end to end—and remark "You will notice that the envelope has been severed right through the centre. I should hate to imagine what has happened to the note".

The "B" half of envelope is now placed behind the "A" half. The position at this point is that "A" is towards audience, "B" behind it and the half folded note at the back of all and facing you. The ends of the doubled note will be pointing towards your left at this srage. Turn the whole packet around so as to bring the ends parallel with the floor. Once again the right hand goes alongside the left in readiness for the second tear. The thumb again folds the note over to the left before proceeding with the second tear.

The note is now folded into quarters. The pieces in the right hand are again placed in front of those in the left and the former move repeated which further reduces the note to about 'gf its original size. At the end of the (Continued on Page 336)

I wonder how many magical effects, little bits and pieces chat go to make up magic and even sleights and acquitments which have come to be recognised as cfassics today, are the direct result of 'playing about? By playing about I mean the handling of small arricles such as cards, rope, silks, etc., with no direct object in view. Suddenly comes the realisation that 'if one does so-and-so, so-and-so occurs', then with a MttJe dressing and pruning one has an effect. Thar must have happened many times to many magicians.

It happened with me, and a piece of rope, about a year ago, and when I realised thai i 'had something', I dressed it up, formed a routine round it, and since then have had quite a lot of fun wirh it. I particularly recall an amusing incident at the Bideford Convention in May, 1953, when one visitor came back to the hotel minus his bootlaces! He had removed them to try out the effecc he had seen me perform earlier, and the effect must have intrigued him to drive him to do that. I hope it intrigues you. For che sake of a better title I call it:—

"Left-Over-Right-Over-Left !"

Holding a piece of rope by its two ends, one end in each hand and the remainder of the rope hanging down in a large loop, the performer crosses the ends, brings up the hanging loop which he drops inside the "V" made by rhe crossed ends. He retakes the two ends one in each hand, allows the loop to slowly sink between the two vertical ropes, hoping to obtain a knot, but the tangle dissolves into nothing.

Again he crosses the ends, brings up the centre of the rope, drops it into the crook, where it sinks down, and when the ends of the rope are stretched out, a genuine knot is seen in the cenrre. The performer obligingly explains how this was done. The first time he crossed the ends 'left-over-right' dropped the centre of the hanging loop inside, and no knot resulted. BUT when he did it the second time, and dropped in the loop centre, a knot was formed BECAUSE HE HAD CROSSED THE ENDS RIGHT-OVER-LEFT'.

"How subtle", reasons the audience, "and how easy!" But when the performer further shows that by crossing the ends leftover-right and dropping the loop in he DOES get a knot (whereas before he didn't get a knot) and that by crossing the ends right-over-feft, he DOESN'T get a knot (whereas before he did), then things become bewildering and the amazement is complete when the performer shows that, regardless of whether he crosses che ends left-over-right, or right-over left, he can obtain a knot or he can fail, JUST AS HE PLEASES !

I do hope that the above is not becoming too confusing for you; in any case, let us commence to simplify matters here and now by telling you that JUST ONE LITTLE SUBTLETY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WHOLE THING. I c is the way that the bottom of the loop is brought up and placed into the crook of the cwo crossed ends. There are two ways to bring this loop up, and I defy a spectator, at a yard distance, to notice the difference, unless he has been informed of whac happens. You already know that there are two ways of crossing the ends! That fact and the two ways of bringing up the loop combine to make a seemingly endless series of moves and results! Actually the whole thing is utterly simple, providing you understand the two methods of lifting up the loop.

Let's get weaving. You will require a piece of rope from four to five feet in length. I prefer the latter, as I use the item in compere work, and the more rope that can be seen, the better. Mine is three-eighths of an inch thick. It is essential that the rope be supple and yet firm enough to allow of about three inches of the end to sray upright when held above the finger and thumb In other words it must not droop over the hand. If you find that the rope you use does this, then obtain a pipe cleaner, cur off about four inches of it and, smeared with glue, insert this down the core of the rope. Do the same with the other end. Cut the ends off clean and neat, and either bind them with cellophane tape, or sew them firmly with white thread, thus preventing fraying in the handling the rope will get.

All set? Then take the rope, one end in each hand, and about three inches of each end standing up above the first finger and thumb of each hand See that the rope hangs neatly down, with no tendency to twist, in other words you make a perfect "U". If the rope does tend to twist, then gently turn the offending half between finger and thumb until it hangs straight down.

Bringing the hands together, cross the rope ends, placing the left over the right and immediately take the crossed portion between the finger and thumb of the left hand, the thumb pressing where the rope is crossed, and forming a "V" about three inches high. See Figure 1.

Without in any way altering the position of the right hand, allow the fingers to encircle the rope on the right, and then to slide straight down that part of the rope until the hand reaches the bend at the bottom. Sea Figure 2. Grasp this bend or loop and bring it straight upwards (slightly towards yourself) and drop the loop in the "V". See Figure 3. The right hand can now leave go of the loop and the whole double loop is held,momentarily, in the left hand.

The right hand again approaches the left and takes hold of the RIGHT HALF OF THE "V", the left finger and thumb takes the left half of the "V" and the loop which was placed in between the two ends is allowed to slide gently down, by keeping the two vertical ropes pretty much together. If this is done correctly, it will appear to the audience (and to you!) that a knot is about to form itself at the bottom of the loop, but immediately the two hands are separated, this tangle just melts and there is no knot.

Now repeat the above procedure, BUT THIS TIME CROSS THE RIGHT END OVER THE LEFT. The crossed portion is again held between the left finger and thumb, the righr hand goes down and without twisting the rope, brings the loop up and drops it into the "V" The loop is allowed to gently slide down between the two hanging ropes and when the hands are separated, there will be a knot.

I would like you to try the above two operations a few times, just so that you ger thoroughly familiar with them, the one crossing left over right and getting no knot and the other putting right over left and forming a knot. By then you will begin to remember that I mentioned that there is another way of bringing up the loop, and you will begin to wonder what on earth that has to do with the thing, seeing that you have succeeded in forming a knot or have failed as you wished. This is where the fun begins, for you now proceed to contradict that left over right does not result in a knot and right over left does.

Ready? Cross the ends, left over right. Slide the right hand down the rope, exactly as you did before, BUT, in bringing the loop up bring it up on the side nearest the audience and place it in the "V". See Figure 4. Last time, you will remember, you brought it up nearest to yourself. Now separate the ropes and you will find that, in spite of the fact that you crossed left over right, you have formed a knot!

Cross the ends, right over left, slide the hand down, bring the loop up on the side of the rope furthesr from you and—there will be no knot! These two procedures bring about results exactly the opposite of the two you performed at first. Thus you will realise rhat you may cross the ends left over right, and, at will, you may fail or succeed in producing a knot, according to whether you brought the bottom loop up towards yourself or towards the audience. AND FROM THESE REALLY SIMPLE CONDITIONS A VERY AMUSING AND BEWILDERING ROUTINE CAN BE BUILT UP.

Let me emphasise here rhat, although you are quite open and deliberate in the crossing of the ends, actually doing what you tell the audience you are doing, at no time do you call any attention to the manner of gathering up the lower loop. Both the methods you now know must appear to be the same, and once you get the hang of it, the two methods can be so much alike that you might almost deceive yourself. The right hand slides down the rope always in the same manner, and grasps the lower loop. Whether ir now goes forward (towards the audience) or backward (towards yourself) the difference in the two upward movements can be so slight as to be almost negligible. Get that off pat, and you have a nice little mystery. To complete matters, I will now give you my patter routine, together with the accompanying moves.

"Speaking to a friend of mine the other day" (hold rope in both hands as directed) "I said—wouldn't it be a marvellous thing if I could cross the ends of a piece of rope like that" (lefr over right) "bring the centre up and place it in there, then allow it to fall down, like that, and get a knot?" (No knot) "He seemed a little doubtful, so I did it again. Look, I said, wouldn't it be wonderful if I were to cross the ends of the rope, like that" (r over I) drop the centre in here and get a knot?" (Pause here for a moment for audience to realise that this time there IS a knot, then untie it). See synopsis 1 & 2.

"Ah? said my friend—you are not so cunning as you think you are. I saw what you did? The first time you crossed left over right" (do so) and when you dropped the middle of the rope in, you got no knot" (rope pulled out straight) 'but the second time you did it, you crossed right over left—and you got a knot That's not so clever!" ((Show the knot, then untie it) Synopsis 3 & 4.

"That's funny, I said. The first time I did it, I could have sworn rhat I crossed left over right, as you said, but when I placed the centre in here," (lift towards audience) "I could have sworn that I got a knor" (show knot and untie) "And the second time I did it, I crossed the right over the left, as you said, but I'll swear that I dropped the centre in and I got no knot!" (Lift centre up towards audience and stretch rope to show no knot). Synopsis 5 & 6.

"I'll tell, you the secret, friend. If you cross the ends left over right, and drop the centre in like that" (lift towards self) "you get no knot. BUT, if you you cross the ends LEFT OVER RIGHT" (emphasis these words with satir^, for you are repeating yourself, with a difference) "and drop the centre in like that" (lift towards audience) "you DO get a knot". Synopsis 7 & 8.

"BUT, if you cross the ends, right over left, drop the centre in" (lift towards self) "(ike that, you DO get a knot" (show knot and untie) "BUT, IF YOU CROSS THE ENDS RIGHT OVER LEhf" (here you will get a big laugh) "and drop the centre in like this, you WILL NOT GET A KNOT !!" (lift towards audience). "Listen, he said, do you mind putting the darned thing away? OTHERWISE WE WILL ALL GO KNOTTY—I MEAN NUTTY". Fold the rope and throw it off stage or place in your pocket. Synopsis 9 & 10.

Now a synopsis of the moves mixed in with the above patter. By the way, you know the gag about 'synopsis' don't you? Syn is caused through drinking beer and opsis what the beer is brewed from! Well, I had to lighten matters somehow!

1. L over R. Loop towards self.

2. R over L. Loop towards self.

3. L over R. Loop towards self.

4. R over L. Loop towards self.

5. L over R. Loop towards audience.

6. R over L. Loop towards audience.

7. L over R. Loop towards self.

8. L over R. Loop towards audience.

9. R over L. Loop towards self

10. R over L. Loop towards audience.

There it is! Now let us see how much of a tangle you can get in with it, and if it's too much for you, ask me to dem it for you the next time you see me. If you do adopt it and like it, I'd appreciate hearing from you, through Max.

Yours magically,

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