(Continued from last month)

Tricks involving FIRE and SMOKE have always proved awe-inspiring. This month I shall describe a couple of effects that come within this category.

For the first of these you will be needing a packet of drinking straws, a couple of felt corn pads, a rubber finger stall, certain active chemical agents to be mentioned later and of course, the inevitable THUMB TIP.

Insert one of the corn pads into the THUMB TIP and press it well down to the bottom. Cut the other into four pieces. With a dropper squeeze in several drops of chemical 'A' into the THUMB TIP until the pad within is well saturated. The four little pieces are then submerged into the jar containing chemical 'B' and then dropped into the THUMB TIP as well. Our illustration Fig. 1 shows the initial stage of this preliminary set-up.

The rubber finger stall is now stretched and placed in position over the opening of the THUMB TIP. Fig. 2 depicts this point of the setting.

I may as well mention that the combination of the two chemical agents results in an instantaneous creation of heavy vapour and this warning

is added so that as little time as possible is spent in sealing the mouth of the THUMB TIP. This is so that only a minimum amount of the fume is allowed to dissipate. However, with the only means of escape shut, the vapour within will begin to condense until released at the moment of the climax.

When ready to present. The THUMB TIP is gripped inside the fork of the left thumb itself. The packet of drinking straws is held in the same hand. Fig. 3 is the audience's viewpoint at this stage and Fig. 4 illustrates the manner in which the THUMB TIP is obscured from their sight.

Approach one of the spectators—preferably one who might be smoking at the time—and invite him to withdraw one of the straws from the packet. Ask him to walk away to the far end of the room. You now pick another for yourself and lay the rest of the packet on the table.

The spectator is then told to blow the smoke as he draws it intermittently from his cigarette, through the drinking straw, in your direction. You explain that as the smoke scatters into the atmosphere you will recapture and collect it. Close the left fingers into a loose fist. This action places

and this is particularly directed to smokers who through force of habit are more easily liable to err on th.s point.

Fig. 5 in this series illustrates the method of blowing the supposed trapped smoke into the fist through the drinking straw. There now remains an equally important point to explain, that of retrieving the THUMB TIP from the left hand after it had served its purpose, so as to be able to show the hand devoid of any preparation.

The straw is held between the thumb and the first two fingers of the right and pushed a few times in and out of the left fist. You are supposedly illustrating by demonstration that the fist is empty. However, on the last repeat the straw the gimmick right in the centre of your hand in an unobtrusive manner. So far as the spectators are aware your fist is empty.

Each time the spectator blows his mouthful of smoke through the drinking straw you point the one in your hand in his direction and go through the action of sucking it in. You keep up this business as long as you wish . . . conveying the idea that the captured smoke is being accumulated in your mouth. So far, of course, nothing magical has transpired and all this is but a natural and logical lead up to what is yet to follow.

Place one end of the drinking straw between your lips and allow the other end to enter the fist. You now blow through the straw and into the fist. As you go through this process, your left thumb merely rolls the finger stall upwards until part of the opening is cleared. The vapour will immediately begin to rise from your apparently empty fist, presenting a truly intriguing spectacle.

Keep this up as long as your store of vapour lasts. When you think it is all used you reverse the procedure and suck in after inserting the straw into the THUMB TIP and blow out some smoke from your mouth just as you would when smoking a cigarette. It is, of course, not necessary to advise you that the fume must on no account be inhaled

is clipped between the first two fingers only, the thumb moving out of the way. As the straw is pushed deeper into the fist, the thumb is inserted into the TIP forcing in the finger stall at the same time. Having done this the straw is withdrawn without any hesitation forthwith and held up to view in the right hand which incidentally has the THUMB TIP already in position on the thumb itself. The left fingers in the meantime are slowly opened to present just the bare hand. Fig. 6 shows the THUMB TIP in the process of being secretly removed from the left fist.

Now for the chemicals. 'A' is AMMONIA FORTE and 'B' is HYDROCHLORIC ACID. With the new plastic THUMB TIP there is no deleterious effect to be feared as with the ordinary metal ones which invariably corrode when used with acid.

Our second effect has to do with fire and one could easily offer both during the same programme if one so chooses. The effect goes like this.

A small rectangular sheet of paper is shown on both sides. It is then shaped into a cone. The magician reaches into the cone with his definitely empty and free hand and pulls out a lit match. The flame is allowed to burn for a while and the match thrown aside. Again he reaches into the small cone and brings out a second lit match. This is

then repeated for the third time. The flame of the match is finally applied to the apex of the cone and it is set alight. There is nothing left now or rather no incriminating evidence to show how the results were brought about.

I shall first explain the simple preparation needed. Cut out both striking sides from a new box of matches. Round off the corners slightly from one end of each. Now take 3 matches. With a little wax stick them side by side along the surface of one of the match box sides. Fig. 7 depicts how this should look when you are through. Use a very little wax on each stick. Just sufficient so the match will adhere lightly. Now lay the second surface on top of the matches and bind both together tightly with some Scotch tape. Fig. 8 shows the manner in which this is done.

The bound matches are now placed inside the THUMB TIP with the rounded corner ends going in first and worn on the thumb of the right hand. The ends of the matches as you will see in Fig. 9 extend outside the THUMB TIP and rest against the ball of the thumb. As the hand, when the THUMB TIP is in position, is never exposed to view the protrusion of the matches is never discovered.

Now for the presentation. The right hand picks up the piece of paper which is about 6x4 inches and displays it between thumb at the back and the first finger in front. The left hand takes it away and after turning it over replaces in the right. As the right thumb and first finger take hold of the paper, the left thumb presses against the THUMB TIP and the right hand moves out altogether. For a brief moment the THUMB TIP remains hidden behind the paper between it and the left thumb. Our illustration in Fig. 10 shows the precise moment when the right thumb is with drawn from the TIP. Having withdrawn the

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