Silks At The Fingertips


SILK MAGIC, always one of the most fascinating as well as being the most colourful phases of magic, offers fewer plots but greater problems than most branches, for a handkerchief has not the tangibility of a coin, card or billiard ball. This little essay was brought about by necessity. At the opening of an act I wished to produce two 18 inch silks one after the other at the fingertips. When produced they were to be free to handle, i.e., I did not want them anchored to lengths of cotton or thread. With a great deal of experiment I managed to get exactly the result I required.

The audience see the performer show his hands to be perfectly empty. First a purple handkerchief appears at the finger-tips of the right hand and this is followed by the appearance of a green handkerchief at the left hand finger-tips. Without any more ado, the handkerchiefs can be used in any routine.

The Requirements. Two silk handkerchiefs 18 inches square. Some nylon thread.

Preparation. Take a length of nylon thread measuring approximately 18 inches in length and knot one end to a corner of one of the silks. Repeat the process with another length of thread and the remaining silk. Each free end of the thread is now made into a loop that will slip comfortably over the performer's thumbs.

Under the lapels of the performer's jackets two small pockets are made. (See illustration No. 1). With these chores out of the way, the silks are folded and accordion pleated so that the length of thread hangs free. Each bundle of silk is placed in one of the pockets under the lapel. If the folding has been carried out correctly, the slightest pull on the thread should take the whole handkerchief clear of the pocket. The loops at the end of the thread are placed over the relative thumbs of each hand. (See illustration 2.)

Presentation. The performer enters and clearly shows his hands to be empty. Both hands are now held parallel with the ground, the right hand above the left. The left hand now makes an anti-clockwise circular motion around the right hand whilst the latter makes a similar motion around the left. (This obviously is better for a mime rather than a patter act.) Now with the first three revolutions the right hand fingers make certain that they do not engage in the thread which hangs from the left thumb passing across to the lapel. With the fourth motion however the right thumb engages under the thread and the silk pops out of the pocket and is caught by the right hand finger tips. At the same time the left hand is lowered and the loop around the thumb comes away without any help from the performer. The silk just produced is placed over the left arm, and in a similar manner the second silk is produced.

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