Stinging the Meedle

In my last book I described an effect of the " Ringing the Rod " type wherein a serviette ring, selected from among four impaled on a knitting needle in a frame, was magically transferred to another needle threaded through a perforated box. The effect proved quite popular, and I used it for several years, but it is not everyone's meat. The box used for the reproduction of the ring is rather bulky, and it has occurred to me that the effect might make a wider appeal if I could substitute for the box something which would pack flat in the bag. In the present version, therefore, a screen takes the. place of the box. I have also discarded the frame, using instead a loop of ribbon. In its simplified form the effect is as follows :—

The performer exhibits four .plastic serviette rings, each one being of a different colour. These are threaded on to a length of ribbon, the ends of which are tied together so that the rings cannot be removed without untying the ribbon.

On the table stands a screen with a knitting needle threaded through holes in its sides. It is shown back and front and replaced on the table.

The performer next introduces a square of velvet with a hole in the centre. This is used to cover the four rings, by passing the loop of ribbon through the hole and letting the velvet fall around the rings. A spectator, invited on the stage, is asked to hold the ribbon. He is also asked to select one of the rings. When this has been done, the performer explains that he will remove the chosen ring from the ribbon, but that in order to do so he must first make it invisible. He places his hand under the velvet square and brings it away, empty, but with the thumb and forefinger separated as if they held an invisible ring. He makes sure that the spectators realise that his hand is, in fact, empty, and then places it behind the screen, with the avowed intention of passing the invisible ring on to the needle threaded through the screen.

So far the performer has apparently done nothing but fool about, and so the sudden denouement is doubly effective. The velvet square is removed from the ribbon, and the helper is amazed to find that the chosen ring has disappeared. The remaining three rings are still threaded on the ribbon, and no amount of examination gives any hint of the clue to the mystery. The screen is then turned round, and there, threaded on the needle, is the chosen ring. Screen, needle and ring are handed to the helper, who thus holds the whole of the apparatus used —except the velvet square, and why should he worry about a little thing like that ?

This is quite a pretty problem, and the comparative ease with which the rather stringent conditions are complied with will, I hope, commend it to some of my readers. We have to consider—

1. The removal of the ring from the ribbon.

2. Its evanishment.

3. Its reproduction on the knitting needle.

The choice of colour is, of course, forced, and the ring of the colour decided upon is cut through at one point of its circumference with a very fine saw. To one side of the velvet square is sewn a pocket just large enough to accommodate the ring. The rings, by the way, should not be too wide ; rings about half an inch wide are fairly common, and these are just the things for our purpose.

The screen, which I have drawn, is made of thick cardboard, suitably decorated. At the point A is a slit about half an inch deep. A duplicate ring of the colour to be " selected " is suspended in a lcop of black thread. The two ends of the loop are jammed in the slit and adjusted so that the ring hangs midway between the top continued on page 18

RINGING THE NEEDLE—continued from page 17 and bottom of the screen. The surplus thread, which will be hanging down in front of the screen, is then cut away with the exception of one-eighth of an inch. This will not be noticed by the spectators, but it is sufficient to prevent the thread being dislodged prematurely.

We can now consider the layout. The screen, with the ring suspended inside it, stands on a table to the performer's left. The knitting needle is in position, i.e., threaded through the holes in the screen (a n d, incidentally, through the suspended ring). The split ring, together with the remaining three solid ones, is on a table to the right of the performer. On this table are also the velvet square and a length of ribbon.

playing the four rings, threading them on the ribbon, and tying together the ends of the latter. The velvet square is passed over the ribbon so that it envelopes the rings, and a spectator is asked to come on to the stage and assist. He is requested to hold the ribbon.

Attention is now directed to the screen. The right-hand fold is gripped with the left hand, the thumb being to the front and the suspended ring being scooped up into the palm with the fingers. At the same time the needle is withdrawn with the right hand. The left hand now turns the screen upside down, thus bringing the inside into view. The right hand grips the edge of the screen, while the left, still concealing the ring, slides to the centre of the top (temporarily the bottom). In this position the screen can be opened out to permit the spectators to get a clear view of the interior. The needle is then threaded through the holes again, the screen is turned right-side-up and replaced on the table, the ring being gently released so that it does not click against the needle as the left hand leaves the screen.

As he commences to walk away from the table, the performer " remembers " that he has not proved the solidity of the needle. He withdraws it with his right hand, taking care that his



left hand does not go near the screen in the process, and hands it to his temporary assistant for examination. He takes it back and threads it through the screen, once more using only his right hand. If you have followed the routine you will appreciate that when the needle is withdrawn the suspended ring resumes its normal position, which is such that when the needle is replaced it goes through the ring (see diagram).

The next move is to request the spectator to select a ring. The choice of the split ring is forced, and the performer places his hand under the velvet covering. It is a simple matter to open the ring sufficiently to detach it from the ribbon, after which it is slipped into the pocket of the velvet square. The hand is brought away, the thumb and forefinger being held about two inches apart as if they held a ring. Walking over to the screen the performer places his empty hand behind it. As soon as it is hidden it grasps the thread and pulls it out of the slit and away from the ring, so that it drops on to the table.

Now comes the climax. The velvet square is removed from the ribbon and discarded. The assistant is left with a loop of ribbon containing three rings which are unmistakably solid, any one of which he might have chosen (so he thinks). To complete his bewilderment he is handed the screen and needle on which is now threaded the fourth solid ring.


Joe Stuthard's "Trilby" Deck (price 21/-, from A. W.

In the past couple of years that delightful Canuck, Joe Stuthard, put the Svengali deck on the map of England. The deck that he describes as "Trilby" has all the advantages of the "svengali" plus a number of features that the buyer will discover. Besides the actual cards supplied (let it be mentioned that the faking of the various cards has been carried out in a first class manner), there is a booklet of some twenty pages photographically illustrated that covers the handling of the deck plus some twenty-two effects. Excellent value.

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