Thanks To Everyone

PETER MACDONALD

IN VOLUME 8, No. 2, of " Pentagram " was an effect called "Thanks to Stewart James" dealing with a penetration of a ring on to a cord. This effect, as far as I know, started off as an impromptu effect using a handkerchief, borrowed ring, length of string and a safety-pin. A version appeared in " Professional Magic for Amateurs " some years ago.

Peter Warlock's article set me thinking about impromptu versions again, and after some experimenting I produced the following presentation which dispenses with any cover and provides adequate misdirection.

Procure a piece of string several feet in length (mine is just over three feet) and thread one end through the upper button-hole of the jacket and the other through the next lower button-hole, leaving the bight on the inside of the coat. Figure 1 shows what I mean. You can now point out that the audience " never loses sight of either end." Push the left index and second fingers through the bight (Figure 2). Now pass the bight through the ring and over the second finger. The position is now as shown in Figure 3. You will now have to look at Figure 4 to follow the move. Draw out a bight from the length of string lying between the ring and the left side of the second finger. Using this bight as though it was a single strand, tie a single knot round the length of string which lies along the base of the index finger and disappears down the space between the thumb and first finger. The right fingers with the assistance of the left thumb, can perform this operation quite successfully.

hole. You will make sure that they see it all the time. Warn them not to lose sight of the end.

Imagine that the string is divided into halves at the point where it is tied to the ring. One half is looped round the second finger and then through the ring; the other leads straight from the knot to the buttonhole. This half, the one marked "A" on Figure 4, is the one you gently tug free from the button-hole. As you do this, turn the left hand over so that it can grasp the lapel of the coat at the left side. The free end now hangs down from the left hand, appearing from between the thumb and first finger. Place the right hand under the free length of string and clip it between the thumb and first finger of that hand so that the free end hangs down the back of the right hand.

This has all been done with the left hand slightly cupped so that the audience cannot see what is going on. You tell them you are just trying an experiment in the fourth dimension and it might blind them if they were to see what was going on.

Tell them you are now going to tug at the string and pull one end free from the button-

Now grasp the ring in the right hand tugging a little so that it comes away from the left hand. Place the right thumb on the knot so that it will not untie and, closing the right fingers round the ring, hold it alongside the left hand which is still gripping the lapel.

Now comes the crucial move. The right hand has to move away to the right and the left hand pulls the lapel away to the left, thus exposing the inner lining of the jacket. This looks as though you have merely tugged the jacket back to jerk the string from the button-hole. The string is left hanging from the right hand in the position shown in Figure 5. The ring is, of course, retained in the right hand which now has one end of the string hanging down from each side of it. This movement is quite deceptive if done smoothly and it looks perfectly natural. What really happens, of course, is that the end of the string which was left in the button-hole is tugged out, round the second finger of the left hand, and through the ring. It hangs quite naturally at the end of this movement and the misdirection of opening the coat and moving the hands apart makes it impossible for the spectators to see that the end is really passing through the ring and out again in the time-honoured manner.

The position at this stage, therefore, is that the string is running through the ring which is concealed inside the right hand. The knot is loose and if the left hand now takes hold of the nearest hanging end of the string, and the right hand slides the knot free, the ring can be allowed to slide gracefully down to the centre of the string between the two hands.

all these effects, it is of great advantage to find a cord which will run smoothly without binding.

When you have tried the moves once or twice and know them sufficiently well, do them in front of a mirror and notice how the eye is distracted by the opening of the jacket at the psychological moment. If your eyes follow the right hand when performing, the misdirection is even more potent as the audience will follow your glance.

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