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Lessons in fTlagig by Prof. ELLIS STANYON,

Author of '' Conjuringfoi Amateurs,'' '' Conjuring with Cards," '' New Coin Tricks," " New Card Tricks,'' &c.

Continued from page 66.

The Floating- Paper Ball.—This is a trick of a novel kind having for its effect the suspension of a ball of tissue paper in mid-air without visible means of support.

The performer shows an ordinary sheet, or rather a half sheet, of tissue paper which he forthwith proceeds to shape into a ball of about 4m. diameter. No sooner is the ball completed than it is seen to remain suspended in the air, the performer passing his hands all around and about it, proving, that there are no connections, but more is to follow. The performer holds the right hand some 6in. above the ball, then slowly raising or lowering the hand causes the ball to ascend or descend, it seemingly, being attracted, in some mysterious way, by the fingers, whose every movement it follows. The performer, meanwhile, passes disengaged hand above, below, and all around the ball.

The performer next introduces an unprepared tea plate which he holds, with the left hand, underneath the ball. This done he brings the right hand underneath the plate and the moment he does so the ball rises in the air, moving up and down in accordance with the movement of the hand on the opposite side of the plate. The plate and the right hand are next brought over the ball, when .by alternately raising and lowering the right hand the ball is caused to repeat its mysterious movements. •

The secret, as in most of the best tricks, is simplicity itself, the whole of the effects described are brought about by the use of a black silk thread. Kh ! yes, it's a ' chestnut,' but its roasted this time. Well! one end of the thread, about 4ft. long, is attached with a pellet of wax, or a tin tack, to the back of the performer's head, the opposite end is fixed, temporarily, in a similar manner to his left shoulder. When ready to introduce the trick the performer picks up the sheet of paper, which should be placed in readiness over the back of a chair, and while apparently moving the chair a little out of his way, secretly attaches the end of the thread, previously removed from the shoulder, to the back of the chair, completing the arrangements.

Turning his right side to the audience, the chair standing in a direct line with his body, the performer walks backwards until the thread is almost taut. He then proceeds to fashion the ball, around the thread of course, but as black thread is absolutely invisible on anything like a dark background this part of the operation escapes the audience. The ascent and descent of the ball is regulated by a movement of the head, which owing to the position of the thread need be but slight to cause a very perceptible movement to the ball. Then again the movement of the head is made in unison with that of the right hand, thus, if perceived at all, it will appear quite natural. The use of the plate is not absolutely necessary but makes the trick much more mysterious; it at the same time strengthens the belief that the right hand is the attractive power—why ? well, simply because its use by the performer to show there is no connection with the right hand is sufficient to induce the bulk of the spectators to think otherwise. This is mis-direction, upon which the success of any trick depends : it should therefore receive due attention.

Materialization of a LIVING Tree on a Sheet of Glass.

Provide a wooden frame 36 in. square, with four 11 in. feet. The frame is to contain a sheet of strong plate glass screwed in. Also provide a large ordinary flower pot filled with mould, also a brass tripod large enough to cover the tree you wish to materialize. A large black cloth about 3 yards square is also required to cover the tripod. The flower pot is placed in the centre of the glass, and the tripod placed over the pot. Your attendant, wearing a frock coat and with the tree on his back, comes on the the stage, gradually, and sideways, hesitatingly awaiting instructions. He comes on presumably to bring you the piece of cloth.

To work the trick take the cloth from the attendant and illustrate its use by covering the tripod, then throw it over your attendant's shoulder for him to hold while you rearrange the tripod. When taking it again take the tree with it and stick it in the mould under cover of the cloth, your attendant helping you. The tree will be spiked ready for use, and its branches tied to the stem that it may occupy as little space as possible while it is on the back of your attendant. A knife, already attached to the tree will enable you to quickly release the tied-up branches, when they will fall and make a large display.

This illusion was witnessed by me some years ago at the hands of Mons. Cazmaij on the stage of the Royal Aquarium.

The Coin Slide.—This piece of apparatus is designed to enable the performer to secretly obtain possession of a coin. It is generally made to contain some eight or nine ^^^ coins and is worn in the sleeve or under the ^^^^ vest as occasion may demand. The flat tube is only wide enough to contain the thickness of one coin, consequently the coins must stand edge to edge one on top of the other. The clip at the end of the tube keeps the bottom coin from falling until pressure be applied, when the stud (see fig. 20) enters the side of the tube, retaining the bulk of the coins, but allowing the bottom one to fall into the hand. The apparatus is placed in position for securing the second coin by the simple action of releasing the clip. The slide is attached to the clothing by the two hooks at the upper end. It is of some service in the coin catching act, as its use enables the performer to occasionally show the hand empty.

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