Elusive Silks

Ministry Letters

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A pleasing experiment with silks, good for stage or close work. Though very easy to perform, it is effective. This introduces to you a very handy piece of apparatus known to Magicians as a Changing Bag.


A small bag, attached to a handle and resembling a church collection bag, is turned inside out and shown empty. Performer then turns it back right side out and suddenly a red handkerchief appears in it. This is given to a spectator, who is asked to place it in the bag again. He does so, and the handkerchief changes instantly to a green one. Here follows a series of appearances, changes, and disappearances which work into a pleasing routine.


1 -- A Petri-Lewis Changing Bag.

We can supply you with one at a reasonable price. There are two sizes of Changing Bags on the market. This effect may be performed with the larger size bag for which larger size silks should be used. I recommend using the smaller one, however, for a neater performance.

2 -- Four silk handkerchiefs - two red, two green - about 13 inches square. You may use any colors you desire, but there must be two of one color and two of another.


Figure 113 shows the Changing Bag as it looks from the outside. The top is a metal ring to which the handle is attached. The bag is of red velvet lined with black. There is a tassel at the bottom.

Figure 113A shows the way in which the inner wire in the bag operates to change the compartments in the bag. It swings downward from side to side in the bag so that it cannot be seen.

Figures 114, 115, and 116 show diagrams of the operation of the inner wire as seen when you look down into the bag.

First, there is compartment A with the wire flat against one side of the bag. Then wire swings downward inside of bag toward other side, closing up compartment A and revealing compartment B.

The wire runs into the handle and it is operated by turning the handle forward or back as required.

Figures 117 to 121 show the working of the bag diagramed from a cross section view.

First, there is compartment A. Then wire is dropped down with the cloth partition attached to it, making compartments A and B. Wire swings completely over to other side of bag, closing compartment A and leaving compartment B. If an article, say a silk handkerchief, is placed in compartment B —Figure 120--a slight turn of the handle of the bag will vanish it as shown in Figure 121.

Thus, an article may be placed in A or B and vanished and made to appear at will. When an article is vanished, the bag may be turned inside out and shown empty. Color changes are accomplished by placing a red silk in one compartment and a green one in the other. When change is made, mouth of bag must be kept turned from audience so that movement of wire will not be detected.

To handle the bag easily, hold it as in Figure 122. Handle is in right hand—left hand grasps tassel at bottom of bag. Keep mouth of bag turned enough toward you to conceal movement of wire from audience.

Raise bottom of bag a little and turn handle a little in whichever direction you desire wire to go, Figure 123.

The Changing Bag has many possibilities, not only for silk work, but for MIND READING. Blank slips of paper may be placed in one compartment of bag and the real slips may be collected in the other. The change is made and the blank slips poured out onto a plate before the audience. Bag is shown empty and tossed offstage, where assistant takes it. He can then change the bag again, remove the real slips and prepare the questions for you.

It may also be used for Forcing Numbers. Have small disks or cards with numbers, say one to twenty, on them in one compartment. Have twenty cards all with one number on them in the other compartment. Show the numbers in the first compartment, then make change, and have spectator select from second compartment where numbers are all alike.

Now, for the Elusive Silks:


Place a green silk in upper corner of right trouser's pocket, pocket. Arrange so that pockets can easily be shown empty.

In compartment B of bag place a red silk and on top of this concealed and compartment A is revealed.

To Perform:

Come forward with bag. If you are on a stage, have a spectator come up to help you. Place him at your left.

"Last Sunday when I was in church, I noticed that a collection was being taken up in little collection bags like this one."

Push the bag here and there as if you were making a collection.

"When I got home, I found that I had one of these collection bags under my coat. Of course. I was puzzled as to how it got there, but here it is. I have the bag — also an empty pocket here."

Turn left trouser's pocket out and show it empty. Replace it and force red silk down into pocket.

"And an empty pocket there."

Turn right pocket out and show empty. Replace, forcing green silk down from corner into pocket.

"With empty pockets and a collection bag, there is no reason why I shouldn't pass around among such a liberal congregation."

Turn bag inside out and back again to impress on spectators fact that bag is empty.

To a spectator, then to audience:

"Do you mind, sir, if you and I take up a little collection? He's in favor."

Push bag out in front of you and to the right to imaginary spectators.

"Anything from money to silk dresses appreciated."

Bring bag back toward you with mouth turned from audience. Make change.

Reach in and remove the green silk. Make change again to conceal B again and reveal empty compartment A. Push bag inside out to show empty.

"Ah, silk! Will you take it, please, sir, and then place it back in the bag?"

Spectator takes silk and places it in bag — compartment A. Make change, concealing A with the green silk and revealing B with the red one. Ask spectator to remove it again and he takes out a red silk.

"Please take it out again, sir. Now, it's red."

Show bag empty by pushing inside out.

"There's something suspicious about this collection business."

Reach into right pocket and remove green silk.

"You will note that things placed in the collection bag also find their way into the collector's pocket. Well, back it goes into the bag."

Make change, then place green silk with other green one in compartment A. Make change and show bag empty.

"In again, out again, gone again. Reach into my pocket, sir."

and a red silk in upper corner of left trouser's , a green one. Change partition so that silks are

Have spectator reach into your left trouser's pocket and remove the red silk." "What's this? A red one? Somebody is playing tricks on us."

Turn bag inside out again to show it empty. Do this suddenly as if you wanted to make sure that green silk had vanished.

"Now, just place both the silks into the bag."

Spectator places the two red silks into the bag. Make change and remove one green silk, then the other. "Now, they're green -- both of them." Show bag empty again.

"So we'll place them both back into the bag again."

Make change and place the two red silks with the two green ones. Make change again. Turn bag out to show it empty.

"Now, they're gone -- so we're back where we started."

Put bag aside and go into next trick.

The effect can be carried through another step to a surprise finish. Have a nickel in your pocket or attached to right edge of coat with a clip. Get it into right palm and drop it into bag without being detected by audience. Show hand empty, then reach into bag and take out nickel. Show it to audience and say, "Which makes the sum total of our collection ONE NICKEL."

Another ending is to have a watch and five one-dollar bills, all in a wad with a rubber band around. Have this parcel in right coat pocket, and during excitement over the vanished silks, palm the parcel and drop it into the bag. Show right hand empty and reach into bag. Take rubber band from parcel and remove one dollar bill. Say, "However, not so bad at that, as I have a collection system all my own." Take out other four bills, one at a time, and finally produce watch. Look at spectator knowingly and say, "My, how time flies."


The paraphernalia described in this lesson can be obtained from the Tarbell System at the following prices, postage prepaid.

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