Tarbell Version of Japanese Thumb Tie

In Lesson 11, I taught you a thumb tie with pipe cleaners and one with rubber bands. I promised you at that time to teach you another method of performing the thumb tie which does not necessitate pulling the thumb in and out of the tie.

As far as I know, Jap-O-Tie is original with me—although it may have been performed by Japanese Magicians hundreds of years ago. I have used Jap-O-Tie with good success. It is very simple, and yet most elusive. It is so bold in nature that its very boldness adds mystification to it.


Performer's left thumb is securely bound and tied with tape. The same is done with the right thumb. The two thumbs are then placed together and bound tightly. In spite of the tying of his thumbs individually and together, the performer now passes rings and poles between his hands to the complete mystification of all spectators.


1 -- Two pieces of white tape, about % of an inch wide and 12 inches long.

4 -- Two wooden or steel rings about 8 inches in diameter.


Have a spectator wrap one piece of tape twice around your left thumb and tie it securely on under side of thumb. Allow him to make two or three knots, Figure 1.

"Tie the tape good and tight."

Have the spectator wrap the other piece of tape twice around your right thumb, tying it well on upper side of thumb, Figure 2.

Place left thumb on right thumb. Wave your hands back and forth a moment to throw ends A and B on upper sides of hands and ends C and D on under sides of hands. Waving of the hands confuses the spectators and leads them to believe that each pair of ends is now around opposite thumb. In reality each pair of ends is around its own thumb, Figure 3.

With a slight wave of hands, get ends A and B between left fingers to lift them up out of the way, see Figure 3A.

Then say to spectator:

"I shall ask you now to tie the upper thumb to the lower one. Pull tight and tie a good knot." Hold thumbs up so that spectator can tie ends C and D around lower thumb, Figure 4. "Now, secure the lower thumb to the upper doubly well by tying these other two ends together." Turn backs of hands up and have spectator tie ends A and B on top of upper thumb, Figure 5. To audience:

"Note carefully how my thumbs have been securely tied. Each thumb has been wrapped with tape and tied and then both thumbs have twice been securely tied together. As you can readily see, such a tie would bind me securely, and my only hope of release would be to have someone cut the tapes off with a knife or pair of scissors."

Show thumbs to audience. They appear to be tied securely together, yet each thumb is entirely separate from the other.

Figure 6 shows a side view of manner in which thumbs are tied. Thumbs are pulled apart to show this clearly. Of course, you do not permit the audience to see such a view as is shown in Figure 6.

It is now an easy matter for you to pass objects between your hands. First, start with the pole. Place your hands in front of the pole which is being held by spectator. Thrust hands toward pole. Figure 7.

As hands reach pole, separate them enough to get pole between them and bring thumbs together again

immediately on other side of pole. Show thumbs tied. This must be done in a flash so that spectator cannot see separating of the hands, Figure 8.

Bring hands away from pole in same manner.

Next have spectator toss rings to you, one at a time. Catch them between hands and allow them to slip over right or left arm. Release rings from arm again in same manner, Figure 9.

To finish have tapes cut from thumbs with a pair of scissors, preferably by your own assistant.

NOTE: This tie can be worked at angles and under conditions impossible with the regular method. It may be performed down in the audience with people all around you. You may permit short examination of thumbs when they are together.

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Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

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