The Chinese Sticks

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An excellent Chinese "sucker" trick that permits of good comedy.


Performer shows two sticks, each about a foot long. He holds them parallel and shows that a string runs through one stick and across and through the other one. He cuts the string between the two sticks and shows the sticks separated. Suddenly he brings the two sticks together again and shows the string has been restored. Once more he cuts the string and separates sticks. He pulls the short end of string, and as it becomes long, the other separated end becomes short and vice versa. If desired, one stick may be given to a boy to hold and above effect of shortening and lengthening string performed.


1 -- Two specially prepared Chinese sticks. We can supply you with two sticks at a nominal sum. These sticks are of the best grade as they are made specially for us and are patterned after the type of Chinese sticks which I use personally. They are built to eliminate noise in operation.

Figures 15-16-17 show construction of the sticks. Each is a foot long and about % of an inch thick. They are made of round black tubing, lined with celluloid, and decorated with Chinese red tassel. Chinese decorations can be put on with red or yellow lacquer if you prefer more colorful sticks. Inside a weight slides up and down. At the top of weight is an eyelet, through which a cord passes.

About 3/4 of an inch from top of stick, the cord passes through to the outside and is attached to a small brass ring. At the opposite side, cord passes through and is attached to a tassel. As weight slides to bottom of tube, tassel end of string shortens. As tassel is pulled down to lengthen string, weight goes up in tube.

When tube is held horizontally, weight does not move, but when tube is slanted with bottom downward, weight slides to bottom and shortens cord, pulling tassel up to tube.

2 -- A pocket knife or pair of scissors.


Arrange the L stick with string long and the R stick with string short. Hold the two sticks in horizontal position in left hand. Come forward with the two sticks, L and R. The flattened sides of sticks are together and the red lines running along each stick are placed together, Figure 18.

You are now ready to start trick by showing that the cord runs through the ends of the sticks. To the audience it appears that the cord runs through from one stick to the other and has a tassel on each end, see Figure 18.

"Many years ago a celebrated Chinese Magician brought to this country a very peculiar problem with two sticks and a piece of string. The string, as you will notice, runs through the ends of the sticks."

Pull down on string R with right hand. As you do so, raise outer ends of sticks. This causes weight in L to slide down and thus shortens string L. The two strings must move in unison to give appearance of being connected, Figure 19.

Bring sticks to horizontal position again. This time pull down on string L with right hand. Slant sticks upward so that string R becomes short.

Repeat this once or twice more to give audience definite impression that string is one piece.

Now take knife or pair of scissors from pocket.

"I shall now cut the cord between the two sticks."

Pretend to cut cord between sticks. Place knife or scissors aside.

Separate two upper ends of sticks, being careful to keep lower ends close together. Audience now sees cord between sticks separated and believe that you actually cut cord, Figure 20.

Close sticks together again as in Figure 18. Pull down on string R and slant sticks so that string L shortens.

"But, you see, a mere cutting of the string has no effect on it. It runs back and forth through the ends of the sticks as it did before."

Pretend to pull string through ends of sticks, back and forth about three times. Finish with L string long.

Now pretend to cut string between sticks again with knife or scissors. Hold sticks horizontally and separate the outer ends again.

Pull on string R with right hand, and as you do so, turn left hand toward the right. This brings L stick up and R stick down. This movement causes string L to shorten and string R to lengthen, Figure 21.

Grasp string I with right hand and pull it down. As you do so, turn left hand to the left so that stick R is raised, causing string R to shorten, and stick L comes to horizontal position, Figure 22.

Repeat above moves of turning left hand and lengthening and shortening strings several times, Figure 23.

"It seems to me that there is a wave of skepticism running through the audience about this invisible bond of sympathy between the sticks."

Pretend to overhear someone in audience.

"What's that? Move the other ends of the sticks apart?"

Look at ends of sticks which are held together.

"Oh, no, that isn't necessary."

Continue pulling strings several times again.

"By keeping the ends of the sticks together, I can hold them so much more easily."

By this time, audience believes that the string runs down the length of one stick, crosses over to the other at the point where you hold both ends together, and then runs up the other stick.

"Of course, you know that my holding the ends of the sticks together has nothing to do with the pulling of the cord."

Keep on pulling strings back and forth. Each time the audience is more convinced than ever that cord runs through the lower ends of the sticks.

Pretend to overhear a remark of a spectator.

"Oh, I see. You think the string goes in this end of stick (point to end of stick where string R enters and follow movements with right hand as you describe them) and runs down to this end. then goes across to the other stick and runs up and out of the other end of this stick. No, no, I wouldn't think of doing a trick that way."

Pull string again to strengthen audience's theory. Then when string R is long and string L is short, separate the two sticks, holding one in each hand horizontally.

"No, there is no connection between the sticks."

Bring two lower ends of sticks together again in left hand. Pull down string L about an inch below stick.

"I shall be glad to explain the real secret. You see, it is this way. When I cut the string in two, I naturally have two pieces. This long piece. . . ."

Pick up ring at top of stick R and pull string R up and down several times. Let ring drop back into place. This gives appearance of pulling the string to and fro directly through the hole in stick, Figure 24.

"And this little tiny piece."

Pull up on ring L just a little. Then pull down on tassel a little to give impression that this is just a short piece of string running through stick, Figure 25.

"So I just pull on this tiny piece and it stretches out long while the long piece shrinks to a tiny little piece."

Place L over left forearm and hold it securely between body and upper arm and hold R in left hand. Pull down on string L with right hand, making it lengthen, and raise stick R to make string R shorten, Figure 26.

Now pull strings up and down as above. See Figures 24 and 25.

"Or, if I pull on this other string, it grows long again while the other piece shrinks."

Pull string R down with right hand. Raise stick L with left forearm and cause string L to shorten, see Figure 27.

"It is just a stretching and shrinking process. As Confucius said to Shakespeare, 'If I be tall, then you be small—if I be small, then you be tall.' "

Illustrate this by shortening and lengthening the strings. NOTE:

This effect may be performed with a small boy and girl assisting. In this case, finish the experiment in this manner: Give stick with short string to the girl and stick with long string to the boy. Have boy hold stick with outer end lowered a little so that weight will not slide back and shorten string.

Place girl at left of stage and boy at right. You stand back of boy with your left hand on his left forearm to guide movement of stick, Figure 28.

"This experiment is very simple if you pull your ear while doing it."

Place you right hand on boy's ear. Then say to girl:

"Hold your stick straight out at your side as if you were pointing to someone at the back of the room. When I give the signal, you pull on the tassel slowly and make the string grow long. At the same time, I will pull on John's ear and make his string grow short. Are you ready? All right -- pull on the string slowly now."

Pull slightly on John's ear, and as you do, raise his forearm enough to cause string to shorten, Figure 29.

Suggestion: It is well to coach girl secretly when you give her stick to hold, telling her to hold on to tassel and keep string long until you take stick from her. This will prevent her accidentally tipping stick and causing string to shorten.

Be on your guard, however. If you see girl slanting stick and shortening string, pull down on string of boy's stick.

Should her string shorten the same time as the boy's, take both sticks in your hands as in Figure 20.

"I almost forgot to tell you—when a girl touches one of the strings, the charm is broken and they both get short. But we can remedy the trouble by lengthening them both."

Pull down both strings, keeping sticks in horizontal position. Hold on to tassel R and say to girl:

"Now, you touch the stick at my left."

As she does so, raise stick so that string L shortens.

"See, it shortens at your touch."

Pull string L long and make string R to shorten. Then vice versa.

"See, they are all right again."

Performer shows a pole about five or six feet long. Stretched from end to end are two strings supported by two wooden bridges. Three wooden balls are placed on the strings against the lower bridge. Magician holds the pole slanting upward and begins to turn in a circle. Slowly the first ball climbs to the top of the pole, then the second, and finally the third. He also makes the first ball climb to the top, the second one just to the middle, and the third one stays at the bottom. Various combinations may be secured, depending on the skill of the performer.





1 -- Special pole, which you may construct yourself. Secure a pole about five feet long—a bamboo fishing pole or any round wooden stick about the size of a broomstick may be used. Get some heavy cord, such as fishing cord. Cut a groove around the pole near each end and tie two ends of string around one of these grooves.

Stretch the strings along the pole and tie at other end. Fashion two small bridges out of wood, each about 3 inches high. Cut out a semicircular piece from the bottom of each so that it will fit over the pole. Then about an inch down from the top of each cut a slit in each side for the cord to pass through. There must be enough of the bridges extending above the cord to keep balls from rolling off. Place the two bridges under the cord several inches from each end, Figure 30.

2 -- Three balls.—The balls should be of wood, painted in bright colors, and two to three inches in diameter. Composition balls are of ten used also.

The balls may be the same weight, but it is sometimes wise to have them vary in weight. Have B a little heavier than A, and C a little heavier than B. To accomplish this, plug the balls with lead. Balls are placed on the two strings and are not attached in any way, Figure 31.


This effect depends on a law of the Science of Physics—that of centrifugal force.

Hold pole in right hand with hand about 1/3 way from lower end and with lower end resting against right upper arm, Figure 32.

Begin to revolve to the left slowly, then gradually increase your speed until ball A starts up the incline slowly and finally reaches the top, Figure 33, next page.

Continue turning, regulating

Stick And Handkerchief

your speed until you succeed in getting ball B to climb to the top of the pole, and finally ball C, Figure 34.

Decrease your speed of revolving, and the balls will come down singly.

Some Hindus use only TWO balls and control them in a remarkable manner. They cause the first ball to ascend to the top and the second one only to the middle. Then they bring the second one to the bottom again and the first one down to the middle and then up again to the top.

You must have plenty of room to swing in. Be careful at first not to get dizzy. Practice will enable you to perform the experiment without difficulty.

The Hindu performs this effect out-of-doors, but the Occidental Magician usually performs inside and must arrange for sufficient swinging room.

You might try swinging the pole around your head instead of revolving your whole body.

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Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

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