Magic (Ellis Stanyon)/Chapter 5
TRICKS WITH BALLS
Creation, Manipulation, Multiplication, and Annihilation of Billiard Balls.—For the series of tricks hereafter described, you will require two solid billiard balls, and a case to contain one of the balls, consisting of two hemispheres of thin spun brass hinged together. When closed this case will represent a solid ball, but when open and held in the hand with the thumb over the hinge, will appear as two balls. The balls, together with the case, should be enameled red. When about to present the trick, come forward with the case containing a solid ball in the left breast pocket, and the other solid ball under the left armpit.
Creation.—Pull up the right sleeve and then the left one, which gives you the opportunity of taking the ball in the right hand unperceived. You now execute what is known as the "Changeover Palm" to show both hands empty, and then produce the ball from the back of the right hand. This palm is made as follows: Having gotten the ball into the right hand draw attention to the left with the fingers of the right, showing it back and front. When doing this you will be standing with your right side toward the audience. Now make a sharp half turn to the right and show the right hand in the same manner. This you will be able to do, as when making the turn the palms of the hands very naturally pass over each other, and the ball is transferred from the palm of the right hand to that of the left.
Fig. 24.—Revolving Ball
The ball is now found on the back of the right hand.
Manipulation.—The amount of manipulation possible with a single ball is considerable, and limited only by the dexterity of the performer. The principles of sleight of hand as described in Chapter II. will, with few exceptions, be found equally adaptable to this branch of the mystic art. For the benefit, however, of those of my readers who have not hitherto made sleight of hand a study, I append a few examples.
1. Having obtained the ball from the back
Fig. 25.—Ball in Position on Right Hand of the right hand, place it between the two forefingers, (Fig. 24). Then twist the fingers round and round, which will cause the ball to revolve with them. This produces a very pleasing and puzzling effect, and is to all appearance a feat of dexterity. It requires, however, very little practice.
2. Close the right hand and place the ball on the top, (Fig. 25). From this position appear to take it in the left hand, really allowing it to sink down into the palm of the right, where it is retained. Vanish the ball from the left hand in the usual manner, and produce it from the left elbow.
3. Roll the ball between the palms of the hands as if you were trying to make it smaller. When the left hand is underneath, seem to close it over the ball, really palming it in the right hand. The left hand is now brought down rather smartly on the back of the head, and the ball produced from the mouth.
4. Place the ball between the teeth and, apparently, give it a smart rap with the right hand as if to force it into the mouth. The ball, however, is palmed in the right hand, and immediately taken from the back of the head. When producing the ball, pass it up the back and over the top of the head, and let it fall into the left hand.
5. Appear to take the ball from the left hand, as in "Le Tourniquet" with a coin. Then apparently pass it through the left knee, producing it from underneath.
6. Throw the ball several times from one hand to the other, and finally, when appearing to throw it into the right hand, palm it in the left. Vanish the ball; place the left hand to the nose; and let the ball fall into the right hand. To all appearances it actually comes from the nose.
7. Stand with the left side to the audience, and throw the ball into the air several times. At the third time palm it in the left hand; the effect being that the ball is vanished into thin air. Now perform the "Change-over Palm," described above, and find the ball at the back of the right knee.
8. Apparently transfer the ball from the right hand to the left, really palming it. Place the palm of the right hand (containing the ball) on the right breast, and thence extend it over in the direction of the left sleeve. In the act of doing this, the ball leaves the palm and is held between the forearm and the body; the hand, turned palm toward the audience, then pulls up the sleeve. You then blow on the left hand to vanish the ball, and show the hand empty.
To regain possession of the ball, all that is necessary is to reverse the motion of the arm, when the ball will find its way into the palm of the hand, and can be produced as fancy suggests.
If the ball is not produced, the above forms an excellent final vanish to any billiard-ball trick.
If used as a vanish, after having regained possession of the ball, you stand with the hands one on each lappet of the coat, bow, and retire.
This pass, which I have found practical in every way, was given to me by Mr. George Newman, a very clever amateur conjurer.
The following explanations will to some extent be given in the "vernacular," it being assumed that the student has become familiar with the various passes.
Multiplication.—You must now obtain possession of the trick ball, which can be done by means of the following ruse. Appear to place the ball in the left hand, vanish, and take it from the left breast pocket. In doing so you take out the trick ball, leaving the solid one behind.
For two balls.—Take the trick ball in the left hand, and, waving the hand up and down, open the shell, placing the thumb over the joint, when you will appear to have two balls in the left hand. To show these as two solid balls, one in each hand, take the ball out of the case, which forthwith close. This can easily be done under cover of the right hand. Draw attention to the ball in the left hand, and remark, "One, and this one" (ball in right hand) "make two." As you say this you appear to place the ball in the left hand, really opening the case to represent two balls, and palming the solid one in the right hand.
For three balls.—Produce the ball you have palmed from behind the left knee, and really place it with the two others (case open) in the left hand. Wave the left hand up and down, and under cover of the movement allow the solid ball to slip into the case. Then produce the ball previously left in the breast pocket, and you will seem to have passed a ball up your sleeve.
For four balls.—Draw attention to the two balls now in the left hand (case open, with a solid ball in one half) and remark, "Two, and this one" (ball in right hand) "make three." Saying which, you apparently place the ball in the left hand, really palming it as before, and dropping the ball out of the case under the cover of the right hand. You now find the palmed ball at the left elbow, and really place it with the other three in the left hand. You will now appear to hold four solid balls.
Annihilation.—Appear to take a ball in the right hand, really allowing one to fall into the case. Vanish this ball in the act of throwing it to the audience. You now actually take another solid ball in the right hand and exclaim, "I will vanish this one into thin air. Watch me." Actually throw the ball into the air several times, and while doing this lower the left hand, and drop the solid ball out of the case into the profonde, making a movement that the audience cannot fail to notice. Thinking they have caught you, some one is sure to remark, "I saw him put one in his pocket that time." To which you will reply, "Oh, no, I did not put any in my pocket. I would not deceive you in such a manner. Two and one" (the one in the right hand) "make three." You now really place the ball in the left hand.
Again appear to take a ball in the right hand, letting it fall into the case as before. Then vanish it in the act of apparently throwing it into the air. Wave the left hand up and down, and under cover of the movement close the case, which will dispose of the third ball.
Finally, make believe to take this last ball in the right hand, standing with your right side to the spectators. Instead of doing this, however, the case is opened, under cover of the right hand, and the solid ball extracted. The right hand is then closed over the ball so that it cannot be seen, and the left hand quietly places the case in the profonde. It is well to again let this movement be suspected. Then, looking at the right hand, remark: "I have now only to dispose of this last ball." At this point some one is almost sure to say, "Oh! but I saw you put it in your pocket." You will then cause considerable amusement to the spectators, and bring derision on the party with the voice, by showing the ball in the right hand.
To cause the disappearance of the last ball make use of the pass described under Example 8 (p. 97).
Billiard Balls and Basins.—For the purpose of this trick you will require two small basins and two tea plates. The plates are to act as covers for the basins. In addition to these paraphernalia you will require two india-rubber balls to match in size and color the ordinary billiard balls.
The effect of the illusion is as follows:—The two basins are shown empty, and each is covered with a plate. In the course of the preceding billiard-ball trick, or a portion of the same, two balls are vanished, afterward appearing in the basins.
To prepare for the trick, place one of the basins, containing one of the balls, on the table, and cover it with one of the plates. On the top of this plate place the other basin, containing the second ball, covering the same with the remaining plate.
When about to present the illusion, you take the top plate in the left hand, and the basin in the right, fingers inside and thumb out. This enables you to grasp the ball, and conceal it in the fingers, while holding the basin so that the inside can be inspected. Place the basin on the floor, retaining the ball in the fingers, and immediately take the plate in the right hand, which again conceals the ball. Show the left hand empty, also both sides of the plate. Then pass the plate back into the left hand, taking the ball with it, and show both sides of the right hand. Cover the basin wath the plate and in doing so secretly introduce the ball.
You must now go through the same movements with the other plate, ball, and basin, and the trick is practically finished. All that remains for you to do now is to vanish two balls and find them in the basins.
The india-rubber balls are essential for silence when dropped into the basin. Ordinary wooden balls would rattle and thus betray their presence.
Color-Changing Billiard Balls.—There is a very old trick similar to what I am about to describe, known as the "Chameleon Balls." In this form of the trick the ball is caused to change by palming on, or off, as occasion may require, half shells of different colors. I will now explain a method of producing a result analogous to the old trick, but brought about by entirely different means.
The necessary accessories are a red, a black, and a white billiard ball, all solid. Place the white ball in the profonde, and the black one in the pochette, on the left side. Having arrived at the point in Annihilation (p. 100) where all the balls have been disposed of with the exception of the last solid one, you throw this in the air as if to vanish it in that direction. While all eyes follow the ball in its upward flight you lower the left hand and take the white ball from the profonde, palming it. In doing this you would of course stand with the right side to the audience.
The Change to White.—Make a half turn to the right and take the red ball in the fingers of the left hand, in which you have the white ball palmed. Then show the right hand back and front. Now take the visible red ball in the fingers of the right hand, and, at the same instant, make the "Change-over Palm." This brings your right side again to the auditorium and enables you to show the left hand empty.
To execute the change you place the red ball in the fingers of the left hand, and then stroke it with the palm of the right; palming the red ball and leaving in place of it the white one. Again make the "Change-over Palm" showing the hands empty, with the exception of the white ball.
The Change to Black.—You take the ball in the right hand, and turning to the left bring it down rather smartly oh the table, to prove its solidity. This gives you the opportunity of dropping the red ball into the profonde and taking the black one from the pochette. To change the white ball to black you will proceed as in the previous change, disposing of the palmed white ball at the earliest opportunity, or it can be produced with good effect from the bottom of the trousers. Then lay both balls down on the table.
To appreciate and thoroughly understand the effect of the above, it is necessary to actually practice the various movements with the balls in front of a mirror.
The Diminishing Billiard Balls.—The trick under notice has for its effect the apparent diminution of an ordinary billiard ball, first to half its original size, secondly to one-quarter its original size, and finally to a very small ball, with which several amusing passes are made, and which afterward disappears entirely.
In this case a trick ball is used of a size equal to half that of the ordinary one, and hollowed
Fig. 26.—Trick Balls out so as to contain a solid ball of a diameter equal to half that of itself, (Fig. 26). The hollow ball must be so constructed that the small one pinches slightly into it, but can be instantly released by simply passing the ball of the thumb over it. A duplicate of this small ball should be placed in the right hand waistcoat pocket for use in the latter part of the trick.
The trick ball is placed in the left pochette, whence it is obtained and used according to the instructions given in the "Color-changing Balls." To produce the smallest size, hold the trick ball in the left hand, having previously loosened the small one, and in the act of stroking it with the right hand, palm off the hollow ball, and dispose of it as soon as possible.
With the small ball you now execute the pass as described under Example 4 on p. 96. Then actually place the ball in the mouth, pretend to swallow it, and produce the one from the vest pocket, which will appear to be the same.
You now seem to place the ball in the left hand, really palming it; then bring the left hand down with apparent force on the top of the head, showing the ball between the teeth. Here raise the right hand as if to take the ball from the mouth, but really push it back and show the palmed one. Then repeat the same pass, but this time actually let the ball fall from the mouth into the left hand, the right disposing of the palmed ball into the profonde.
I have seen a series of passes, including the above, performed with two eggs in place of the small balls, but unless the performer be endowed with a colossal cavity between the upper and lower jaws, I should not advise him to attempt this.
The Handkerchief Ball.—This forms a very good introduction to a billiard ball trick, all that is required being a ball of the usual size, hollowed out so as to take a handkerchief, with an opening one inch in diameter on the surface. This ball is suspended behind the top rail of a chair by means of a pin.
After performing any trick in which a handkerchief has been employed, carelessly throw it over the back of the chair while you roll up your sleeves. If you do not care to roll up the sleeves, perform any small trick before proceeding with the present one, otherwise it might be too palpable that the handkerchief was thrown over the chair for a purpose. Then take up the handkerchief (secretly securing the ball) and gradually work it into the ball, being careful to keep the ball out of sight as much as possible until the handkerchief has totally disappeared. Finally throw the ball into the air, which can safely be done providing it and the handkerchief are both of the same color, which would not admit of the hole being observed.
At this point, should you desire to proceed with a billiard ball trick, you can do so by changing the hollow ball for a solid one in the same manner that you changed the solid ball for the trick one in the "Multiplying Billiard Balls."
The Dissolving Billiard Ball.—This forms an excellent conclusion to a billiard ball trick. A glass tumbler three parts filled with water is given to a gentleman to hold. A ball is then covered with a handkerchief and given to the gentleman with a request that he will hold it over the glass and at the word "three" will allow it to fall into the water. This is done, and upon the handkerchief being removed from the tumbler, nothing remains but the fluid, which is perfectly transparent, the ball having apparently been dissolved therein.
The secret of this lies in the fact that the performer is provided with a half shell of clear glass. This shell is secretly slipped over the ball in the act of covering it with the handkerchief, and when handing it to the gentleman the solid ball is palmed away by the performer. The gentleman is not at all likely to discover that he holds only a half ball, as, being hampered with the glass of water, he is effectually prevented from making an examination.
It is well to be provided with a tumbler the bottom of which is shaped somewhat to fit the form of the shell, and ornamented slightly, but this latter feature is not absolutely necessary.
Fancy Sleight with a Small Ball.—A small ball is generally used for this pass, but it is applicable to any object that can be conveniently placed in the mouth. In effect it is as follows: A ball, for instance, is rubbed into the left elbow and passed thence up into the hand. The hand is then brought down rather smartly on the back of the head, the ball being immediately afterward taken from the mouth.
The sleight is thus executed: The performer takes the ball in his right hand and commences to rub it into his left elbow. At this point he apparently meets with an accident, dropping the ball on the floor. The dropping of the ball, however, apart from being an accident, is absolutely essential to the success of the illusion. After having picked up the ball and while still in a stooping position with his back toward the spectators, the performer quickly throws it into his mouth, immediately facing round and drawing attention to the right hand the fingers of which must seem to close round the object. The rubbing at the elbow is again commenced and the right hand eventually shown empty. The performer then makes a sign indicative that the ball has passed up into the left hand, which is then brought down with apparent force on the back of the head. The ball in the mouth is then revealed, when it will appear to have actually traveled to that position.
This sleight can very well be introduced at the close of the Diminishing Billiard Balls.
I am indebted to Mr. Ross Conyears, an exceedingly dexterous magician, for the above.
Rouge Et Noir.—This pretty trick consists of causing two balls, one red and one black, wrapped in pieces of paper and placed in borrowed hats, to change places at command. The diameter of the balls should be four and one-half inches.
The solution of the problem lies in the construction of the papers with which the balls are covered. They are arranged thus: Take two pieces of newspaper and paste them together all round the edges, having previously inserted between them a layer of red glazed paper of the same shade as the ball. The other one is prepared in exactly the same vvay, but contains a layer of black glazed paper to represent the black ball.
The two balls are now wrapped in the papers, care being taken to cover the red ball with the paper containing the black layer, and vice versa. After this has been done the performer feigns a slip, mixing up the packages, and thereby confusing the audience as to the relative positions of the balls. As if to satisfy them on this point he tears a small hole in the outer covering of one of the parcels, exposing say the layer of black paper. The parcel is then placed in the hat on the supposition that it contains the black ball.
The other package is now treated in the same manner, after which the supposed transposition of the balls will be easily understood.
Ball, Handkerchief, and Tumbler.—This is a very good combination trick, and as such will serve as an example for the arrangement of others. A billiard ball is placed in a small tumbler, which is in turn wrapped in a piece of newspaper and deposited in a borrowed hat. The performer then takes a small silk handkerchief and rolls it up in his hands, when it is seen to have become transformed into a billiard ball. The glass is then taken from the hat, and, on the paper being removed, is found to contain the handkerchief. The ball, handkerchief, and tumbler, together with the piece of paper, are then caused to vanish, one at a time, from the hands of the performer, who immediately afterward produces them from the hat.
The modus operandi is as follows:—A duplicate tumbler containing a handkerchief, and wrapped in paper, must be secretly introduced into the hat prior to the commencement of the trick. (See Hat Tricks.) The tumbler containing the ball and wrapped in paper is then placed in the hat. The performer now takes up a duplicate handkerchief, and under cover of the same the hollow ball already described. The handkerchief is worked into the ball, which is shown in due course, and laid on the table, opening downward. The duplicate tumbler is then removed from the hat, and found to contain the handkerchief. These articles, including the piece of paper, are then laid on the table by the side of the ball.
The performer now goes to the hat, and, under pretense of moving it further away, turns it over, thus proving, in conjurer's logic, that it is empty. This can easily be done by taking the hat fingers inside and thumb out, the fingers being inserted in the top of the tumbler. The performer then returns to the table and proceeds to dispose of the articles thereon.
The piece of paper rolled up, and the ball, are caused to vanish by any of the means already explained. To cause the disappearance of the glass you must be provided with a handkerchief, silk by preference, consisting of two handkerchiefs sewn together round the edges, in the centre of which is fixed a disk of cardboard of the same size as the top of the tumbler. The tumbler being covered with this handkerchief, the performer, as if to satisfy the spectators that it is still there, strikes it several times on the back of a chair, and under cover of the movement allows the glass to fall into the network servante. The handkerchief, however, owing to the presence of the disk, still appears to contain the glass, the ultimate disposal of which will now be readily understood.
In conclusion, the performer takes the handkerchief lying on the table and vanishes it by palming in the ordinary way; the right hand being immediately dived into the hat and the handkerchief produced. The other articles should be removed one at a time, not forgetting to crumple the paper into a ball before taking it out.