Monday, July 22, 2002

I mentioned the Magnetic Cards earlier and today I remembered an impromptu version that was described in The Magic Wand magazine many years ago, October 1925 to be exact. I hasten to add that I didn't read it the first time around. It's reproduced here with permission of Martin Breese, the copyright holder.

Writing of Cosmo, here is a curious card trick which he exploited one day in the MAGIC WAND Office. Taking a borrowed pack he dealt six cards, face downwards, in a row. The remainder of the pack he placed adjacent to the separate cards on the table. With the fingers of the right hand fully extended, he now brought the entire surface of the fingers (not the palm) in contact with the first card in the row, lifted the hand, and the card adhered. Quickly placing this card on the next, he lifted the hand as before; the second card adhered to the first, and so on, until the whole six had been thus raised and the entire stack transferred to the top of the pack. Under the guidance of Cosmo, we tried it - lifted two cards and failed at the third. "Ah," said our hypnotic exponent, in that mysterious manner of his, "you must make up your mind that you are going to do it." We duly "concentrated," and got up to four. This seems to be the rationale of the queer experiment. The hand must be a trifle moist; the problem of the first card is therefore quite simple. When this card is, instantly, applied to the second, the air is excluded from between the two cards to a greater extent than is the case between nether card and the tablecloth. As a result, the moderately good vacuum betwixt numbers one and two overcomes the poor vacuum between the card and tablecloth. The rule holds good throughout, but, as each card is lifted, the stack gets heavier. Clever, and nimble, is the wight who can transfer the whole six cards without mishap.

Clever indeed but four are easy enough. It would make a good prelude to a full Magnetic Cards (or Hypnotised Cards, if you prefer) demonstration. I still haven't worked out a way of accomplishing the Edward Victor effect previously described. Any ideas?

Incidentally the cover of this issue of The Magic Wand features a new illusion, The Whirling Wheel. A girl walks right through a large spinning wheel. It was the creation of Stanley Norton and Stuart Luciene and looks remarkably like those giant fan penetrations that illusionist have recently taken a shine to.