Magic Trick: A Silk Handkerchief Placed in a Cornucopia Disappears, and is Found Tied Around a Candle
A candle and candlestick, entirely without preparation, are shown for examination, and, afterward, the candle is placed in the candlestick, which is stood upon a table.
A large handkerchief is then thrown over the candle. A piece of thin wrapping paper, in size about fifteen by twenty inches, is twisted into a cornucopia; a small red silk handkerchief is placed over one end of the performer's wand and is pushed into the cornucopia, which is then closed, and handed to one of the audience to hold, with the request that he assists in the trick.
A pistol is fired and when the assistant is asked to tear open the cornucopia, he finds, to his surprise, that it is empty. The large handkerchief is taken off the candle, and the missing handkerchief is seen to be tied round the candle.
For this novel trick the following "properties" are needed:
An unprepared candle.
A candlestick, also unprepared.
A small pin.
Two red silk handkerchiefs, each about fourteen inches square. Exactly in the center of one of these is sewed a little patch of the same silk, about the size of a quarter-dollar.
A piece of brass tubing, one and an eighth inches long, that fits easily over the candle. It is covered on the outside with a piece of the same silk as the red handkerchiefs. Around this tubing is tied the handkerchief that has no patch on it.
A piece of thin wrapping paper, fifteen by twenty inches large.
A wand, that consists of two parts; one part is a piece of thin brass tubing, nine-sixteenths of an inch in diameter and about sixteen inches long, one end of which is closed. The other part is a heavy, stiff wire, wound around with black tape; at the top is a small piece of wood, painted black; at the bottom, the wire is fitted into a pear-shaped piece of brass, that goes into a piece of brass tubing, three-quarters of an inch long, the same as used for the first part of the wand. This tubing is closed at the lower end. When the wire is placed inside the long tube, and the whole is pushed close, it resembles an ordinary wand. See Fig. 115. Every part of it is black, the outside of a mat or dull color.
Fig. 115 No. 1 is the wand complete. No. 2 is the long piece of tubing which forms the outside. No. 3 is the wire that goes inside No. 2.
On one side of the candle, at about the center, is stuck the pin,. so that it projects about a quarter of an inch. Around the silk-covered piece of tubing is tied the red handkerchief, as seen in Fig. 116. The loose ends are brought up and tucked inside the tubing at the top, as shown in Fig. 116. The candle and candlestick, together with the wand, the piece of paper, the red silk handkerchief, with the patch, and the large handkerchief, that is to cover the candle are on a table. Behind the latter and hidden by it is the prepared piece of tubing. This large handkerchief ought to be about eighteen inches square, and of thin green silk with a colored pattern running through it. A white handkerchief is apt to show something of the red handkerchief around the candle, but with the green it is invisible.
To begin the trick, the performer shows the candlestick and the candle, without allowing them to be handled, being careful to hide the pin. Then he puts the candle in the candlestick, which he places on a table.
Picking up the green handkerchief, he simultaneously palms the prepared tubing in his right hand. The large handkerchief is shown, front and back, and is then thrown over the candle. In doing this the performer's thumbs are about six inches apart and are on top of the handkerchief, with the fingers underneath. See Fig. 117. Under cover of the handkerchief, he seizes the prepared tubing, in the right palm, with the first and third fingers of the left hand, his right hand fingers helping him to hold it. He is careful to keep the tubing erect, with the part into which the ends of the red handkerchief are tucked at the top. As he covers the candle, he slips the tubing over it. See Fig. 118. The ends of the tucked-in in handkerchief are thus pushed out and freed, and the tubing slides down of its own weight, until its lower edge rests on the pin. Then he twists the paper into a cornucopia; when properly made it should be eighteen or twenty inches long, with the open end about four inches in diameter. He turns up the lower end a few inches.
Fig. 117 Showing the tubing held between the fingers, with the ends of the handkerchief projecting at the top.
Fig. 118 Showing how the piece of tubing is held when about to slip it over the candle.
Picking up the wand, he rattles it inside the cornucopia, as if to show that it is empty. As he does this, his left hand takes hold, from the outside of the cornucopia, of the lower end of the wand, so that it will remain inside, when the outer part of the wand is pulled out. So that the two parts may separate easily, the fake end may be drawn out a trifle beforehand, and, as the whole wand is black, that will not be noticed.
The performer lays the cornucopia on the table and as he places it with the top toward the audience, the fake is not seen.
Picking up the red handkerchief, he lays the patch on the open end of the wand and holds it in place with his right hand. Taking the cornucopia in his left hand, he pushes the handkerchief into it in such a way that the end of the wire fake will enter the open end of the wand. He presses the wand down a little way, which causes the handkerchief to enter the tubing, and at the same moment he releases his hold of the handkerchief. It will now expand and fill the top part of the cornucopia, completely concealing the wire fake. At this point the open side of the cornucopia should be toward the audience. The performer's left hand, which is holding the lower end of the cornucopia and keeps the wire fake in position, is far away from his body. He presses the wand down slowly, thus working the handkerchief further into it, and, finally, turns the open end of the cornucopia upward and presses the wand down all the way, close on the fake. As the handkerchief is now out of sight, he removes the wand from the cornucopia, which he closes, by folding over the top, and gives to some one to hold.
Then follows the firing of the pistol, as already described, the tearing apart of the cornucopia, and the revealing of the red handkerchief, apparently tied around the candle, as shown in Fig. 119.
The effect of the trick may be heightened, by allowing the audience, at the beginning of the trick, to select a handkerchief from a lot of four, each of a different color. The selection is made by the cast of a die, as explained here.
A correspondent of L'Illusioniste, M. Caroly's interesting little magazine, suggests an improvement on the "wand" used in his trick, which commends itself by its simplicity. It consists of a tube of black hard rubber, or other material, of the size of the ordinary wand used by the conjurer, with ivory or silver-plated ferrules or caps at the ends, so that it may look as much like a wand as possible. One ferrule is closed at the end, the other is open, giving free access to the interior of the tube. In the center of the closed end is a tiny hole, through which runs a fine, black silk thread about one yard and a half in length, leaving equal lengths at each end of the tube. The end of the silk at the closed end of the wand is fastened to the front edge of the table; the other end is tied to the center of the handkerchief that is to disappear. Both handkerchief and tube lie on the table. When the cornucopia is formed, the performer standing back of the table drops the handkerchief into it, so all may see it, and as if to push it further in he picks up the wand and inserts the open end in the mouth of the cornucopia. Then holding it up with one hand and the wand with the other he walks backward a step or two, when the end of the thread that is fastened to the table will, naturally draw the handkerchief up into the tube.