Magic Trick: Paper Tearing

The amateur conjurer of twenty-five years ago who was called upon to "do a trick" frequently responded by tearing up a sheet of cigarette-paper, rolling the pieces into a tiny ball, and then reproducing the sheet intact a few minutes later. This was done by substituting a whole piece that was concealed between the fingers, for the torn pieces, which, in turn, were hidden in the mouth when the performer pretended to wet his finger so as to open out the crumpled-up sheet.

The trick was almost forgotten, when it was revived a few years ago by a public performer, in a shape more suitable for stage presentation. Instead of a sheet of cigarette-paper a strip of red tissue-paper was used. This was about an inch in width and a yard or so in length. Baring his arms and opening wide his fingers, to show that nothing was concealed there, the performer in question tore the paper in two, then, folding the pieces together, he tore them in four, and so continued until no one piece was more than two and a half inches in length. These were gathered together, rolled up, and finally pulled out in one entire piece, as it was at first. At no time had the performer's hands come near his body.

How the man who revived this trick did it we cannot say, positively, for he never told us. We have heard that he used what is known as a "hold out," a delicately constructed steel lazy-tongs which, concealed in the sleeve, enables the man who cheats at cards to introduce a desired card into the hand or take out an undesirable one.

It is worked by a lever controlled by the one who uses it and is an expensive affair. We have never tried this method, and cannot answer for it, but there is a way of doing the trick that we can recommend.

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