Magic Trick: The Afghan Bands

This is a trick that many conjurers, professional as well as amateur, imagine they can do, but if they will read this they will find it a "somewhat different" explanation. The effect of the trick is that three strips of paper, each with its ends pinned together so as to form a ring, are cut around with a pair of scissors. The result is that, in one case, two rings are formed, as is to be expected. In the two other cases, however, although the procedure seems to be identically the same as with the first strip, the result is entirely different, for with the second strip only one ring is obtained instead of two rings, but twice the original size, and with the third strip there are two rings, but linked together.

These effects are obtained in the one case by giving the strip one twist before pinning the ends together, and in the second by giving it two twists. It is just here that the trouble begins, when giving the double twists. Many performers avoid this difficulty by having the strips pinned together before beginning the trick. This is one way, but it is not a good way. The twists may be made without attracting attention. For one twist the strip of paper is taken between the thumbs and forefingers, as shown in Fig. 187. Then the right hand is brought to the left in order to put the ends together, and as the hands approach the end in the right hand is turned so that the parts marked A A, in Fig. 188, are laid together. The left hand must not move. The ends are then pinned together or fixed with a "paper fastener." When this strip is cut in two, lengthwise, it will make one large ring, double the original size.

Fig. 187

Fig. 188

To make the two twists is even more simple. The strip is held as shown in Fig. 189. Keeping the left hand in the position shown, the right hand is brought up and the lower end is simply placed on the end A, held by the left hand, as in Fig. 190. The movement is so natural that no one will suspect any "hanky panky" work is going on. When the strip is cut, two rings, linked, will be seen. The third strip is simply brought together in the natural way, and when fastened and cut through lengthwise, two single loops will be the result. Strips cut from a newspaper answer admirably. They ought to be a yard long and an inch in width.

Fig. 189

Fig. 190

In presenting the trick the performer may begin by handing them to three different persons, and then taking them back fastens them and cuts them, as already described.

Index of Magic Tricks | Previous Trick: The Knot of Mystery | Next Trick: With Apologies to the Audience