Magic Trick: Mesmerising a Dove

The apparent mesmerising of a dove makes, of itself, a capital effect, leading the audience to pay high respect to the necromantic powers of the conjuror. Also, it makes an admirable introduction to the vanish. The bird is taken in the right hand, outside the wings, and laid upon its back on the front edge of the table, so that the head just projects over. The beak is now taken in the left hand and the head turned backwards, as far as it will go. When held in that position for a few moments, the hands may be removed, when the bird will lie perfectly still. It will not always do this at the first, or even the second, attempt, but perseverance will always be rewarded with success. The performer must be as gentle as possible, and go slowly to work. We need not stay to discuss the reason for the singular phenomenon, it being sufficient for our purpose to know that the bird will lie still when placed in the proper position. The performer waves his hands over the bird, as though mesmerising it, and then he may take one of the feet in his fingers and actually raise the bird, by one of its legs, completely off the table. This will require the greatest delicacy and patience to accomplish, operations being discontinued the instant the bird shows any signs of fluttering. Anything approaching a jerk will rouse the bird, so the lift must be made as gradual and as imperceptible as possible. The reader will, doubtless, be able to appreciate the sensation that will be caused when, the mesmerising accomplished, the bird immediately afterwards vanishes from sight, no one knows whither.

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