Magic Trick: The Decanted Handkerchief

The performer comes forward with an empty decanter, which is examined, and then completely covered with a cloth and given to a spectator to hold. The performer takes a second decanter, and places in it a handkerchief, also previously examined, and stands upon the stage. At the word of command, the handkerchief vanishes suddenly from the second decanter, which is not covered, and, on the cloth being removed from the first decanter by a spectator, the handkerchief is found inside. This pretty trick is thus performed: Procure two toilet water-bottles — by courtesy called decanters—with as wide necks as possible; also two silk handkerchiefs, precisely similar. Scarlet is a serviceable colour for the purpose; and the handkerchiefs should be of very fine material, in order that they may be rolled up into a very small space, and not more than 15in. square—rather less, if anything. Behind the scenes the performer folds up one of the handkerchiefs small enough to be concealed under the fingers when they are holding the neck of the bottle. If three fingers are sufficient, so much the better; but even if four are used no uninitiated person would ever suspect that anything would be concealed in so audacious a manner, especially as not the least clue has been given by the performer as to what is to be subsequently performed. The bottle shown round, a cloth is produced and covered over it, the handkerchief concealed in the fingers being popped into the bottle during the process. As it should at once spread out, it is not advisable to "double" it up tightly in the act of folding, but rather to "bunch" it, as it will then spring open the more readily. The bottle should be completely wrapped up in the cloth, bottom and all, and the spectator into whose custody it is placed must be enjoined to place one hand on the top and another at the bottom. The performer now proceeds with his other bottle and the visible handkerchief. Around his left wrist he has attached a thick eyeglass cord, which passes up the sleeve, round the back, and down the right-hand sleeve, where it has a short hook attached. In order that it may be readily found, this hook should be fixed in the inside of the coat cuff. The performer shows round the handkerchief, leaving the second bottle on the table, and, as he turns to fetch that article, the hook is got down and fixed firmly into the centre of the handkerchief. It is then pushed down the neck of the bottle by the performer, the pushing down being conducted in such a way as to suggest the extreme difficulty of getting the handkerchief into the bottle. The wand may here be used with effect to ram it down. Standing with his right side towards the audience, the performer holds out the bottle, and announces his intention of causing the handkerchief to fly from it into the one held by a spectator, the holder being enjoined to keep a good watch, &c. At the word "three" (counting "one, two, three," slowly, always adds to the effect, by preparing for a climax), the performer thrusts out both hands to their fullest extent, when the handkerchief will fly out of the bottle up the right sleeve, its passage being shielded by the right hand, which must, of course, be disposed preliminarily so as to afford a free course to the handkerchief. If the performer, holding the bottle in the right hand, presented his left side to the company, many spectators might be able to see the handkerchief fly up the sleeve. With the right side towards them, they only see it disappear suddenly from the bottle. The length of the cord will require adjustment, and it should be as short as the conjuror can conveniently manage without cramping the movement of the arms. Some performers use a piece of stout elastic, which certainly has the property of causing a self-acting, rapid disappearance; but when once the hook is in the handkerchief, and the latter in the bottle, a constant hold must be kept on the elastic to prevent a premature flight, which would at once destroy the trick. The spectator holding the bottle is asked to remove the cloth and examine the bottle as much as he pleases, and the performer then hands the second bottle for examination, which has not been done before. A trick so very easy of management, and yet so effective, should be a favourite one with amateurs.

Fig. 45.

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