Magic Trick: The Spirit Bouquet

One of the most usual, and at the same time most shallow, of deceptions practised by the "spiritualist," is that of the production of flowers. The gas is (of course) lowered, a few irreverencies gone through, and, on the room being re-illuminated, lo and behold, the table and floor have flowers lying upon them! As, of course, the manifestors of these wonders could not by any possible means have the flowers in their pockets on entering the room—even if they thought of practising such a deception!—the spectators are struck with wonder. However, I shall teach the reader how to perform an even greater marvel, by causing a bouquet to glide through the air into his hand without the assistance of total or partial darkness. The bouquet can be either real or artificial—a real one, certainly, for choice. Take a piece of the finest iron wire procurable (jewellers' "binding" wire is the proper article), about 6in. in length, and tie it firmly round the stalks of the flowers, just below the buds. The other end tie round the centre flower, which is always a little higher than the others, and you will thus have a loop about 4in. in length. If the centre flower be not higher than the rest, then re-arrange the bouquet, and make it so. It is essential to have one end of the wire tied on considerably higher than the other, in order that the bouquet may hang properly. If both ends were tied round the main body of the stalks, the bouquet would hang upside down, whereas it should, when suspended by the loop, be almost upright, or, at least, only slightly on one side. From the most convenient position behind the scenes, which will depend entirely upon circumstances connected with the arrangement of the stage, have another piece of fine wire hanging, with a loop made in it at one end long enough to reach the centre of the stage. The spot usually the best for attaching this wire is at the side, as near the audience as possible. On a regular stage the "flies" are most suitable, but in the drawing-room, where there are usually folding doors and curtains (without them this trick cannot well be managed), the side must be chosen. When the trick is about to be performed, the bouquet must be put on the wire by means of the loop, and an assistant in concealment mounts a pair of steps with it and holds it in readiness. The end of the wire is so disposed that the performer can without difficulty insert his little finger in the loop thereon, under pretence, say, of shifting a chair. He then retires towards the centre of the room until he feels that the wire is drawn perfectly tight, and then proceeds to speak of the wonderful productions by humbugs, done in the dark, and finally finishes up by saying that he has only to extend his hand in the air to find something in it. With the hand that is not holding the wire he makes a grasp in the air, and at the same moment opens the other hand, taking care to pull the wire quite tight. The attention of the audience is naturally momentarily attracted towards the hand making the greatest movement, and at this very instant the assistant starts the bouquet down the wire. The performer, when the bouquet has reached his hand, which it will do with remarkable swiftness, exclaims, "Ah! no; here it is, see, in this hand;" and, ridding his finger of the wire, brings the bouquet forward, of course keeping the loop upon it from view. When the performer's actions have been well contrived and carried out, the bouquet is not seen until it is almost in the performer's hands; but, under less fortuitous circumstances, which are all I bargain for myself, the trick is wonderfully successful. The fact of a small portion of the aerial journey of the bouquet being observed is not by any means undesirable, the only thing to be kept from the view of the spectator being the commencement of it. The communicating wire must be fixed some distance behind, so that the bouquet is descending at full speed by the time it comes into possible view. The reader will see that the principle is so simple, as to be almost commonplace, but he must not deride it on this account. The most natural actions possible must be brought into play, and plenty of rehearsals will be required. The reason for having the loop of the wire upon the little finger is that the safe arrival of the bouquet is better ensured thereby. The little finger must be kept undermost, the hand being at an angle of forty-five degrees, with the wire lying across the palm. A great deal lies in the neatness with which the bouquet reaches the hand. There must be no bungling. Therefore I say, Rehearse.

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