Magic Trick: The Slate Trick

Everyone will naturally wish to know how this is done. "Dr." Slade, as Mr. Maskelyne correctly showed in open court, produced his "spirit writings" on the slate by means of a thimble-shaped instrument, to which were attached a piece of pencil and a length of elastic. The elastic was fastened to the brace, or elsewhere, and caused the disappearance of the thimble and pencil up the performer's sleeve when they were no longer required. Under the table was a little ledge which supported the slate whilst the hand, which was supposed to be performing that action, was busily engaged in scribbling upon the bottom of the slate, the thimble arrangement enabling one of the fingers to execute certain letters in a very poor and scarcely legible fashion. The bad writing was supposed to look more mysterious; but Slade would have written more legibly had circumstances permitted it. Anyone may try this method, but as a conjuring trick it is poor. The trick as now sold is a slate with an extra or false interior. The answer that is to be given is written upon the genuine slate, and the false side then put on. The slate is shown casually round without leaving the performer's hands, and a question is then written upon one side of the slate, which is waved about, and an opportunity seized for allowing the false side to drop out behind the table, or at any other convenient place, and the answer is then exhibited. If the inside of the false slate have blotting paper pasted upon it, and a blotting pad be upon the table used whilst the trick is being performed, it may be allowed to drop out upon the table without any attempt at concealment.

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