Magic Trick: To Appear to Tie a Knot that will not Draw Tight

This feat is also exceedingly diverting. The performer, apparently, goes through all the necessary formulæ for forming a knot; but, lo! when the ends are pulled out, no knot is seen. There are three ways of doing this. One is to pass one end behind the other, instead of through the loop, as usual, which must apparently be done. To do this neatly, one end must be held in each hand, the handkerchief twisted sharply up, and the hands then brought quickly together, which will cause a coil of about two turns to be formed. Pass the right end quickly round the back of the left, and then draw out both, as if tightening the knot. As you pull, the coil will bunch in the middle, as if a knot were really there, and increased tension will pull it out quite straight. The second method is thus performed: Lay one end of the handkerchief across the right hand, the major portion of it being on the outside, and the short end held down by the little finger only. With the left hand, take the hanging end, and, bringing it round on the inside, lay it over the other. Pass the left hand through the loop thus formed, take with it the uppermost end, and draw it through; but, just as you pull the two ends out straight, slip the thumb of the right hand under the inside bend of the lower end, and hold it between the finger and thumb. In the third method, commence by taking one end of the handkerchief in either hand. Pass the right hand over to the left side, in front of the left arm, which is kept perfectly still in front of the body, so that the handkerchief hangs on the left forearm in the shape of a loop. The second end must now be placed in the left hand, which thus detains both for the time being. Pass the right hand, now free, through the loop from the inside, and, reaching up with it, let it grasp its original end just placed in the left hand, and pull it through. This must be done with great deliberation, as the beauty of the sleight rests in the extreme slowness with which it can be executed, the secret lying, not in any quickness of fingers, but in the fact that the handkerchief ends are never looped one over the other, as would be the case if the right hand were passed through the loop from the outside, which the learner may at once discover by experiment. In pulling the end out, as though tying the knot, if it be retarded by the left thumb, a more natural appearance is given. This method is to be preferred to the foregoing, which, however, are useful as changes.

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