Magic Trick: Permeable Plates

Following up the idea of the patent filter tumblers, you can mention that you notice that the host has also the last new plate. Hold up a plate to the light and say, "Yes, I can distinctly see through it." Laughter will, of course, ensue, and you will offer to prove your assertion. To do this, make up three bread-paste balls about the size of those used in the cup and ball trick, of which this one is, indeed, only a variety. You will have an extra one concealed in the fingers, of course. Now take two plates, one in each hand, upside down, and held in such a manner that the ball in the fingers is concealed. Place them on the table, about a foot apart, and, by opening the fingers, allow the concealed ball to remain under one plate. Vanish a ball as in the cups and balls, and find it under the plate, repeating the process with all three balls, the one concealed being dropped each time the plate is replaced after raising it to show the one just passed through it. Now say that it is as easy to perform the feat with another plate, and take up the second one in the hand containing the concealed ball. Supposing this to be, as it generally will be, the right hand, it will now be taking up the plate on your left. Cross the arms, and, with the left hand, take hold of the plate on your right hand, allowing the fingers to extend well beneath it. Call attention to the fact that under the left-hand plate there is nothing, whilst under the right-hand one there are three balls; and then place the left-hand plate upon the table, with concealed ball under it. Then command one ball from the right-hand plate to pass under the left-hand one. With the fingers seize one ball of the three, and raise both plates. Now bring back the arms to their original positions, in order that the left hand, which contains one ball concealed, may be brought to the single ball, which is supposed to have been transferred from the right-hand side. Replace both plates, allowing concealed ball to fall from the left hand, and take up another, in the fingers of the right hand. Command a ball to pass, and raise plates as before. Re-cross the arms, and repeat the operation, when all three balls will have apparently passed from one side to the other. Without crossing the hands this would not be possible, and the reason you give for so doing is to show that it does not matter which plate is used, both being equally permeable. The learner must bear in mind that in this, the second phase of the trick, the two plates are never relinquished simultaneously. The hand picking up a ball cannot quite quit all hold on the plate, or detection would ensue. The plate having a ball passed beneath it can be released for the time from the hand entirely. The ball remaining concealed at the end can be dropped in the lap under cover of the plate. It is always as well to have one's handkerchief lying carelessly in one's lap, as it comes in very useful for concealing small things. By taking some cork balls in his pocket, the conjuror will avoid the necessity for using balls made of bread.

Such occasions as the one I have now assumed are the ones favourable for the introduction of the previously mentioned tricks with sugar and knives; and, if the performer has taken my advice, he will be provided with his disc of glass for the performance of the glass of water trick, also previously described.

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