11 tips from a 19th century magic book

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Magic books have a long history, from The Hocus Pocus Junior (1635) to 101 magic tricks (2016). And while some are classics, many of the older books seem very strange to our modern eyes. Take for example, The magician’s own book, or all the art of conjuring. Written by George Arnold and published in the 1800s, it claims to be a collection of fun filled magic tricks, illusions and unanswered questions for 1,001 evenings. Here are 11 fun, delicious, and weird tips from the book.

1. “The impossible omelette”

Looking for a trick to mess around with your chef friends? Well, this can be the one for you. For this simple trick, you only need the ingredients to make an omelet: eggs, butter, milk, etc. However, it is important that you boil the eggs incredibly hard beforehand. Then bet your friend that he can’t make an omelet with the ingredients you gave him. You will win on a technical point, but you could also lose a friend.

2. “An omelet cooked in a hat, over the flame of a candle”

Surprise your friends by making an omelet using only a hat and a candle as kitchen utensils. The first thing you will need is a large hat, preferably a large one. Then you will need four empty eggs (emptied “by being sucked into a small opening”, Arnold Remarks), a whole egg and an already cooked omelet.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, place the fully cooked omelet in the bottom of the hat, then call your friends. Keep the hat high (so they can’t see the bottom), then start cracking the fake eggs in the hat. What is the real egg for, you will ask? To prevent those you are trying to deceive from knowing that the other eggs are empty: “The operator should, as if by accident, drop a full egg on the table, which, by breaking, induces the belief that the others are also empty. full. “Place the hat on a lighted candle for a few minutes, then take out the hot omelet. Hopefully no one will ask you to lower your hat so they can peek inside.

3. “The card found in the second riddle”

Arnold wrote it’sseveral tips can be played successfully out of sheer daring. I once amazed a whole group by holding a deck of cards over my head and naming each one. The point was that I was standing exactly in front of a large mirror, in which the cards were reflected, while the spectators, turning their backs to the mirror, did not suspect a thing. : Let someone draw a card from a deck. Have them look at it, then have the person put the card back on top of the deck and place the cards behind your back. Shuffle all the cards except the top one, then put the cards back in front. Ask the person if the bottom card is their card (which you know it isn’t) and when they say no, pretend to be bored and shuffle again, this time making sure to move the card from the top to the bottom of the deck.

4. “The magnetized cane”

Although Arnold has an entire section in The magician’s own book in which he explains how magnets can be used in magic tricks, you don’t really need them to this trick, despite its name. what do you will the need is horsehair (probably not something you have at home) or black silk thread about two feet long, plus two angled hooks the same color as the thread. Tie each end of the yarn to one of the hooks, then hook them to the back of your pants. Then sit on a chair and place a dark colored cane on the inner part of the wire. Now, “with a simple movement of the legs, you can make the cane dance and perform a wide variety of fantastic movements,” writes Arnold. But before that, be sure to announce that you are going to magnetize the cane, and remember to move your hands “like magnetism teachers do,” so that “the movement of the legs is not noticed.”

5. “Three jealous husbands”

We assume that a puzzle is actually a mind trick, and this book has a ton of them (some of which involve math). Ask your audience to solve this issue: There are three jealous husbands and their three wives. They all have to go across the river, but the boat can only carry two people at a time. How can all six of the six cross the river without having any of the women alone with the men who are not her husbands? Ignoring the obvious sexism (this book was written in the 1800s, after all), the solution is: —B and his wife come back, A and B come through — C’s wife comes back, and A and B’s wives come through— then C comes back for his wife. ”Who says puzzles without math can’t hurt your head as much as those that do?

6. “The Erratic Egg”

We don’t know why Arnold included so many tips involving eggs, maybe because eggs are a household item and easy to get? In any case, to perform this illusion, you will have to take out the old egg carton again. Take an egg and a few wine glasses. Place the wine glasses directly next to each other, then place the egg in one of the glasses. Then, “intelligently blow on one side of the egg and it will jump into the next glass; repeat this and it will jump again. That’s it, that’s the trick. It seems unlikely that this will work with a wine glass large enough that the egg sinks to the bottom (so … most wine glasses these days). Good luck with this one!

7. “The juggler’s joke”

We will assume that this is the kind of trick you play on someone when they annoy you. Put a small ball in each of your hands. With your arms as wide apart as possible, tell your audience that you can put both balls in whatever hand they choose without bringing your hands closer to each other. Then “all you have to do is put one of the balls down on a table, turn around and pick it up with your other hand,” writes Arnold. “The two balls will thus be in one of your hands, without this one approaching the other, pleasantly to your promise.”

8. “The Fish and Ink Tour”

Arnold is calling this trick “a first-rate illusion”, and it’s quite complicated: you need a vase lined with silk, a ladle with a hollow handle with black ink in it, water and goldfish. Tell your guests that the vase is filled with ink; to prove it to them, dip your ladle in the vase and pour the ink it contains on the table. Then place your handkerchief on the vase; whisper a few magic words if you like, then remove the handkerchief making sure to grab the black silk inside the vase as well. Removing the silk will reveal goldfish swimming in the water (the force of which had held the silk in place).

9. “Light under water”

Some of these tips may be incomplete, or maybe the biggest tip is that Arnold makes us believe these tips are real. This tip claims that if you rub two lumps of fine lumpy sugar in the dark, you can produce a bright electric light. We have tried this just to see, and we can report that it is not accurate at all. According to Arnold, “The same effect, but to a more intense degree, can be produced with two pieces of flint or quartz, with white quartz being the best for this purpose. The same effect can also be observed by rubbing the pieces of quartz. together , submarine. “

10. “The missing half-dime”

If your grandfather took coins out from behind your ear, this trick could have been something he would have appreciated. This requires the use of a half dime, which is no longer in circulation, but it will probably work just fine with a regular dime. Put wax on the nail of your middle finger and place a penny in that same hand. When you make a fist, the dime sticks to the wax; when you open your hand, it will appear to have disappeared from your hand. (Just make sure you don’t turn your hand, lest they see the dime stuck to your nail.)

11. “The double meaning”

Arnold said that the aim of many of his illusions was that “onlookers should never be able to say, ‘Ah! the trick lies in the box; he doesn’t dare show it to us! ‘”Some of his tricks were, therefore, to deflect the expectations of his audience. This one is simple: place a filled glass under a hat and indicate, “I will undertake to drink alcohol under this hat, and yet I will not touch the hat.” Get under the table making noises as if you are drinking a glass and knock on the table three times. Come out from under the table and have someone lift the hat to see if you’ve had the drink. When they hatch, grab the glass, take a sip or two, and say: “I have fulfilled my promise. You are all witnesses that I did not touch the hat. “


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