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Loyal user
Southern Arizona
242 Posts

Profile of Barrett_James
Even if you 'dont do rope tricks', the Professors Nightmare is nearly self-working, takes up such a small amount of pocket space and just ABSOLUTELY KILLS your audiences that it should be in your working/performing line up because its just toooo strong a trick not to. With so many clever presentational hooks and the tricks own ability to fit anywhere in your program (i actually use it during card tricks) its just a classic of magic that SHOULD be performed by all magi.

Um, OK, off my soapbox now, sorry.


Barrett James
"...let us now rejoin our foolish friends and commence the book properly." G.H.
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New user
cherokee, tx
63 Posts

Profile of indysmagic
After years of neglecting this piece, I have added it to a show I am doing in Taiwan called "The Magic of English". I use it as a game. The two assistants are competing against me for prizes.

The three different ropes are shown and then bunched up in my hands with only 3 ends sticking out. The two kids get to pick an end. The long rope wins 1st prize, the middle length wins 2nd, and the short rope gets nothing. I get what ever is left just to be "fair".

The girl gets the middle rope, the boy then gets to choose from either of the two remaining ends that are sticking out. When he finally decides on one end and pulls it out, he realizes that he was set up because both ends of the rope that were stidking up belonged to the short piece.

Of course, this is not fair, so I make it fair by making them all the same length.

I then give each person one end of each of the now equal pieces. On three, we lift the ropes up- I release them and am stuck with the short piece.

The kids love to see me get what is coming to me in the end.
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Eternal Order
Northern California
13411 Posts

Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
For those that like ropes and are looking for something different to do, check out Mac King's Rope routine. Has some nice spectator interaction.

The interaction (specky on stage) is important to me and missing from most rope tricks. Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
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Inner circle
1754 Posts

Profile of wally
Whats the size of the ropes for unequal ropes, please pm,
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
18558 Posts

Profile of Pete Biro
Buy the trick and find out. ARgh... I can't believe people in magic with hundreds of posts don't know or have not heard of one of the classics.

There are a lot of ripoff versions and variations out there, but my suggestion is get the original and DEVISE YOUR OWN HANDLING ROUTINES AND IDEAS.

Don't be sheep.
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Inner circle
Yorba Linda, CA
3469 Posts

Profile of S2000magician
On 2006-01-19 22:40, magicbob116 wrote:
On 2006-01-18 13:08, S2000magician wrote:
I do it both ways:

different lengths -> same length -> different lengths, and

same length -> different lengths -> same length

The latter is a staple of my stage act.

How do you end with all three the same length? Other than just putting them away?

different -> same -> different allows you to toss the ropes to the audience or whatever at the end to show they are just ordinary ropes.

I just put them away.

Even when I do different -> same -> different I don't toss the ropes to the audience; the ropes are inspected at the beginning, so there's nothing to prove.

When I do same -> different -> same I start with a single piece of rope; the audience watches me cut it into three equal lengths; again, there's nothing to prove.
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Elite user
455 Posts

Profile of mitchb2
LOL! I was trying to find a source for this trick.
Turns out that during my initial "collection/spending spree" phase of magic, I at some point bought some magician's rope.

I just spotted the unopened package on my shelf.
It has instructions for PN. Unfortunately "Refer to Figure 1" should read "refer to unintelligible black blob on right.
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Orlando Floirda USA
518 Posts

Profile of zimsalabim
Ok Pete I actually have an original set of instructions for the professors nightmare put out by Gene Gordon. I would like to know where one would ge an original today. Lets face it its been knocked off so many times you can't count it anymore. I love the this trick and still use the same story Gene sold with it all those years ago. Mgic Ian has an interesting slant on it where he "back Palms" the rope. Quite clever in fact.

Joe Zimmer

"The Second Greatest Magician in the World"

Who is the Greatest? Everybody else! Borrowed with respect from the late Great Eddie Fechter Owner of the Forks Hotel


Orlando Florida
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Inner circle
1130 Posts

Profile of PaulGreen
There is a fantastic article on The Prof.'s Nightmare in the March, 2008 issue of THE LINKING RING. It discusses the history of the trick. I found it fascinating.

Enjoy the search!


Paul Green
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Inner circle
1152 Posts

Profile of Corbett
I've been doing a routine similar to Paul's (after watching In the Trenches) that I love. Just the basic cut and restored rope, followed by Professor's Nightmare. One naturally leads into the other, because after restoring the cut rope a few times, you cut the rope intentionally into 3 equal pieces. No big deal from the audiences perspective, then the lengths start changing (back and forth). Thanks for the inspiration Paul.

Interestingly enough, this was just one piece of my larger show that I did over the Christmas holiday. I presented what I thought were a number of really strong routines, and for some reason, all anyone wanted to talk about afterwards were "the ropes." I guess the classics are classics for a reason. Lay people love this routine!
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Inner circle
1117 Posts

Profile of marty.sasaki
Whit Hayden's Mongolian Pop Knot, a great routine starts with a cut and restored, then the professor's nightmare, then finishing with a nice cut and restored.
Marty Sasaki
Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Standard disclaimer: I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys occasionally mystifying friends and family, so my opinions should be viewed with this in mind.
Michael Bilkis
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Special user
728 Posts

Profile of Michael Bilkis
I have been performing Slydini's take on this classic for years in my parlor/stage act. Start with one rope and cut it up. At the end, I throw the three unequal ropes out into the audience. I am currently working on Fiber Optics.

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566 Posts

Profile of IanKendall
Apparantly the Professor's Nightmare was being buried next to Marlo...

Brownie points for the first to cite the source of that gag Smile

Take care, Ian
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