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Inner circle
Still learning, even though I've made
2532 Posts

Profile of BarryFernelius
This is an old classic of magic. It comes straight from the oldest magic book written in English, The Discovery of Witchcraft, by Reginald Scott, written in 1585. It’s very likely that the trick was invented at least a hundred years before Reginald Scott wrote about it.

Make sure that the cords are solid. And slide the beads off the cords. Make sure that the beads are just what they appear to be, with no trap doors, no mirrors, and no holes... OK, each bead has one hole in the middle, but the beads are solid, correct?

Reginald Scott describes the magic like this: A notable feate of fast or loose; namelie to pull three beadstones from off a cord, while you hold fast the ends thereof, without the removing of your hand. (Addressing a lady at the table) Open your hand. Now close your hand around the beads, and turn your hand over.

I will pull on the cords, the cords will penetrate through the beads, freeing the beads from the cord, an impossible feat of magic. Reginald Scott’s description of the procedure is so precise that magicians are still able to reproduce his magic over 400 years after the publication of his book. The book gives a great description of HOW the trick is done, but it curiously is silent about WHY the magician should be performing this miracle. I’d like to imagine that Reginald Scott used this trick to express a basic human need, the desire that a young man has for his lady.

The Bracelet (for Julia)
by Robert Herrick

WHY I tie (1) about thy wrist,
Julia, this silken twist;
For what other reason is 't
But to show thee how, in part,
Thou my pretty captive (2) art?
But thy bond-slave is my heart:
'Tis but silk that bindeth thee,
Knap the thread (3) and thou art free;
But 'tis otherwise with me:
—I am bound and fast bound, so (4)
That from thee I cannot go;
If I could, I would not so. (5)

No wonder this miracle never has gone out of style!

Stage Directions:
(1) Ties cord around lady’s wrist
(2) Smiles at lady with one upraised eyebrow
(3) Pulls cords, penetrating beads and hand
(4) Takes the lady’s hand with the left hand, and wraps cords around the joined hands with the right hand.
(5) Looks at lady with sincere admiration and love, pauses, unwraps cords, and assumes the ‘applause’ position
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
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San Diego, CA
1239 Posts

Profile of tuffnavyrn
Very nice and thanks for posting!
"That smart thing that somebody else said".
Tom Jorgenson
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Inner circle
4452 Posts

Profile of Tom Jorgenson
And should I tie thee fast to me
Your wandering heart would not roam free...
Until your soul, some grey-dawned day
should look to me and gently say
"Free me",
fly away.
We dance an invisible dance to music they cannot hear.
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