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The Misers Dream


The above original conception of the author's has, he believes, been more extensively imitated and counterfeited than any other known Magical Act. In this chapter it is proposed first to give an outline of same, and then to explain all the different "sleights" necessary for its accomplishment, which the author desires to emphatically state were all, without exception, invented by himself some sixteen years ago. He mentions this fact for the information of those who may be in doubt as to the origin of the back palm.
The stage is devoid of any kind of furniture, with the exception of an ordinary property side table, which is totally unprepared. The performer enters and asks for the loan of a hat. Upon obtaining the necessary article it is placed crown downwards on the table. Professor now turns up his sleeves to the elbows, and his hands are shown to be quite empty back and front with the fingers WIDE APART. The hat is now taken (without the slightest suspicious movement) in the left hand. The right hand next makes a grab in the air, and there are two coins, which he places in the hat. This is repeated till about 20 coins have been caught, but during the whole time the back and front and fingers of right hand are shown to be absolutely empty, and not once do they approach the body. By way of variation, a coin is sometimes passed through the side of the hat, being unmistakably heard to fall within; or a half-dollar is thrown in the air, completely vanishing, and the hat held out (a second or two afterwards) to catch the coin, which is also heard to fall into the same. A coin is placed between tips of first and fourth fingers of right hand, and pushed against bottom of hat, whereupon it instantly vanishes into the interior, making itself heard as it mingles with the other coins. The right hand now catches a dozen or 20 coins at once, dropping them all into the hat. This is continued until an enormous number of half-dollars is collected. These are turned out on the table. One is now taken in the left hand and passed completely through one and then both knees, then passed from hand to hand. Now the audience is asked to name any number, which we will say is 15, whereupon the performer proceeds to catch one at a time the half-dollars on tip of his wand, immediately passing each one invisibly into right hand, where it makes its appearance between the first finger and thumb-this being continued until the whole 15 are produced. Six coins are now vanished and both hands shown empty, when the former are produced in a fan from the back of the left hand. In conclusion, after several other sleights hereinafter described, the performer gathers up all the coins on the table -somewhere about 40- makes the pass with this huge pile, when lo ! they have vanished, but are immediately reproduced in a shower from the bottom of the vest.
As the above depends chiefly on what is termed the "Continuous Front and Back Hand Palm," it is proposed to describe this in minute detail first. The object is to conceal a coin in the hand, yet at any moment showing back and front quite empty, extending the fingers and thumb as well., but immediately producing the coin when desired at the finger tips.
If the reader desires to excel in this particular sleight, he should first of all select a coin which best suits his fingers. The author always uses a half-dollar as being best adapted to the size of his hands. The smaller the coin used the more difficult to, successfully carry out the trick. It is therefore advisable, perhaps, to start with a larger coin, say a dollar, and follow this up gradually with smaller coins, until you find one which exactly suits the width of your fingers.
To commence the trick the coin is placed on the front of the hand, being gripped between the tips of the first and fourth fingers (see Fig. 1). You now draw down the two middle fingers until the points rest behind the coin at its lower end. If you now exert with these two fingers a slight pressure on the lower part of the coin it revolves between the first and fourth fingers (see Fig. 2), and, upon the performer now extending carefully the two middle fingers, these stretch out in front of the coin (see Fig. 3, which represents a back view) (which is now held in same position as at first, except that it is at the back instead of the front of the hand), the coin being quite invisible and appearing to have vanished. To cover this movement, which, of course, should be executed with lightning-like rapidity, the per former makes a short movement with the hand as if about to throw the coin away. The slight movement facilitates the deception to a great extent. Now, to make the coin reappear, the above movements are simply reversed. This novel movement should be acquired by both hands, which should perform it with equal freedom and ease. With considerable practice this can be accomplished with more than one coin. Fig. 4 shows the author's hand with six coins back-palmed.
The above is the original form in which the trick was invented by the author 16 years ago, but since then he has naturally made vast improvements in same, and the following is the correct manner in which he performed the "Continuous Front and Back Hand Palm" at the Palace Theater, London, in 1899, for six consecutive months. If the reader will take the trouble to compare other descriptions of this palm with the details herein given he will at once see the extent of the knowledge of the different writers who have compiled these "counterfeit" descriptions.
When the coin has been reversed to the back of the hand, as in Fig. 3, the little finger moves away from the coin, which is left gripped between the first and second fingers. The third and fourth fingers are now spread wide apart (see Fig. 5) to show there is nothing between them. The third finger moves up at the back of the hand behind the coin, which it pulls between it and second finger, where it remains gripped as in Fig. 6, enabling the performer to show the back of the hand, and demonstrate that there is nothing between first and second or third and fourth fingers. Now, the thumb pushes the coin through from the front of the hand to the back, still gripped between second and third fingers, enabling the front of the hand to be shown, with the first and fourth fingers extended as in Fig. 7. The little finger next comes up behind the hand and grips the coin in exactly the same way as the third finger did previously, enabling the first, second, and third fingers to be shown empty (see Fig. 8). The second finger now grasps the coin from the back, so that it is now held as before in Fig. 7, between. two middle fingers, again allowing performer to show there is nothing between first and second or third and fourth fingers. The coin is then picked up with the first finger and gripped between that and the second finger, as already seen in Fig. 5. Next, the fingers are bent round towards the palm, and with the assistance of the second and third fingers the coin is transfurred to the palm of the hand (see Fig. 9), ,thereby allowing the performer to show the back of the hand with all the fingers and thumb extended (see Fig. 10). It is now picked up with the two middle fingers, and replaced between
first and second fingers, being exactly the reverse of the previous move, enabling the front of the hand to be now shown. By next placing the third finger up behind the coin, the same can be placed at back of thumb (see Fig. 11), where it lies gripped in the fleshy part, so that the performer can now show front of hand empty, but with the fingers extended. The hand is now closed, the coin being allowed to drop in, and then opened, whereupon the coin is produced.
The author uses all of the above passes in his entertainment, and, of course, to work the Back and, Front Palm in an absolutely correct manner, a considerable amount of practice is necessary. However, to produce many brilliant effects it is only essential that the performer should be acquainted with one or two of the moves, but if the reader ever desires to become a strictly firstclass Coin Manipulator he should practice, practice, and keep on practicing until all the above sleights become second nature to him, and he can then defy even expert conjurers to tell where the coin is. All the above should be done with both hands as mentioned before, thereby enabling the performer to exhibit some combina tions that appear nothing short of supernatural. The author has devoted considerable space and time to the above description, but he believes it is in the best interests of the Magical Art for him to have done so, bearing in mind how professional and amateur Magicians are being deceived by productions compiled by unscrupulous parties purporting to expose his Act.
Having described the principal secret of this Act, the author will proceed to explain the Act itself and then the various additions.
Before going on the stage, the performer places 20 half-dollars in his right-hand waistcoat pocket, and 15 in his right-hand trousers pocket. A hat is borrowed and, while taking the same in, his left hand, the coins from the waistcoat are palmed in his right, and placed like a flash of lightning under the bent-over side of the rim on the outside of the hat (see Fig. 12), which is placed with the same hand crown downwards on the table. Now, if the coins have been placed neatly and properly on the rim, when the hat is turned over they will remain where you put them, but this is the most delicate part of the trick, as unless you are exceedingly careful some, or all, will fall as the hat is put on the table, and, in the words of a popular song, "There would be no show that night." With practice, however, this can be accomplished, A would-be author,' in "exposing" the above, not knowing how it was possible to place the coins on the rim of the. hat and then turn it over,has,in his egceeding cleverness, ignored this move altogether ! Yet, this is the most delicate and at the same time puzzling move of the performance. This ignorance is probably due to his "many years' experience!"
The performer now casually turns up his sleeves, and remarks, "With the permission of the ladies I will remove my cuffs, or rather turn them up to the elbows." The hat is now taken up with the left hand, the fingers of which get, hold of the coins under cover of the rim. The hat is next passed into the right hand to show the Wit empty, and the artist will find with practice it is quite easy to pass the coins with the hat from hand to hand. The hat is now taken by the edge nearest the audience, and, with right hand, turned' over so that the fingers of the left hand containing the "0 coins are brought into the inside of hat (see Fig. 13), in position for the money-catching. The right hand is now shown empty, and makes a grab in the air at an imaginary coin, immediately placing it (apparently) in the hat, where it is heard to fall, but, in reality, it is a coin dropped from the left hand. This is repeated, and, as the hand goes to the hat to make a pretence of dropping in a coin, two coins are quickly palmed in the right hand. You look in the air for more coins, and one of those palmed is now produced at the finger tips (the mode of which is described on page -), and visibly dropped into the hat. You now produce the second one, but, , instead of placing this in the hat, one is dropped from the left hand at the same moment that the right approaches the top of the hat, thereby inducing the audience to believe that the visible coin was really placed in the hat. This is repeated as often as desired, and, by means of the "Continuous Front and Back Hand Palm," before described, the right hand can at any time be shown apparently empty.
Additional effects are produced according to the fancy of the performer. The apparent passing of a coin through the bottom of the hat never fails to bring forth plenty of applause. This is accomplished by holding the coin in the manner depicted in Fig. 14. The back palm is now made (Fig. 15), one coin being at the same time dropped from the left hand into the hat, creating the necessary "jingle," and the illusion is perfect. A similar effect can be produced by holding the coin between the tips of the first three fingers and thumb and pretending to push it through the side of the hat. What really happens is that the coin is pushed by the hat down between the fingers (the back of the hand facing the audience) which hide it, one, of course, being dropped by the left hand to create the necessary deception. It is as well to pay particular attentin to these little moves, as they invariably create more furore than bigger and more difficult sleights.
A coin is now apparently thrown in the air, and caught in the hat a few seconds later. The coin is, of course, palmed in the act of throwing up the hand, and the hat is held out in the left hand as if waiting for the coin, which, at the right moment, is dropped from the left hand.
When the first load of coins is exhausted, the performer makes a bold move. He pretends to hear someone make a remark that he gets the coins from his pockets-"Which pocket?" he replies; "The left one?" and places his left hand into the pocket so as to suit the action to the word-"No, the right one?"-now placing his right hand into the pocket, which forthwith palms the 15 coins previously placed there."No, ladies and gentlemen, if I were to place my hands in my pockets you would all see me. Please, see that my hands do not approach the body." Meanwhile, he has got the palmed 15 coins on to the rim of the hat as explained at the commencement of this description. The hat is then placed, if desired, on the table, crown downward, and the hands shown perfectly empty. The same process as before is now repeated. If the above movements are executed with a certain amount of sang froid, and without appearing to be in a hurry to place the hands in your pockets, not one in a thousand would guess that you were "loading"-it being so barefaced a proceeding the audience never dream that you would be so bold as to deceive them in this decidedly simple yet effective manner.
Now, when this last lot of coins becomes exhausted, another ruse is resorted to by the performer. His right hand dives into the hat and rattles the coins to show they are real ones, at the same time letting them pour in a shower from the ' hand into the hat. He repeats this once or twice, and then palms, say, a dozen, which, of course, enables him to go on catching them singly (producing them at finger tips as described on page 28), or to make a grab in the air and produce the 12 in a fan (see Fig. 16), with the remark that "When I desire more than one at a time I make this move." The above can be repeated, if desired, but it will usually be found that 30 to 40 coins will take some time to "catch," provided the per-former is not unduly quick about it. This must be avoided, and the artist must go about his business in an easy manner, without any jumps or jerks so common with unfinished performers. To practice before a looking-glass is all very well, but before your friends is better, as they are thereby enabled to give you hints as to mistakes, etc., which it is impossible for you to see yourself in a glass.