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A thumb tip is a magician's prop designed to fit over and appear to be the magician's thumb used for vanishing, producing, or switching small objects. A classic effect is to have a silk handkerchief or other small object pressed into the top of the left fist. After pushing it well in with the right thumb, the left fist is opened to show the silk has disappeared. Alternatively, a lit cigarette, liquid, salt or other small objects can be made to disappear in a similar manner.
Magic, along with its subgenres of, and sometimes referred to as illusion, stage magic or close up magic is a performing art in which audiences are entertained by staged tricks or illusions of seemingly impossible feats using natural means. It is to be distinguished from paranormal magic which are effects claimed to be created through supernatural means. It is one of the oldest performing arts in the world.
A handkerchief is a form of a kerchief or bandanna, typically a hemmed square of thin fabric or paper which can be carried in the pocket or handbag, and which is intended for personal hygiene purposes such as wiping one's hands or face, or blowing one's nose. A handkerchief is also sometimes used as a purely decorative accessory in a suit pocket, it is then called a pocket square. It is also an important accessory in many folkdances in many regions like the Balkans and the Middle East; an example of a folkdance using handkerchiefs is Kalamatianos.
A similar effect would be to cause a handkerchief or other small object to appear in the left fist after previously showing it empty. The right hand approaches the left and after a brief pause pulls out the silk handkerchief bit by bit from the fist.
These appearances and disappearances are achieved by a small flesh-colored imitation thumb tip, usually made of plastic, rubber or painted metal, which fits loosely over the thumb. Space exists between the thumb and the tip into which a small object can be concealed.
For the vanish, the tip is already in the left fist. The handkerchief or cigarette is pressed into the tip with the fingers and then finally the right thumb, which comes quickly out of the hand with the tip on, and the object inside, between the tip and thumb. While the audience is looking at the fist, the performer has chance to misdirect and dump the tip and contents in a pocket, perhaps under cover of putting the hand in the pocket to obtain some "magic dust" to sprinkle on the left fist. Alternatively, the tip may be kept on the thumb for an indeterminate amount of time, using techniques of misdirection and shading to keep it invisible to the audience.
In theatrical magic, misdirection is a form of deception in which the performer draws audience attention to one thing to distract it from another. Managing audience attention is the aim of all theater, and the foremost requirement of all magic acts. Whether the magic is of a "pocket trick" variety, or, a large stage production, misdirection is the central secret. The term describes either the effect or the sleight of hand or patter that creates it.
An appearance is achieved in a similar manner, but this time, the tip begins on the right thumb with the object already inside. To avoid detection, the tip may be kept down behind the right hand, or it may be pointed directly at the audience while the hand is in motion; done properly, it appears as though the right hand is empty. The left hand is openly shown to be empty, and is made into a fist. The right thumb is inserted into the left fist, while simultaneously the thumb and right fingers pull the concealed object out of the tip, which remains in the left fist. While the audience is misdirected looking at the object, the performer may turn to his left and dump the tip into his pocket leaving him clean.
Silk is often used because it will compress into a small space in the tip. Thumb tips and finger tips can be obtained at magic dealers. While the explanation is simple, the use and handling of the tip requires quite some skill and practice to perfect. Ultimately, the beauty of the illusion, as with most magic, will depend on the skill of the performer, both in the handling and as an actor.
Magicians have used modified thumb tips to accomplish different effects.
A thumb tip with a slit in the tip can be used like a dye tube to apparently change the color of a silk [ citation needed ]. In this case, a colored silk is preloaded into the tip. The magician steals the tip into the left fist, then pokes a white silk into the tip while alternately pulling the colored silk out from the other end.
A thumb tip with a small suction cup attached to the tip can be used to create the illusion of floating small objects [ citation needed ]. In this effect, the tip remains on the magician's thumb while the suction cup is affixed to a small object with a smooth surface (such as a light bulb or empty aluminum can), effectively attaching the object to the thumb. With the fingers spread, the thumb moves the object in such a way that it appears to be floating independently of the hands.
A thumb tip can be prepared with a wick protruding slightly from the end, soaked with lighter fluid [ citation needed ]. This enables the magician to "pick up" a flame, apparently with his or her fingers.
Mentalists may use a thumb tip with a piece of pencil lead at the end which can be used to secretly write on a piece of paper, similar to a swami gimmick [ citation needed ].
A thumb tip embedded with magnets can be utilized in performance to effect a magnetic compass to move.
The Balducci levitation is a levitation illusion first described by Ed Balducci. Its inventor is unknown. It is an impromptu magic trick, which has been popularized by many magicians, such as David Roth, Paul Harris, and David Blaine.
The cups and balls is a performance of magic with innumerable adaptations. A typical cups and balls routine includes many of the most fundamental effects of magic: the balls can vanish, appear, transpose, reappear and transform. Basic skills, such as misdirection, manual dexterity, sleight of hand, and audience management are also essential to most cups and balls routines. As a result, mastery of the cups and balls is considered by many as the litmus test of a good magician. Magician John Mulholland wrote that Harry Houdini had expressed the opinion that no one could be considered an accomplished magician until he had mastered the cups and balls. Professor Hoffman called the cups and balls "the groundwork of all legerdemain".
Sleight of hand refers to fine motor skills when used by performing artists in different art forms to entertain or manipulate. It is closely associated with close-up magic, card magic, card flourishing and stealing.
Coin magic is the manipulating of coins to entertain audiences. Because coins are small, most coin tricks are considered close-up magic or table magic, as the audience must be close to the performer to see the effects. Though stage conjurers generally do not use coin effects, coin magic is sometimes performed onstage using large coins. In a different type of performance setting, a close-up coin magician will use a large video projector so the audience can see the magic on a big screen. Coin magic is generally considered harder to master than other close-up techniques such as card magic, as it requires great skill and grace to perform convincingly, and this takes a lot of practice to acquire.
The King Rising levitation is a levitation illusion developed by and named after Corey King sold exclusively through Ellusionist. The King Rising was the first original magic effect to be released by the company, paving the way for many inventors to come. Some consider it to be a variation of the Balducci levitation.
Street magic falls into two genres; traditional street performance and guerrilla magic.
Card throwing is the art of throwing standard playing cards with great accuracy and/or force. It is performed both as part of stage magic shows and as a competitive physical feat among magicians, with official records existing for longest distance thrown, fastest speed, highest throw, greatest accuracy and greatest number of cards in one minute.
This is a glossary of conjuring terms used by magicians.
The French drop, also known as "Le Tourniquet", is a sleight of hand method used by magicians to vanish a small object such as a coin. It is one of the oldest methods of vanishing, however it is still effective when properly executed. Although the method is known as a vanish, it can also be used as a switch or transformation, giving rise to numerous possibilities.
In the retention of vision vanish, the magician places a coin or small object between the fingers and the thumb of the right hand. The left hand is palm up with the palm slightly tilted towards the audience. The right approaches and displays the object on the left palm for a second or so, held on opposite sides of a diameter. Then the right hand moves away empty as the fingers of the left hand close over the object. After a brief pause the left hand is shown empty and the coin has disappeared. In some versions the right hand can also be seen empty, leaving no clue as to where the coin went.
Glorpy, sometimes known as the Haunted Handkerchief, is a close-up magic trick normally performed for children. This effect is also used in demonstrations of spirit writing when shown in a seance or mentalism context. Simple versions have been performed for years. A modern version by Bill Madden and Bernie Trueblood was created circa 1960 and declared the "Trick of the Millennium" by Genii, the conjurer's magazine.
The hat-trick is a classic magic trick where a performer will produce an object out of an apparently empty top hat.
Spoons can be played as a makeshift percussion instrument, or more specifically, an idiophone related to the castanets. They are played by hitting one spoon against the other.
In the art of conjuring, lapping refers to a set of techniques whereby a performer seated at a table can secretly dispose of an item into their lap. A common lapping technique is to sweep an item into the lap while pretending to pick it off the tabletop.
The Tarbell Course in Magic is a notable encyclopedia of magic amongst professional and amateur magicians. It has eight volumes; the first five were part of the original home-study correspondence course compiled in 1928 by Dr. Harlan Tarbell, the remaining three volumes being added on later.
Children's magic is a specialized aspect of parlor magic and is meant to entertain children. It is typically performed at birthday parties, churches, preschools, elementary schools, Sunday Schools or libraries. It is often the only type of magic most Westerners experience other than that seen on television. This type of magic is usually comedic in nature.
Chink-a-chink is a simple close-up magic trick in which a variety of small objects, usually four, appear to magically transport themselves from location to location when covered by the performer's hands, until the items end up gathered together in the same place. Variations, especially the Sympathetic Coins, have been performed since the 1800s. Popular variations are Shadow Coins, Coins-n-Cards and Matrix. A variation using playing cards as the objects is known as Sympathetic Aces.
A levitation illusion is one in which a magician appears to defy gravity by making an object or person float in the air. The subject may appear to levitate unassisted, or it may be performed with the aid of another object in which case it is termed a "suspension".