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Thursday, 05 March 2009 01:36

When the Jadoo-wallah has sat himself down with his bag and baskets in their correct places he usually proceeds to show the following tricks:--
  • The cups and balls.
  • The bamboo sticks.
  • The ring on the stick.
  • The ball in the glass box.
  • The bunder-boat.
  • The bowl of rice.
  • The coloured sands.
  • The rope trick.
  • The egg bag.
  • The swastika.
  • The dancing duck.
  • The mango tree.
  • The basket trick.


I will attempt to describe each trick for the benefit of those who have not actually seen them performed, and will then attempt to give a lucid explanation of how these tricks are done.


The performer has three cups of wood, somewhat similar to crude wine glasses overturned, the base of the wine glass forming the handle by which the cup is manipulated. Under these he places, without detection, little woolen or cloth balls and extracts them in the same mysterious manner. Similarly he shows two balls, one under each of two cups, and by a drone on the "bean" or musical instrument, one ball flies magically from the one cup to join its mate under the other. Various combinations and permutations of this sleight complete the experiment which is accompanied by a running patter of "Go Bombay" "Go London."

In my opinion this trick is the only one in which the Indian conjuror shows any aptitude at sleight-of-hand, and the average Jadoo-wallah is very good at it. It is a trick that at first needs a little practice, but it is easy to learn and can be made into a first-class stage or drawing room entertainment. One of our greatest exponents in London performs the trick with three breakfast cups inverted, three lumps of sugar, some walnuts, and tangerine oranges to a most amusing patter about Cuthbert, Clarence, and Algernon, who are represented by the three lumps of sugar and undergo all sorts of misadventures in the night clubs in the West End of London.

The explanation is simple.

Hand position

Instead of three balls the performer has four. One of these he conceals in the palm of the hand by which he lifts the cup. The handle of the cup can be grasped between the outstretched fingers--(first and second)--and the ball is securely held by the muscle at the ball of the thumb. By bending the first and second fingers that hold the cup, its lip is brought in close proximity to the secreted ball. By a sharp or jerky movement forward to place the cup on the ground, and at the same time releasing the muscle of the ball of the thumb, the woolen ball naturally finds its place under the cup and the deception is complete. The performer then picks up one of the three exposed balls and pretends to place it in his bag or into the other hand. A blow on the "bean" and Hey! Presto! the ball appears under the cup that a moment ago was placed apparently empty on the ground.


Hand position 2

I will not go any further into the combinations and permutations, which are unlimited, of the trick. Once a person has mastered the easy exterity described above to get the ball into the cup, he can devise urther developments for himself. The diagrams given will, I trust, lear up any misunderstanding that may be left after reading my explanation. If there is still any uncertainty, for a few annas or pence, any itinerant conjuror will show the sleight, and ten minutes practice ought to bring matters to a satisfactory conclusion.

This may be a fitting opportunity to disabuse the minds of some about he amount of practice undertaken by a really first-class performer. I onsider that a man who is an expert needs no practice at all. leight-of-hand to him is just as innate as hitting any shaped ball ith any shaped stick, is to a man with an eye for games. The artists ho drew these illustrations, draw anything instinctively. Years of ractice will never make the faces of a pretty girl that I draw look ess like an amphibious cow. But I have frequently given  performances f two hour's duration without any previous practice whatever, beyond  quick rehearsal to see that all the various properties are in their orrect places, ready at hand when wanted. I do not want the person ho wishes to do a few tricks like the cups and balls, and those which  will describe later, to be discouraged under the impression that not eing a born conjuror it will be useless for him to attempt small
tricks without constant and monotonous practice. A little attention and trouble will make him "hot stuff" with the cups and balls and will lead him on to higher things.


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Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2009 16:51


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