Perhaps no other effect is so much associated with the magician as that of producing a rabbit from an empty hat. And, oddly enough, so few magicians today use a rabbit in their act.
Where the idea of producing a rabbit from a hat originated is not certain. The favorite story seems to be about the 18th century English woman who felt that she was not getting the attention she deserved. She told her husband and neighbors that she had been accosted by a rabbit and some time latter she took to her bed. The story immediately went out that she had given birth to several rabbits. The story naturally created quite a bit of interest all over the English isle and the King ordered an investigation. The royal physicians could find no proof to substantiate the woman’s story and, finally, a servant admitted obtaining the rabbits for her.
England buzzed with talk of the hoax for days and finally an alert conjurer got a brilliant idea. At one of his performances he showed a top hat empty, rolled his eyes suggestively, and, with a sly smile, pulled a live rabbit from the hat. The audience, thoroughly familiar with the current topic of conversation, responded instantaneously. This, it is told, is where all rabbit productions originated.
U. F. Grant teaches in this manuscript nine methods to produce a rabbit.
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