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Silken Sorcery

by Jean Hugard
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(5 customer ratings) ★★★★

Silken Sorcery by Jean Hugard

You will find 143 magnificent and entertaining uses of silks and handkerchiefs. Sleights, tricks, and the famous Stillwell Silk Act are explained in detail with 90 illustrations. Jean Hugard details vanishing methods, production techniques, color changes, knots, and flourishes. He also describes how to care for your silks to keep them in great shape for a long time.

Paul Fleming wrote:

Tricks with silk handkerchiefs have been very popular ever since their introduction by Bautier de Kolta more than a half-century ago. There is a sound basis for this popularity, for handkerchief tricks are colorful and showy (and therefore suitable for large as well as small audiences), they add little bulk or weight to one's baggage and consequently present no problem of transportation, and (unless they consist of "productions" from obviously mechanical apparatus or "vanishes" via similar routes) they impress the spectators as requiring skill - as, indeed, they usually do. Jean Hugard does not go in for handkerchief tricks performed with the aid of wooden boxes, metal tubes, and similar contrivances. He is quite aware that the maximum effect, in this branch of magic, is reserved for the magician who apparently uses only his hands and the handkerchiefs.

"The most effective presentation of a silk act," he counsels, "is that in which no help is obtained from tables, chairs, or apparatus."

Handkerchief magic consists very largely of causing silks to appear and disappear mysteriously; and Mr. Hugard describes 39 ways to "produce" one or more handkerchiefs and 16 ways to "vanish" them, besides explaining 12 methods of "folding" handkerchiefs in preparation for their later production, and 9 or 10 "sleights for manipulating silks without accessories." No one familiar with magic will suppose that anyone magician can use more than a small fraction of these many methods, but Mr. Hugard has given his readers the great advantage of a chance to look over the field and select the sleights and devices that seem to meet their needs especially well. As every experienced magician knows, the best "production" or "vanish" for one trick or one person is not necessarily the best for another. The owner of Silken Sorcery should be able to discover which methods are best for him, by using this section of Mr. Hugard's book for purposes of reference.

Among the many complete tricks described here are David Devant's Dyeing Handkerchiefs, an excellent bare-hand color change of a single handkerchief, and an explanation of "Blendo" - the instantaneous transformation of three handkerchiefs into a flag. Several forms of The Twentieth Century Handkerchief Trick are explained, including one with unprepared handkerchiefs which Mr. Hugard considers "the best that has been devised," and which in any case is certainly very good. There are many pages on Handkerchief Knot-Tying, and explanations of The Sympathetic Silks, The Handkerchiefs and Soup Plates, the famous Stillwell Handkerchief Act, and miscellaneous handkerchief tricks by Wilfrid Jonson, Ladson Butler, William Larsen, and others. Ninety drawings add to the attractiveness and clarity of the 83 pages of well-written text. It is a book that no lover of handkerchief magic can afford to miss.

1st edition, 1937 Max Holden, New York; reprint, 1974, Dover Publications, New York; 85 pages.

  1. Introduction
  2. Chapter I. Methods of Folding Silks for Production
  3. Chapter II. Sleights for Manipulating Silks Without Accessories
  4. Chapter III. Methods for Producing a Single Silk
  5. Chapter IV. The Production of a Number of Silks
  6. Chapter V. Various Methods of Vanishing Silks
  7. Chapter VI. Dyeing the Silks
  8. Chapter VII. Twentieth Century Silk
  9. Chapter VIII. Useful Accessories
  10. Chapter IX. Liaison Tricks
  11. Chapter X. Tricks with Silks
  12. Chapter XI. Knots, Ties and Flourishes
  13. Chapter XII. The Stillwell Silk Act
  14. Patter Suggestions
  15. Final Suggestions

word count: 35589 which is equivalent to 142 standard pages of text

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Magic / Silks & Flags

Magic / [Books (printed)]