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Title: Home Entertaining - Amusements for Every One
Author: Chenery, William E.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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text is surrounded by _underscores_.]


What To Do and How To Do It







    _All Rights Reserved_

    Norwood Press
    Berwick & Smith Co.
    Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.


THIS collection of games, tricks, and pastimes is the result of many
years’ effort to find the most clever and practical diversions and
entertainments suitable for the home. Each trick has been tested
by the editor, and each sport introduced has received most careful
consideration in regard to ease of production, as well as the enjoyment
to be gained from it.

As no refined person of any age can find amusement in coarseness, great
care has been exercised in presenting only such diversions as are to
be welcomed in a refined home circle. The necessity for elaborate
apparatus has also been avoided, so that with dullness, difficulty,
expense, and ill-taste eliminated, it is felt that this collection will
supply a lack which has always existed, as the many who have sought
in vain for a bright, safe, and up-to-date book of really feasible
entertainments will appreciate.

While this book contains much that is original, especially in
descriptive matter and ways of presentation, it has of course been
necessary to draw freely from the accumulated mass of tricks and
“sells” that have in some form or other come down from unknown times,
and are recognized as being the common property of any who take pains
to learn them. As a matter of courtesy, due acknowledgement is hereby
made to all who have preceded me in this line of work.

A word of general advice to the amateur entertainer may be in order.
Never tell the company what you are about to do, unless the very nature
of a trick demands that its outcome be stated in advance. In this case,
do it as guardedly as possible. If you state that you are to perform a
certain trick, you thereby greatly increase the chance of detection, as
the spectators will know what to look for, and in that way will more
readily arrive at the true method of bringing about the results. Do
not allow yourself to be persuaded into performing a trick twice in
an evening. With the element of surprise gone, the best performance
loses much of its effect. Finally, remember that a great deal depends
upon the personality of the entertainer. An easy flow of pleasantries,
which may or may not have to do with what is being performed, adds to
the entertainment of the company, and at the same time helps much in
diverting the attention of your friends from too close a scrutiny of
your proceedings.

                                               WILLIAM E. CHENERY.

        May, 1912.


    The Magnetic Ring                           1
    To Tell the Hour                            2
    The Spirit Calculator                       3
    The Square of Sixteen Numbers               5
    The Square of Nine Digits                   5
    Making a Bird Enter a Cage                  6
    The Handkerchief Snake                      6
    To Pass Your Body Through a Postal Card     7
    Silhouettes                                 8
    Gymnastics for the Tongue                   9
    The Passenger to Boulogne                   9
    Mind-reading                               10
    Blowing a Card on Twine                    12
    Naming a Card                              12
    A Horse Race                               14
    A Jam-eating Contest                       15
    A Potato Race                              15
    Guessing Contests                          16
    A Phonograph Concert                       17
    To Lift Fifteen Matches with One           18
    A Donkey Party                             19
    The Dwarf Exhibit                          19
    Stick-and-Pea Amusement                    22
    An Introduction to the Doll Family         22
    Second Sight                               24
    The Blind Feeding the Blind                25
    An Amateur Vaudeville                      25
    The Elusive Coin                           25
    Novel Paper-cutting                        26
    The Mysterious Remainder                   27
    Home Field-Sports                          29
        (a) One-yard Dash                      29
        (b) Tug of War                         29
        (c) Standing High Jump                 29
        (d) Hurdle Race                        29
        (e) Drinking Race                      30
        (f) Bun Race                           30
        (g) Cracker-eating Contest             30
        (h) Rainy-Day Race                     30
    The Gentlemen Nurse-Maids                  31
    New Year’s Resolutions for Others          32
    Can You Draw a Watch-face?                 33
    The Endless Thread                         34
    The Telltale Glass                         35
    Pairing Ten Half-dimes                     37
    Deceptive Heights                          37
        (a) Of a Hat                           37
        (b) Of a Barrel                        37
    Slang                                      38
    Observation Contest                        39
    The Bargain-counter Game                   39
    The “Thirty-five” Trick                    41
    An Ink Shock                               42
    Reading from Folded Papers                 42
    Blind Man’s Buff with Dominoes             43
    “My Aunt Has Arrived from Paris”           44
    Surprising Strength                        45
    Card-passing Contest                       46
    A Cobweb Tangle                            47
    A Novel Masquerade                         47
    Hit the Bag                                48
    A Pretended Illusion                       49
    Dancing Fairies                            49
    Describing a Lady’s Costume                50
    The Wonderful Hat                          51
    Mirror-Drawing                             51
    The Dancing Skeleton                       53
    Pitching Cards at a Hat                    54
    Peanut Guessing                            54
    Peanut Shelling                            54
    Peanut Rolling                             55
    The Peanut Hunt                            55
    Progressive Peanut Party                   55
    Your Friends in Black                      57

    Packing the Trunk                          59
    Blowing Ping-pong Balls                    60
    Doing the Impossible                       60
    The Game of “It”                           61
    The Game of “Turtle”                       63
    The Game of “Empty Hands”                  64
    Simon Says                                 65
    Passing Bean-bags                          66
    Buzz                                       67
    Can You Laugh?                             68
    An Optical Game                            68
    Blowing the Feather                        69
    Throwing the Handkerchief                  70
    Going to Jerusalem                         71
    Find the Whistle                           71
    The All-around Story Game                  72
    An Obstacle Game                           72
    Impudence                                  73
    Rolling Chase-ball                         74

    The Sharpers Outwitted                     76
    The Raised Hand                            78
    Unconscious Movements                      78
    The Broken Match Restored                  79
    The Cent and the Hole                      80
    Mysterious Reading                         81
    The Baffling Card                          83
    A Watch Trick                              83
    Silk from Paper                            84
    The Obedient Ball                          86
    Tricks with a Pen                          87
    The Dice and Cup                           88
    The Surprising Paper Bands                 89
    Napkin-ring Trick                          89
    The Magical Cups of Tin                    90
    The Elusive Cork                           92
    The Three Pennies                          92
    A Lesson in Gravity                        93
    The Tantalizing Half-dollar                93
    Drawing Matches to Win                     94
    Eye-errors and Ghosts                      96
    The Detaining Hand-clasp                   98
    The Pictorial Nail                         99
    Cane Trick                                 99

    General Directions                        101
    Aerial Figures                            103
    Silhouettes                               105
    Shadow Pictures                           106
    Shadow Show                               106

    Calling the Cards                         110
    The Odd Card                              114
    Naming the Cards                          116
    A Diamond Ace of Hearts                   117
    A Three-card Trick                        118
    Detection by Smell                        119
    Naming a Drawn Card                       121
    Grouping the Kings                        123
    Detecting a Turned Card                   124
    Telling the Number of Transposed Cards    124
    The Three Packets                         127
    A Card Found at the Second Guess          127
    Pocketing a Chosen Card                   128
    To Pick Out a Card Thought Of             131
    The Siamese Aces                          133
    Detection of a Drawn Card by Color        136
    Mathematical Detection of Card            137
    Passing a Card to Top of Pack             138
    The Trick of “Thirty-one”                 140

    Blowing Soap-bubbles                      142
    Fantastic Soap-bubbles                    143
    Rebounding Bubbles                        145

    FORFEITS                                  146

    Decorations                               149
    Invitations                               150
    Receiving Guests                          150
    The Heads of Bluebeard’s Wives            152
    The Severed Head                          153
    Ghost Stories                             154
    The Unearthly Look                        154
    Luminous Writing                          155
    The Floating Candle                       155
    Ornamented Apples                         156
    Finding the Candle                        156
    The Full Moon                             156
    Cabinet Manifestations                    157
    Spirit Pictures                           157
    Parlor Magic                              159
    The Demon Bell                            161
    The Animated Skull                        161
    The Perilous Ring                         162
    Nose and Goggle Party                     162
    Jack-o’-lanterns                          163
    The Surprising Candle                     163

Home Entertaining

What To Do and How To Do It

=The Magnetic Ring.= Take a gold ring,—the more massive the better.
Attach the ring to a silk thread about twelve inches long; fasten the
other end of the thread around the nail-joint of your right forefinger,
and let the ring hang about half an inch above the surface of the
table, on which you rest your elbow to steady your hand. Hold your
finger horizontally, with the thumb thrown back as far as possible from
the rest of the hand.

If there be nothing on the table, the ring will soon become stationary.
Then place some silver (say three half-dollars) immediately below it,
when the ring will begin to oscillate backwards and forwards, to you
and from you. Now bring your thumb in contact with your forefinger
(or else suspend the ring from your thumb), and the oscillations will
become transverse to their former swing. Or this may be effected by
making a lady take hold of your disengaged hand. When the transverse
motion is fairly established, let a gentleman take hold of the lady’s
disengaged hand, and the ring will change back to its former course.
These effects are produced by the aid of animal magnetic currents given
forth by the hands of the experimenters.

=To Tell the Hour of the Day or Night by a Suspended Quarter.= Sling a
quarter or a dime at the end of a piece of thread by means of a loop;
then, resting your elbow upon a table, hold the other end of the thread
between your forefinger and thumb, and thus suspend the coin in an
empty goblet. Observe, your hand must be perfectly steady; and if you
find it difficult to keep it in an immovable posture, it is useless
to attempt the experiment. Premising that the quarter is properly
suspended, you will find that, when it has recovered its equilibrium,
it will for a moment be stationary; it will then, of its own accord
and without the least agency from the person holding it, assume the
action of a pendulum, vibrating from side to side of the glass, and
after a few seconds will strike the hour nearest to the time of day.
It is necessary to observe that the thread should lie over the pulse
of the thumb, and this may in some measure account for the vibration
of the quarter, but to what cause its striking the precise hour is
to be traced remains unexplained; for it is no less astonishing than
true that when it has struck the proper number its vibration ceases,
it acquires a kind of rotary motion and finally becomes stationary as

=The Spirit Calculator.= A piece of paper and a pencil are handed to
the audience, with a request that four different persons will each
write down a row of four figures, one under the other, to form an
addition sum. The paper is then given to a fifth person to add up the
figures, but before he can call out the result the performer writes it
down on a blackboard.

The secret lies in the fact that the performer is in possession of a
piece of paper exactly the same in every detail as that handed to the
audience, on which, previous to the entertainment, he has had four
rows of figures written in different handwritings. In the course of
the entertainment, all is fair and aboveboard until it comes to adding
up the sum, when the performer, in the act of giving the paper to the
fifth person, changes it for that of his own, with the total of which
he is already acquainted. He has now only to run to the stage and write
down the answer on the blackboard.

A more startling conclusion than the prosaic one above mentioned may be
obtained by the use of sympathetic ink, composed of sulphuric acid and
water, one part of the former to three of the latter. Writing done with
this ink will be invisible until heat be applied, which will bring out
the characters in jet black.

The performer, then, being provided with a piece of paper bearing the
answer written with the invisible ink, gives a plate containing a
little alcohol to the person adding up the sum, and asks him to set
fire to the alcohol, first, however, taking careful note of the total.
The prepared piece of paper is now held over the flames caused by
igniting the alcohol on the plate, when the heat will bring out the
answer, which is proved to be correct. The greatest care should always
be exercised in producing any kind of flame.

=The Square of Sixteen Numbers.= Arrange the numbers from 1 to 16
in a square, so that the sum of the figures in any row, vertical,
horizontal, or diagonal, will be 34.

    16   3   2   13
     5  10  11    8
     9   6   7   12
     4  15  14    1

=The Square of Nine Digits.= How may nine digits be arranged in a
rectangular form so that the sum of any row, whether horizontal,
vertical, or diagonal, shall equal 15?

    4  9  2
    3  5  7
    8  1  6

=Making a Bird Enter a Cage.= Draw upon a sheet of paper an empty
bird-cage and then very near the cage at the right draw a bird. The
problem is to make this bird enter the cage.

Place a visiting-card between the two figures, holding the card
perpendicularly on the paper. Press the end of your nose on the border
of the card and look at the cage and the bird. You will thus see the
cage with your left eye and the bird with your right. But in a moment
the bird will seem to move, then enter the cage.

=The Handkerchief Snake.= A fine black-silk thread is stretched across
the stage from one side to the other, the ends being in the hands
of two assistants. Having obtained the loan of a handkerchief, the
performer, standing behind the thread, takes it diagonally by two
corners and twists it up rope fashion. He then ties three knots in it,
one a little below the centre, one a little above the centre, and the
third at one end. While this is being done, the assistants raise the
thread, around which the last knot, forming the head of a snake, is
actually tied; but owing to the thread being invisible, this will pass

Having made the last knot, the performer drops the handkerchief on the
floor, when its imitation of a live snake will depend entirely on the
adroit manner in which the assistants manipulate the thread.

Finally, it should be made to jump into the hand of the performer, who
should at once hand it with the knots still tied to the owner. This is
managed by the assistant at one end dropping the thread and the other
one pulling it clear of the handkerchief. Other tricks may be invented.

=To Pass your Body through a Postal Card.= Fold the card once
lengthwise in the middle so that there will be two equal flaps. Now
commence at the folded edge and cut almost to the straight edge,
double thickness, then commence at the straight edge and cut almost to
the folded edge, and so on alternately, until there have been about
twenty-five or thirty cuts made, leaving a very small margin between
each cut. Then cut each loop on the folded edge except the two outside
loops, and open.

=Silhouettes.= Choose a part of the room where there is a clear wall
space. Attach a piece of silhouette paper to the wall with thumb tacks
or pins (or against a broad board if you fear that the tacks may injure
the wall), the white side of the paper being out.

A lamp, or better a candle, having been placed so that it will throw a
strong light on the sheet of paper, turn off all the other lights in
the room. Each one then takes his place between the lamp and the wall
so that a clear shadow of his profile may be thrown on the paper. Now
draw a firm, strong line carefully around this shadow. The sitter
must sit perfectly still, during the drawing. If possible have a
head-rest, the shadow of which must not be seen upon the paper. Having
thus outlined the shadow, take the paper from the wall and cut out the
silhouette neatly or pass it to another to do the same.

=Gymnastics for the Tongue.= Say these several times as rapidly and
distinctly as you can: “She sells sea shells at the sea shore,” and
these also: “John sawed six sleek, slim, slender saplings.” “There was
an old woman and she was a thistle sifter. She had a sieve of sifted
thistles, and a sieve of unsifted thistles, and she was a thistle
sifter.” “Mixed biscuits.” “Gig whip.” “Six thick thistle sticks.” “She
stood at the door welcoming him in.” “Shoes and socks shock Susan.”

=The Passenger to Boulogne.= The requirements for this touching picture
are an orange, a pocket-handkerchief or soft table-napkin, and a
wine-glass. The orange is first prepared by cutting in the rind with
a pen-knife the best ears, nose, and mouth which the skill of the
artist can compass, a couple of raisins supplying the place of eyes.
A pocket-handkerchief is stretched lightly over the glass, and the
prepared orange laid thereon.

The pocket-handkerchief is then moved gently backwards and forwards
over the top of the glass, imparting to the orange a rolling motion,
and affording a laughable but striking caricature of the agonies of a
sea-sick Channel passenger.

The performance terminates by draping the pocket-handkerchief
hood-fashion over the supposed head, and squeezing the orange into the
glass. The last scene, however, is disagreeably realistic.

=Mind-Reading.= Before appearing to the audience, fasten a fine black
thread to the thumb (or any part desired). The other end is retained
by an assistant seated back to the audience, and in back from the
performer, so that the thread will not be noticed. While the performer
is promising a mind-reading exhibition, the assistant will have time to
make the thread tight, and it must be kept so during the performance.
Show a small blackboard, or some other similar arrangement, that can
be held in one arm, and ask any one to secretly suggest figures, which
are put down in columns, for the purpose of addition. The figures must
be large enough for every one to see, and it is advisable not to have
too many, as experience will show it takes too long for the trick. The
performer then mentally adds the right column of figures, after which
he secretly pulls the thread, fastened to the thumb, as many times as
necessary to make the correct number. The assistant counts the little
jerks, and then announces the number, which proves to be the correct
number to set down. This is continued until all the figures are added.
If the sum of a column is a “zero” no pull should be made. The details
must be plainly understood between the performer and assistant, and
with a little ingenuity the trick will seem quite puzzling.

=Blowing a Card on Twine.= Procure some of the nicest twine, that
is hard, smooth, and very slippery, and cut into lengths of fifteen
or twenty feet, according to room available, fastening both ends to
something stationary. The number of these lines may be optional, but
not less than two. On each line, near the end, place a card four inches
square, with a hole exactly in the centre, about three times the
diameter of the twine. Care must be taken that the hole is large enough
to allow the card to move properly but not too freely. At a given
signal the card is blown the length of the line. The one arriving at
the end first, wins.

=Naming a Card.= This trick can be shown at any time and at any place
where two performers are together and desire to show a little skill
to amuse their friends. The idea in the trick is to announce that you
can tell the name of a card written on a sheet of paper, the paper
folded and placed on the table, all being done while you are out of
the room. After you have announced the trick and have left the room,
your assistant (who of course acts as if he were disinterested) takes
a pencil, and when some one names the card he writes it on the paper
and folds it up. For example, we will say that the four of diamonds was
named. When he has finished writing the name of the card, he, in an
offhand way, places the pencil on the table, so that the point would
indicate four in an imaginary clock, he of course sitting opposite
to six. The paper is then folded and placed in a casual way on the
opposite side on the table, in a section which we will designate as
diamonds. These sections may be like this: diamonds at the top of the
imaginary clock, hearts at the right, clubs at the bottom, and spades
at the left. The face of the clock can be imagined to be about a foot
or so round. You may now be called in by anybody, and upon entering,
you must, to make the trick effective, take up the paper, and hold it
to your forehead as if in deep thought. Of course you have taken in
at a glance the entire situation, and in a most mysterious way, name
the card. In case a court card is named you will understand that a jack
is eleven, a queen twelve, and if a king is named, the pencil is not
laid down, the paper only being left to indicate the suit. Now some are
bound to name the joker. In that case your assistant simply places the
paper on top of the pencil or uses some other arrangement agreed upon.

=A Horse Race.= Each man in the party receives a little bag containing
one hundred beans. Each woman adopts the name of some horse. Strips of
tape or paper are fastened at one end of the room farthest away from
where the races are to begin. All attached ends are on the same line.
The loose ends are held by the women on the other side of the room,
armed with scissors. The men bet their beans on the outcome of the
race. At a given signal, each woman begins to cut the tape, the one to
reach the end of her strand quickest being the winner. The narrowness
of the tape obliges the women to work with extreme care, as well as
quickly, for if the strand is cut before reaching the end, the “horse”
is disqualified. When the first entries have been raced, if there are
more women than strips, more come forward for another “heat,” and so
on until all have competed. The man winning the most beans in all
the races wins the prize, and each lady who comes out ahead receives
something in appreciation of her dexterity.

=A Jam-eating Contest.= For this, thin slices of bread are spread with
jelly or jam and placed upon a small plate at the edge of the table.
Those who enter the contest must have their hands tied behind them,
so that they are obliged to eat their bread and jam without touching
it with a hand. The one who succeeds in disposing of his slice first
receives a prize.

=A Potato Race.= Use peach-baskets for the goals. Potatoes, apples, or
oranges are laid three feet apart in rows for the gathering contest.
Each one must be picked up and carried on a spoon to the basket at the
end of the row.

=Guessing Contests.= A pumpkin, a large ear of yellow field-corn, a
pint of peanuts in the shell, a pound of pecans in the shell, a basket
of apples, one chrysanthemum, a large bunch of Malaga grapes, and a
bough of oak leaves are the requisites for this entertainment. These
same articles may serve as decorations for the room during the evening.
The game is to guess the number of parts of each one of the list, for

How many grains on the ear of corn?

How many seeds in the pumpkin?

How many grapes in the bunch?

How many pecans in a pound?

How many petals on the chrysanthemum?

How many peanuts in a pint?

How many leaves on the oak bough?

How many apples in the basket?

Of course, the answers have actually been obtained beforehand, except
in the case of the chrysanthemum, which is counted after the company
have guessed.

=A Phonograph Concert.= The removal of a large screen exposes a most
extraordinary contrast. It consists of a large square packing-box, the
open side being set across a doorway leading into another room. On
top of the box is fastened a clothes-wringer and a megaphone, while a
curtain conceals the part of the doorway not hidden by the box. The
record is a narrow slip of paper, yards in length, which is inserted
between the rollers. The crank is turned and the record announced
amidst a grating noise peculiar to phonographs. A person behind the
scenes, with his head in the box, drawls out the subjects of the
records, making the scraping noise by rubbing something rough against
a tin can. The people who are to do the feats on the phonograph are in
the room behind the curtain and, as their turns come, stick their heads
into the box and shout through the megaphone, which is sticking out of
the hole bored through the box.

=To Lift Fifteen Matches with One.= On a match place fourteen other
matches so that one third of the match, with its phosphorus tip, will
be in the air and the other end resting on the table. These ends should
point alternately right and left. If one is asked to lift them, holding
only one extremity of the lower match, it seems clear that the fourteen
matches on top will fall to the table by the force of gravity. Here is
a way to render the operation feasible. Above the matches and along the
angle formed by the interlacement, place one last match. They can now
be lifted safely by the extremity of the under match. The matches will
take an oblique position, embracing the upper one within their angle
as though they were possessed of jaws, and will remain without further
support just as long as you wish. By preference, employ the largest
matches you can find.

=A Donkey Party.= Each one tries, blindfolded, to pin a tail to a
donkey drawn on a sheet. The prize is given to the one who comes
nearest to pinning it in the right position.

=The Dwarf Exhibit= affords one of the most amusing entertainments, and
will cause wonder to your friends as to where you got “him.”

Two persons play the dwarf, a third acting as the exhibitor, who should
prepare beforehand a humorous speech, setting forth the history and
accomplishments of the dwarf, which will be told later.

To arrange and dress the dwarf, place a table in a doorway between
two rooms, and cover it with a cloth or a curtain that will reach to
the floor on the side farthest from the audience. Or the table may
be placed entirely in the room next to that in which the audience is
seated, the edge of it reaching to the doorway, so that the curtains
between may act as a screen while you are getting the dwarf ready.

One person stands behind the table and places his hands on it. These,
with his arms, form the feet and legs of the dwarf. Over his arms
should be drawn a pair of boy’s trousers, and on his hands should be a
pair of shoes. The trousers should be drawn down until they reach the
heels, like a man’s. This completes the lower part of the dwarf.

The second person stands behind the first and passes his arms around
his shoulders. By putting a coat over the arms and buttoning it down
the figure of the first impersonator and then throwing a cape around
his neck so arranged as to cover the head of the person behind, you
will complete the dwarf’s dress.

Of course, you may have to improvise a jacket to fit, or you may dress
the dwarf fantastically, as a Turk, or woman, for instance, but the
means of doing so will suggest themselves readily.

The hands of the second person act as the hands of the dwarf, and as
the latter makes his appearance they raise his hat when he bows to the
audience. The exhibitor then begins his history, which can be made
very ludicrous; and he should recite the various accomplishments of the
dwarf, including dancing, and even his ability to suspend himself in
the air without support.

The dwarf should then be invited to entertain the audience, and he
should begin by making a little speech, in either a thin falsetto or a
heavy bass voice, assumed, of course, to add to the grotesque effect.
The second player makes gestures to the speech, which in themselves
will create a laugh.

Then the dwarf should begin to dance. The hands of the first performer
do this, and all of a sudden, in the middle of a quickstep, they both
are lifted from the table and remain suspended in the air for a quarter
of a minute. Then they drop to the table again, and the dwarf appears
to be exhausted with this unusual effort.

In making his parting salute to the audience the dwarf astonishes them
all by putting both feet to his mouth and throwing kisses with his

=Stick-and-Pea Amusement.= A box of toothpicks and a pint of dried peas
will furnish excellent amusement for children on a rainy day. Soak the
peas until they can be pierced with a toothpick. Tables, chairs, boxes,
figures, letters, etc., can be made by sticking the toothpicks into the

=An Introduction to the Doll Family.= If you straighten a hairpin, then
bend one end of it until it resembles a shepherd’s crook, and hang it
on the edge of a table, it will swing back and forth many times like
the pendulum of a clock. The slightest touch sets it in motion, and if
you have just the right angle to the crook it will sway back and forth
many times.

Suppose you fix several hairpins in this fashion and set them all to
swinging at once. It will much resemble a lot of very slender gentlemen
bobbing up and down in stately, graceful bows. Very well; suppose we
have some real gentlemen to bow to us. Get two or three old magazines
and look through the advertising sections. You will find lots and lots
of figures of all kinds, men, women, and animals; some of them just the
size you want. Cut out some of these very carefully, selecting those
just a little longer than your bent hairpins.

Now thrust a hairpin through one of the figures and hang the bent end
of the hairpin on the edge of a table; or, better still, a big book
whose cover overlaps the leaves inside. Blow gently at the figure and
it will answer by bowing most politely, bobbing back and forth in the
funniest way you can imagine. Now fix the rest of the figures in the
same way and you will have one of the most amusing collections of dolls
that ever was. Whenever you blow at them, they all will nod and bow
at once, but no two will move alike, for the shapes of their figures
will all be different, and the different ways in which their weight or
centre of gravity inclines them will cause the various motions.

Just try it with some of your little friends and see what fun these odd
little actors will make for you.

=Second Sight.= This cannot fail to make a hit, providing the rule is
not generally known by the audience.

Take a piece of paper and write on it the figures 1,089. Fold this
paper and ask one of your spectators to place it in his pocket without
looking at it. Now ask another spectator to think of three figures
(_a_). He having done so, get him to write them upon another piece of
paper. Now ask him to write the same figures under the first row, only
in reverse (_b_) order. Subtract the smaller from the larger (_c_). Now
reverse the remainder (_d_) and your total will be the answer on the
piece of paper in the first spectator’s pocket. For instance:

    (_a_) Number thought of             621
    (_b_) Result of reversion           126
    (_c_)   “    “  subtraction         495
    (_d_)   “    “  second reversion    594
    (_e_)   “    “  addition          1,089

=The Blind Feeding the Blind.= Spread a sheet on the floor, and having
blindfolded two players, seat them on the floor facing each other. Give
to each a spoon and saucer containing some dry food such as ground
pop-corn or wheat grains and let each attempt to feed the other.

=An Amateur Vaudeville.= For the entertainment of a large number of
people, an amateur vaudeville program meets every requirement, and does
so in a unique manner.

If you go over your list of friends and acquaintances, you will find
among them many a clever person who has some talent which can be
utilized in preparing the program; this one can dance, that recite,
another sings coon songs, some do “cake-walks,” some play, others sing,
one can tell an Irish story or a Dutch one, or perhaps perform a feat
of legerdemain, and so on, until your program is filled.

=The Elusive Coin.= Set a coin upon the edge of a table, and, closing
one eye by the opposite hand (that is, the left eye closed by the
right hand and vice-versa); attempt to knock it off with the forefinger
of the disengaged hand.

You will find that your judgment is at fault, and that, in nine cases
out of ten you are dabbing away at nothing but thin air.

To do this effectively, you should stand at arm’s length from the coin,
and you will be surprised at your apparent bad judgment.

=Novel Paper-Cutting.= A long strip of paper is shown to the audience;
it is then rolled up into cylindrical form, a few cuts are made with
a scissors, or if the paper is not too thick, it may be torn with the
fingers. You make a twist or two, and the audience are surprised to see
what a good resemblance to a “fir tree,” five or more feet in length,
makes its appearance in the performer’s hands. This is managed in the
following way: Cut a strip of paper about nine feet long and eight
inches wide; to increase the effect, the strip of paper can be made
up of three or four short lengths of different colored papers pasted
together. Roll the paper up into a cylinder of about 1¼ inches in
diameter, then with a pair of scissors make cuts through the cylinder
from one end, to halfway down its length. These cuts should be at
small, equal distances from each other around the roll. Then bend over
into horizontal position each piece of loose paper to form the branches
of the tree, pull out from the centre of the top in the same way as for
the familiar barber’s pole; the tree will then be complete.

To thoroughly grasp the idea, the instruction should be carefully
followed with scissors and paper in hand.

=The Mysterious Remainder.= A mother of several children amused them
frequently by the following simple puzzle. It was a never-failing
source of entertainment and a delightful mystery. She never told the
secret. Had she done so, much of the charm would have been lost.

“Think of a number.”

Perhaps some one would think of four.

“Double it.”

The child thought, but did not say eight.

Perhaps she would say, “Add six to it.”

“Divide it by two.”

“Take away the first number you thought of and the remainder will be

Sure enough, four from seven does leave three; the children were much
puzzled to know how mother knew. The next thing was always a request to
try it again.

Suppose 1000 was chosen.

“Double it,” was the order.

“Add ten to it,” was the next command.

“Divide by two.”

“Take away the first number thought of and the remainder will be five.”

One might think of six, another of eleven, another of twenty. The
result was the same. Mother could always guess right.

When the children grew older they were surprised to learn that mother
did not know the number thought of at all. They learned for themselves
that the remainder was always half of the number added.

=Home Field-Sports.= (_a_) ONE-YARD DASH. This race consists in the
attempt to push a penny a distance of one yard across the floor by
means of the nose.

(_b_) TUG OF WAR. A raisin is tied firmly in the middle of a long piece
of twine, and each contestant takes a firm hold of one end of the twine
in his mouth, and begins to chew this string for the raisin. No one is
allowed to use his hands.

(_c_) STANDING HIGH JUMP. Three doughnuts are suspended in a doorway
about four inches above the mouths of the jumpers. The contestants with
hands tied attempt to take a bite. One bite from the doughnut wins a

(_d_) HURDLE RACE. The contestants take seats and thread six needles.
The one who gets through first is the winner.

(_e_) DRINKING RACE. Each contestant is given a glass of water, which
is to be absorbed by means of a spoon.

(_f_) BUN RACE. Two poles are set up at a good distance apart,
connected with a clothesline, from which are suspended strings of
different lengths, according to the height of each boy, and a bun is
tied to each string. The boys line up, hands tied behind their backs,
and at the signal each tries to eat his bun. The constant moving of the
line caused by their efforts makes it almost impossible to get a bite.
Soon a boy gets a hold with his teeth, gets his bun on the ground, and,
with his hands still behind, finishes the bun and gets the prize.

(_g_) CRACKER-EATING CONTEST (for girls only). Girls choose sides and
line up facing each other. Each girl has a cracker which she is to chew
and swallow as quickly as possible. The side which has a girl able to
whistle first wins the prize.

(_h_) RAINY-DAY RACE. This race is run by several girls. They stand
in a line with a closed satchel in front of each one, in which is a
pair of rubbers, a pair of gloves, and also an umbrella. When “three”
is counted, they open the satchels, take out the rubbers, put them
on, take out the gloves, put them on, open their umbrellas, take the
satchels and walk (not run) about one hundred feet to a line. Here they
lower the umbrellas, take off their gloves and rubbers, put them in the
satchels, close them and return, carrying the satchels and having the
umbrellas closed. The first one back to the starting point wins. Other
additions may be made.

=The Gentlemen Nurse-maids.= It is best to have several ladies, who
know the trick, to dress the dummies, as it is too long a task for one.

When the gentlemen are seated, carefully blindfold each one, and
request him to double up his right fist. Upon the back of the fist mark
the eyes, nose, and mouth of a face with a burnt match or a little
water-color. Tie around this a doll’s cap, or a lace frill or muslin
ruffle, and fasten around the wrist a full white apron or skirt. Bend
the left arm to lie across the waist, and put the right fist into the
inner bend of the elbow, drawing the apron down over the right arm, and
each of the blindfolded gentlemen will appear to be tenderly nursing a
young baby. Have blindfolds removed.

=New Year’s Resolutions for Others.= The simplest entertainments
are often the most successful. The literary efforts are sometimes
desirable, but for a really enjoyable, social time, the following
is sure to be a success. This should be arranged on New Year’s eve.
Resolutions for improvement in conduct for the coming year are then
in order. Supply your guests with pencil and paper. A party invited
to see the old year out is quite sure to be an intimate one. For the
resolutions, have each guest write a set of them for some one else in
the party. This may be decided by inviting each one to write of his
neighbor or by writing the names on paper and letting each one draw
his subject. They are to be collected and read to the company. The
writer is at liberty to sign any name to his resolutions.

=Can You Draw a Watch-face?= Some people have the happy faculty of
seeing what they look at, others go through the world blindly. We may
look at a familiar object numberless times, and yet be ignorant of many
of its striking characteristics. An amusing little test of this faculty
can be arranged. There is no object with which we should be more
familiar than the face of a watch, yet when we attempt to reproduce it,
we will be astonished at our ignorance.

Have prepared squares of cardboard with pencil attached. If it is
designed to use them as souvenirs, one side may be decorated, and the
date and occasion written on it.

Provide one of these for each guest, and when you are ready for your
entertainment request each of the company to draw on the blank side,
the face of a watch as he can remember it. It is well to furnish
something to use as a guide for the first circle, as that has very
little to do with the memory of detail, and only rarely is one able to
draw even an imperfect circle. Allow all the time required, and when
the papers are collected, a committee can judge on the merits, if it is
designed to give a prize.

=The Endless Thread.= The joker is seen walking about, until some one
observes a piece of white cotton thread sticking on the back of his
coat. Of course, the unfortunate individual is asked whether he has
been sewing his buttons on, etc., being generally laughed at, until
some one attempts to remove the piece of cotton. Then the laugh is
turned, for, as the obliging gentleman pulls the cotton away from the
joker’s coat, so does it become longer until some hundreds of feet
have been extracted. The amusement is then brought to a climax by the
gentleman turning round and drily remarking, “Well, I never! You had
better start putting that back now!”

Before entering the room, the party that is going to play the joke
should provide himself with a reel of white cotton. Without breaking
the cotton, two or three feet must be unwound and threaded through a
needle, which must be passed through the centre of the back of his
coat. Then the reel should be deposited in his inside breast pocket,
and the coat put on; afterwards pulling a little of the cotton through
the garment to see that the reel works properly; the needle, of course,
being removed, and the cotton being cut until only two or three inches
project through the coat at the back. Now it will appear that the
cotton is only sticking to the nap of the coat, but as soon as any one
pulls, the reel will revolve and allow the thread to be dragged out
until the supply is exhausted.

=The Telltale Glass.= Procure an ordinary glass tumbler, and invert
it on the table. Then request anybody present to lend you a penny.
Placing the coin on the top of the glass, you leave the room, telling
the company at the same time, that if a person will take the penny and
conceal it, you will tell them, when you return, which person has it.

Some one having concealed the coin, you make your appearance, and
request each one round the table to place his first finger on the
glass, one after another, and not all at once. This done, you take up
the glass, and place it to your ear, remarking at the same time that,
by the aid of the sound which you hear, you will be able to tell which
person has the coin. Then you listen for a second or two, put down the
glass, and turning to the person who has the coin, make some remark,
such as “Mr. —--, please give me the penny.” Whereupon the person
addressed produces the coin and hands it to you.

How you got to know who possesses the coin will seem remarkable to the
company, you having been out of the room when the coin was taken off
the glass and concealed.

This is how it is done: when you tell the persons to place their
fingers upon the glass, your confederate, who is one of them, must
place his on after the person who has the coin.

=Pairing Ten Half-dimes.= Place ten half-dimes in a row upon a table.
Then taking up any one of the series, place it upon some other, with
this proviso, that you pass over just ten cents. Repeat this till there
are no single half-dimes left.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 half-dimes.

Place 4 upon 1, 7 upon 3, 5 upon 9, 2 upon 6, and 8 upon 10.

=Deceptive Heights.= (_a_) Ask a person, or several persons, to point
out with a finger or walking-cane, on a wall, above a table, about what
he supposes to be the height of an ordinary hat. You will find he will
place his mark about a foot above the table. Place the hat under it,
and he will find, to his surprise, that the space indicated is more
than double the height of the hat.

(_b_) The height of a common flour-barrel is just the length of a
horse’s face, and much merriment may be made by asking the company to
mark their idea of the height of a flour-barrel upon the wall. In nine
cases out of ten the mark will be several inches, or even a foot, too

=Slang.= The players may be young or old and of both sexes. They are
given pencils and paper and asked to write down all the slang words
they can think of in five minutes. When the time limit is reached the
hostess collects the papers, and reads the names and the list of slang
words aloud.

This is where the fun commences. Imagine a quiet little mouse of a
woman having the following expressions to her credit: “Soak him,”
“Chase yourself,” etc. Imagine a dignified old gentleman writing the
following: “Put out his lamps,” “Me for the dreamy eyes,” etc. In one
case, a lawyer seemed to be right at home, and at the end of the five
minutes had a list of thirty expressions. But the prize unexpectedly
went to a little lady who could think of only one word of slang. In
presenting it, the hostess said, “You have used the best English, and
the best slang.”

The lawyer, whose list of slang was the longest, received a booby
prize. The point, of course, is that the least slang is the best.

=Observation Contest.= Have on tables and pinned on curtains, etc.,
quantities of small objects. Provide pads for all and let each have
three minutes to observe each table, each part of the room, etc., and
then five minutes to note down in another room all that she remembers
to have seen. This is great fun. The prize should be given to the one
with the keenest power of observation.

=The Bargain-Counter Game.= The Christmas bargain-counter is a charming
fireside game for Christmas night that will amuse and at the same time
instruct the nursery children. The bargain-counter may be the nursery
table set in front of the fireplace or hearth. On the counter are
laid as many as one likes of the toys which the children received from
tree and Christmas stockings. One child is chosen to take charge of
this play toy shop, and a second child leaves the room after looking
carefully first at all the toys on the counter to determine their
names. While this child is absent from the room a third child selects
and hides one of the toys. When the second child returns he must try
at one guess to say which of the toys was sold during his absence. If
he guesses successfully he may be the next toyman. To make the game
more difficult two or more toys may be hidden. Another and slightly
more difficult way of playing the bargain-counter game is to have the
toyman change the positions of the toys while the child is out of the
room. The child on returning must rearrange them, if he can, in exactly
the same positions. They may be scraps of color instead of toys. Red,
orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet ribbons, balls or Christmas
tree candles may be laid out in the order of the rainbow colors. While
one child is either blindfolded or outside the room, the child in
charge of the colors removes one from sight or alters the color order,
and the other child must guess the hidden color or restore the rainbow
order on his return.

=The “Thirty-five” Trick.= An envelope, handed to any person in the
company at the outset, contains a slip of paper, bearing the number
35. This is kept in the person’s pocket until the close of the trick;
or the number 35 can be written on the inside of a trick slate, or
elsewhere, for production in due course.

The performer now goes around with a slip of paper, which he hands to
some one, with a request to place any single figure thereon. This done,
he gives the paper to a second person to place another figure under
the first, and so on to as many persons in succession as necessary. As
each figure is written, he secretly adds all together until the total
reaches 26 or over; when this is the case, he stops calling for more
figures and, retaining the paper, remarks, “That will do, thank you,
but I would like to place this gentleman’s initials on the paper for
the purpose of identification.” The initials are given and written on
the paper by the performer, who at the same time takes the opportunity
thus afforded of placing another figure, to make the sum total 35, at
the foot of those already written. This done, the paper may be handed
to any person to add up the sum, for the simple reason that the trick
cannot now fail. Of course no one ever thinks of checking the number
of figures on the paper with the number of persons who wrote them.
The envelope containing the slip of paper is now opened, and the two
amounts compared.

=An Ink Shock.= Cut a piece of black paper to imitate spilled ink.
Lay it flat on a white table cover. Beside it, place an upset dry ink
bottle. This will shock the mistress of the house.

=Reading from Folded Papers.= For this trick, you enlist the service of
a friend. Each one is given a slip of paper and told to write on it a
question. Fold up well and drop into a hat. Mix them up, and, holding
the hat over your head, pick out any paper, and without unfolding it,
answer the question, doing the same with the rest.

In order to do this, you must know your friend’s question, and as
you collect the papers, slip it under the band inside the hat. When
performing, take any slip, but answer your friend’s question first.
Now open, to prove yourself right, and thereby see another question.
This is answered while the next is held, and so on until the last, when
all and the one in the hat are mixed and left for the audience for

=Blind Man’s Buff with Dominoes.= Sit opposite another player, each
placing his right foot on the other’s left. Turn the dominoes face down
and the game now begins. Of course each one must look at his domino
before he plays it, but he does not show it to the other. The pressure
of your foot on his shows the number with which you begin, without the
possibility of a blunder, although playing the dominoes face downward.
He now counts the movements of your foot, which indicate the number
he is to match. He then presses your foot with the number you are to
match. This is continued until all the dominoes are played. When the
game is finished, turn the dominoes over to show that the numbers have
been played with perfect exactness.

“=My Aunt Has Arrived from Paris.=” A circle is formed, all kneeling
on the floor. The leader says to the one on his right side, “My aunt
has arrived from Paris,” and the one addressed, asks the question,
“What did she bring you?” The leader answers, “A pair of scissors,”
and at once imitates the opening and shutting of the scissors with two
fingers. This same question is asked, answered, and imitated by each
one around the circle.

The leader again says, “My aunt has arrived from Paris,” and the one
addressed asks, “What did she bring you?” The leader, still keeping up
the scissors motion, says, “A fan,” and at once imitates fanning with
the other hand. This goes around the circle as before.

The leader then announces in the same way, “A Japanese doll,” and
imitates by bowing his head backward and forward, which goes around
the circle. Then a rocking-horse is announced by the leader, and is
imitated by moving the body up and down, all the while remaining on the
knees. This also goes around the circle.

Finally in the same manner the leader announces a cuckoo, and
immediately gives the imitation of a cuckoo, which is also done in turn
around the circle. All five imitations are to be kept up continuously
by each one until the players are exhausted. The one holding out the
longest is the winner.

=Surprising Strength.= Just lightly put the tips of your fingers
together. If you invite any one to separate them by taking your wrists
and trying to draw them apart in a direct line with each other, they
will be surprised to find that no amount of strength will avail them at
all, as the thing is really almost impossible.

Place your clenched fists one upon the other, and ask some one to
separate them by pushing them aside. They will be quite unable to do
so, although you are exerting your strength but little against them.

Let them, however, approach you with the forefingers only, and give a
sharp rap at your knuckles in opposite directions. You will find in
this case that you are quite powerless against this, and cannot keep
your fists together at all.

=Card-passing Contest.= Divide the players equally and seat them in two
rows facing each other. The leader of each row is provided with a pack
of playing cards. At a given signal, each leader passes one card to the
next person, who in his turn gives it to the next person, and so on
down the line until the last one drops it on the floor beside him.

The side that gets the last card on the floor first wins the game.
The cards may be passed to the right on each side, moving in opposite

=A Cobweb Tangle.= Have as many balls of twine as there are players.
Starting at a given point, fasten each end securely. Starting from this
point, wind the twine in every conceivable place, wherever you care to
have the players go; under tables, around chairs, door-knobs, upstairs,
and anywhere that can be made difficult without doing any injury to
the surroundings. When the winding is completed, fasten the string to
a small round stick about three or four inches long. All this should
be done before the guests arrive, as it takes some time to do it. When
ready for the game, have the guests draw the sticks and then proceed
to wind the twine until they arrive at the end. The one arriving there
first wins a prize.

=A Novel Masquerade.= Each gentleman receives a printed card asking
him to call at the house of a lady who is to be his partner for the
evening. The ladies change places with one another, so that when the
gentlemen call for them, they will not be in their home but in the home
of one of the other ladies. As the ladies are masked and do not have to
talk, the gentlemen never find out their mistake until all are unmasked.

=Hit the Bag.= A bag about the size of a person’s head, or larger if
desired, made of tissue paper, or other very thin paper, containing
candy, is suspended from the ceiling by a string so that it will be
about six feet from the floor. A person is blindfolded and a cane,
or a stick about the length of a cane, is placed in the person’s two
hands, allowing the farther end to touch the bag. The performer is
then requested to take three steps backward and then turn around three
times, alone. When this is done, he is requested to take three steps
forward, strike three times and break the bag. The cane can have only
a perpendicular motion. Each one tries the same, until the bag is
broken, when all present scramble to see who will gather the most candy.

=A Pretended Illusion.= Place three coins on a table, coins 1 and 2
being only a short distance from each other, while the coins 2 and 3
are more than double the distance apart. Now point out to a spectator
that a curious optical illusion can be observed by placing one eye on
the level of the table edge and looking along the line of the coins.
The spectator having done so, ask him which two coins he considers
are the farthest away from each other and to point them out. He will
probably point out coins two and three. You immediately point to the
coins 1 and 3, and say you consider these coins are the farthest away
from each other.

=Dancing Fairies.= Most of you have seen the smooth, round beans called
“magic beans.” They were brought to this country several years ago from
the East Indies, and were a great curiosity until their secret was

First get a half-dozen or more of the dancing or “magic” beans. These
are now sold in most of the large Japanese stores.

Cut out a half-dozen of tiny paper dolls. They must be made so that
they are light, and so that their feet can be pasted securely to both
sides of the bean. Cut out skirts of tissue paper which will cover the
dolls’ legs and hide the beans without touching them. When these are
made so that they will balance well, place them upon a heated plate and
soon every little fairy will begin to dance in a mysterious way.

=Describing a Lady’s Costume.= When the guests arrive, have them all
meet in one room. Every gentleman is presented with a card on which is
written the name of some lady present, and the hostess announces that
each gentleman must talk five minutes to the lady whose name his card
bears. The reason for the conversation is not divulged. At the end of
the appointed time, the ladies withdraw, and then the men are told to
each write out a description of the dress the lady wore, the color
of her eyes, of her hair, the fashion of wearing it, etc., etc. The
ladies are now admitted and each one stands out, while a description of
herself and costume is read aloud.

=The Wonderful Hat.= Upon a table place three pieces of bread, or any
other eatable, at a little distance from each other, and cover each
with a hat. Take up the first hat, and, removing the bread, put it into
your mouth, letting the company see that you swallow it. Then raise
a second hat and eat the bread which is under that, then proceed to
the third hat in the same manner. Having eaten the three pieces, ask
any person in the company to choose which hat he would like the three
pieces of bread to be under, and when he has made his choice of one of
the hats, put it on your head and ask him if he does not think they are
under it.

=Mirror-Drawing.= To carry out this test you will need a sheet of
paper, a mirror about the width of the paper, a pencil, and another
sheet of paper or a large card or book.

Lay the paper flat on the table. Then prop up the mirror opposite you
and the paper so that it is at right angles with the paper and reflects
it. You may stand the mirror against a pile of books if it has no
standard of its own. After you have done this, take the extra sheet of
paper in your left hand and hold it so that it is between your eyes and
the piece of paper which is lying on the table. You must hold the piece
of paper in your left hand so that you cannot see the paper lying on
the table, except in the mirror.

You are now ready to begin drawing, first announcing what you intend to
draw. It should be some simple object, represented by some few straight
lines, such as a kite, a box, or a square, with a straight line going
from each corner diagonally across. You draw with your right hand,
holding the paper with your left, so that you cannot see what progress
you are making except in the mirror. Watch the mirror all the time
until the drawing is completed.

=The Dancing Skeleton.= Get a piece of board about the size of a large
school slate and have it painted black. The paint should be what is
known as a dead color, without gloss or brightness. (A large school
slate would answer the purpose.) Sketch out the figure of a skeleton
on a piece of cardboard and arrange it after the manner of the dancing
sailors and other cardboard figures for sale in toy stores, so that
by holding the figure by the head in one hand and pulling a string
with the other, the figure will throw up his legs and arms in a very
ludicrous manner.

Make the connections of the arms and legs with black string and let
the pulling-string be also black. Tack the skeleton by the head to the
blackboard. The figure, having been cut out is of course painted black,
like the board.

Now to perform: Produce the board showing only the side upon which
there is nothing. Request that the lights may be reduced about half,
and take position at a little distance from the company. With a piece
of chalk make one or two attempts to draw a figure; rub out your work
as being unsatisfactory; turn the slate; the black figure will not
be perceived; touch the edge of the cardboard figure with the chalk,
filling up ribs, etc., taking care that nothing moves while the drawing
is progressing. Then manipulate with the fingers. By pulling the string
below the figure it will of course kick up its legs and throw about its
arms, to the astonishment of everybody.

=Pitching Cards at a Hat.= Borrow a gentleman’s hat and try to throw a
pack of cards from a distance of two or three feet, throwing the cards
in one at a time.

=Peanut Guessing.= Fill a dish with peanuts, and let each one guess how
many are contained in it; the one who guesses nearest wins.

=Peanut Shelling.= Give each contestant ten peanuts, and at a signal
let all begin to shell them, removing also the inner skin. The one who
finishes first, without breaking a kernel, wins. If one breaks into
more than the two natural divisions of the nut, another peanut must be
shelled in its place.

=Peanut-rolling.= Place peanuts across one side of the room at interval
of about three feet. Give each contestant a toothpick. At a given
word they all commence to roll the peanuts across the room with the
toothpicks. The one who first gets his peanut across the room is the
victor. Another row of contestants then take their places in the same
way. After all are through the victors in the different contests have a
final contest.

=The Peanut Hunt.= Peanuts are previously hidden in every conceivable
place in the rooms to which the guests have access. The finder of the
greatest number receives a prize.

=Progressive Peanut Party.= This is played exactly as all other
progressive games. Arrange tables to seat four, choose partners, and
provide score cards.

In the centre of each table, place a bowl containing one hundred
peanuts in the shell, and lay a long, new, common hat-pin at each
place. At the head table have a bell. Before being seated to play,
each guest is to have the right hand securely tied down to the side by
a ribbon or fancy cord. When ready to commence, a player rings a bell
at the head table, and all begin to spear nuts from the bowl; when the
bowl is empty at the head table, the bell is rung and all count to see
how many nuts they have, the two having made the best score, progress,
first replacing the nuts into the bowl ready for the next game; the
cards are then punched according to the score and the game proceeds.

Five hundred may be the score limit, the one who first gets the five
hundred winning; or it may be decided to have the game end when the
players at the head of the table return to that table, or at least two
of them.

=Your Friends in Black.= There are various advantages about a
silhouette party. It admits of no small amusement, for occasionally the
queerest object may be twisted to fit a name. The first thing to do is
to prepare a list of your guests and find for each name something that
will represent it. Set the wits of the entire family at work, for on
this task two heads are infinitely better than one.

The longer time you have for the “rebusing” of the names the more
entertaining the list will prove. Do not leave out a friend because at
first it seems almost impossible to picture his name. The same license
is allowed for a rebus as for poetry, and a point may be stretched to
make the drawing fit the name, although it is not best to leave too
much to the imagination.

For the mechanical part of the work provide ragged-edged cards of
various sizes. One name will demand a long, narrow card for its
representation; another name, a square card. The best surface for this
purpose is a heavy, water-color paper which is neither smooth nor
rough. Do not cut it. Crease it in such lengths as you wish to use,
then tear it with a very blunt paper-knife. This gives an excellent
ragged edge. Take the designs you have planned to use and trace them
over black carbon copying paper on each card, leaving a generous
margin. Sketch no detail except the mere outline of a figure. Fill a
pen with India ink and go very carefully over the outline. Allow it to
dry; then with a rather stiff, small sable brush dipped in the ink fill
in the silhouette till it is perfectly black and even. Allow it to dry,
and add in one corner the number which corresponds with the list. There
is a good deal to learn in the adaptation of a design for a silhouette.
If a human figure is chosen let it generally be in profile. As a rule,
a full-face figure, either in an animal or a man, is almost meaningless
unless it is full of action. When the silhouettes are completed, they
should be pinned up in a conspicuous place, so that they may all be
seen and examined easily and prizes awarded to the most successful


=Packing the Trunk.= A game adapted from the French, that is very
popular among the little people of America, is a good test for the

The children must sit in a circle, and one, as leader, announces in
this fashion: “I pack my trunk, and in it I put”—mentioning some
articles used in traveling, as gloves, brush or cologne. The next
child begins then, saying what the leader has said and adding another
article, and so on around the circle, each child repeating all the
articles mentioned by the previous one in their correct order, and
then adding one more to the list, which after a while assumes lengthy
proportions. If one boy or girl forgets one article or puts it in the
wrong order, he or she must drop out of the game, and so on until only
one child remains.

=Blowing Ping-pong Balls.= Arrange the players with their hands behind
them along the sides of a long extension table, down the centre of
which a row of ping-pong balls are placed at intervals of about two
feet. Appoint two judges and place them at the ends of the table.
At a given word, the players on both sides begin to blow the balls,
endeavoring to blow them off their opponents’ side of the table and to
prevent any balls from being blown off of their own side. Each ball
blown off counts five points. The game is 100 points.

=Doing the Impossible.= A sure way to raise a laugh among a party of
friends, is to claim that you can do an apparently impossible thing,
and then get your friends to try it; then, when they have tried and
failed, do the very thing they failed on, in a simple way which has
never occurred to them. Here is a deception which seldom fails to work
and which always provides a lot of fun, even to those who are fooled by

Begin by saying something about ant-eaters, which have such long
tongues that they can touch the ground with them without lowering
their heads, and then ask one of your friends if he can put out his
tongue and touch his ear. He will try, gently at first, then harder,
and at length make the funniest faces by trying to do that, which is
of course, impossible. Then others will try poking their tongues out
of the corners of their mouths, and trying to curl them around their
cheeks until their ears are reached.

When they have finished, you put out your tongue, and touch your ear
with your finger.

=The Game of “It.”= Here is a game that will amuse any party, but you
must first find out adroitly that there is at least one person in the
company who has never been initiated into the mysteries. This one is
chosen to leave the room, but before he goes he must be told that those
in the room will select an object which he is to guess on his return.
He may ask as many questions as he wishes when the time comes, one
question at a time of each person consecutively, but his questions must
be so worded that they may be answered by “Yes,” “No,” or “I do not

When all this has been explained, the guesser leaves the room. The
leader then arranges the party in a circle, seating alternately a boy
with a girl, if possible, and explaining that each person must think of
the one sitting on his or her left, as the object chosen, and answer
all questions as if they applied to that person. You may imagine that
the conflicting answers arising from such an arrangement will confuse
the questioner, and much fun will be derived by those in the secret.

For instance the questioner may ask of No. 1, who is a girl, “Has it
life?” No 1 answers “Yes.” He then asks No. 2, who is a boy, “Is it
pretty?” and No. 2 very naturally answers “Yes,” for he is speaking of
the girl at his left. Then of No. 3, who is a girl, “Is it a girl?” and
No. 3, thinking of the boy on her left, answers “No.”

All this throws the questioner off the track—it has life, it is pretty,
but it is not a girl. So he naturally asks No. 4, who is a boy, “Is it
a boy?” and No. 4 answers “No.”

The questions will now be varied, to find something with life that is
pretty, and is neither a girl nor a boy, and the result will be very

Or the questioner may ask such questions as “Is its hair long?” “Does
it wear short sleeves?” and so on, and all the conflicting answers will
tend to prolong the game to any desired extent.

=The Game of “Turtle.”= Here is a game for boys who have good, strong
muscles. It is called “turtle.” Any number may play, and the game
commences by all sitting in a row resting their chins on their knees,
and each holding his left ankle with his right hand, and his right
ankle with his left hand. This is a very difficult position to keep. At
a given signal, the turtles start for a goal a short distance away.
It is the object of the game for the turtles to waddle to the goal and
back to the starting point without removing their hands from their
feet. The winner is, of course, the one who returns to the starting
point first.

=The Game of “Empty Hands.”= Some member of the household produces a
quantity of small cards. The number is not quite sufficient to “go
round” the company, an intentional feature of the game. Four persons
find themselves empty-handed when the bell rings. This bell is a signal
for the passing, the object being to find some one without a card and
rid one’s self of the one in hand by passing it on. No one to whom a
card is offered is allowed to refuse it, unless, of course, he already
holds one. If empty-handed he is obliged to receive the unwelcome gift
and try to get rid of it as quickly as possible.

Each time the bell rings which occurs at irregular intervals, making
it impossible to calculate, the passing ceases, and all having empty
hands win a point to count towards the final prize. The boy or girl
having most points when the passing is over, receives a prize.

=Simon Says.= The players are arranged in a line, the player who
enacts Simon standing in front. He and all the others clench their
fists, keeping the thumb pointed upwards. No player is to obey his
commands unless prefaced with the words, “Simon says.” Simon is himself
subjected to the same rules. The game commences by Simon commanding,
“Simon says, ‘Turn up,’” on which he turns his thumb upwards, followed
by the other players. He then says “Simon says, ‘Turn down,’” and
brings his hands back again. When he has done so several times, and
thinks that the players are off their guard, he merely gives the word,
“Turn up,” or “Turn down,” without moving his hands. Some one, if not
all, is sure to obey the command, and is subject to a forfeit. Simon
is also subject to a forfeit, if he tells his companions to turn down,
if the thumbs are already down, or vice versa. With a sharp player
enacting Simon, the game is very spirited.

The simplicity of this game constitutes its chief charm, as the very
fact of its being so simple, sometimes leads to inattention on the part
of some of the players, which is sure to result in their being caught.

=Passing Bean-bags.= Make twelve or fifteen bags, six inches square, of
bed-ticking, and loosely fill them with beans which have been washed
and dried to remove the dust.

Appoint two leaders, who choose sides, arranging the sides in lines
facing each other, with a small table at each end of each line.

The bean-bags being equally divided, each leader deposits his share
upon the table nearest him. Then, at a given signal, seizing one bag at
a time with one hand, with the other he starts it down the line, each
player passing it to the next, until all the bags reach the last, who
drops them upon the table at his end of the line. When all the bags
have reached this table, the last player, seizing each in turn, sends
them back up the line to the leader, who drops them upon his table.
Whichever side first succeeds in passing all the bags down the line
and back, wins the round. It takes five rounds to make a game, so that
three out of five must be successful for the winning side.

=Buzz.= This is a simple little game that needs no preparation, but
can be started in a moment when there is danger of dullness. A large
company can play equally as well as a small. The leader instructs the
company that they will now proceed to count in regular order until they
come to seven, any multiple of seven, or any number having seven in
it, when they will substitute the word “buzz” for that number. Should
they fail to do this they will be dropped from the circle. This will
continue until every one has blundered. When the higher numbers are
reached it takes one quick in quantities to follow it. Given properly
it goes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, buzz, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, buzz, 15, 16,
buzz, 18, 19, 20, buzz, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, buzz, buzz, 29, 30, 31, 32,
33, 34, buzz, etc.

=Can You Laugh?= This is a little entertainment that will fill in some
vacant spot in an evening, or will serve as an impromptu. It can be
tried either by the ladies or gentlemen. If the ladies try it (and this
is likely to be more successful, as they laugh easier than men), let
them stand in a row. The gentlemen are then to endeavor to make them
laugh by every means possible, except to touch or threaten to touch.
The least departure from perfect soberness is called a laugh, and the
lady is to step out of the line and join the gentlemen in her endeavor
to make the ladies laugh. If it is desired that a prize be given, it
may be given to the lady who keeps from laughing longest.

=An Optical Game.= Present a ring to a person, or place it at some
distance and in such a manner that the plane of it shall be turned
towards a person’s face; and then bid him shut one of his eyes, and try
to push through it a crooked stick of sufficient length to reach it; he
will very rarely succeed.

=Blowing the Feather.= A simple and successful game is this
old-fashioned one. Having provided a sheet or tablecloth and a small
feather such as sofa pillows are stuffed with, ask your guests (all
but one) to be seated on the floor in a hollow square. The tablecloth
or sheet is then spread so that the players can hold the edges of the
sides and ends up, just under their chins, thus stretching the cloth
taut about a foot and a half above the floor. Upon the cloth the small
feather is placed, and the player who is left out of the square is
then told that he must do his best to catch it either in front of or
upon some one of the seated players, who will then be obliged to take
his place. At a signal, the players on the floor begin to blow, and
the feather flies hither and thither, never resting, while amid much
laughter the player who is out flies hither and thither, too, until he
catches it at last on some unwary individual or some one too weak from
laughing to blow quickly and effectively.

=Throwing the Handkerchief.= Two sides being seated in two rows facing
each other, a knotted handkerchief is thrown suddenly at one of the
players opposite, calling out at the same time, either “Earth!”
“Water!” “Air!” or “Fire!” If “Earth” is called, the player into whose
lap the handkerchief falls must name some quadruped before the other
can count ten; if “Air,” a bird; if “Water,” a fish; and if “Fire,” he
must remain perfectly still. Should the player fail to name an animal,
or name the wrong one, or speak when he ought to be silent, he must
drop out of the game, and the player who threw the handkerchief at him,
may take and throw it at some one else. But should he answer properly,
he must throw the handkerchief at a player on the opposite side, call
an element and count ten. In this way the game goes on until all but
one have dropped out, the remaining one being the winner.

=Going to Jerusalem.= Get a line of chairs, every other one facing
an opposite direction, one less chair than the number of people. As
the piano is played, they march around the line of chairs, and as the
music suddenly stops, each one tries to sit on the nearest chair, and
of course some one is left standing and is out of the game. The music
starts again, and one chair is taken out. The same thing is repeated
until there are two people left to one chair. It is very amusing to
watch these two cautiously moving about this chair, ready to seize it
the instant the music stops.

=Find the Whistle.= All the children but one sit down in a circle. The
one that is left standing, must be the one who does not know the game.
Some one takes a string, fastens a whistle to one end of it, and a bent
pin to the other, then quietly and secretly attaches the string by
the hook to the person’s back. Every time he turns his back toward any
one, the whistle is taken and blown. So it goes until the whistle is

=The All-around Story Game.= One person in the room begins to relate
a story, and after telling enough to interest the hearers and arouse
their curiosity, suddenly breaking off, throws a knotted handkerchief
at some member of the party, calling upon him to continue the story.
This is kept up as long as possible. The more absurd and improbable the
better. If any one fails to respond upon receiving the handkerchief, he
or she must drop out. The one remaining last wins.

=An Obstacle Game.= Set stools, chairs, tables, or anything that is an
obstacle in the most convenient place in the room; let those who are
to take part in the game have two minutes to get their bearings. Then
they leave the room and come back blindfolded. In the meantime, all
the obstacles have been removed, but the warning cries of “Look out!”
and the absurd attempts of the players to remember where the obstacles
were, make much fun.

=Impudence.= This is played with two packs of cards. Seat the players
around the table and deal to them, one at a time all around, a whole
pack of cards; placing the other pack, face downward, in the centre of
the table.

The first player begins by turning up a card from the pack on the
table, at the same time asking some uncomplimentary question, which
is supposed to apply to the person holding the corresponding card.
This unfortunate player has a speedy revenge, however, as it is his
privilege to turn the next card and ask the next question.

Example: A [turning up card]—“Who is the most selfish person in this

B [who holds the duplicate]—“Evidently I am, but [turning another card]
who is the most conceited?”

C—“That must be I. Now [turning card], let us see who is the
stingiest.” And so on till the pack is exhausted.

=Rolling Chase-ball.= Two teams may play this game, and two big balls
or footballs are used. The teams line up in parallel rows, the players
not facing each other, but behind one another all facing the same way.
The leader of each team holds a ball in both hands.

At the appointed signal, the leader, without bending his body or
turning his head, tosses the ball backward to the player behind him.
The ball is tossed backward again, and so passes along the line. The
end player then runs to the head of the line, and the whole process is
repeated over again. The end player again goes to the front, and the
game is continued until the original leader of the team is again at the
head of his line. The team first reaching its order of formation wins
the game.

It is essential that the ball should travel swiftly. Should any player
drop the ball, he must run for it and regain his place in the line
before passing it on. Should a toss be so strong as to pass above the
player behind, so that he fails to receive the ball, the ball must be
passed back so that the missed player shall handle it.



    Two naughty, sporty Bunco Steers
      Would go through country towns,
    With cards and other games of chance
      To fleece the Farmer Clowns.

    And though the Farmers tried and tried
      To win, I’ll tell you that
    The harvest of those Bunco Steers
      Was always mighty fat.

    But one fine day, while these two Steers
      Were at their naughty work,
    A simple looking, rustic Fox
      Addressed them with a smirk.

    “Bah! What a simple lot of stunts!
      They’re plain as two and two.
    Come, let me show you now a trick
      That neither one can do.”

    Three little sticks then, side by side,
      He placed upon the table.
    “Now blow the _middle_ one away,
      Good sirs, if you are able.”

    The Steers then tried and blew and blew
      Till they could blow no more,
    For every time they blew, they’d blow
      The _three_ sticks to the floor.

    “Here’s all the money that we’ve got,”
      The Steers were forced to say;
    “Now, smarty Fox, perform the trick
      And take the cash away.

    “But if you fail, please rest assured
      We’ll whip you nigh to death.
    You must not trifle with us two
      And make us lose our breath.”

    The Fox just grinned, “I’ll take the bet.
      You’ll see what I can do.”
    He fixed the sticks and put his paws
      Upon the outside two.

    And when he blew, the _middle one_
      Went sailing through the air,
    And lifting up his paws he showed
      The other two were there.

    The Fox then quickly took the cash
      Which they had posted handy,
    And running off, he cried to them,
      “Now wasn’t that a dandy?”

    And thus it is with lots of Rogues
      As through this world they strut,
    Their wits are oft so keen and sharp,
      It’s but themselves they cut.

=The Raised Hand.= Tell some person to pick up a coin in one hand and
hold that hand above his head while he counts twenty, aloud and slowly.
Before the person picks up the coin, you leave the room and return just
after he finishes counting, but not so soon that you can see in which
hand he had the coin. Nevertheless you tell him correctly every time,
which hand he had raised. The way this trick is done, is exceedingly
simple. On entering the room, after the person has counted twenty you
look at his hand. The one which he has raised above his head will be
white, as the blood has run down from the fingers and hand; the other
one will remain its natural color.

=Unconscious Movements.= Slit a match at the wrong end and cut another
one on the slant. Now place one within the other, so as to form an
acute angle, and set these united matches astride the blade of a dinner
knife. Impress on the experimenter to allow the phosphorus ends
lightly to touch the table, but on no account to move away from its
surface. The matches will now begin to march along the blade. In order
to render the experiment more attractive, cause the two matches to
imitate the legs of a little man by placing a painted puppet on top of

Another way: Take two straws from a stiff broom. Cut one in half and
fold each piece into the shape of a hairpin. Place one astride on each
end of the long knife, which you hold steadily, and if on a level
surface they will walk towards each other until they meet in the middle.

=The Broken Match Restored.= The performer requests a member of the
audience to give him an ordinary wooden match, first marking the
same for the purpose of identification. He then wraps the match in a
handkerchief, in which condition he hands it to a spectator with the
request to break the match, still enclosed in the handkerchief, to
pieces. This is done, after which, the handkerchief is shaken out and
the marked match falls from its fold quite restored.

The secret of this trick consists in having a duplicate match concealed
in the hem of the handkerchief from the outset. The marked match is
simply lodged in the fold of the handkerchief, the one in the hem being
brought up to the centre and put into the hands of the spectator. It
is, therefore, the one in the hem that is broken, the hem serving to
retain the pieces, the marked match falling out as the handkerchief is
shaken. A silk handkerchief with a narrow hemstitched border is the
most convenient to use, for the reason that the broken match is the
more readily removed and a fresh one inserted for future occasion.

=The Cent and the Hole.= In a piece of stout paper, cut a circle
three-sixteenths of an inch less in diameter than a penny. Ask any one
to pass a penny through the hole without touching the coin or tearing
the paper. Fold the paper exactly across the centre of the hole, and
then take it in both hands and ask some one to drop the penny into
the fold. Let it rest just over the hole, its lower edge projecting
below. Bend the corners of the paper slightly upwards. This elongates
the opening, and if the movement be continued, the penny will after a
second or two fall through by the force of its own weight. The paper
remains uninjured.

=Mysterious Reading.= The performer takes a piece of paper about eight
inches square and tears a strip about two inches wide off of each side,
then tears these two strips in half. This gives four pieces of paper,
each two inches wide and four inches long. Upon these pieces of paper,
he requests different persons to write the names of persons who are
dead. Taking the remaining piece of paper, he tears into two strips and
each strip is torn in half. This again gives four pieces of paper, the
same size as the other four. Upon these pieces of paper, the performer
requests other persons to write the names of some living persons. The
holders of the pieces of paper are now requested to fold them over
twice and place them in a hat. The performer takes these pieces of
paper from the hat, one at a time, and by simply holding them upon the
top of his head, can tell whether the name is that of a live person
or a dead person, making such remarks as cause it to seem the more

To perform this, take any piece of writing paper, eight inches square,
and tear off both outer edges (right and left) for the first two
strips. These two pieces of paper have now one straight or smooth edge
and one (the torn edge) rough edge. Remember this. On these pieces
are to be written the names of the dead. When you feel them on top of
your head, if they have a smooth edge and a rough edge it is of course
the name of a dead person. The other piece of paper, when torn into
two strips, has both edges rough, and upon these pieces are written
the names of living persons. When you feel the paper on your head has
no smooth edge, both edges being rough, it must contain the name of a
living person.

=The Baffling Card.= Take an ordinary visiting card and bend down the
ends at right angles to the card, about a quarter of an inch, then
laying it on a smooth table, ends down, ask any person to blow it
over. This seems easy enough, but it may be tried for hours without
succeeding. It is, however, to be done by blowing sharply on the table
at some distance from the card.

=A Watch Trick.= Ask a person to think of a number on the dial of a
watch from one to twelve, but not to tell you what that number is.
Then, with a pencil, you tap various numbers on the dial and he counts
the tappings silently, beginning with the next number higher than the
one of which he thought. That is, if he thought of the number five, he
would count silently six, seven, eight, nine, etc., or if he thought
of nine, for example, he would count to himself ten, eleven, twelve,
thirteen, etc., etc. When he has counted to the number “twenty” he must
say, “Stop,” and your pencil, or whatever you are using to tap the
watch, will be on the number of which he thought but did not tell you.

There is just one point about this trick for you to remember. When you
tap the face of the watch with your pencil, you also count silently,
beginning with one and counting to yourself, one, two, three, four,
etc., etc. It does not matter what numbers you touch for the first
seven, but the eighth tap must be on the figure twelve, and then go
around the dial backward, the ninth tap on eleven, the tenth on ten,
the eleventh on nine, etc., until you reach the one selected.

=Silk From Paper.= “I have three pieces of paper—red, white, and blue.
I am going to burn them. I light them first. I find they burn better
that way.”

The conjurer has previously at least four yards of red, white, and blue
ribbons—twelve yards in all—stitched together at one end, rolled up,
and placed under the top of the right arm.

The pieces of paper are picked up with the right hand, and the ends are
twisted together tightly, otherwise the papers would burn too quickly
and scorch the conjuror’s hands. The papers are held in the flames of
the candle for a second, and while they are burning, the conjurer draws
attention to his empty left hand, and then to the fact that his right
hand contains only the burning papers. When the conjurer is going to
show that he has nothing concealed in his sleeves, he draws up the
right sleeve with the left hand, and takes the ribbon from under the

Then in order to be able to draw the left sleeve up with the right
hand, he is obliged to put the burnt papers into the left hand. He
draws up the left sleeve, closes his right hand over his left, and
then crushes the burnt papers. In doing this he gets hold of the piece
of silk with his right hand, and, bringing his right hand slightly
towards the body, and turning a little to the left, he throws his right
hand vigorously forward and the ribbons unfold.

=The Obedient Ball.= A wooden ball about two inches in diameter is
given for examination. A hole one-half inch in diameter runs through
the ball. A small cord is next passed for examination. The performer
runs the cord through the hole in the ball, and causes the ball to run
up the cord, and stop wherever he wishes it to. Again the ball and cord
are handed for inspection.

After the performer hands out the cord for inspection, he lays it on
his table, and after the ball is duly inspected, the performer picks up
the cord and with it a piece of black silk thread, and runs it through
the hole in the ball with the cord; the other end of thread passes out
behind the scenes to his assistant. Take one end of the cord in one
hand, and the other end of the cord and thread in the upper hand. Now
by pulling the thread taut, the ball will stop; when it reaches the
bottom of the cord, the assistant pulls the thread, and causes the ball
to ascend. By dropping the black thread, all can be examined once more,
to the mystification of all concerned.

=Tricks with a Pen.= Can you write your name with your left hand? It is
a good thing to know how, in case you ever hurt your right hand.

Can you write a looking-glass letter? That always amuses children; so
if you have a friend who is ill, send her a looking-glass letter to
cheer her up.

Practise by writing on a piece of paper held front of a mirror, and
soon you will find it is quite easy to do looking-glass writing.
Looking-glass writing is done backward, so that it looks all right when
it is held to the mirror.

Also see if you can write your name backward—that is, begin at the last
stroke and go back to the first—and as a last trick try to write your
name upside down. That is not at all easy, but copy your signature
upside down and you will be able to do it quite well after a little

=The Dice and Cup.= Take from the backgammon board two dice and the
dice cup or shaker. Hold the cup in your right hand by putting your
thumb and second finger around the bottom of it, at the same time
holding one of the dice with the tips of the same finger and thumb.
Next put the other die on top of the one you are holding. You will, of
course, need the aid of your left hand in arranging the dice and cup in
your right.

Now, by a quick upward movement of your right hand, send the top die
flying up into the air, and as it comes down catch it in the cup.

Now comes the real trick—to get the other die in the cup also. If you
try to do this by throwing the die upward as you threw the first one,
you may catch it in the cup all right, but at the same time you will
be pretty sure to throw the first one out of the cup. As for catching
both together as they come down, you will find that almost impossible.
The proper way to get the second die into the cup without losing the
one that is already there, is, to let your hand drop suddenly, at the
same time letting go the die which you have been holding.

The die will drop too, but not as rapidly as your hand, so that you
will have no difficulty in getting the cup under it and catching it.

=The Surprising Paper Bands.= Cut three bands of paper about
twenty-four inches long and two inches wide. In preparing the first
strip of paper, simply gum the ends together, for the second strip,
twist once and gum the ends together; for the third strip, twist twice
and then gum the ends together. Now cut each of the bands in the centre
lengthways and notice the results. In twisting the papers, it should be
done unobserved.

=Napkin-ring Trick.= While waiting for dessert at dinner, it is fun for
the family at table to exchange tricks. One is the napkin-ring trick.
Holding your napkin-ring in one hand, look from your glass tumbler to
some large object—say, the sugar-bowl,—pretending to hesitate between
the two, then pick up the glass tumbler and say: “Safer to take the
smaller article.” Then look around, and say: “Will any of you believe
me when I say that I can push this glass full of water through this
napkin-ring?” Something may be added about a newly discovered way of
compressing glass.

Then you should set the glass down solemnly, place your napkin-ring in
front of it, and, with an impressive flourish of your hand, thrust your
finger through the napkin-ring and give the glass a shove.

“There!” you may exclaim in triumph, “Haven’t I pushed the glass
through the napkin-ring?”

=The Magical Cups of Tin.= This little trick, performed in a parlor,
will make you appear quite a magician. Get beforehand two perfectly
plain tin cups, without handles and with the bottom sunk about a
quarter of an inch, and straight sides. On the sunken bottom of each
put some glue, and over it drop some birdseed, so that it looks as if
the cups were full, whereas they are really standing upside down and
the layer of seed is glued to the outside of the bottom.

When you are ready to perform the trick, have a bag of the same kind of
seed, and, standing off from your audience, hold the cups so that they
can see that they are empty, but don’t allow any one to approach you.

Now take one cup and dip it into the bag of seed, but instead of
filling it, turn it upside down, so that when you take it out the seed
glued to the bottom will show, and every one will think it is full.

Place the apparently full cup of seed under a hat, but in doing so
dexterously turn it so that the empty cup is upright and the glued seed
at the bottom. Don’t let your audience see this turn.

Now take the other cup, which is empty, and let them see you put it
under another hat, but also turn this one, so that they do not see you
do it. This brings the seed to the top and shows an apparently full
cup, and when you remove the hat, after pronouncing some magic words,
it will look as if the cups had changed places.

Remove the cups before any one has a chance to examine them.

=The Elusive Cork.= Lay any bottle of fair size with an open mouth on
its side, and lay in the mouth of the bottle a piece of cork about the
size of a pea. Ask any of the spectators to try to blow the cork into
the bottle, and, try as they may, they will find that they cannot do
it, as the piece of cork will always fly back in the face of the blower.

=The Three Pennies.= Three pennies are placed flat on the table, two
tails and one head. The two tails are together and the head penny is
some inches away. The coin with the head upwards must be placed between
the other two coins without the tail penny nearest the head being
taken away, and the other coin must not be touched. People not in the
secret will not attempt to solve the problem, as they say it cannot be

This seemingly impossible trick is quite simple once you have learned
the secret. Throw the head penny flat with some force, striking the
tail penny nearest, at the same time holding the coin. This action will
shoot the second coin (which you must not touch) and throw it some
distance away. All that is left to be done is to put the head penny
between the two coins.

=A Lesson in Gravity.= Stand against the wall with the left side,
the cheek, hip, and foot touching it; then try lifting the right leg
without moving the body away from the wall. It is laughable to see
children trying to perform this feat, for it is one of the things that
are impossible to accomplish.

=The Tantalizing Half-dollar.= Place a boy with his back against the
wall, his heels standing firmly against it. Lay a half-dollar on the
floor in front of him, about a foot distant from his toes, and tell him
it is his if he can pick it up without moving his heels from against
the wall. In vain will he try to get the coin under the conditions
prescribed, for this feat is another of the impossible ones.

=Drawing Matches to Win.= Take 15 matches, bunch them up so they cannot
be easily counted, lay them on a table, and tell some person that you
will allow him to start the game, by drawing from the pile one, two or
three matches—but no more. Tell him that you have the same privilege,
and that you intend that he shall draw the last match, or, at least,
that you will leave the last for him to draw.

If you watch your turns carefully you will succeed perfectly, unless,
of course, your opponent is acquainted with the system—and very few
persons are.

If he should first draw one, you draw one. If his second draw should be
three, then you draw one again. Observe now that there are six drawn.
In order to assure yourself of winning, make certain that this is the
case either at your first or second draw—get six off the board. Then
there are nine remaining. The next time you draw let it make four with
what he draws, leaving five still to be drawn. Now if he draws three,
you take one; if he draws two, you take two, and so on. You will thus
see that the last match will always be left to your opponent.

He will now surely want to try it again. This time you begin the
drawing by taking one, as he did at first, making a remark to that
effect. Whatever number he takes, it cannot make the six. But should
he follow your example and take but one, you still must be careful and
trust to luck and careful computation, taking only one more on your
second draw, which will make three off. The chances are small that he
will take the remaining three to make the six. But if he does, it is
an evidence that he is “getting on,” and he may possibly (but not
probably) beat you.

Whether he does or does not, you simply let him start out again, and
you proceed to follow according to his lead. You will defeat him nine
times in ten without your being compelled to make your play certain,
which can be done when you get your first draw, as follows: draw
two; he cannot then defeat you, for whatever he draws, he will still
leave from one to three for you, and you take the sixth off, when the
rest is easy. Better not do this until he is quite sure that he has
“discovered” your method, when this will put him all at sea again. This
game is great fun, and will puzzle all of your friends.

=Eye-Errors and Ghosts.= A few experiments with the eyes will be found
very interesting, and to the uninitiated, very queer. If you will hold
up your forefinger about a foot from your face, and look at a tree or
object beyond it, or at any tall object, you will see your finger
double. Then look directly at your finger and you will see the tree

The explanation is that each eye sees separately, and when both are
looking at the finger the right eye sees the tree or object on the
right side of the finger and the left eye sees it on the left. When,
however, you look at the tree directly with both eyes, each eye sees
the finger apparently in a different place. If you will cover the one
eye and look with the other, you cannot see either the tree or the
finger double, which is the proof of the experiment.

Place two bits of white paper about a foot apart on a table. Cover
the right eye and look steadily at the right-hand piece of paper with
the left eye. By stepping backward you will reach a spot where the
left-hand piece of paper will disappear. You can make the right-hand
piece of paper disappear by looking at the left-hand piece of paper
with the right eye.

When you have made one disappear in this way, move your head ever so
slightly backward or forward, and the paper will instantly reappear.
The reason of this is that every person’s eye has a blind spot on the
retina, and when an image of the piece of paper falls on the spot it
cannot be seen.

Instead of snatching the paper away after looking at it steadily, look
up at the ceiling, and the image will be seen there. These “ghosts,”
as they are sometimes called, are caused by the action of light on the
retina of the eye.

=The Detaining Hand-clasp.= Grasp a person firmly by the wrists as if
you were about to handcuff him, and say that you can clasp his hands
in such a way that he cannot leave the room without unclasping them.
Probably he will look sharply at you for a while, trying to divine your
purpose, and if you maintain your firm hold on his wrists, he will be
led to believe that you intend to use your strength for the purpose.

Then lead him to a table and seating him on a chair by it, clasp his
hands about one of the legs. Of course, he cannot now leave the room
without unclasping them unless he overturns the table or drags it with

=The Pictorial Nail.= By having in your possession an extraordinarily
strong magnet, you can perform the following very effective trick.
Prepare a large frame with a paper centre, now take a crayon and draw a
nail or a hook, then borrow a key or key-ring and make the announcement
that you will hang one of the articles on the picture. This is easy if
you have an assistant in the rear, with the magnet attached to a stick,
which he holds directly in the rear of the drawn picture, the magnet
holding the article on the front.

=Cane Trick.= Measure the length of your forearm along a cane by
placing your elbow even with its head and marking the point to which
the tip of your middle finger reaches.

Take hold of your cane with your middle finger, covering the mark,
and your little finger nearest to the head. The cane must be at right
angles to the hand and be grasped firmly so that the tips of all the
fingers are pressed tightly against the palm of the hand. It is not
“fair” to hold the cane obliquely.

Now try to put the head of the cane to your lips. If you succeed you
are an exception to the general rule, and even you will probably fail
if you hold the cane, in the same manner, at a point a little further
from the head.

But any one can do the trick easily by holding the cane at a less
distance from its head than the length of his forearm.


=General Directions.= The best place for a pantomime show is where
two rooms are connected by folding doors. A screen or curtain can be
fitted to this opening. Care should be given that this screen fits the
opening so that no light can show over the top or from around the sides
or bottom. If the screen does not fit, this can be remedied by hanging
some curtains or other draperies at the top and on the sides, and by
putting carpets or rugs at the bottom.

Now for the screen. This is a sheet or square of muslin or
light-colored calico, tacked on a light wooden frame or to the opening.
The cloth must be stretched tightly, as any wrinkles spoil the effect
of the shadows. Dampen your cloth before tacking it on the frame, and
then pull it as tightly as you can before tacking; when it dries, it
will be found to have drawn tightly, and will be free from seams or

If you desire to have the shadows show up sharp and clear, make your
screen semi-transparent by painting it with a solution of paraffine
wax, dissolved in spirits of turpentine. This, of course, should be
done at least twenty-four hours before your show is to take place, so
as to give it a chance to thoroughly dry.

Your theatre is now ready, all but the light, and that is prepared and
used as follows: First, secure a large lamp, and then a large pan,
which is filled with sand; the lamp is to be in the centre of this pan,
and the reasons for this precaution are obvious, as, should the lamp be
accidentally overturned, it will not ruin the floor covering, as the
oil will be absorbed by the sand; besides it obviates the risk of a
fire or explosion.

You are now all in readiness for your performance. The light is placed
upon the floor about four feet from the centre of the screen on the
actors’ side of same; the other side of the screen, where your audience
sit, is, of course, in complete darkness, otherwise the shadows of the
actors would not be in evidence.

Every one not engaged in the performance, but who is behind the screen,
waiting for his part, must be particular to keep back of the light, so
their shadows will not be thrown on the screen.

In making entrances and exits, come on from the sides, about two feet
from the screen, and you must remember that the farther you are from
the screen, and the nearer to the light, the larger will be your shadow
on the screen. Recollect, too, that you must be in profile, or sideways
to your audience, otherwise the effect of your acting is lost; as in
case you face your audience your actions are all lost to them.

=Aerial Figures.= A very funny entrance can be made by jumping over the
light, which gives the appearance on the screen as if you had just
dropped through the ceiling, and an exit by jumping over the light
looks like flying up there again in a most weird manner. A dummy figure
(suppose that of a witch, riding on the conventional broomstick) is
suspended by a fine thread or wire on the side of the screen remote
from the spectators. Behind this are ranged, one behind the other, and
at right angles to the screen, a row of lighted candles. Being all in
the same line, they throw one shadow only on the screen. The figure
is now made to oscillate slightly, so as to impart some little motion
to the shadow. One of the candles is now removed from its place in
the row, and waved gently about, now high, now low, the effect to the
spectators being that a second shadow springs out of the first, and
dances about it on the screen. A second and third candle as it leaves
its place in the line produces a separate shadow. It is well to have
three or four assistants, each taking a candle in each hand.

=Silhouettes.= The idea of projecting silhouettes with the hands on
a wall or illuminated screen is an old one. These shadows are best
made on a screen, which is illuminated by a single lamp enclosed in a
projecting apparatus, using acetylene gas. The lens must consequently
be of very short focus. The electric light may be replaced at the
amateur’s house by a lamp, or better by a wax candle. The candle will
do very well in a small room where one can be in total obscurity except
for the candle light. The chief fault of this light for shadowgraphy,
is, that the distance from light to screen must necessarily be
short, or shadows will not be sharp. The oil lamp should not be used
if another better light can be obtained, because the shadows must
necessarily be somewhat blurred. The main thing to be studied in
the selection of a light is to get a brilliant point of light and
not necessarily a large surface. Now, an oil lamp, having a large
or probably double flame, has too large a surface of illumination.
Moreover, the rays should always travel uninterceptedly to the screen,
never through the glass, and never thrown from a reflector. Seeing that
a glass chimney and reflector are almost indispensable to an oil lamp,
there is abundant reason for not using it. If the lamp is used, turn
the edge and not the flat side of the light before the screen.

=Shadow Pictures= may be accompanied by a phonograph. Care must be
taken in arranging the lights so that the shadows of the actors may
be clear cut and not out of proportion to the size of the sheet on
which they are thrown. The concealed phonograph starts, and presto!
the shadow actors behind the sheet seem to be the very embodiment of
the voices of the records. It is difficult to realize that a machine
is talking. Especially is this true when the impersonators are
sufficiently familiar with the words as to be able to form them with
their lips, although not really uttering them.

=Shadow Show.= One of the most pleasurable forms of entertainment,
in which every boy and girl takes delight, is the shadow show, and
a home-made one can be easily constructed and varied to your heart’s
content, if you are at all ingenious.

First secure some light strips of wood one inch thick and two inches
wide; you will need two of these six feet long and two of them three
feet long. These are to be joined together, making a frame six feet
high by three feet wide.

Next secure two strips one inch thick, one inch wide, and three feet
long, and two strips of the same size, but one foot long. Attach the
one-foot pieces to the three-foot strips six inches from each end.

This frame is to be attached to your larger frame, twelve inches from
the top.

Your framework should be joined so that it presents a flush, smooth
surface at all of the joints of the two frames. Over your large
framework you will now tack or glue black paper or muslin, leaving the
opening made by the smaller frame to be covered by white muslin, making
a semi-transparent screen 12 × 24 inches, upon which are to be shown
the figures.

A piece of tape is stretched across the bottom of the screen, close
to the frame. This holds against the frame the figures used in the
show and at the same time allows a continuation of their feet in the
cardboard from which they are cut to project below, and so be held by
the exhibitor.

By means of these continuations below the feet, the exhibitor can
make the figures glide along, rock backward and forward, or suddenly
disappear by pulling them downward.

All the figures should be cut out of cardboard and should have the
projection or continuation of the feet. Scenery can be cut out the
same way, and is quite easy, as you only need side screens. The scenes
can be held by the tape strip or can be fastened to the sides by using
thumb tacks. The joints of the figures are made with bits of broom
wire. If you want the eyes of the comic figures to roll about, string
a glass bead upon a thread and insert in a place cut for eyes in the
figure; fasten the thread at either side with a bit of glued muslin.
During the performance, this screen is illuminated by placing a light
about three feet behind it; the room in which the audience is seated
being, of course, dark. To shut out any light that may shine out at the
sides or top of the doorway, you should hang shawls or strips of your
black paper muslin.

Humorous and grotesque pictures may be cut out of newspapers and
magazines, pasting them on cardboard and then cutting out the
cardboard. The show may be a pantomime or the exhibitor may speak for
the different characters. All the figures to be used should be placed
on a table or a chair near the exhibitor or held by an assistant. With
a little ingenuity you can make the figures so that the arms and legs
and head work on pivots, attaching them to thread so small that it
will not cast a shadow on the screen. There is hardly any end to the
amusement you may have in this way.


=Calling the Cards.= To begin with, allow the pack of cards to be
thoroughly shuffled. When the pack is returned to you, adroitly notice
the value (suit and denomination) of the bottom card, which we will
suppose happens to be the four of spades.

Now, with apparent carelessness, throw the cards face downward on a
table and scatter them about with your fingers. However, you must not
lose sight of the bottom card, and wherever your fingers may push it
your eyes should follow also, in order that you may know exactly where
it lies. The spectators, meanwhile, are unaware of this knowledge on
your part.

Say to those present: “I will now present to you a mystery which is
apparently very simple, yet to my mind is a profound problem. It is
one of those mental wonders that cannot be readily understood, and the
deeper we study into them, the farther we seem to be from the truth.
You will therefore observe closely and see what you see.”

You continue: “I have, as you probably noticed, allowed Mr. —-- to
shuffle the cards thoroughly and they have been scattered over this
table at random. I shall allow five cards to be selected and I shall
endeavor to name each one before it is taken up. In order that nobody’s
attention may be distracted, I shall hold the cards taken up until the
entire five have been selected. To prevent any mistake, let some person
write the names of the cards upon a paper as they are called and see if
I am correct.”

You will then remark: “I will now call for cards, one by one and shall
ask Mr. Brown (any person desired) to make the first selection. Mr.
Brown, you will please find for me the four of spades, without turning
the card over.”

Naturally Mr. Brown smiles and says that such a thing is impossible.
You ask him, however, to simply rest his fingers upon the back of any
card his fancy may dictate. Having touched a card, you carefully draw
it away from the table, making sure that its face cannot be seen. Hold
it in your hands, close to your body, in an easy, unsuspicious manner,
just as if you were confident the four of spades had been selected.
Let us suppose, however, that the card is the seven of hearts. You
remark: “I will next ask Mr. Jones to touch a card in the same manner
as did Mr. Brown, but I predict beforehand that it will be the seven
of hearts.” The card is tapped, and you pick it up, as before. Let us
suppose this second one is the ace of diamonds. If so, you ask Mr.
Smith to touch a card, which you expect to be the ace of diamonds.
This, you notice, happens to be the queen of hearts. You then ask Mr.
Robinson to touch a card, which you intend shall be queen of hearts,
and after he does so you secretly ascertain that it is the eight of

Up to the present moment, four cards have been chosen. For the fifth
time, you are to have a card selected “by chance.” You decide, however,
to save time, that you will try your own luck and see if you can pick
out the eight of clubs. In doing this, you allow your finger to rest,
with apparent carelessness, upon the real four of spades, the position
of which you have known all the while. Having picked up the four of
spades, you place it with the others in your hand.

You are now able to produce the five cards you have named beforehand,
viz.: four of spades, seven of hearts, ace of diamonds, queen of hearts
and eight of clubs. The effect upon spectators is indeed surprising.

Much depends upon the tact which you employ in executing this trick.
You should first impress it in an indirect way upon the minds of those
present, that your experiment is one of actual prevision. It is one
of the rules of magic to lead the thoughts as well as eyes in a wrong
direction. Be careful in picking up the cards. Do not let any one
who is to touch a card get ahead of you by turning it over and thus
exposing your trick. In looking at the card after you have taken it
into your hand, do so adroitly—don’t stare at it. As the success of
the trick depends upon knowing the location of one card, do not make a
mistake on that one.

=The Odd Card.= Request one of the company to place both hands flat
on the table, then insert between each two fingers of his right hand,
two cards or one pair at a time; this will require four pairs of
cards. Follow the same method with his left hand but place a single
card instead of a pair between the third and little finger. This will
require three pairs and an odd card or fifteen cards in all. Now take
the two cards which are between the third and little finger of his
right hand and lay them down on the table, separately, side by side,
at the same time saying, “That is one pair.” Then take the next pair,
separate the two cards and lay one on each of the cards already on the
table and say, “There is another pair.” Follow exactly the same method
with the remaining pairs, making the same remark with each until only
the odd card remains. When you come to the one card, hold it in your
own hand so that every one may see it. “Now,” explains the performer,
“we have two heaps containing an even number of cards. I have one card
in my hand. If I place this odd card on either of the two even packs,
it will make that pack odd, will it not?” The audience appealed to in
this manner will respond in the affirmative. “Now on which pack shall
I place this odd card?” The card is placed on the packet selected.
“Will some one in the audience kindly hold this odd packet?” continues
the performer, handing the packet to a lady or gentleman. “I shall
hold the even packet. My trick is this: I shall undertake to pass one
card from my packet which contains an even number of cards to the odd
packet, held tightly by your representative. Ready! Hold tightly,
sir. One, two, three! Did you feel the card as it struck the pack? No?
Well, sometimes the impact is imperceptible. But the card has arrived
nevertheless. Will you count the cards in your packet? Wait a moment,
sir. In the beginning you had the odd packet, I believe? And now,
(Spectator counts the cards) you hold the even card number while I have
the odd number! (Performer counts the cards in his packet.) Isn’t it

=Naming the Cards.= Divide a pack of cards in halves, and place these
back to back, when one half will be visible to the audience and the
other half to yourself. Glance quickly at the card facing you, and
then place the cards behind your back. Place the card you saw over the
card shown to the company, show the cards, and call the right card.
This will give you an opportunity of seeing the next card. Produce
as before, and do so until you have come to the last. It is best,
in performing this trick, only to keep a few cards turned towards
yourself, so as not to tire the company and possibly lead them to guess
how you do the trick.

=A Diamond Ace of Hearts.= Show the ace of diamonds, the ace of spades,
and the ace of clubs, and lay them face downward on the table. Pick
up one ace, which you place in the middle of the pack: the second ace
at the bottom, and the third ace at the top of the pack. Then ask a
spectator to cut the pack wherever he or she may like, and no matter
where the pack is cut, the three aces will be found together.

Commence by withdrawing the four aces from the pack: the ace of
diamonds you secretly place on top of the pack, and arrange the other
three aces fan-wise as follows: the ace of hearts must be inverted,
and with the other two cards, hide the lower part of the heart and
the small heart in the indicator. Show the three cards thus arranged
quickly, and no one will imagine that the centre card is not the ace
of diamonds.

Lay the three aces face down on the table, still arranged fan-wise,
pick up the centre card, which is really the ace of hearts, and without
letting any one see its face, slip it anywhere in the pack; place the
second ace at the bottom of the pack and the third, after showing it,
on top, of course covering the ace of diamonds which is already there.
It does not signify in which place the pack is cut, the three aces will
be found together when the two parts of the pack are reunited.

=A Three-card Trick.= This requires the aid of three persons. Take
three cards, and, holding them in front of the first person, request
him to choose one and think of it. Then lay the three cards, face down,
in a row on the table, and take three more cards, which show to the
second person, and tell him to remember one of them. Place these cards
on top of the other three, and ask the third person to think of one of
a third lot, which you show him; then lay the last three cards on top
of the others. You now have three packs of three cards each. You lift
one pack at a time, and request each of the three persons to inform you
which pack contains the card he thought of. Of course, you know that
the first person’s card must be at the bottom of one of the packs, the
second person’s card in the middle, and the third person’s card on top.

=Detection by Smell.= This may be played upon some one who will take no
offence at the result. Allow the person to shuffle the cards, and then
to select any one card, returning the pack to the performer. Ask the
person to remember the card and to show it to the audience. While this
is being done, the performer turns his back, stating that he does not
want to see the card or get any clue as to what it is. While in this
position, the bottom card of the pack is turned up—and the top card
turned down. Turning around, he asks the person who selected the card,
to hold it for a few seconds between the hands, saying that the card
will be found by the sense of smell. The performer now asks some one in
the company to procure a hat. Place it, crown down, a little distance
from any one.

Holding the pack tightly, the person holding the card is now asked to
thrust it into the pack wherever he likes. The performer now puts the
pack in the hat and, taking out a few cards, commences to smell of
each one. Pushing the cards around, the chosen card will be seen with
its back the wrong way. When ready, take this card, smell of it, with
appropriate remarks show it, as the chosen card.

For a sensational conclusion, you may bring the discovered card to the
top of the pack, and ask the person who selected the card to grip the
pack tightly by a corner, between the thumb and first finger of the
right hand, the thumb extending about half-inch and the finger more,
and turn the cards face uppermost. The selected card is now, of course,
at the bottom or lower portion of the pack. Suddenly hit the pack a
strong downward blow, which will knock all the cards on the floor,
except the one selected, which will be left in the grip of the party
who selected it, staring him in the face.

=Naming a Drawn Card.= The conjurer, having shuffled the cards, asks a
member of the audience to abstract any card he pleases, to look at it,
and impress it firmly on his mind.

While he has been talking, the conjurer has been squaring up the cards,
and he now holds up the pack between the thumb and second finger of his
left hand. Any other way than this of holding the cards will do equally
well so long as the audience can see that the cards are properly
squared up. The chooser now returns his card to the pack.

The conjurer then places the cards behind his back, draws away three,
throws them on the table, and asks the chooser if his card is among
them. The answer is “No.” The process of throwing three cards at a time
on the table is repeated until the chooser says that his card is among
the three exposed cards. The conjurer then names the card.

The explanation is that when the card is returned to the pack, the
conjurer is careful to notice where it was returned, whether near the
top, middle, or bottom of the pack. We will suppose that it was near
the middle. The conjurer places the pack behind his back and draws off
three cards at a time from the top of the pack until he has shown—say
eighteen cards. He will know that the selected card was not among them.
He then draws the top card and the two bottom cards of the pack for the
next three, and he continues in this way until the chooser says that
his card is among the three. The conjurer then knows at once that it
is the top card of the three, because the other cards have come from
the bottom of the pack, and the chosen card has been replaced near the
middle of the pack. If the chosen card is inserted near the middle of
the pack, several cards from the top may be immediately placed on the
bottom of the pack to save time.

=Grouping the Kings.= Select the four kings from a pack, and also two
jacks. The kings you arrange in the shape of a fan, and place behind
the second one the two knaves, therefore they are hidden from view.
You show the cards by holding them towards the audience, so that they
may be satisfied that the cards really are kings. Square them together
so that one king will be on top, then the two jacks and then the three
kings, and place them on the top of the pack. You may remark, “Ladies
and gentlemen, I propose to separate these kings, the first (which you
hold towards them), I will place at the bottom of the pack, the second,
(which is a knave) I will place a little higher up, the third (also a
knave) higher up still, and the fourth (which you again exhibit, for
it is really a king) I will leave on top.” The kings are now three, on
top, and one at the bottom of the pack; consequently, a single cut will
bring them together. After a little unnecessary pressing, etc., one of
the company can cut the cards, and kings will be found to be in company.

=Detecting a Turned Card.= The picture cards have commonly a narrow
strip for the border; this border is usually narrower at one end of
the card than it is at the other. Place three or four of the picture
cards in such a manner that either all the broader or all the narrower
borders are placed uppermost. Request a spectator to invert one of the
cards while you are not looking. When done, observe the cards and you
will easily see which card is turned, as its narrower border now lies
on a level with the broader border of the other cards. If they try to
mystify you by turning none of the cards, you will easily see that this
is the case. If the performer has a good memory, the border may be
placed any way, taking due care to remember the positions.

=Telling the Number of Transposed Cards.= The performer allows a
spectator to cut a pack of cards into two heaps. Now, while the
performer’s back is turned, the spectator is requested to transpose
any number of cards up to ten, from one pack to another. Place the two
packets together and square up the cards. The performer deals from the
top of the pack about twenty cards, throwing them face downward on the
table. The performer now asks the number of cards transposed, and after
the spectator has replied, the selected card is turned over, and the
number of its spots corresponds to the number of cards transposed. Thus
if three cards were transposed, a three-spot would be turned up.

The explanation is as follows: The pack is pre-arranged in this
manner: on an ace, laid face downward, place a deuce; on this a tray;
on this a four; and so on to ten; and then a jack, queen, and king.
These thirteen cards are on top of the pack, and when the pack is
cut, the performer notes which packet contains the arranged cards.
He now requests some one to select one of the packets, forcing the
bottom packet. That is, if he selects the bottom packet, use that, if
he selects the top packet, say “I will take the other.” In any case
arrange to use the bottom packet. A spectator takes any number of
cards up to ten from the selected packet and passes them on the other
packet, the performer turning his back while this is done. The two
packets are now placed together, taking care that the packet on which
the transposed cards were placed is uppermost. Now, no matter how many
cards were placed upon the arranged packet, the fourteenth card from
the top will always give the correct number, so that in dealing off
the cards, the performer must not lose sight of the fourteenth card.
Deal off about twenty cards, throwing them carelessly on the table,
but allowing the fourteenth card to be a trifle more exposed than the
others. This will facilitate the choice of the card. The performer
now asks the number of cards transposed, and after the spectator has
replied, the selected card is turned over, and the number of its spots
correspond to the number of cards transposed.

=The Three Packets.= Tell a person to choose as he pleases three cards
from a euchre pack, informing him that an ace counts for eleven, a
picture card for ten, and the others according to the number of spots.
When he has chosen these three, tell him to put them on the table and
to place on each as many cards as spots are required to make fifteen.
That is to say, eight cards would have to be put on the seven of clubs,
four cards on the ace, and a five above the ten. Let him return you the
rest of the pack, and (while pretending to count something in them)
count how many remain. Add sixteen to this number, and you will have
the number of spots in the three bottom cards.

=A Card Found at the Second Guess.= Offer the cards to some person,
and let him draw one. You then hold the cards behind you, and tell him
to place his card on top. Pretend to make a great shuffling, but only
turn that card with its back to the others, still keeping it at the
top. Then hold up the cards with their faces towards the spectator,
and ask him if the bottom card is his. (While doing so, you inspect
his card at your leisure.) He of course denies it and then you again
put the cards behind you, turn over his card so it will face with the
others and begin shuffling again furiously. “Let me do that,” he will
probably say; so, as you are perfectly acquainted with his card, let
him shuffle as much as he likes, and then when you get the cards back
again, shuffle, and show him his own card.

=Pocketing a Chosen Card.= The performer exhibits four cards, held
fanwise in his left hand and requests a spectator mentally to select
one. The performer then takes one of the cards and places it in his
pocket. Upon spreading the cards again the spectator’s card is missing
and the performer draws the mentally selected card from his pocket.

Four cards are arranged as follows: king of clubs, jack of hearts, jack
of spades, and queen of diamonds.

Behind the king of clubs, the top card of the pack, arrange these three
cards, queen of clubs, king of spades and jack of diamonds. At the
outset, the seven cards can be on the top of the pack, the last named
three cards, of course, on top of the king of clubs.

Give the pack a shuffle, taking care not to disturb the seven arranged
cards on top. Rapidly count off these cards in such a manner that the
audience cannot see how many cards you take. Arrange the king of clubs,
jack of hearts, jack of spades, and queen of diamonds fanwise in the
left hand, keeping the three extra cards, the queen of clubs, king of
spades and jack of diamonds concealed behind the king of clubs. It does
not matter in what order the suits of the three concealed cards are
arranged. The proper method of holding the fan of cards is with the
left side of the king (and the three concealed cards) pressed tightly
in the crotch of the left thumb, the opposite edge being held by the
tip of the first finger of the left hand. This will keep the cards
from spreading and bringing the trick to a premature and disastrous
conclusion. The other three cards of the fan are held between the tips
of the left thumb and second and third fingers.

Turn your back to the spectators and hold the fan high above your head,
the faces of the cards toward the audience, and request a spectator to
think of one of the cards. When the choice has been made, square the
cards, inserting the little finger between the king of clubs and the
three cards back of it. Then you say: “I shall now place one of the
cards in my pocket,” and, suiting the action to the words, take the
four cards you have just shown, and holding them as one card, place
them in the pocket, leaving the three extra cards in your left hand.
Ask the spectator to name his card. Let us suppose he chose the king of
clubs. The performer replies, “The king of clubs? Ah, then I read your
mind correctly, for I placed the king of clubs in my pocket. Let me
show you first that the king has left the pack.” The performer spreads
the three cards, the queen of clubs, the king of spades and the jack
of diamonds, on the table. He then produces the desired card from the
pocket. As the order of the suits is known, this part of the trick is a
simple matter. If the chosen card is the jack of spades the performer
picks out the third card. A little practice is necessary in order to
make the selection quickly, for there must be no fumbling in the pocket.

The spectator will never detect the substitution of the cards; for the
ingenious arrangement of the suits tends to confuse the mind.

=To Pick Out a Card Thought Of.= Blindfold. Take twenty-one cards and
lay them down in three rows with their faces upwards; i. e., when you
have laid out three, begin again at the left hand and lay one card
upon the first, and so on to the right hand; then begin on the left
hand again, and so go on until you have laid out the twenty-one cards
in three heaps, at the same time requesting any one to think of a
card. When you have laid them out, ask him which heap his card is in;
then lay that heap in the middle between the other two. This done,
lay them out again in three heaps as before, and again request him to
notice where his noted card goes, and put that heap in the middle, as
before. Then taking up the cards with their backs towards you, take
the uppermost card off and reckon it one; take off another, which
reckon two; and thus proceed until you come to the eleventh, which will
invariably prove to be the card thought of. This trick may be done
without your seeing the cards at all, if you handle and count them
carefully. To diversify the trick, you may use a different number of
cards, but the number chosen must be divisible by three, and the middle
card, after they have been thrice dealt as directed, will always be the
one thought of; for instance, if done with fifteen cards, it must be
the eighth.

=The Siamese Aces.= Two aces are removed from the pack, which is
then cut into three packets. One of the aces is placed on the middle
packet, and while the performer is exhibiting the remaining ace, one
of the spectators “maliciously” transfers a few cards from either of
the outside packets to the top of the middle heap. The performer, not
noticing this disarrangement of the cards, places the second ace on
top of the first, and the two on top of the middle heap, presumably on
top of the first ace, although the spectators, who blithely imagine
they are in a conspiracy against the performer, know otherwise. The
cards are now dealt from the bottom, face upward, and the two aces come

The solution of the mystery is as follows. In taking out two aces—say
the ace of clubs and the ace of hearts, glance secretly at the top
card of the pack. For the purpose of explanation let us assume that
this “key” card is the seven of spades. Now cut the pack into three
heaps so that the top part of the pack will form the middle heap.
You must number the heaps in your mind from left to right, 1, 2, 3.
The top card of the middle heap is the seven of spades. Exhibit the
ace of hearts, requesting the spectators to remember the card, and
place it on the middle pile. While you are exhibiting the second ace
(the ace of clubs), move a little distance from the cards, and at
this psychological moment, a friend, who acts as your confederate,
(although the audience is not aware of the fact) transfers a few cards
from either No. 1 or No. 3 to the top of the centre heap. You are,
apparently, oblivious of this manoeuver, and place the ace of clubs on
the No. 1 heap, concluding by placing No. 3 on No. 1 and these on the
middle heap. Inform the audience that you are about to illustrate for
their benefit the surprising amount of affection that exists between
cards of the same value. For instance, kings associate with kings,
queens with queens, jacks with jacks, and aces with aces; of all
cards, you declare, the aces are the most affectionate. Between them
the bonds of sympathy are so strong that if they are separated only
temporarily they will exert every effort to be reunited. This sympathy
is especially strong between a red ace and a black ace—between a club
and a heart, a diamond and a spade. In fact, each pair may be likened
to the Siamese twins, except that the bond is sentimental rather than
material. “You will observe,” adds the performer, “that the ace of
clubs and the ace of hearts were placed in different parts of the deck,
but so strong is the affection between these aces that I have not the
slightest doubt they are at this moment reunited in some portion of the
pack. Ah, you smile incredulously; but I assure you that what I say is
literally true, and I am prepared to make my assertion good. Observe,
pray, that I shall deal the cards one at a time on the table, and when
I come to one of the aces, the other will be with it.” The spectators,
knowing that the cards have been disarranged, smile in expectation of
the performer’s discomfiture. The conjurer proceeds to deal the cards
from the bottom, throwing them face upward on the table. When the “key”
card turns up the performer knows that the next card is an ace. He
slides this ace back with the third finger of the left hand, and keeps
on dealing until the other ace appears, when he throws out the first
ace. A flashlight picture of the company at this moment would reveal an
interesting study in chagrin.

=Detection of a Drawn Card by Color.= Previously separate the pack into
two parts, placing all the red cards in one pile, and all the black
cards in the other. One of these packs you conceal in your pocket.
You let any person draw a card from the other pack, and while he is
examining the card, substitute the pack in your pocket for the one you
hold in your hand. Let him place his card in the pack you have taken
from your pocket, and shuffle as much as you please. You will at once
recognize the card he has drawn by the difference of color.

=Mathematical Detection of Card Thought Of.= Arrange the first ten
cards of a suit in a circle. Request some one to think of one of the
exposed cards and to touch some other card in the circle. Mentally add
the value of the card touched to the number of cards displayed (10),
and then ask him to count the cards backwards, until the number you
have given is reached, beginning at the card touched, and reckoning
that card as the number thought of. The card at which he stops will be
the one mentally selected.

For example, we will suppose the three was the card thought of, and
the six was the card touched. Six added to 10 makes 16. Then request
the player to commence counting the cards backwards mentally from the
number thought of (three) at the number touched (six) and continue
until 16 is named, touching each card as he counts. With finger on six
he mentally says “three;” the five-spot he calls four; the four, five;
the three, six; the two, seven, and so on up to 16. The mental count
will end with the three-spot—the number thought of.

The designation of this time after time, no matter what card is chosen,
will seem little short of miraculous to the uninitiated, and will prove
an unfailing amusement.

Of course, the evolution of the number to be counted—16 (or 10 added
to whatever card is touched)—must not be explained, and the apparent
haphazard choice of various numbers, when the director says: “Now count
backward till you reach 20 this time,” or “12,” or “try to find any law
you can if I say a little 19,” will not appear due to tact or finesse,
but to be the result of some mysterious intuitive power.

=Passing a Card to Top of Pack.= Take off the top card of the pack and
show it. We will suppose it is the eight of hearts. Call attention to
it and put it back on the top of the pack. Then, without exposing the
face of the card, take it off the top of the pack again and put it in
the centre of the pack. Do not push it fully in until you have held the
pack up and shown that the card is what you said it was—the eight of
hearts. Then square up the pack. Take off the top card and show it to
your audience. It is the eight of hearts which has apparently jumped
from the centre of the pack, where you put it, to the top.

Some one may say, “You have two eights of hearts.” Give the pack to be
examined and your friends will find that the pack is quite regular.

To do this, arrange the pack in such a way that the seven of hearts
is on top, and the eight of hearts above that. When you show the top
card you really slide off the two top cards together. Hold them with
the thumb at one end and two fingers at the other and the first finger
at one side. If you bend the card slightly, there will be less chance
of any one noticing that you are holding two cards. You call attention
to the fact that the top card is the eight of hearts, and put the two
cards, still held as one, back on the top of the pack. Then you draw
off the top card, which is the seven of hearts, and slip it into the
centre of the pack. Show part of the card just before you push it way
in, and if you contrive to keep a finger over the index in the corner,
nobody will know that the card is not the eight of hearts.

It is now in the hands of the performer to make the rest of the trick
as mysterious as possible.

=The Trick of “Thirty-one.”= A trick often introduced by sporting men
for the purpose of deceiving and making money is called “thirty-one.”
It is played with the first six cards of each suit,—the aces in one
row, the deuces in another, the threes in another; then the fours,
fives, and sixes—all laid in rows. The object now will be to turn down
cards alternately and endeavor to make thirty-one points by so turning,
or as near to it as possible without overrunning it; the one who turns
down a card, the spots of which make thirty-one or so near it that
the other cannot turn down one without overrunning it, wins. The chief
point of this trick, is, to count so as to end with the following
numbers, namely 3, 10, 17, or 24. For example, we will suppose that
you are to begin, you would commence with 3, your opponent would add
6, which would make 9; it would then be your policy to add 1, and make
10; then, no matter what number he adds, he cannot prevent you from
counting seventeen, which number gives you the command of the trick. We
will suppose he adds six, and makes sixteen; then, you make 24, then he
cannot possibly add any one number to count 31, as the highest number
he can add is 6, which would only count 30, so that you can easily add
the remaining 1, or ace, and make 31.


=Blowing Soap-bubbles.= Secure a lot of clean clay pipes, and to make
your bubble solution, take a preserve-jar and fill two-thirds full
of boiling water, add three ounces of finely shaven Castile soap, a
teaspoonful of sugar and four tablespoonfuls of glycerine, shake this
mixture thoroughly and then strain it through a piece of white cloth.
Your solution is now ready for use. Strawberry or cranberry juice will
make pink bubbles, and orange juice will make yellow ones. Any color
may be obtained by the use of aniline dyes. It is better to let the
solution stand two or three hours before using. Cover the dining-room
table with a soft woolen cover, place as many finger-bowls around as
guests, or one large bowl, and fill with the thick soapy water. Have
ready a good-sized wicket, made by bending a wire and putting each end
into a bottle, so it will stand firmly. Place it in the centre of the
table and request the guests to choose sides. Present each boy with a
clay pipe and each girl with a fan, to which is attached a tally card.
Arrange the boys and girls on opposite sides of the table. The boy
nearest the head of the table takes the bowl and with his pipe blows
a bubble. His partner, or the girl opposite him, fans it, endeavoring
to make it go through and pass the arch without breaking. If it passes
successfully, a gold star is placed on the tally; if it breaks before
reaching the arch, a green star denotes the player’s failure. Each
boy may blow the number of bubbles agreed upon. After receiving their
stars, the boy and girl pass to the foot of the table, and the next boy
and girl move up and try their skill at blowing bubbles. The game is
ended in six rounds.

=Fantastic Soap-bubbles.= Ordinary soap-bubbles are blown with a pipe,
a straw, or small horn of some sort. If a straw is used, split one end
into quarters, about one half-inch long, and bend the parts back at
right angles to the straw. The horn should be larger at one end, but,
if you wish to obtain bubbles, as large as your head, you must have
recourse to objects of quite different nature. Place around the body of
a bottle a piece of common wire, and twist the ends together in order
to form a handle for the ring which is thus obtained. Steep this ring
in the soapy water. Take it out carefully, and you will perceive that
the ring is furnished, on the inside, with a thin covering or skin of
soapy water. Now hold the ring vertically before your mouth and blow
gently but continuously at the centre of the soapy covering. Fashion
two rings with handles out of plain wire. The ring can be about six
inches in diameter. Cover one of the rings with felt. With this ring
and with practice, you can send the bubbles away up into the air, and
keep a half-dozen floating at one time. Then blow a big bubble, holding
the empty ring with a handle in the left hand, and under the pipe. When
the bubble grows large, it will stick to the ring. Now, carefully take
out the pipe, dip into the soapy water and put the bowl of the pipe up
inside of the ring into the big bubble, and blow a small one inside.
Then, with a swing and a side movement, liberate both bubbles into the
air. It may take a few failures to make a success of it. With two felt
rings, “battledore and shuttlecock” can be successfully played with
soap-bubbles. Take a clay pipe, fill up with cotton wadding loosely
and keep in place at mouth of bowl by a wire screen. Wet cotton with
gasoline. Let the bubbles float in air and light them with candle,
and they will explode with a big flame. Smoke-bubbles may be made by
blowing in smoke after the bubble has been well started.

=Rebounding Bubbles.= A good game is to have a small sheet held by a
number of children and blow the bubbles upon this, then they can be
sent flying by drawing the sheet taut. Many ways may be devised to make
blowing soap-bubbles attractive.


GRASP the right ankle by the right hand, and, standing on the left
leg, bend it until the right knee touches the floor, then rise slowly
to a standing position again. The left hand must be kept extended all
the time and must touch nothing. The right foot must not be allowed to
touch the floor, nor the ankle released from the right hand.

A large bottle is placed on its side. The forfeit payer is seated upon
this, with the heel of his right foot resting upon the floor and the
heel of his left against the toe of the right. A good sized needle is
then given him, and a thread, which he must endeavor to pass through
the needle’s eye without losing his balance.

Set an ordinary chair front downward on the floor in such a way that
the legs and back are horizontal. Ask the forfeit payer to kneel on
the lower bar and to recover with his lips an object placed on the
other end of the chair.

To put one hand where the other cannot touch it.—This is performed by
grasping the right elbow with the left hand.

To place an object on the floor in such a manner that no one can jump
over it.—This is done by placing it close against the corner.

Hold an ankle in one hand and walk around the room.

For a forfeit, a person is directed to compare any one of the company
to some object and to explain in what way he resembles this object.

The victim stands on a chair and is posed as a living statue by members
of the company in succession according to their various and sometimes
very original conceptions, such as placing the head, shutting one eye,
opening the mouth, placing the arm, hand, or foot to suit the fancy,
or make him assume any position.

Place a stool on the floor against a wall. Stand from the wall, with
the feet twice the width of the stool away. Stoop down and seize the
stool by the top in both hands and place the top of your head against
the wall, your back being almost horizontal. Lift the stool from the
ground without assistance, or try, at any rate.

Stick a pin in the centre of the crown of a hat, allowing the head to
project about half an inch, and ask the forfeit-payer to extract the
pin with the teeth, the crown of the hat being previously blacked with
burnt cork.


=Decorations.= On account of the great variety of houses, decorations
for Hallowe’en and the arrangements for entertainment must be planned
according to the situation, and individual convenience. The following
are some suggestions.

The party may be ushered into a room decorated for the occasion with
autumn leaves, yellow pumpkins, and anything else that may suggest
itself to the host, and lighted with pumpkin jack-o’-lanterns and
candles. All the lights are covered, some with red and some with black
gauze, cambric, or paper shades. The openings of the doors and windows
may also be covered with red and black cambric. False faces, as ugly
as possible, are placed about the room. Skulls of papier-maché are
a great addition to the decoration, and bones of any description,
thoroughly cleansed, are effective.

If there is an open fire, the host or an initiated guest may place upon
it, from time to time and as surreptitiously as possible, chemical
powders that burn blue, green, or red. All the lights are turned low,
the room being lighted only sufficiently to permit moving about without
falling over the furniture and to show the decorations.

The room may be decorated with festoons of drab yarn cobwebs, presided
over with great spiders cut from black and yellow flannel, or imitation
insects from toy stores.

=Invitations= to the gentlemen should read, “Please wear a black mask.”
Those to the ladies, “Please come as a ghost.”

=Receiving Guests.= As the guests arrive, they may be greeted by one
or two huge ghosts nine feet high in a conspicuous place. A small
goblin may be concealed behind the flowing draperies of this ponderous
apparition, swinging the ghostly figure slowly forward to salute each
approaching guest. When the guests arrive they are met at the door
by a ghost, and when the last one has arrived, they are all ushered
into this weird place. As the guests go into this room, they should be
blindfolded, and have presented to them an old glove filled with wet
bran and chilled on ice. There may be also a piece of wet fur and a
prickly pin ball in the hands of a ghost with instructions to quietly
touch with these uncanny objects, the hands or faces of other guests.
At the sound of a muffled gong, the party is conducted to a chamber of
horrors. As each one enters this place, a huge paper bag may be burst
over his head and a far-away voice be heard sounding through a garden

Running water splashing over a cow-bell tied to a faucet will give
the sound of rushing water and also keep the bell tolling dismally.
Newspapers cut into strips and nailed to the cross-beams dangle about
the heads of the victims, and a hidden electric fan sets the papers in
motion and adds damp breezes to the charm of this pleasant region. The
bandages are now removed and alcohol and salt fires furnish a dim light
and give the party a ghastly appearance. Great care should always be
taken in doing this. Some of the sights to be seen are described in the
following sections.

=The Heads of Bluebeard’s Wives.= This effect is easily produced. A
rod is extended horizontally across the rear of the room, about six
feet from the floor; from this a sheet is hung, the bottom reaching and
tacked to the floor to keep it flat like a white wall. Young ladies
standing at intervals behind the sheet protrude their heads through
perpendicular slits cut at the proper height to suit the stature of
each lady; the upper part of the slit is fastened closely around the
throat by a pin at the back of the neck. A strip of red flannel is
fastened around the throat where the neck comes in contact with the
sheet, and a few splashes of carmine on the sheet below each head
produce the appearance of blood. The hair of each is gathered up and
fastened to the rod above by a piece of ribbon. The face of each is
powdered, and the eyes, with a dash of lead-color under them, are kept
closed. At a little distance off the effect is startlingly real.

=The Severed Head.= This always causes a sensation and should not be
suddenly exposed to the nervous, but the operation is not so terrible
as might be imagined.

A large table, covered with a cloth sufficiently long to reach to the
floor all around and completely hide all beneath, is placed in the
centre of the room. A boy or girl with soft, silky hair, being selected
to represent the head, must lie upon his back under the table, entirely
concealed, excepting that portion of his face above the bridge of his
nose. The rest is under the table-cloth.

His hair must now be carefully combed down, to represent whiskers,
and a face must be marked upon the cheeks and forehead; the false
eyebrows, nose and mouth, with moustache, must be strongly marked with
black, and the real eyebrows covered with a little powder or flour. The
face should also be powdered to a death-like pallor, and the effect is
very startling.

The horror of this illusion may be intensified by having a subdued
light in the room in which the exhibition has been arranged.

=Ghost Stories.= The party can now return to a suitable place for
games. If the parlor is a small one, each one is expected to tell a
ghost story.

=The Unearthly Look.= Take a half-pint of spirits and, having warmed
it, put a handful of salt with it into a basin; then set it on fire and
it will have the effect of making every person look hideous. This must
be performed in a room. Be careful that no sudden draught blows the
flame upon one’s clothing, or any other inflammable substance.

=Luminous Writing.= Fix a small piece of solid phosphorus in a quill,
and write with it on paper; if the paper be then placed in a dark room
the writing will appear luminous.

=The Floating Candle.= Here is an amusing and inoffensive diversion
which looks very much like one of our Hallowe’en games called “ducking
for apples.”

The young folks are ranged around a tub of water in which a piece
of candle is floating, and a prize is offered to him, who, without
touching the tub with his hands, will remove the candle from the water
by his mouth alone.

This may look very simple and very easy to most of my readers; but let
them try it. This trial they may make at home, with a bucket of water
instead of a tub, and a piece of India-rubber instead of a candle; and
they will be surprised at the result. Bring your mouth as close as
possible to the article and inhale it with your breath, while seizing
it with your lips. Apples may also be used.

=Ornamented Apples.= If you plan to hold a Hallowe’en party next fall,
you can prepare a part of the fun this summer. Cut out in stout cloth
the initials of whomsoever you intend to invite. Paste the initials
securely on the sunny side of apples. When the apples are ripe, the
initials will remain in light yellow on a red background. The fun of
eating fruit marked with one’s own initials or monogram will be an
unusual one for your guests. Should you have the detail of your party
pretty well in mind, you will readily think of a number of devices
which you may “appleize” in this fashion. Witches, for instance, can be
thus “painted” on the fruit.

=Finding the Candle.= This is an admirable penance. The victim, having
been shown the position of the candle, is securely blindfolded, and
after having been turned around once or twice, is requested to go and
blow it out.

=The Full Moon.= An original moon can be made from a cheese-box covered
with cotton cloth, on which a very jolly face is painted. This can be
drawn up by a string and pulley, and illuminated by a candle placed
behind it.

=Cabinet Manifestations.= The medium has a boy with her about seven
years of age and quite small. He comes in with her, under her skirt
or cloak, and is not noticed. She enters a cabinet, passes her hands
through openings in the sides of the cabinet and her hands are held by
a committee, or, her hands may be securely tied together before going
into the cabinet, and all the usual cabinet work goes on. The boy rings
the bells, plays musical instrument, etc., etc. The cabinet is made of
some black material and the transparent gauze is of some light color.
The boy may be dressed all in black.

=Spirit Pictures.= The performer shows a wooden frame, on which is
a piece of cloth, both sides of which are shown, and this is placed
on an easel. A lamp is then placed behind a cloth, thus rendering it
transparent and impossible for any one to touch from behind without
being seen. Lights are then lowered a trifle, a little music, and a
spirit picture is slowly precipitated upon the cloth in colors, this
being visible to every one present.

For this experiment, procure the following ingredients from some
druggist: sulphate of iron, for blue; nitrate of bismuth, for yellow;
sulphate of copper, for brown; make solutions separately of each, by
dissolving a small quantity of each ingredient in warm water. Now make
a solution of prussiate of potash, and put it in a bottle atomizer.
With a brush for each color, make a picture, landscape, portrait or,
anything you desire, on a screen of unbleached muslin. When dry, these
are invisible. Show the screen and set it on an easel in front of
cabinet. Slightly dampen the muslin and place a lamp back of it on
a chair, lower lights a trifle; your assistant or medium in cabinet
takes the atomizer, and from behind sprays all over the back of screen
with the solution of prussiate of potash, which slowly brings colors
out. The effect is weird, and, although perhaps not artistic, it is a
novelty and is apparently done by unseen agency. If a light is placed
at back of screen, the audience can see that no one approaches the
screen. A little music covers the sound of the atomizer. Always see
that the atomizer is screwed up air-tight before using it.

=Parlor Magic.= Make a hole in one side of each of six candles, cutting
through until the wick is severed. These holes must be at various
distances from the top—different in each candle. Now, if you should
light one of these candles, it would burn steadily until the flame
got down to the hole, when the cut in the wick would cause the candle
to go out. If you should light them all together they would go out at
different times, as the holes are at different places. This is where
your trick comes in.

Place your candles in a row on a table, with the holes away from your
audience, and then light all six. Now, you begin to relate a story
about a little girl who was alone in the house and was afraid of the
dark, and who lighted six candles to keep up her courage. She heard
queer noises about the house, and drew close to the light, and then
(pointing to the candle with the hole nearest the top) the first candle
went out! Of course you time your first words, so that you say “out”
just before the flame reaches the hole. As you reach the second point
in your tale the second candle goes out, and so on throughout the rest
of the six. You may have the holes vary but a fraction of an inch in
their distances from the top of the candle, and tell a very short
story, or you may have your tale a long one, with the distances of
the holes from the top of the candle, varying an inch or so. By first
lighting one candle and watching it burn for a few minutes you can tell
almost exactly how long the flame will take to reach a given point. If
you do not have the candles go out in rotation, but skip around from
the first to the fifth, then to the second, to the sixth, the fourth
and third, you can still further mystify your audience, and if your
story be well told the effect will be very pretty indeed.

=The Demon Bell.= A small bell is examined and found to have no
clapper. It is then presumed it can make no sound, save by visible
means. However, the performer sets it upon a small examined table,
which stands quite close to audience, and at command, the bell begins
to ring. It obeys every demand made upon it, yet no means of producing
sound can be found.

To produce this effect, use a small call-bell, such as used on a table.
A black thread is carried across the stage, and one end is permanently
fastened, while the other is in the hands of an assistant, who stands
out of sight. In the middle of thread is fastened a small shot. The
assistant uses this as a clapper, and when examination is desired, he
drops the thread and shot on the floor, where they will not be visible.

=The Animated Skull.= This is a model in papier-maché, and being
hollow, is very serviceable. It is caused to rise from the hat by
means of a black thread, which is carried through a staple immediately
over the performer’s table, thence through another staple out of sight
and down to the assistant.

=The Perilous Ring.= Put flour on a plate in the shape of a high
pyramid. On the very tip of the pyramid place a ring. Arrange the
guests in line, and have each one in turn cut away part of the flour
with a knife, warning them not to cut near enough to the ring to make
it fall, or the one doing so will suffer a dreadful penalty. If the
crowd is small each will have several turns. The flour must be cut away
until the ring falls. It becomes very exciting toward the end, as each
one tries to cut away as little as possible. When the ring finally
drops, the unlucky one must pick it out of the plate with his teeth. Of
course he gets flour all over his nose and chin.

=Nose and Goggle Party.= To fun-loving people who enjoy the grotesque,
great sport will be found in giving a Nose and Goggle Party. Here two
objects will be gained: merriment and disguise.

Each guest wears a false nose and goggles. The nose may be purchased,
or clever fingers can make it of heavy cardboard covered with chamois.

=Jack-o’-Lanterns.= The effect of these may be heightened by sticking
pins through pumpkin seeds and placing them in the comers of the eyes
for the irises and into the mouth for teeth. This makes the lantern
exceptionally attractive and “realistic.”

=The Surprising Candle.= This is a very clever contrivance, calculated
to cause consternation and astonishment to any individual with ordinary

Supposing yourself to be the victim, how would you feel if, when
retiring to bed in some strange establishment, just as you were
thinking of blowing out the candle, it should suddenly explode with
no small report, the light be extinguished, and in place of the
flame a small ghost with outstretched arms would appear, shining with
a phosphorescent glow? I venture to think you would be very, very
much surprised; and yet this is the effect produced by this ingenious

By examination it will be found that the lower half of the candle is
really a thin cardboard case, enameled to resemble a wax candle, and
containing a small ghost whose arms fly apart when released from their
bondage. To the bottom of this ghost is affixed a wire spring.

The upper half of the candle is perfectly ordinary, and merely stuck on
to the lower portion; the joint being hidden by a rubbing of wax.

On top of the ghost’s head a few gunpowder caps, such as are supplied
at toy shops for children’s pistols, are laid.

Now the candle can be lighted, and it will burn quite respectably until
it reaches the caps, which, by their explosion, cause everybody’s
attention to be drawn in that one direction, just in time to see the
appearance of the ghost, it being forced upwards by the action of the
spring simultaneously with the discharge. The wicked little image
should be liberally coated with luminous paint, and the effect can be
better imagined than described.

       *       *       *       *       *

The foregoing are only a few of a vast number of similar diversions,
but they are ones most to be commended, and will be sufficient to
produce many an hour of harmless mirth, and very likely lead to the
acquirement of much useful knowledge, as well.

    THE END.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 126, repeated word “any” removed from text (takes any number of

Page 161, “mache” changed to “maché” (papier-maché, and being)

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