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SECRET INSTRUCTION MANUAL
by: Tim David
© Copyright 2006 Tim David and Magic Works All Rights Reserved
Table of Contents
Effect……...………………………………………………………3 Introduction………...…………………………………………….4 Requirements…………………………………………………....6 Making the Gimmick…………………………………………..11 Setup…………………………………………………………....17 Method……………………………………………………….....19 The Finish……………………………………………….……...21 The Repeat……………………………………………………..22 Recap………………………………………………………..….23
Effect: A nut and bolt, screwed together, are placed onto a table and hidden under a hat or bowl. Without ever coming near the items, the performer apparently uses psychic powers to cause the nut to unscrew itself from the bolt. The spectator lifts the hat and verifies that the nut has in fact separated itself from the bolt.
It’s as simple as that. To the spectator, there is just no explanation. I mean, really…How is something like that possible? It IS possible and there IS an explanation. In fact, this book will provide you with a detailed explanation so you can make this miracle possible in your own home. Enjoy!
INTRODUCTION Here is a trick that I have been doing with great success for many years. I hesitated to release the secrets behind it, but with the success of the FreeFloating Card (http://www.free-floating-card-magic-trick.com) and with dozens of magicians asking “What else have you got?” the time just seemed right to give this effect some new life and teach it to some new magicians. Let’s get to it. I’m not going to waste any time being humble. This trick is nasty. If done right, here’s the reaction you’ll get: 1. Spectator lifts hat 2. Spectator lets out a laugh when he sees the nut is off the bolt 3. Spectator’s smile slowly fades as his brain explodes trying to figure out how you did it You can actually see the exact moment the effect impacts your spectator. Their eyes trail off into space, their smile drops, their brow furrows, and all of their breath is let out in one long, quiet, slow, “Huhhhhhh?” Once they realize the magnitude of what they just saw; they’re never the same again. It’s kind of sad to watch a large chunk of reality slip through their grasp, but on the other hand, it’s kind of fun too. Why does this trick fool people so badly? Well, mostly because there’s more than one secret behind this trick. You’ll be ambushing your spectators with an onslaught of magical weaponry and they’ll have no hope of ever reconstructing what they saw or of ever figuring out how you did it. There are at least five different magical principles behind this effect. It’s a compound secret that really packs a punch. In short, this trick fries brains - One after another. Just line up the brains and mow them down. The first secret behind this piece of magical artistry is simple sewing thread. Yup, plain old, ordinary sewing thread. It doesn’t even have to be invisible.
I don’t know the name of the magician who originally came up with the idea of using thread for this type of effect; I just vaguely remember seeing it on a magic video when I was a kid. What I’ve done with this trick, is I’ve added onto and improved upon that original idea, eliminating some of the major downsides. To give you a basic idea: The thread is wound around the bolt, and when you pull it, the bolt spins and it unscrews itself from the bolt (which does NOT spin because it is hexagonal in shape). I know it doesn’t seem like that would fool anybody, but I’ll explain more as we go. Another secret is the magic actually happens long before the audience thinks it happens. By the time they think the trick started, you’re already done. Another powerful principle behind this magical gem is partly scientific and partly psychological. The scientific part comes from our old friend Sir Isaac Newton - He said that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You see, most people think that you’re unscrewing the nut from the bolt. That’s not entirely true. What you’re actually doing is you’re unscrewing the BOLT from the NUT. Of course, it accomplishes the same thing in the end, but it’s much easier to unscrew the bolt from the nut. The psychology is powerful and it makes the trick that much more impressive when you give the illusion of unscrewing the nut from the bolt. If done right, the thought of unscrewing the bolt from the nut will never even enter people’s heads. The cool part is when the spectator picks up the hat; the NUT is the one that has moved. The bolt is exactly where it was when you started. That REALLY reinforces the psychological effect. The other magical principles will be revealed as we go. One last thing before we start…PLEASE, give this trick the time and practice it deserves. Have patience while making it and take care in the details. If you do, then you’ll have a friend for life.
REQUIREMENTS Here’s what you need to make all the goodies that elevate this trick to miracle status. • • • • • • • • • 1 nut (extra nut optional) 1 bolt (extra bolt optional) 2 safety pins A spool of thread A rubber band An old pair of sneakers that you don’t wear anymore A sewing needle A table (with a table cloth, placemat, or doily) Something opaque to cover the nut and bolt (hat, bowl, whatever)
Let’s talk about each one of these items. NUT Ah, the star of the trick. This is very important, so make sure you get it right. ☺ Seriously now, many times people get nuts and bolts mixed up. So to avoid confusion, here’s a picture of a nut:
That’s a nut. It is not a bolt. Any questions? What size nut should you have? Well, your nut must fit on your bolt tightly enough so that it can’t come off unless you unscrew it, but loosely enough so that it will spin freely.
I do prefer “hex nuts”, and not wing nuts, lock nuts, T-nuts, hex caps, peanuts, walnuts, or mixed nuts (I’m sorry, I had to). I’ve also had much better success with new ones rather than old, rusty ones. BOLT The “bolt” you’ll be using isn’t really a bolt. Here’s a picture of what a normal bolt looks like:
The problem with a normal bolt is the head. It is a hexagon shape (just like the nut) and for this trick, that’s no good. Instead what you want to use for this trick is a pan head screw. (Throughout this booklet, I use the terms “screw” and “bolt” interchangeably.) Here’s a close up picture of the type of pan head screw that I use:
You can see that they’re not sharp at the ends, they have a tightly threaded body like a bolt, and they have the head of a screw. You can also see that the head is dome shaped at the top and flat underneath - not tapered. Either Phillips head or flat head will work. Also, the material doesn’t matter brass, steel, plastic, whatever. (I do prefer steel because it looks as ordinary as possible. I don’t want anyone to think that the screw (or nut) is gimmicked in any way.) Now let’s talk about the size of the screw. Contrary to what you might think, size does matter, and here’s why: If the screw is too big, it will make too much noise. If it is too small, then the trick isn’t as impressive because the nut doesn’t have to move all that far in order to come off the screw. I’d recommend about an inch and a half long for the screw and ¼ inch for the nut. You can of course get this for pennies at your local hardware store. As a side note, I found this image while searching for nuts and bolts:
If you have any good caption ideas for this little cartoon…email me. SAFETY PINS You’ll want your 2 safety pins to be on the big side, but smaller than the inside of your sneakers.
SPOOL OF THREAD This must be the plastic kind, not the wooden kind. I’m talking about the spool itself, not the actual thread. Here’s a picture:
See the “spokes” and “compartments” inside the spool of thread? Those will come in handy later. (It doesn’t matter how many there are, as long as there are more than one.) You may have to peel the labels off in order to get to them. One last thing…there must be plenty of thread on the spool. Darker colored thread seems to work pretty well. RUBBER BAND I use a thin one. Look in your local office supply store for #19 elastics. (Incidentally, those are the best kind to use for other elastic tricks too. Elastic tricks are a whole topic in and of themselves. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll write a booklet or something.) PAIR OF SNEAKERS I will say this about the sneakers: If they’re real old and smelly, you might want to get a cheap new pair at a discount store or something. You’re going to have to be working closely with these shoes and it may or may not be worth it for you. If you do decide to buy sneakers, one thing to look for is a grommet (a metal hole) on the inside part of the sneaker (where the arch of your foot is). They are sometimes put there to act as ventilation for your sweaty feet. If you have one of those on your sneakers, then you’re golden - Things will be much easier later on.
So, for this trick, sneakers are better than shoes for the following reasons: Sneakers are more likely to have those all-important “vents” Sneakers are more often made from softer material like cloth. Materials like leather are harder to work with
SEWING NEEDLE This one is pretty self-explanatory. It’s just an ordinary sewing needle. Of course, it has to be the right size for your thread, but I’ve never met a sewing needle that wasn’t the right size for thread. TABLE Your table will need to have a table cloth, a placemat, or some kind of doily covering it. (Completely unrelated, but fun tablecloth fact: Did you know that the tablecloth was originally invented to wipe your face on? It had nothing to do with protecting the table.) A glass or otherwise see-through table is NOT recommended unless it is covered by a full tablecloth. Also, I prefer a larger table with chairs. Most dining room sets are perfect. SOME KIND OF “COVER” This can be a hat, a bowl, a basket, or anything else that is opaque (not transparent) and large enough to completely hide the nut and bolt from view. If the spectator is wearing a hat, then by all means, ask to use that. Any time you can borrow an item, it makes the trick more effective. Okay, that pretty much covers all of the items; let’s discuss how they work together.
MAKING THE GIMMICK As you might have guessed by now, you will have to build something in order to make this trick work. We’ll call that something, “the gimmick”. Remember when I said earlier that it’s worth it to put the time and patience into this trick? This is what I meant. Technically, you CAN achieve the effect without the gimmick. But if you don’t use the gimmick, then you’re stuck with a huge problem on your hands. What are you going to do with the thread? Once the thread accomplishes its goal of unwinding the screw…you’re stuck with it. You’re left with a long length of thread hanging out there and it is very hard to explain it away. Even if the thread does end up under the table, the spectator is very likely to look under the table anyway. Trust me, they won’t miss the thread. I don’t like the idea of crossing my fingers and hoping that the spectator is stupid. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in magic, it’s that spectators are NOT stupid. So it’s a little extra work, but I highly recommend that you USE the gimmick. Let it quietly clean up the evidence so you can actually enjoy the trick instead of worrying about someone figuring it out. Besides, the gimmick has a cool “James Bond” or “MacGyver” type of allure to it. It’s one of those tricks that you’ll actually want to show people how it works. But please don’t. This is how I make my living. ☺ Now that I’ve hopefully motivated you to take the time to construct the gimmick, let’s get started. The first thing you need to do is take the rubber band and break it. You actually need a rubber “strand” for this and not a rubber “band”. Use a pair of scissors if you have to, but don’t be a wimp. Just break it with your bare hands. Grab your spool of thread and drop one end of your rubber strand through one of the spool’s “compartments”. Any one except the center one is fine. Make sure it goes all the way through to the other side. Now, keeping hold of your rubber strand, turn the spool over and thread the rubber strand BACK through the opposite facing compartment.
Tie the two ends of the rubber strand together and you should now have something that looks like this:
If you hold the two ends of the elastic as shown in the picture above and someone else pulls the thread, the spool will begin to unwind. As it does, the elastic will wind up and create tension. When the thread is given some slack, the elastic will spin the spool so it automatically winds itself back up. Pretty cool so far, but we’ve got a couple more steps to go. Now get your two safety pins and attach the spool to the INSIDE of your sneaker. You can pick either the left or the right sneaker, it doesn’t matter. In the illustrations, I use a right-foot sneaker. This is hard to do, but keep at it. You may have to un-lace the sneaker in order to make it a little easier to get down by the toe area. Do your best to get as far down the toe as you can.
Here’s what it looks like when it’s installed:
The spool must be able to spin freely and it shouldn’t be contacting the tongue, or any other part of the sneaker. 13
Here’s a close-up of the proper way to attach the safety pins:
See how it is pinned to the heel of the shoe and the elastic is looped around the safety pin? It’s kind of dark in there, but you can still make it out if you look close. Of course this is also the exact same setup at the OTHER end of the sneaker. It’s hard to show you that one because it is inside the toe of the sneaker! It is very important to keep that safety pin as straight as possible. If it is at an angle, then the rubber band will move back and forth during the trick and you don’t want that. So keep it perpendicular to the rubber band. 14
You’ll notice that the spool can move freely back and forth along the length of the elastic. Once the elastic starts winding up it will eliminate any movement there. Move the spool so it is lined up with the little vent grommet and thread the thread through the hole. One note about this: You know how toilet paper can either be put on the roll so it’s either “over the roll” or “under the roll”? Here are some pictures to explain what I mean
“Under the Roll”
“Over the Roll”
(As a side note, where toilet paper is concerned, “over the roll” is the way to go.) At any rate, you want your spool set up so that the thread goes “under the roll”. It creates less friction when you pull the thread through the grommet and therefore it will move more freely.
Here is a picture of the vent with the thread coming out. (You could barely see the thread coming out of the vent, so I highlighted it in blue.)
Here it is…ALL DONE! And now for a test - Pull on the thread, then let it go and it instantly and SILENTLY winds right back up into the sneaker! (Hey magicians…whoever heard of a VISIBLE thread real inside a sneaker?) This little bad boy will sit underneath the table on which you will be performing the trick. It will clean up the evidence (the thread) and no one will ever suspect that the sneakers under the table had something to do with the trick! It’s natural to have a pair of sneakers underneath a table, right?
HINT: To make it even more natural, put both sneakers under the table, even though only one sneaker is gimmicked. Just make sure the other sneaker is out of the way. In all my performances of this trick, no one has ever thought that the sneakers had anything to do with it. I HAVE had people look under the table (for a magnet or some other trickery) but they never even gave the sneakers a second look. SETUP Congratulations! You’ve finished making the gimmick. Now let’s learn how we’re going to put it into practice. Before you are ready for an audience, you need to do some preparation. Place the prepared sneaker under the table (along with its mate) and pull out a length of thread. The thread goes over the edge of the table but under the placemat. Use the sewing needle to bring the thread up through the placemat so the end of the thread is now visible. (See diagram)
Wind the loose end of the thread around your screw. Here’s the easiest way to do that:
1. Hold the screw in your right hand with the end of the screw pointing to your right and the head pointing towards your left. 2. With your right thumbnail, press the end of the thread against the flat underside of the screw head. 3. With your left hand, wind the thread around the body of the screw (as close to the head as possible). Be sure to wind the thread AWAY from you. Otherwise, when you do the trick, the nut will end up TIGHTER on the screw than when you started! 4. Wind ALL of the visible part of the thread around the screw (about 30 times is good). The last thing you want is the spectator to lift the hat and see the nut still on like this…
You’re better off than when the trick started, but c’mon now! You gotta get that nut all the way off if you want to really impress them! When you’re done winding, point the head of the screw in the direction of where the spectator will be sitting and point the threaded part of the screw towards yourself. Screw the nut on as far as it can go, but not tightly (so that it hides the thread from all angles). Now, it should just look like a bolt sitting there on the table with a nut screwed on. All of the thread that was once visible is now wound up and hidden between the head of the bolt and the nut. The rest of the thread is still hidden under the placemat, under the table, and inside an innocent-looking sneaker. (Now that I think about it, if you use a really old and smelly sneaker, then no one will want to go within 10 feet of it, and your secret will remain safe…Just a thought.)
The last step to get set up is only if you’re going to do the optional switch method (described later). If you are, then drop the matching screw (with matching nut screwed on exactly halfway) into your left pocket. METHOD Wow. The big moment has arrived. After all that preparation, you’re finally ready for a spectator. Instead of running up to someone and saying, “Hey! Wanna see a trick?” It’s better if the spectator asks you to do a magic trick. Of course, if no one asks and you can’t take it anymore, then feel free to bring it up. But let’s assume your friend asks, “So, any new magic tricks? That Free-Floating Card you showed me last week was awesome.” (*Wink, Wink*) You can reply with a nonchalant, “Sure, I think I have a deck of cards or something in the dining room, let’s go take a look” (even though inside, you’re doing jumping jacks and screaming “OF COURSE I HAVE A NEW TRICK! YOU FELL RIGHT INTO MY TRAP! HAHAHAHAHAHA!”) Be cool. Don’t blow it yet. Keep your poker face. While you’re making your way into the room, get the duplicate nut and screw finger-palmed in your left hand. Take a seat at the table (at your pre-set position) and invite them to sit across from you. Don’t disturb the thread when you sit down. Notice the screw and nut and mention, “I don’t know, maybe I can do something with these”. Absent-mindedly unscrew the nut exactly HALFWAY as you talk. No one will question you unless you make it unnatural. Keep that duplicate nut and bolt finger-palmed. THE SWITCH - OPTIONAL If you want the spectator to be able to examine the screw and nut before the trick, then you’ll need to perform a switch.
Here’s how to do it… 1. Pretend to pick up the nut and bolt with your left hand. (Of course, you don’t really grab it because you might break the thread.) 2. Extend your closed fist forward so that your arm hides the nut and bolt from view the whole time. 3. Open your hand and let the duplicate nut and bolt drop out in front of the spectator. To the spectator, it looks like you simply picked up the nut and bolt, and then handed them to him, but in reality you switched them for the duplicates. You sly devil. Ask him check things out and make sure they are normal. Next, tell him to screw the nut halfway on the bolt. Make sure he verifies that the only way to get the nut off would be to unscrew it. In other words, the nut doesn’t just slide off like a washer would. Reverse your actions to switch the duplicates BACK to the original, set up nut and bolt. (Be sure to keep the head of the screw facing the spectator so he won’t see the thread!) You’re left with the duplicates palmed in your left hand. Casually lean back in your chair and put both hands in your pockets. Ditch the duplicate nut and bolt, you won’t need them again. Ask the spectator to place his hat over the nut and bolt. If the spectator is not wearing a hat, just grab the bowl (you did remember to set out a bowl, right?) and cover up the nut and bolt. Immediately turn your attention to the spectator and begin to explain what you’re going to do. Make sure he knows that your hands are in view the entire time and invite him to really “keep an eye on you”. Tell him the reason that you had him screw the nut halfway on was because that’s the only way to get it farthest from both of the ends. Explain that the reason for the bowl is to prove that you are doing a psychic demonstration under “test conditions”. There is no possible way for you to touch the nut or the bolt. Even if you could, your hands are being watched carefully.
The reason for all this explanation is because under the table, you are using your feet to secretly pull the thread and unscrew the nut from the bolt! It takes a few seconds to do and sometimes it makes a teeny bit of noise. A brief explanation will solve both of those problems. Whatever you say at this point, make sure you practice it. It could be a pseudoscientific explanation, or you could be providing dramatic buildup, or you could simply just follow my outline above. The point is, it has to be automatic for you. Your brain will be occupied with what’s going on under the table and you CAN’T appear distracted. THE UN-SCREW What IS going on under the table? It’s very simple really. One foot steps on the thread (somewhere near the sneaker if possible). The other foot “hooks” the thread and pulls it. Play with it; you’ll get a feel for exactly what I mean. It’s much easier than it sounds and it’s actually very intuitive. But be sure to step on the thread with one foot, because if you don’t, then you’ll just be pulling more slack out of your sneaker contraption when you try to do the un-screw. (Sounds like a dance move doesn’t it? “The Un-Screw” Actually, it kind of is like dancing…in a Riverdance sort of way.) THE FINISH Once you’re confident that you’ve pulled all the thread and the slack has all wound up back into the sneaker, it’s time for the real dramatics. “You know what, even though there is a bowl here, I don’t want you to think that I’m using any magnets or anything whatsoever, so I’m going to stand over here and do the demonstration.” Now you can go into all sorts of nonsense. Wave your hands around, or chant a mantra, stare intently at the bowl and contort your face, or simply close your eyes and breathe deeply. Whatever you do, the next steps are the most important.
1. STOP! (and pause a beat) 2. As you slowly “come back to reality” make eye contact with your spectator. 3. Then walk as far around the bowl as possible and sit in a chair at the opposite end of the table 4. Watch your spectator and wait for him to lift the bowl 5. Don’t say a word Of course the spectator can’t resist. He lifts the bowl (or his hat) and… SUCCESS! You’ve done it and I applaud you. Thanks for taking the time and effort not only to read this ebook, but also to take the time to make this trick what it deserves to be. Again remember that you can do the trick without the switch and without the gimmick, but each part you leave out will lessen the impact of the effect. THE REPEAT One of the first things you learn in magic is to never repeat a trick twice for the same spectator. This trick might be different. Sometimes I repeat it, and sometimes I hit ‘em hard just once and let them think about it for a while. I’ll tell you how to repeat it and you can decide how many times you want to do it for the same spectator. How is this trick possibly repeatable? It’s really very simple. When you wind the thread on the screw during the set up, give it a few extra winds. The first time you do the trick, only screw the nut 1/3 of the way on instead of halfway. Perform the trick, but don’t get up from your seat. Also, don’t pull the thread all the way. Just enough so that the nut will come off (this will take practice in order to get the “feel” for how much is enough).
Lift the bowl yourself and show that the nut has come off. Offer to do it again and raise the stakes. This time, they’ll cover it with THEIR hat and you won’t be anywhere near it. AND the nut will be screwed on halfway instead of just a third of the way. Impossible test conditions! Perform the trick in the ordinary way and quit while you’re ahead. Or read the pro hint below and learn how you can repeat the trick over and over again…as many times as you want! PRO HINT: When repeating this trick, don’t screw the nut onto the bolt. Rather, screw the BOLT into the NUT. When you do this, the thread will automatically wind back around the bolt and you’ll have just enough slack in the thread to perform the trick again, and again, and again, and again! RECAP The SPECTATOR can screw the nut on the bolt The spectator can examine all props both before and after the trick You’re left absolutely clean You never touch the nut, bolt, hat, or table - TEST CONDITIONS! There is no explanation for the spectator to cling to The only gimmick is hidden in a smelly sneaker under the table that no one notices (and that no one wants to touch anyway!) You can repeat the effect immediately
With a little practice and care, this trick can be a reputation maker for you. Go NUTS with it!
Tim David, Magic Works P.S. If you don’t already own it, you might want to check out my other popular effect, “The Free-Floating Card: at http://www.free-floating-card-magic-trick.com
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