|floating ball||spinning quarter||cover||setup|
Bob Hummers Routine (1940)
Sail a card into the air and have it return to your hand, then throw the card againb and have it sail around your body.
Setup: prepare the thread as usual, only instead of five feet, it should be only as long half the size of your body. Attach the thread to around your ear, or attach it to a pair of glasses. Either way, the line hangs from the ear. You may use wax instead of sticky tack. Attach the other end to a shirtbutton or fingernail. Use the right ear if right handed.
To Perform: attach the wax or sticky-tac from your fingernail to any selected card. Chatter to the audience about what they will see as you attach the wax to somewhere about the center of the card. You may now spin the card.
Note: you can spin an ungimmicked card if you know how, but this method is flashier.
Position your body so it is slightly bent at the hips which keeps the thread away from the body. Hold the card with the right hand with your thumb on top, and your forefinger extended, resting one corner of the card.
Your wrist should now be wrapped in a circular motion, the hand rnoving backward, the forefinger pulling the card along with it. This will cause the card to spin rapidly but remain stationary.
Remember that your goal is not to throw the card forward, but simply spin
it. When the card is released from your hand, it should not move away
from your body. If the card moves at all, it should come closer to your
body. Try spinning a card in Front of your body without the thread hooked
To it. If the card is within your easy reach after you've spun it, the move has
been performed properly.
It also may be helpful to imagine the following sceneario while learning how
to spin the card. Picture a large knitting needle floating in mid-air,
perpendicular to the floor. Now imagine that the card is impaled on the
needle. Your goal is to spin the card rapidly around that needle.
Basic Floating Technique (Hand to Hand)
After learning how to spin it, you'll want to try and float the Whirling
Card from hand to hand. Spin the card and with a slight motion, send it
across your body From one hand to the other. The only action required of
you here is to give the card a gentle toss in the direction of your other hand.
The more you practice this, the better you'll be at it. This is the most basic
Of all whirling Card moves. The card should travel in an arc in front of your
body as it travels from hand to hand.
Controlling the Spinning Card
To direct the card as it whirls through the air, you'll need to allow the
Invisible Thread to lay in the crotch of your thumb, between the thumb
and forefinger. Though you will not be able to see the thread, your sense
of touch will give you a good idea of where it is while it rests there
With the thread in this position, moving your hand will move the
playing card as it spins. Try this out. Move your hand (with the thread in
position and card spinning) in a variety of directions in front of and to both
sides of your body. You are now in control of the card's motion through
Coordinate the movement af the hand controlling the thread with your free hand. Moving them both at the same titne will throw spectators off the scent of the thread. You also may wish to transfer the thread from the crotch of one thumb to the crotch of the other during your performance.
Instead of having the thread lay in the crotch of your thumb, try holding it between the tips of your fingers, the thread itself above the back of your hand. See the illustration below. With the thread set in this position and the card in motion, you can cause it to float up near, and underneath, your stationary hand simply by moving your head (where the thread is anchored) backward a hit, or by extending your arm. Spectators will see your hand above the card and think that there is no possible way for it to be attached to a thread.
Through A Hoop:
Along the same lines, you may wish to float the Whirling Card through a
"hoop" made out of your arms or fingers to prove it "unattached" to threads or wires. With the Invisible Thread running in the crotch of your thumb and the card spinning, you can easily bring your hands together, Forming a hoop. Tilt your arms so that the "loop" runs parallel to your body (Perpendicular to the Floor). With a slight swaying rnotion, the card can now float back and forth through the hoop you've created with your arms. The card will float through the hoop from the other direction if you simply switch the hand that is holding the thread in the crotch of its thumb.
The Finger Hoop
To float the card through a hoop made up of your fingers, sirnply spin the card and allow it to float freely. With it suspended (and floating) in front of you, touch your fingertips and thumb tips together to make an impromptu hoop. Pass the hoop over the card in as many directions as possible, to "prove" that there is no thread attached to it. Be sure not to hit the thread as you pass the hoop over the card, or you will reveal the fact that the card is suspended by a thread since the card's flight path wiII be disturbed. See the illustration for an idea of what this might look like.
Steve Dushek's Wonderbar is credited to reviving floating effects. He took what looked like a silver bar and floated it first in a test tube with a cork in it, then out of the tube, and hand to hand. He kept a small 3" ring on his ear (with the thread thru it), allowing him to take the ring and have the silver bar float thru it.
Around the Body
This is the piece de resistance that makes the trick so amazing. Bob Hummer,
when he invented the trick in the 1940's, sold his Whirling Card based on this feature alone.
Make sure the card is spinning rapidly before perforrning this part of the trick. The Invisible Thread should be held in the crotch of your thumb. Begin by gently throwing the card (while it is spinning) behind your body. Throw the card toward the same side of your body that has the ear attachment.
As the car J is thrown, turn your head to follow its path. Your upper body should turn slightly, too. You need not turn around cornpletely for the card to spin around your body, however. The thread will wrap around your body (or neck) slightly when the Full-body spin is completed. Reverse your actions to unwrap the thread, or simply enct your performance at this point.
Don't try to throw the card arouncf your body with a signiFicant amount of Force. Your head and shoulders should do most of the work, not your arm. You may wish to conclude the trick by rolling the wax pellet off of the card and handing it out For examination, and return it to the deck.
If you prefer to create a perrnanently gaffed Whirling Card, which is how the trick was originally operated, you can do so with the hole-punched card included with these instructions. Stick the thread to the back of a car 3 with the loose end of the thread through the hole in the other card. Then glue the two cards together, creating whar. appears to be a single card. Use rubber cement- white glue dries too stiffly. This gimmicked card can be shown on both sides, yet has a thread attached to it. Hook the thread to your ear, and you're set to perform.
Practice and Performance Tips
Practice the trick with a piece of thick black thread. That way, you will be able to understand how the trick works when you can't see it. The thread won't break as easily, either. Make sure that while you are performing the card is constantly spinning. If you see the card begin to slow down, catch it in one hand and give it another spin. Nothing gives away the secret of the trick like a card that stops floating in mid-air.
Blend each part of the trick (hand to hand, up and down, around the body) into the one that follows it. Creating a "routine" this way makes your performance seem spontaneous and more entertaining. performing this trick with a borrowed business card is also a possibility. Imagine the impact would have on prospective clients!
Other Applications of Invisible Thread
There are an innumerable number of magic tricks made possible by Invisible
thread. In addition to floating playing cards, other lightweight objects like
silk handkerchiefs and cigarettes, pieces of paper and dollar bills can be
aiaimated with the aid of invisible thread. What follows are a few suggestions.
In the Bar
The perfect application of the whirling Card principle is in a bar. Paper coasters can be attached to the waxed thread just as easily as a playing card. Not only are coasters the perfect weight For various floating effects, but bar lighting is perfect for concealing Invisible Thread. Both Round and square coasters could be used in the trick, though spinning a round coaster may be slightly more difficult than spinning a square coaster.
Floating Bill: credit given to John Kennedy (magician)
This trick alone is often sold for as much as $io. Hook the thread up to your ear, but best to have it attached to paper and tape and crumpled in a ball and placed in your mouth, and have the other end anchored to a wall, pillar or other stationary object. Borrow a dollar bill and crumple it up over the thread, allowing the bill to rest on the open palm of your hand. By backing away from the wall, the bill will float in mid air. You can also balance the crumpled bill on one finger with this set-up, suspend it From your hand, or cause it to crawl up and down your arm. Straighten out the bill at the end of the trick and handit back to the spectator.
Keep in mind that when you crumple the bill over the thread, there is a slight change the thread will break. If you crurnple the bilI about the thread loosely, there is little chance you will snap the thread. A minimum of practice is all that you'll require to figure out the right way to crumple the bill.
With the Invisible Thread attached to your fingernail, you can cause a
drinking straw to mysteriously roll across a table. Everyone will suspect
your breath as the cause of the straw's motion. Instead, the thread pushes
the straw over the table. If you prefer to prepare a straw, you can attach
the thread to the interior of the straw and either animate it on a table, or
cause it to float. The thread could also be make to move the straw if it were
placed undrneat the straw. By lifting your hands slightly, the straw would
move about the tabletop.
Attach the end of the Invisible Thread to che eraser of a pencil. The other
end of the thread is hookecf-up to your ear or neck. Borrow a Finger ring. IF
you place the ring on the pencil and hold the pencil upright (with the eraser
end up), the ring wiII not only remain suspended on the pencil, but can also
be made to move up and down along the shaft of the pencil. Moving your
arm foward and backward, or moving your head forward and backward
will cause the ring to rise and Fall on the shaft of the pencil.
You can have the ring answer questions posed to it by your audience, if
you wish. Explain that when the ring moves to the top of the pencil, the
answer to their query is yes, and when it rnoves to the bottom, the answer is
no. If the ring moves to the center of the pencil, then the question is
unanswerable. You then concentrate on the ring and cause it to "answer"
questions as you see fit.
Pencil in Bottle or Glass
Have the thread attached to the eraser end of a pencil, place it into the neck of
a soda or beer bottle, eraser end first. As you back away from the bottle,
due to the thread hook-up, the pencil will rise from the neck of the bottle.
Move away Frorn the bottle quickly and the pencil will jump out of the
bottle with some Eorce.
This trick could be just as easily perforrned with the pencil resting in an
empty cup, making it suitable for restaurant performing. The trick might
also be worked with a drinking straw in place of the pencil, or a piece of
Have a card selected from the deck. While the spectator is showing the card around, attach the thread to the top card in the pack, and allow the thread to hang over the front end of the deck. The other end of the thread is hooked-up to your ear, When the spectator returns their card to the deck, rnake sure they insert it into the end of the deck that has the thread wrapped around it. Now, with gentle pressure on the thread, you'll be able to cause the selected card to rise from the deck. Make sure that the spectator inserts their card into the deck with some care. Too much Force will snap the thread and spoil the trick. You can also Force a card on a spectator, lose it in the deck, and cause the duplicate card to rise out of the deck and into your hand if a length of invisible thread has been attached to the back of the duplicate card prior to performing the trick.
Realize that invisible thread can be used to animate nearly any sort of small,
lightweight object. As long as you are able to hook the object to the thread
in some way, or wrap the thread securely around the object, you will be able to animate it or cause it to float.
Magic of this nature is some of the strongest you can perform. That being said, don't overdo tricks like these. Since spectators believe that there is only one possible method to perform many of these tricks (the use of thread), limit the time a spectator has to look at a floating object (be it a bill or a card or what have you). Suspensions and animations are entertaining. tricks, and floating an object as a finale to a suspension or animation is a fitting way to end a longer trick.
Credit to Bob Hummer creations, Steve Dusheck, Bob Fearson, John Kennedy, Walter B. Gibson.