Vol. 26: Kinetic Illusion Toys
Deceive the eye with impossible falling motion.
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A video showing how to make the tumbling rings
A Vanishing Trick with Jacob’s Ladder
By Donald Simanek
Photography by Donald Simanek
Two stacks of three.
Swing the top two blocks up and outward, and place the coins on the exposed blocks.
Fold the end blocks back over the coins.
Grasp the outer edges and pull outward.
The extended blocks are held above the table. The coins are now on the bottom of the blocks, held in place by the ribbons.
Here’s a fun trick you can perform using your Jacob’s Ladder toy. Unfold and extend your Jacob’s Ladder and lay it out flat on a table surface so that the two outside/end blocks are blank (no ribbon). Pick up the end blocks and, without flipping them over, lift them up and place them side by side so that the adjacent two blocks fold in underneath them, thus creating two stacks of blocks three high with the two blank ones on top.
Grasp the inner edges of the top two blocks where they meet and swing them open while keeping the other four center blocks still stacked. Place a small coin on the center of each of the two center blocks but not under the ribbons. Close the top two blocks, covering the coins, and say your magic words. Now this time, grasp the outside edges of the top two blocks and pull them outward (without turning them over) so the string of blocks unfolds completely. The coins are nowhere to be seen. Still holding the end blocks, lift the entire ladder from the table, so people won’t suppose anything is hiding on the table under it. Now close the string of blocks back into two stacks, as it was before.
To make the coins reappear, say those magic words backward, then open the top two blocks as you did the first time, by lifting them up and outward at the center, where they touched each other. Where were the coins hiding? You could say “in the fourth dimension,” but that would be lying. But magicians lie all the time. When you unfolded the entire string of blocks, the coins were out of sight on the bottom of their blocks, held in place by the center ribbon. The ribbon just switched blocks, securing the coins, and the blocks flipped over.
A little verbal deception can be fun. Point out that you put the dime on top of the blue ribbon and the penny between the red ribbons. Then when you spread out the blocks, point out that the center two blocks still have one blue ribbon on the left block and the two red ribbons on the block on the right, but there are no coins to be seen. Most people will not notice that the blocks on which the coins were initially placed were not on the center two blocks but were in the stack just above the center ones, on the blocks adjacent to the center ones.
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