Sunday, July 07, 2002

I found this in a carbon copy of a letter of Dudley Whitnall's. It is dated 21st December, 1973, and was addressed to Peter Warlock. In it Whitnal recalled a very interesting effect performed by Edward Victor.

Whitnall was a magician who lived in Heswall in Cheshire. He was a member of the Mahatma Magic Circle in Liverpool and a keen cardman who believed the performer should work hard for his effects. He favoured heavy sleight of hand over gimmicks. I came across the letter in a book that came from Whitnall's collection. I've never seen the effect described and it presents quite a problem.

I believe that you are interested in research into the past. Many years ago, the late Edward Victor was playing one of the Liverpool Halls and paid a visit to a meeting of the local Mahatma Society. Upon being asked to show something, he borrowed a pack of cards from a member and demonstrated his Magnetic Cards Effect, as explained in More Magic of the Hands. He then brought his other hand across against the face of the cards and removed the hand to which they were adhering. They still adhered to this other hand. Nobody present had the slightest idea how he did it, and I wonder whether he ever showed it anywhere.

Best performance of the Magnetic Cards effect that I have seen was given by the French magician Socrate in a lecture for the Mahatma more than twenty years ago. He explained that the cards stuck to the hand because of some kind of static electricity. Which kind of makes sense to the audience although the more cards he stuck to the hand the more impossible it seemed. He finished by having a member of the audience touch his arm. As soon as she did, it was as if the static that held the cards had been discharged and they suddenly fell to the table. Beautiful touch.

NOTES:  At last the mystery of Edward Victor's Magnetized Cards is available. You will find the solution in Stan Allen's Magic magazine for February 2010. It's a clever idea and only one of a number of tricks extracted from the newly published The Davenport Story, Volume Two: The Lost Legends. It includes an unpublished book by Edward Victor entitled My Magic Hands. The book is available from Davenports, London.