You Can Do It, Too!

This is a most entertaining combination magic trick and puzzle. After you perform it, everyone will want to try it. . . and if someone should figure it out, don't worry - they'll have as much fun with it as you.

EFFECT:   You show two paper clips and a dollar bill. Then you give the bill a three-way fold and use the clips to fasten the folds in place. As you pull the ends of the pleated bill, slowly but steadily the clips come closer together. You finish the pull with a sharp snap as the clips fly from the bill and land on the table . . .linked together!

METHOD: The trick is almost automatic. It depends entirely upon proper placement of the clips. Practice the setup until you can place the clips in position quickly and neatly, so observers will be unable to follow, and therefore find it difficult to duplicate the trick.
1. Start by holding the bill open between both hands.

. Fold one-third of the length of the bill over to the right as shown.

. Place one of the paper clips over this fold to hold it in place, and push it down so it is snug against the top edge of the bill.

. The clip should be positioned near the end of the folded portion of the bill directly over the number that shows its value.

. Now turn the bill completely around so you are looking at the other side. Do not turn the bill "upside down" in the process . . .the clip should still be at the top as shown.

. Fold the left end of the bill over to the right as shown in the illustration.

. Put the other paper clip on the bill from the top, thus holding this end in place, too. Clip together just the two front folds - those that are toward you.

. Again, the clip should be positioned near the end of the bill over its number value, as shown here.

. NOTE: If both clips have been properly placed the bill should look as shown in this view.

. Now firmly grip both ends of the bill near the top and pull them apart. As the bill the clips will start moving still pinned to the bill.

. When you reach the point where the clips are practically on top of each other, give the ends of the bill a sharp tug.

. The bill will open out and send the paper clips sailing across the table, linking them as they go!


The trick is particularly effective with "jumbo" clips, which are longer and wider so the linking can be followed easily. With ordinary paper clips, only a slight tug is needed; otherwise they may fly clear across the table as they link — and if they go off the edge, the effect will be weakened.

With practice, placing the clips in position becomes a simple and rapid process, if using small clips, you can put two on the top edge and another pair on the bottom edge. The tug will shoot them in opposite directions and each pair will be found linked.


Reproduced with permission from Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic
Copyright 1975, 1981, 1988 by Mark Wilson, Mark Wilson Course in Magic
published by Running Press, Philadelphia and London.

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