Bamboozlers: Eight of Spades

Taking care of loose ends.

The Bet:

Wager that someone cannot hold the corners of a cloth napkin and tie it in a knot without letting go of the ends. Obviously, you’ll want to let your friends try this several times before showing them the amazing solution to the task.

The Secret:

Begin by stretching the napkin diagonally and placing it on the table in front of you. Then let go of the napkin and cross your arms. Stretch your left hand’s index and middle finger underneath your right elbow, and your right hand’s index and middle finger over your left elbow. In doing this you have tied your arms in a knot. Take hold of the ends of the napkin in each hand (Fig. 1). Pull your hands apart while still holding onto the ends of the napkin (Fig. 2). When you unfold your arms you wind up putting a knot in the napkin. This could also be done with any long cord, string or rope.

And speaking of ropes, here is a classic rope or bar joke: A length of rope went into a bar, sat on a stool, and ordered a drink. The bartender said, “We don’t serve ropes here.” Dismayed and disappointed, the rope went out and then got an idea. He stopped a man and asked, “Will you please tie a knot in me and separate my strands at both ends?” The man obliged, and with this done, the rope went back into the bar and again ordered a drink. The bartender looked him over and said, “Say, aren’t you the same rope who was in here before?!” “No,” was the reply, “I’m a frayed knot.”

For more commercial magic and puzzles from Diamond Jim Tyler visit his online Magic Shop!