Bamboozlers: Jack of Hearts

Corks and bottles and booze, oh my!

The Bet:

Push a tight-fitting cork inside a bottle through the neck. Challenge someone to remove the cork without breaking the bottle. This is an oldie, but a goody. It seems impossible!

The Secret:

To pull it off, simply take a handkerchief or a thin cloth napkin and push one end of it into the same bottle. Shake the bottle until the cork falls on top of the napkin. Now pull out the napkin slowly from the bottle and the cork will come out as well (Fig. 1). Typically the napkin and cork become snug in the neck of bottle and require a good tug to free them.

The latest twist that I’ve seen on this classic is done with a plastic bag instead of a napkin. You’ll want to use a disposable plastic bag, like the ones used in supermarkets for bagging groceries. This time, to free the cork from inside of the bottle you’ll begin by inserting the end of the plastic bag through the neck. Insert about three-fourths of the bag inside the bottle. Turn the bottle upside down and blow up the bag. Twist the end of the bag closed to trap the air inside. Slowly pull your plastic balloon from within the bottle and the cork will follow.

My parents have always encouraged me to play with plastic bags. When I was little they would tell me, “Never take a ride from a stranger, unless they try to give you some candy!”

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