It is said creativity is about giving old things new uses. When it comes to magic, same principles applies. Many creative magic tricks are actually derived from old tricks or effects. Let’s take a look at the appearing handkerchief in decanter trick. The original effect is a handkerchief quickly appearing inside a decanter achieved by the pulling of an invisible thread. This can become totally different in appearance if milk bottle is used instead of decanter, or any other kind of bottles. Or you may try to use a tie instead of handkerchief. The possibilities are unlimited.
Sometimes a very little change made in an old magic effect can make a huge difference. The change may be even smaller than using a different container. We now compare another trick that look completely different from the decanter trick, but in fact utilizes the very same thread pulling principle.
The trick is called the Orrin’s Spider Web Trick. The trick effectively uses the same principle as the old decanter trick. This trick is to produce a card on a spider figure on a table also using the pulling thread principle. The table is painted with a spider web background which could help hiding the thread and the secret opening on the table. A card is used instead of a handkerchief and a spider figure is used instead of a decanter.
Another important change made to the tricks is the pulling method. Originally the thread is pulled by an assistant or a counter weight. But Orrin improved the pulling by incorporating the action into another flourish action which is turning the table. The turning of the table also helped in concealing the path of the card. So the effect becomes like this: the magician display a spider figure on a web. He then turns the web and the chosen card mysteriously appears at the mouth of the spider.
We are not saying that the magician Orrin created the effect by substituting the objects like that. We are just illustrating how this principle can be used to produce an innovative effect from an old trickery.
The steps to change the old decanter trick into the spider web trick may be as the following. First, we make a different object to appear. We use a card instead of a handkerchief. Second, we change the appearing location from a transparent decanter to a spider figure. Third, we change the pulling method from application of a direct straight line force to a turning torque force. Forth, the appearing location is moved instead of the appearing object. Fifth, a disguising background is used to conceal the thread which allow the trick to be performed more close up.
From the spectators’ point of view, the two magic performance maybe very different. But in fact, they use the very similar principle in substance.