same as you, plus 3 and enough to make
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 9:25pm
Finger Palm: The Concealment
Now we come to a concealment that has been treated like the poor second cousin to all the rest. Hoffman and Sachs didn't even bother to give it a name. In fact, when they said "finger palm," they meant something quite different, i.e. concealing a coin inside the hand, pinched between the first and second fingers. Bobo had no use for that grip, and instead gave that name to "the easiest and most natural of all palms."
Natural is the keyword here, so Job One for the fingerpalm is to Avoid Suspicion , to preempt it, by fading into the background of normal human behavior. In other words, when you’ve got a handful of coins in fingerpalm, your hand should look, move, and rest exactly as it does when it’s empty. (Kam’s “Natural Law” #1: Naturalness aids in avoiding suspicion. If the audience is suspicious, it’s too late to “act natural”.)
Sounds simple enough, but how do you really know what your hand looks like when it’s empty? One way to tell is to look. Right now. Freeze, and note the position of your empty hands at rest. Chances are good that your fingers are slightly curled, thumbs straight, parallel to the other fingers, pretty much fingerpalm position.
Of course, it’s possible that you’re odd—the unfortunate offspring of parents unable to hold their hands in normal positions, like Rap Stars or shop teachers. And what’s natural for you, and normal in your family, may actually invite suspicion. Thus, Kam’s Natural Law #2: What’s normal for you may not be what your audience sees as natural. You want to simulate what your audience accepts as commonplace, and therefore ignores.
So you could make it a point to watch other people. On the bus, in the airport, around the office. Or, realize as Michael Ammar did in his essay, “The Natural Lay of the Hand” that someone else has already done the legwork for you. In this insightful essay from the Magic Arts Journal, Mr. Ammar studied the works of great sculptors and painters, reasoning that these artists understood precisely how to shape a block of granite into the likeness of a natural human hand. Since the MAJ is difficult to obtain, here’s the “Reader’s Digest version”: the natural human hand at rest is loosely closed, with the fingers curled inwards, the fourth finger curled the most, and the others gradually less. The index finger is not curled much at all, but it is not held straight.
This position is not generally achievable when both the 2nd and 3rd fingers are gripping the coin. (This is what Bobo describes) The first step towards a natural fingerpalm is to adopt John Ramsay’s technique of gripping the coin with only the third finger. This allows the second finger to uncurl a bit more, more closely approaching the natural lay of the hand.
Also, let us all observe a moment of silence to commemorate the passing of the idea that the fourth finger should be extended straight out, in the manner of “proper ladies drinking tea” as Sachs described it. He was hinting that even in 18--, this pose was trite and outdated. Now that holding your index and fourth fingers extended is more likely to be taken as a heavy-metal rock cliché than a polite affectation, there is even more reason to eschew the “satanic pinky” position. Let’s.
Although fingerpalm closely simulates the appearance of the empty hand, it also is not far from the way a hand looks when it's hiding something. If you ever have the opportunity to see laypeople goofing around with magic, they will fingerpalm things. Holding things against the hand is just something fingers were designed to do, and when ordinary people want to hide something in their hand, they fingerpalm it. So, first of all, it's important to recognize the fine differences between a full and an empty hand. My list:
1. The empty hand is held loosely. The fingers are not all curled in all the way. The coin(s) is (are) gripped lightly, as in the Classic Palm. A slight jolt will dislodge them.
2. The empty hand drops gently. It is not enough to simply let your palming hand fall limply when you're palming something as heavy as six silver dollars. There is a visible difference.
Next, what to do when the heat's on.
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