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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Knots and loops » » The Great Grand Indian Rope Trick (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Ustaad
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Iindia - States
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Hi All,

It is said and believed that this is the trick that never was. There has been no conclusive evidence to support it.

The "Indian Rope Trick", as per my knowledge, dates back to the mid thirteenth century. It is not sure whether it was China or India, where the trick was invented. The trick gained popularity in the mid 19th century.

Due to my job requirements, I had the opportunity of visiting and living in various remote parts of India. In the past 8 to 10 years of my search for the secret of the Indian Rope Trick, I had the opportunity to speak to a number of village elders. The story has been passed on from generation to generation as part of their after dinner folk tale session.

Most of the stories were of an Indian fakir throwing a rope to the sky, which mysteriously rises until the top of the rope disappears. We for now, may forget the part where the boy climbs the rope. The trick was generally performed during noon (audience looking directly in to the SUN) or dusk (in the growing darkness). Throwing a rope to the sky has been the most common version.

I, however, came across another version of the rope trick where the rope slowly rises up out of a large bamboo basket (diameter - 3 to 4 feet, height - 2 to 3 feet). This is the trick I have been looking for. I was able to gather a lot of information and it was almost certain that this method did not require the rope to be pulled up and hooked but rises up slowly from the basket. The method was not clear but I had a lot of information as to how the trick looked and preformed.

Thus I based my studies and experiments with the following assumptions:

(a) In the mid 19th century the Fakir's (also known as Madaries, Jaadugar, Kalabaaz etc) were illiterate and very poor.

(b) Technology was not advanced.

(c) Most of the tricks performed by Fakirs, used locally available material which were easy to obtain and cheap in cost (almost free).

(d) Cotton/jute strings and ropes, bamboos, soft-iron and leather were the most common material used for making props.

(e) The method (secret) had to be very simple and straight forward. This is also applicable today in spite of advanced technology and material resources.

HERE IS WHAT I HAVE ACHIEVED SO FAR (my work of 8 years).

Based on the above assumptions, I was able to construct a rope which could rise from the base of the basket slowly and gradually fully under my control. No threads/wires, loops, hook ups, pulleys, magnets, electrical motors, hydraulics and so on. Works efficiently but is unable to take external load and various stresses (climbing of a boy). Somthing seems to have been overlooked.

HERE IS A HINT TO MY EXPERIMENT.
*****************************

It is a simple device made out of bamboo, iron and cotton. The device has tremendous mechanical advantage needing very little external force. The rope rises almost effortlessly. IT RISES LIKE A TELESCOPIC ANTEANA. Wow! A new idea is born. You may Design and Invent your next trick on the Telescopic Antenna principle. My experimental device does not use the telescopic principle. IT INCORPORATES A METHOD OF AN OLD ANCIENT TRICK.

That’s all friends. Keep thinking. More when I get some feed back.

FROM INDIA WITH REGARDS

CHEERS!! Smile
MAGIC is a SECRET, without the SECRET, there is no MAGIC.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke.
Chris Becker
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Thanks Ustaad.
This sounds all very interesting. Only recently, I've heard some details about the Indian rope trick. In the opinion of many, the fakirs used some kind of mass hypnosis or mass suggestion to create the illusion. This was allegedly supported by "the strong smell of exotic herbs" (sorry, sometimes my English is not very helpful. Smile

For you, it might be of interest that the Queen of England still offers 50.000 pounds sterling for the one magician who is able to perform the Indian rope trick.

In better magic,

Chris
- - -
<BR>Cards don't cheat people. People cheat people.
Ustaad
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Hi Christof,

I believe The Indian Rope Trick was (if it was) just a simple trick with simple props. The suggestion that fakirs used mass hypnosis to create the illusion may not be correct. The strong smell of exotic herbs (as you call it) may be due to the strong smell of fresh tobacco used for smoking and chewing (very common in those days) by the fakirs.

The Indian Rope trick has been performed a number of times by Indian magicians in parts of southern India. They have used various means and methods to get the rope up (sorry cannot discuss these methods over here) but their methods do not match the description of the trick as told and passed on from generation to generation.

The trick used to be performed by Fakirs who were actually snake charmers and gradually got into the the business of fooling people by their small stunts/tricks/magic. They are the ones who developed the Rope Trick.

The actual version, as I gather, was that the rope rised up slowly out of the snake charmers basket (the snake basket). They used a big basket so as to accomodate the rope, the simple gimmick (please read my starting post) and a small, lean and skinny boy who would climb up the rope.

The Rope Trick in India has been recently (a year ago) witnessed by a number of magicians from around the world. Please see the forum at the Little Pig Project. But again the trick did not comply with the age old description. The rope gradually rising in to the sky some what like a snake.

That's all for now.

From India with regards.

CHEERS!! Smile
MAGIC is a SECRET, without the SECRET, there is no MAGIC.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke.
BroDavid
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Many thanks Ustaad!

From my childhood, this idea has always intrigued me. And later, I discounted it as simply old unsubstantiated rumors. But your information and descriptions have renewed my interest in it. And now, with what you have given, and a bit of other inspiration, I think I can see how to do the illustration with the rope supporting some load, possibly even a small boy.

But I will have to build a model first to decide the practicality of my idea. And I happened to run across an old magician who built for Blackstone and has ideas that should refine mine.

But once again, without your comments on it, I don't think I would have given it another thought.

Thanks friend!

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
Ustaad
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Hello David,

Thank you for showing your interest in the Indian Rope Trick.

In case you need my help, I will be most happy to do so.

Regards,

USTAAD.
MAGIC is a SECRET, without the SECRET, there is no MAGIC.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke.
Leeo
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Wow, fascinating topic. I have heard about mass suggestion and even the burning of cannabis in the fire to help induce this state. This might be a little far fetched, but you never know.
RangeCowboy
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I promise, No threads or attachments anywhere offstage, nor on you.

You appear on stage with approx 10 feet length of rope coiled on your hand and announce that you have been reading an old manuscript (RangeCowboys!) which describes a very interesting Indian Illusion. Taking an ordinary paper table napkin from your pocket you tear a small half inch diameter hole in the center of it and open it out for the audience to see. Placing the napkin over your hand holding the rope you insert the tip of the rope though the napkin so that about two inches or so are visible through the hole.

Then by chanting the Indian mantra that you discovered in the manuscript, you personally become in a state of higher mental control and as you sway the rope becomes animated. As you continue to chant the rope rises about 6 inches and may even rotate. You begin to walk around in a circle of about six feet chanting and the rope continues to rise.

After about thirty seconds the rope may have risen by as much as 40-50 inches and in a parlor presentation you may have to stop if it reaches the ceiling, depending on how you hold your arms out.

You now chant a different more stacatto incantation and the rope rapidly returns back down into your hands. Take a bow and walk off.

I have the performance working now lasting about one and a half minutes total including the intro which builds the storyline Ustaad alludes to, and I am making my own music CD so the performer does not need to be a singer. By the way, I feel the music and chanting is a very large part of convincing the audience. The lighting is quite important too.

Now those smartie magicians out there probably know how I do this. No herbs are involved and the audience get to see all around you as you parade.

My question is this. I want to market it. I don't see it on sale anywhere nor in any magic books and I have looked really hard. The rope can be bought in any hardware store and I prepare the gimmick for about $1 plus my labor. Does anyone recollect such a routine and am I stepping on anyones patent. How would I find out?

Does adding value such as my performance music and patter decrease chances of litigation? I would appreciate your opinions.
Harry Murphy
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RangeCowboy, Back in the early 60’s Gene Grant made and marketed an effect he called “Wonder Rope”. The effect was a length of rope (6 to 10 feet) that the magician would uncoil (yes it was coiled to start which helped to “prove” that it was unprepared, “normal” rope). The rope would be held by one end and then that end let go and the rope would remain in place, floating. It would then start to rise as the magician made passes around it and over it with his/her hands.

The magician could move around the rope (similar to your description) and it “floated” well above the Magician’s hands and arms. In fact the top end of the rope would rise to well above the magician’s head even with the hands/arms lower than shoulder height. At the end of the routine the rope was coiled up and put away. It started very clean and ended even cleaner.

I bought this in 1961 and included it in my little act all through high school and took it along with me into the military. It saw over 100 shows before I dismantled it and washed the rope. I think that it saw over 500 shows before I retired it altogether. The reason I retired it was because I changed that act. I also think that I simply got bored performing the same thing over and over and my performance got stale! (ME, not the effect!)

I haven’t performed it in over a dozen years, but still have it and it still works. I got it out of its box yesterday (I am so lucky that I label boxes!) and spent much of last night playing with it. Perhaps it is time to build a spot for it in an act again!

The rope was the thick ½ inch magician’s rope that is no longer made. The gimmick was a very clever use of a hardware store item. The gimmick would probably cost you about a dollar to obtain. Actually there are two items that work together to make the effect happen. Still, the length of rope and the two items needed would cost you less than $5.00 USD. This is an extremely low-teck effect. It is not suitable for close-up but could probably be done in a parlor situation given good controls (distance to audience and lighting).

Without giving too much away, think “Dancing Cane”. Now that ought to get the creative juices working.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
RangeCowboy
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Thank you so-o-o-oh much. That's what memories are for. I am happy to read that a high school prop could continue into an adult performance unjaded. And you kept it for xx years too. My first prop at ten years was a simple wooden block with a hole through it. That was a rope trick too, bought in Glasgow, Scotland in 1960 so we are of the same ilk. (elk?)

I will look for Wonder Rope and see if it still exists - sounds like Rigid Rope. That's a half inch rope too. I thought about doing that but since it's a current item I didn't want to go anywhere near that concept.

I'm using simple cored 1/4 inch nylon rope which has a knitted (plaited) pattern sheath (important fact) and while the rope is handled normally at the outset I can't hand it out for inspection.

I don't require a Dancing Cane maneuver however and it could be performed outdoors.

That should open a few eyeballs when this is read.

Thanks mumblepeas

The RangeCowboy (and his lasso)

I just found Wonder Rope at Philly Magic and it sounds just like Rigid Rope from Hank Lee and others (hangs horizontal and then collapses etc.)

Goody, that's not my effect.

Anyone else out there got a restless rope trick?
Harry Murphy
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It looks like someone has taken an old name and used it for a different trick. Hank Lee's Rigid Rope is very different from the original Grant Wonder Rope.

In fact, the original Wonder Rope was not a rigid rope trick but a rising rope routine (advertised as a miniature Indian Rope trick). There was/is a gimmick inside the rope and a hook-up. The hook-up was/is similar to that required for a dancing cane. Many of the dancing cane moves could be done with this prop.

However, it was mainly an (in one presentation) “uncoil a length of rope, suspend the rope from the fingertips and remove the hand, leaving the rope to be seen suspended, and then have the rope raise higher and higher until it was well above the head, (the magician could move all around the rope), finally the rope descended and was once again coiled up and put away” kind of trick!

The rope appeared very flexible and natural throughout the performance. It could be performed indoors and outdoors. I used it as a platform piece for years at small county fairs and school assembly programs.

By the way, I also have that block of wood and rope trick. Yep, It is over 40 years old! I can’t say that I collect magic, rather I sort of accumulate it! I have many of my first props. Many were homemade and still function well.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
RangeCowboy
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Well folks,
I've done my homework and can't find any comparable illusion using small diameter ropes.

Anyone wanting to see this illusion - please email me. I have an animated gif and an avi file which I can email (300Kb and 7Mb respectively)

I would appreciate any comments before I put this on eBay in a week from now.

I promise, the pics you will see are undoctored, there are no wires or threads or steel rods or assistants or herbs involved.

In the pics you will see me blowing a pipe (Egyptian flute) not smoking it!
Harry Murphy
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Our good friend RangeCowboy just sent me the video clip performance of his Indian Rope mystery. I must admit it looks good! His is not the old "Wonder Rope" and as near as I can tell, it is nothing else I have seen or tried.

Good Show Ron!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
magiker
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Hi Rangecowboy
Can I ask why you will put it on ebay and not thru a dealer.

It seems to me that ebay is a bit risky due to the fact that non magicians can find this and you stand more chance of the secret exposed. IMHO.
Smile
Magiker

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RangeCowboy
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Good question,

I guess because I have experience of eBay, and the bidders on magic seem to be like me, buying and sometimes re-selling. The large volume guys are there PastaMagic, Deja-vu MagicFla-The Rabbit Ranch and while they are selling the $10-$30 stuff I don't see them cautioning non-magi to leave the auction.

I don't intend or expect to sell thousands of copies anyway and I hope rather like a $200 head chopper, a $50 rope trick will be just too expensive for a knuckle-head to buy just to see how it's done. By the way I think I will be giving great value in props with the package - it's not like I'm asking $50 for a strategically located paper-clip.

But if one paper-clip could make a rabbit come out of a hat for you as a professional magician earning a living then you would treat it as a justifiable 'ante-up' to be in the know - yes?

I see more likelyhood of offshore copying of easy to produce stuff. e.g. In Israel there is a manufacturer of a Hollow look-a-like card packet trick, but I don't know if they make under license or what.

If any dealers or indeed magicians out there want to see what I'm doing go have a look at this site http://www.magicities.com/lbmagic/

I also posted The Bagel Biter under Workshop here in the Café and it will be on the LB Magic site - displayed as an animated gif and a video probably by noon Mar 19th. Meanwhile the Rope Trick is there now for you to see.

I have enjoyed gimmicking stuff since I was a kid and it's only recently that I got back into it again - and it's great! There are just so many high-tech gizmos out there to be used in magic. I just came across an almost silent 12 Volt motor which turns at one revolution per second and it's ideal for animatronics, low cost radio-controls etc.

That's not to decry the beautiful Mikame woodwork which I could never equal, and it's so expensive- but again if I was earning a good living in a night-club a Mikame box would pay for itself.

What's the feeling out there? Should I be going through a single dealer or an agency?

RangeCowboy

By the way I was buying Western Americana on eBay when I took the moniker RangeCowboy which is also my initials so I hope you guys don't see me as a cowboy.

'You are what the world perceives of you'
BroDavid
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Hello Range Cowboy;

Like you I intend to shortly begin offering a number of original effects on eBay.

My thinking is this; eBay has an incredible traffic base. So that means lots of prospects. And even if a lay person gets the instruction/idea/gimmick, how likely will it be that they will be at a performance of someone else doing the effect. If I had saturated the market enough for that to be common, I think I would be pretty financially comfortable. Smile

I understand the concerns of some about exposing secrets. And as a software developer (amongst many other things..) I wrote and have marketed an online auction program (lets companies be like a little eBay, and folks are auctioning off - on their own auction sites in U.S., Canada, and Japan - things like restaurant equipment, and repossessed autos, scuba gear, etc) that I will shortly bring online to focus on Magic. (I just registerd the Domain names I needed) And I will require a special login to ensure (as much as reasonably possible) that bidders are Magicians.

But, I think eBay is viable too, and there aren't many non-magicians who really care about paying money to learn a magic trick. IMHO.

So I guess I say, go eBay if it works for you, or distribution if that works. I know of a number of folks who go thru distributors, so their products are locked up. And if a production problem occurs - it is just like the product died, because the originator can't sell - by agreement with the disto - whose production is the problem!

There are pluses and minuses both ways - weigh them and decide.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
RangeCowboy
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BroDavid,

Interesting thoughts you have about running your own auction site for magic. What's the real prospect? I say this because I look at MagicAuction.com and compare it to eBay. Magic items alone, I see way more traffic on ebay. In fact for ALL auction sites on the web antiques etc eBay has the lock it seems.

I do admit though that the really kosher high-value stuff is on MagicAuction so maybe the pros disdain a wide base site selling what ebay does.

Perhaps we need a showcase site where you don't even get to see demos until you are approved - maybe Steve Brooks might buy your bidding package and bolt it in to the Magic Café in the Banquet Room.

Hey Steve,
BroDavid and I wanna few bucks.. I do the Flash and Video production to update BroDavids pages and you get x% of the sale... or am I treading on dangerous ground. You said in the General News you were thinking of Magic Ads.
Lee Marelli
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Aurora, Colorado
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Hi BroDavid and RangeCowboy: This might be an interesting thread to pick up in the business of magic section. Also, RangeCowboy, may I suggest you Café mail your thought to Steve. He does not always have time to read every post. That's why he has Staff personel.
"Mentalism is a state of mind." Marelli
RangeCowboy
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I have hosted a site where you can see the said Indian Rope Levitation as a Flash document and/or you can download the movie.

It is at
http://www.magicities.com/lbmagic/


RangeCowboy
Jeb Sherrill
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It's a pretty cool effect. I must get one, one of these days.

Sable
Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile
I don't believe in reincarnation, but I may have in another life.
armagic
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These words come only from an ameteur magician, however, it is my opinion that a dealer would be a much better option than ebay. Now, I shop on ebay, and from dealers, but so does my uncle, and my dad, and almost everyone I know. Range, you made a good point about the price restricting some laymen, but don't you feel your idea is more valuable than just an auction item? I would cherish it if it was my idea, and only after a long time of personal use would I release it, and only to a respectable dealer. Your ideas are, or should be precious.
All in all, it's your decision, but those are my opinions.

Andrew
Smile
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