(Figure 1) The classic palm in magic reveals hidden instructions on how to cheat victims.
Learn secret lessons in deception from a classic magic book. In the first lesson in J. B. Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic, the author seems only to explain basic coin sleights and tricks. However, these lessons, where annotated, also apply to cheating any type of victim. Here, he explains the coin sleight known as The Classic Palm:
The coin is held in the center of the palm by a contraction of the muscles at the base of the thumb and little finger, Fig. 1. It is transferred to, and pressed into this grip by the tips of the second and third fingers. Several coins may be held in this manner.
This is one of the most difficult of all concealments to master but it is one of magic’s finest secrets. The layman cannot imagine it possible to conceal a coin in this way.
The beginner may experience difficulty in retaining a coin in this position at the outset, but the ability will come with practice. Once the knack is acquired coins of various sizes can be retained.
The lesson behind the sleight of hand – Sometimes, fooling someone requires you to master something difficult. You must practice your deception. Also, if a victim does not know something is possible, your victim is easier to fool. And once your skill has progressed, victims of various types can be deceived.
A minimum amount of pressure is sufficient to hold the coin in place. Too much grip tends to make the hand appear cramped and tense. A coin is not a heavy object, so hold it lightly and the hand will appear natural. Actually it should be held so loosely that a mere tap with the other hand will dislodge it.
The lesson – You must practice, but at first you will be ham-handed and try too hard and lose your grip. You must have a light, deft touch, using a minimum amount of pressure to hold your victim in place. Your secret will seem to be easily dislodged, but your victim should not know where to tap.
An important point to remember is that no one is misled because the fingers are apart. Only when the hand looks natural will it be above suspicion. The ability to palm a coin should be mastered first; naturalness will come later.
The lesson – Even if your victim doesn’t know that something is possible, your victim might still realize that something is not quite right. Just because your fingers are apart doesn’t mean there’s no hidden coin. Appear natural when you’re deceiving someone.
Make use of the hand that has the coin palmed by picking up something with it, such as another coin, or a small wand or pencil; use it to pull back the sleeve; to snap the fingers or make a gesture. Any of these actions subtly direct attention away from the hand with the concealed coin. Sometimes I grasp a spectator by the arm to draw him closer for a better look, with the very hand that has the coin concealed.
The lesson – Your victim cannot easily conceive of two things occupying the same space at the same time. Your victim also cannot easily conceive of two contrary impulses occupying your own mind. A victim of magic believes that a hand holding a small wand or pencil cannot also contain a coin. A victim in your con game believes that a person praying to God with them cannot also contain the thought of cheating them. Remember – your honest actions will subtly direct attention away from your concealed actions. Draw your victim closer for a better look with the very hand that has the knife concealed.
Modern Coin Magic, J. B. Bobo>>