“Sphinx Legacy” 編纂記 第47回


出典:”Sphinx”,1917年5月号 執筆者:Jack Kneiff


これは、Jack Kneiffが”Chicago Tribune”新聞に解説されたトリックとして紹介しているものですが、解説が原典どおりか、それともKneiffが書き直したものか不明です。

In performing this trick, the magician first shows the audience a little round box which has space inside for seven coins, say half dollars. This box he passes around to be examined. On its return, passing it tn his other hand, he holds it out and asks the audience to furnish the coins that will fill the box

Here and there he collects the coins until the box is evenly filled. “Now watch me closely,” he says, and asks for a handkerchief from some one in the audience. This procured he covers the box with the handkerchief as he holds it in his hands. Then he invites some one to mount the platform and feel that the coins are still in the box. After this man arrives and feels the coins through the kerchief, telling the audience they are there, the magician reaches for his wand. This is on a table at his left so that he switches the box and its handkerchief covering to his other hand, and taking up the wand taps lightly on the box, saying a number of nonintelligible magical words as he does so.

“The feat is now performed,” says the magician, “and when I remove the handkerchief the coins will have disappeared.” Suiting the action to his words, he quickly snatches the handkerchief away and displays the box entirely empty. “Such, gentlemen and ladies,” says he, “is the Mystery of the Seven Coins.”

This trick is performed by the aid of the box (T), shown in the drawing. The drawing shows it in sections in solid black. The secret is in the shallow portion just under the bottom B, Fig. I, which is cut just deep enough for a single coin which the magician has procured ahead of time in preparation for his trick. The part above the bottom, that is the real inside of the box, has space for exactly seven coins of the same size. This box can be made for quarters or half dollars, depending on the riches you think your audience will possess.

When you pass the box around no one thinks of the shallow part underneath having anything to do with the trick, so the box is returned as having no mystery about it. As it is returned the magician slips his own single coin into the shallow part of the box underneath, as in Fig. 2. Then, holding this coin in place with his finger underneath he holds the box out for the audience to fill. When the box is full, as at Fig. 3, he covers it with the borrowed handkerchief. As he does so he turns the box over and the seven coins fall out into his hand, held underneath to receive them, as in Fig. 4.

There remains now the box, covered with the handkerchief and with the single coin above as in Fig. 5. The magician now can switch the box to his other hand as he changes to reach the wand on the table on the wrong side, so that, as the audience watches the hand with the box he can drop the coins into a little pocket in the table top or even drop them into a side pocket of his coat as he moves to pick up the wand. The man from the audience is now called up, and feeling of the box feels the one coin at the top and thinks it is still full.

Then comes the tapping of the box with the wand and the magic words, after which the magician lays down the wand and takes the box in the other hand again.

With this change he turns the box over, and the single coin drops into his hand, as in Fig. 6, so that when the kerchief is removed the box is shown empty. It can then be passed around the audience for further examination.

私がこのように、たんに’German Coin Box’のひとつの演じ方を取り上げたのは、なぜこのやり方をWilsonが採用したのか、いくつかの点で疑問を感じたからです。

まず、’German Coin Box’はこの記事によって発表されたものではなく、すでに存在していたものです。’German Coin Box’の発展形である、’Boston Coin Box’が、1914年に発行された、Yelma著の”Tricks of Today”に書かれています。


‘German Coin Box’の良さは、底についている1枚のコインによって、多数枚がまだ中に入っているように見せられることです。容器を密かにひっくり返してコインをスチールしたあとに、ハンカチーフをかけるのならまだしも、ハンカチーフをかぶせたときに容器をひっくり返すと書かれています。



ところで”Magicpedia”には、’German Coin Box’の原点が’Discoverie of Witchdraft'(1584年)に書かれているとありましたので、確認してみました。同書の現代語版には、つぎのような記述がありました。


There are many types of trick boxes with false bottoms, whereby many feats may be accomplished. One has identical covers that go over the top and bottom. The bottom is slightly recessed, just enough to contain a single layer of pepper or corn glued to it. Put a cover over the bottom and turn the box right side up.

In performance, fill the box with some noticeably different type of grain, then cover the box and put it under a hat or candlestick. In putting it under, or taking it out, turn the box over and uncover the glued end, revealing the grain has changed from one type to another. Another presentation is to show the glued end first, then thrust the glued end into a bagful of a similar grain, and finally show the empty box.

これを’German Coin Box’の原点とみなすのは無理だと思います。これを原点と呼ぶなら、原理が同じトリックはすべて同類であることになってしまいます。原理についてはたしかに同等です。