A SENSATIONAL DIVE
Striking a match, Joe ignited two candles that stood on a little table at one side of his stage. On the other side his assistants were setting up the apparatus he intended to use in his more elaborate experiments.
“You observe that the trick has not yet begun,” said Joe, with a laugh, as he blew out the match. “In other words, I am lighting these candles in the ordinary way—just as any one of you would do it, if he needed to. In a moment I will show you how to light the candles in case one is accidentally blown out and you have no match.”
Allowing both candles to burn up well, with clear, bright flames, Joe suddenly blew out one.
“Now,” he said, “I will show you how to carry fire in your hands from the lighted to the unlighted candle. Watch me closely!”
Joe cupped his hands around the lighted candle, seeming to take the flame up in his fingers. When he removed his hands, which he still held in cup, or globular, shape, the second candle had been extinguished. Both were now out.
“You will notice that I am carrying the flame in my hands from one candle to the other,” said Joe, in a loud voice, as he walked across the stage.
For an instant he spread his hands, cup fashion, around the candle he had first blown out. Suddenly he withdrew his hands, holding them wide apart and in full view of the audience, and, lo! the unlighted candle was glowing brightly.
There was a moment of silence, and then the applause broke forth. Joe bowed and said:
“That is how to carry fire in your hands. But please don’t any of you try it unless you get the directions from me.”
“Tell us how to do it!” piped up a small boy.
“Come and see me after the show!” laughed Joe.
And, while on this subject, it might be well to explain how Joe did the trick. It is very simple, but it takes practice, and an amateur may easily be fatally burned in the attempt, simple as it is.
Joe lighted the candles in the usual way, with a match, as already explained. There was no trick about this, nor about blowing out one. But immediately after that the trick started. Joe placed a little piece of waxed paper between the first and second fingers of his left hand as soon as he had blown out the first candle. This paper was a slender strip, and could not be seen by the audience.
When he cupped his hands around the remaining lighted candle Joe ignited this waxed strip, taking care to work it away from his palms and fingers. It burned with a tiny flame and with scarcely any heat in the middle of the hollow cup formed by his hands.
As soon as he had ignited the paper Joe, by pressing the lower edges of his palms against the blazing wick of the candle, extinguished it. This had the same effect as though he had “pinched” out the flame with finger and thumb, as many country persons put out, or “snuff,” candles to-day—for candles are still much used in some places.