In 1585, one year alter the publication of The Discoverie of Witchcraft, a pamphlet tided Libretto de Secreti Noblissimi et Alcuni Giocchi con Destrezza di Mano, Cose Vere e Experimental (A Book of Amazing Secrets and Some Sleight-of-hand Tricks) was published in Italy for Horatio Napolitana. The booklet had only eight pages, one of which, I suspect, must have been consumed by its tide. Seventeen stunts and tricks were tersely and badly explained, among which were a handkerchief that was torn and restored, a coin that traveled from one handkerchief to another (this being a variant of the coin through table found in Scot), a ring that danced in a botde (like the coin on the hair), and a string that was cut and restored. The method for this last trick is different from that given by Scot. Instead of using an extra piece of lace or string, one end is secredy substituted for the center when the string is cut. No explanation of how this was done was offered. Both methods are still in wide use today.
Also found in Napol ¡tana's pages is a stunt in which an egg is made to walk. The secret was a live beede or leech placed in a blown egg. In the eighteenth century another, less effective method for accomplishing this effect was devised. Instead of an insect, quicksilver (mercury) was placed in the egg shell. In the eariy 1960s, David Hoy revived this trick, putting an insect into a ping pong ball to make it move, seemingly by telekinesis. Mr. Hoy, as we shall see, proved himself adept in several instances at taking ancient and little-known tricks and modernizing them.
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