Hey guys and gals! Was your weekend exciting? If you live in Las Vegas, are you staying cool? In this blog post I wanted to briefly talk about the illusion called, The Torn & Restored.
Now, I say torn and restored because there are quite a lot of versions of this illusion. The most popular nowadays, is when it is performed on a playing card. But the illusion is also performed on any kind of paper, cardboard, even extremely expensive sports cards and photographs.
About 30 years ago the famous torn and restored napkin was being performed however not much of the illusion’s history is known. What we do know is that before 1905, paper napkins were not invented yet, and it wasn’t until after 1930 that they began to be used in high circulation. The earliest mention in a publication of the torn and restored napkin that I know of is in 1915, described by L. F. Christianer in, Effective Tricks.
That being all well and good. I personally gravitate to the more gritty history of the illusion. It is said among certain magic circles that the illusion itself was invented by a confidence man that lived on the streets of old Chicago back in 1893. He would swindle visitors out of their money by betting them he could tare a two dollar bill into two one dollar bills. The con was, the two ‘one dollar bills’ he would give back to his audience were all counterfeit.
I myself am no stranger to this wonderful illusion. I regularly perform different variations of it on the street and in a few of my acts. Not with money of course.
“Pay attention. Are you paying attention? Don’t take your eyes off of what is about to happen. What you are about to see is not real.”