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  • Bill Wisch

"Sly-Mummy" by Bill Wisch

Original Publication Date: May 1999

This is a really fun entry into "Slydini - The Legacy"!

About six months ago I was going through some of my old magic effects and came across one of the more obscure ones that Slydini had shown and discussed with me during our lessons. Slydini told me he fooled magicians with the standard, plastic little "Mummy" trick that everyone and their brother knows and doesn't do. As always, it amazed me that Slydini would utilize such a mundane item to fool the "wrappings" off of the magic fraternity.

I'm positive this doesn't appear ANYWHERE. In fact, Slydini only described the method to me without the performance or patter he used. He just mentioned the effect to drive home a point about his "gun shooting" technique. Briefly (check out the books... Text Volume, page 37, The Best of Slydini and More), the excuse Slydini would use to naturally rest or relax his arms or hands was an emphatic "tense" moment just previous to the drop of the arms or pretending your hand is a gun and after you point the barrel at something and shoot, the arms and/or hands come to a natural rest position against the body or with the hands resting on the edge of the table or in the lap..."dead", he used to say.

This made the dropping of the arms and hands not only natural looking but timed naturally as well...without rushing or obviousness. Slydini and I went through this together many times while I was creating my “Timing Techniques” that are available in my “Slydini – The Lecture” notes and on Meir Yedid’s “Bill Wisch’s Slydini Style” video.

Now about how the mummy fits in. As you know, there is a magnet that shifts back and forth under the black platform of the case depending on how the mummy is knocked out. The magnet's position determines whether the mummy can be placed into the case or keeps popping out because the magnet in the mummy itself will or won't repel with the movable magnet in the case.

With that said, Slydini was very proud of the fact that when he did the effect (usually when he was visiting a magic shop somewhere) he would fool everyone who knew the modus-operandi because he would eliminate the "crucial" move...the "knock" that switched the movable magnet in the case. I tried it and also fooled magicians with worked!

The first photo shows the mummy being "knocked" out into the hand. Notice the head of the case is down. That means that as the mummy leaves the case the magnet is jolted and switches to the head position which means the mummy won't be able to be replaced into the case. No matter how much or which way the spectator tries, the mummy will only be repelled when the spectator tries to replace it.

Mummy being "knocked" out into the hand

Immediately after the mummy is ejected, turn the casket around so the head is to your right (see photos).

Now give the mummy to the spectator and they try to replace it. No luck. Let them try a few times. When they're done, you say anything (your choice...ex. "I don't understand", or "What's the matter?" (underlined syllable is the point of tensity or "beat") and you gesture ("shoot") with the hands on the beat and then relax and reach your next beat (rest position). Everything has to be timed perfectly. Again, check out the "Timing Techniques" and you will understand what's going on.

When you reach your rest position the magnet should switch to the "foot" of the case because of the "jolt" it gets when the hands stop. That's it! The magnet gets switched during a time when natural misdirection occurs...both physically and aurally. They're so caught up in what you say that they never notice you gesture with the hands. That's why magicians are mystified when you take the mummy back from them and put it easily into the case. The magnet is switched during natural action and the slight clicking noise is even covered somewhat because you're talking and gesturing. It's great! You have to try this!

As I mentioned I never knew the patter Slydini used so needless to say I never got too involved in presenting it. Another magician I knew at the time came up with a very cute opening line for this effect. He took the mummy and pretended he was going to do the effect and said, "this is probably how I would introduce this...I learned magic from my mummy."

I thought that was great and also justified this wonderful effect that I call..."Sly-Mummy". On the way home I stopped for coffee with a group of my magic friends and took out the mummy and began..."I learned all my magic from my mummy!" I dumped out the mummy, handed it to one of the guys and told him to put my mummy back into the case. Each time they couldn't I said..."no, put my mummy back into the case", and it got the most incredible reaction from both the magicians and some of the customers at the coffee shop where we meet. Then I said..."What's the matter with you" with the point of tensity on the syllable "mat" and the word "you" at the moment the hands came to rest. The magnet switched and then I took the mummy back and as I easily replaced the mummy into the case I said..."I know why it works for's MY mummy". After the terrific reaction to both the patter and presentation, two things were exclaimed by the assembled"I have to get mine out and use it", and two..."you fooled me! did you do it?" Need I say more?

You'll notice that the mummy in the photos is painted. I had done this many years ago when I did the trick and you might want to do the same. It dresses up an otherwise drab prop and makes it more exquisite, as you can see. Just go to your hobby shop and get a few colors of, I believe, "Testors" paint (those dinky little bottles of paint made for plastic models) and spend a few minutes creating your decorated masterpiece.

I told you this would be fun! You'd be crazy to pass this up. I hope you've enjoyed "Sly-Mummy".


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