Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Downs Palm

Apparently a misnomer, for while Downs claimed this sleight in The Art of Magic (1909, p. 233), it is recorded as that of L'Homme Masqué, with whom Downs was friendly. See Gaultier's Magic Without Apparatus, 1914, pp. 258 and 326, where Gaultier disputes Downs's claim and writes that L'Homme Masqué had been using the sleight for many years.

This palm was described in print two years before Downs published it, by Robert Madison, in The Sphinx, Vol. 6 No. 5, July 1907, p. 55. Madison speculated that the palm position was Downs's, but that Downs used it only for the production of a fan of coins. Madison offers a method he had devised for producing the coins one by one. Unfortunately, when Downs published his description, it included the identical method for producing single coins, one after another.