Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Crayon Divination

Research done by Max Maven suggests that the identity of the person who came up with the idea of secretly scraping a bit of crayon under the fingernail to learn the color of a selected crayon may not have been recorded. Maven points out that wax crayons of the type now familiar began to be manufactured in the latter part of the nineteenth century, and inexpensive sets of crayons became common during the first decade of the twentieth. By the early 1920s, several crayon divination methods appeared that featured placing the chosen crayon into a tube or box before it was handed to the performer. These methods suggest that precautions were being devised to eliminate the possibility of the nail-scraping method. By the end of the 1920s, this method began turning up in beginners' texts on magic. These facts suggest that the original method was devised during a period spanning the late 1800s to the early 1900s. An inventor's name has so far not been found.