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Tag: Tricks

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April 3, 2013 Posted by tahir in Books

New Releases from My Backlist

TS ebook series backlist

I’m very pleased to share with you the release of my travel backlist as ebooks. Each book has been updated with a new introduction, with the exception of Travels With Myself, my 2011 release. Trail of Feathers will also be available very soon.

Get your copy now: Read more

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April 24, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

All Change

The kind of miracles often performed by Indian Godmen rely on a knowledge of chemicals, physics, and the environment, a kind of layer of information which many of us take for granted. Just as I am fascinated by the illusions conjured by these Godmen, I am also deeply interested in the science that makes them possible. Or, rather, I’m preoccupied by the history of that science, and how it came about.

Over the next few days, I’m going to write some notes — nothing too heavy — on how the science we all rely on every day (the very same that the Godmen rely on too) came to us all through Arab society, predominantly from the Abbasid era. I have touched on this before in my blog, by have long wanted to devote a little more time to it, so excuse me while I indulge myself…



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April 23, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

How to Stick Needles in an Inflated balloon

You will need: One balloon, some needles or pins, a roll of scotch tape


I once met a Godman in Calcutta who was using a book of children’s conjuring and illusion to create miracles. The book he had in his possession was printed in 1931, and I’m not sure if this miracle was in there, but it might well have been. It’s a schoolboy’s favourite.

You take the balloon, blow it up, and stick one-inch bits of scotch tape in various places. Then, when the audience have turned up, and mustering theatrical flair, you ease the needles into the places where you have put the tape. The tape seals and rubber, and the balloon doesn’t burst.




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April 22, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

How to Set Sawdust Alight with Spit

You will need: very dry sawdust, powdered sodium peroxide


So many common Godmen miracles are based on fire, and this is a good example, as it’s cheap and easy to do. The Godman just needs to find a supply of sodium peroxide which, in India, is relatively easy, as chemicals are readily sold without any questions being asked.

the method involves the powdered sodium peroxide being mixed in with the sawdust before the performance. Before going on show, the Godman takes a big sip of water and, when he’s sitting in front of his audience, he spits the water out nearby on the sawdust. The chemical reaction of the sodium peroxide and the water causes fire, which combusts the sawdust.

NB: Godmen’s miracles such as this should not be attempted by children, or by anyone else except trainee Godmen.



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April 21, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

How to Set Drying Clothes Alight

You will need: Yellow or white phosphorous in a solution of carbon disulphide (ration 1:6)


Pour a little of the solution on the clothes just before the audience assemble, and a few minutes later the clothes will spontaneously catch fire as the solution dries and ignites.

NB Godmen’s miracles such as this should never be attempted by children or anyone else, except for trainee godmen.



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April 20, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

How to Stop the Pulse

You will need: one lime


The best godman miracles require simple props, the kind that are available anywhere… an excellent example is stopping the pulse, an old favourite. The audience gathers around, the godman sitting in the lotus position before them. He closes his eyes and slows his breathing. A member of the crowd is called forward to take his pulse. As his fingers press on the wrist of the holy man, the pulse gradually reduces and then fades away completely. The trick is as simple as the prop. The lime has been secreted in the armpit. As the godman presses down on the lime, it itself presses on the artery that runs down the arm, stopping the pulse.

NB Godmen’s miracles such as this should never be attempted by children, or anyone except for trainee godmen.


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April 19, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

How to Cut the Skin With a Knife

You will need: Ferric chloride, sodium sulphocyanide, a knife


Rub the solution of Ferric chloride on the arm or the hand, where you will be cutting, and then dig the knife in the solution of sodium sulphocyanide, and motion as if you are carving with the knife. Crimson-coloured streaks will become visible where the knife blade has come in contact with the skin. Once you have finished the routine, wipe the affected skin clean and wash with soap.

NB Godmen’s miracles such as this should never be attempted by children, or by anyone else except trainee godmen.



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April 18, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

How to Eat Red Hot Chillis

You will need:  Olive Oil, some red hot chillis


This is an easy one and popular with godmen. Chillis burn the mouth when they come into contact with saliva. If this is prevented, then they don’t burn and can be swallowed. To stop the chillis from touching the saliva, you must rinse your mouth very well with olive oil before performing the feat. The olive oil coats the mouth for just long enough to chew and swallow the chillis, but beware, the whole act has to be done quite quick. The chillis can later be expelled from the stomach through vomiting (or ingesting an emetic).

NB Godmen’s miracles such as this should never be attempted by children, or by anyone except trainee godmen.


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April 17, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

How to Turn a Rod into a Snake

You will need: one snake


This is arguably the oldest illusion on record, and was performed by Aaron at the court of the Egyptian Pharaoh. It is still performed regularly across the Subcontinent by Godmen. The illusion involves a rod or staff being tossed to the ground, and slowly taking on life, and slithering away as a snake. It’s important to do the trick in dim lighting, preferably towards sunset when the heat of the day has worn off. You take the snake and chill it, while stretching it out between your hands… and as you do this, you press a thumb quite hard on the top of the snake’s head. The serpent, which thinks there is a huge creature standing on it, goes into shock and freezes. As soon as the snake has been exhibited as a rod… quite motionless, you drop it to the ground. Realising that the predator has vanished, and warming up, it slithers away.

NB Godmen’s miracles such as this should never be attempted by children, or anyone else except trainee Godmen.


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April 16, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

How to Make Flowers Bow Down

You will need: Chloroform, spray apparatus


The illusion was very popular with more established Godmen in the 1990s, before it was rumbled in a big way. The illusion is simple: the Godman enters an auditorium and, as he does so, flowers on either side of the dias seem to droop. Little do the audience of devotees know, but the re are tiny nozzles placed amongst the flowers, which spray chloroform. Flora, just as mammals, are affected by the chemical, and go into their own form of collapse.

NB Godmen’s miracles such as this should never be attempted by children, or anyone else except trainee Godmen.


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