A game of "What is it?!"

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 01/07/04 10:21 PM

Like many others, I'm cleaning out my magic room and organizing things for the new year. Not so much a resolution, just that I had time during the holidays.

In going through a box of stuff I picked up a while back I came across a neat little box which reads "Mysterious Fire Eating Trick". It also says "Salamander's Breath" and "Indian Fire Eating Act". It's put out by the E & S Novelty company, made in England, and is No. 18 in a line of products they offered.

Inside the box it appears to be nothing but hair of some sort, perhaps wool?

My question is... what is it? How does it work? Is it safe?

Google searches haven't been much help so far but I'm still trying various combinations.

Regards,

John Bodine
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 01/08/04 12:49 PM

The Fire breathing act/ effect you mention was also sold by the venerable Johnson Smith Novelty Co., originally from Chicago. I bought this for a quarter back in the 50's,when I was about 12 or 13.Inside the long awaited box was the "hair" as you call it. actually the material(the name of which I can't recall) but I believe it was used for packing fragile items.It may have been excelsior, I'm not sure. This material will not burn but simply smolder when a fire or glowing ember is applied to it. Also in the box was a thick piece of what I think was hemp, about an inch and a half long that had been soaked in something that smelled like creosote. The idea was to light the hemp, wait until it burned for a while and then blow it out. It would then continue to glow much like a punk. This hot glowing piece of material was placed inside the "hair" and hidden somewhere on your table. The ball of "stuff" was then inserted surreptitiously (how to do this was not explained in the instructions as I recall) into your mouth. Exhaling through your mouth caused the hair to become ember like and smoke and sparks would then billow from your mouth. I tried it once and I guess I stupidly breathed in through my mouth, which caused a coughing and gagging fit the likes of which that part of the world had never seen. This incident quickly ended my fire breathing career.Mr.Smith,of the Johnson Smith Co.walked with a limp for years afterward due to the curses that emanated from that kid in the mountains of western Pa.
Btw I do recall the instructions also saying that under cover of all the smoke and sparks/ flames issuing from your mouth, while the crowd wildly applauded your mastery of the flames, you could produce parasols, ribbons, etc etc, and it would appear that they too came from your mouth. Not a bad effect for a quarter.

WARNING: PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME

Best thoughts,
John Smetana
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 01/08/04 01:22 PM

John,

Thanks much for the information. Although I've done, and continue to do, quite a few stupid things, I'm not so certain I'll be trying out this trick. It'll probably just stay in that bottom drawer of interesting knick-knacks.

Thanks again,

johnbodine
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 03/07/04 11:07 PM

Originally posted by John Bodine:
Like many others, I'm cleaning out my magic room and organizing things for the new year. Not so much a resolution, just that I had time during the holidays.

In going through a box of stuff I picked up a while back I came across a neat little box which reads "Mysterious Fire Eating Trick". It also says "Salamander's Breath" and "Indian Fire Eating Act". It's put out by the E & S Novelty company, made in England, and is No. 18 in a line of products they offered.

Inside the box it appears to be nothing but hair of some sort, perhaps wool?

My question is... what is it? How does it work? Is it safe?

Google searches haven't been much help so far but I'm still trying various combinations.

Regards,

John Bodine
The material is called "tow." You can try it at home, but expect a visit from the Fire Marshall, as well as a large hospital bill.
Guest
 


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