Edward M. Massey was a prolific magical inventor of the 1940's. Most magicians would be surprised to learn that he was the inventor of the Finger Chopper trick. Soon after its invention, he sold the rights to Holden's Magic Shop and they had it patented.
I have been involved in a project to write a book about Mr. Massey and his many remarkable magical inventions. There has been no critical examination or explanation of Massey's prodigious output (he even designed two illusions for the Thurston show). I have been collecting information, ad cuts, original instructions, photos of the apparatus, articles and other items of interest about Massey's tricks.
My book will contain information about all of the commercial releases of Massey's tricks. Each will be accompanied by a photo or photos of the apparatus, ad cuts, instructions and commentary. A brief history of his magic life and information on the many tricks he contributed to the magic journals of his time will also be a part of the book.
I am still on the look-out for information on Massey and his tricks. I need to find a few of the pieces of apparatus to be photographed. I am especially interested in finding one of the original finger choppers (they were red and black plastic and had a locking blade). Should you have any information about Massey, his tricks or his life - I encourage you to send E_Mail, call or write me right away. I welcome any information you might be able to supply.
To whet your appetite concerning Massey's magic, I include here a sample of one of his tricks....
Hair-raising is but a mild description of this dandy pocket illusion. A blade sharp as a razor works up and down in a flat tube. A cigarette placed where the finger is in the illustration may be sheared off as clean as a whistle. Yet your finger - or the finger of anybody brave enough to risk it - is perfectly safe when the blade apparently passes right thru it, showing in the hole at the bottom.
Edward Massey again is the originator of the best pocket trick of the year - THE FINGER GUILLOTINE.
Pull out the slide part of the guillotine A. Then close it. You will notice the small blade moving back and forth. Place the tip of a cigar in opening B and see the blade cut the tip of the cigar off.Now place your finger in the hole when slide is closed and pull slide open. Now if the blade is unlocked the real blade will tip over and another blade will come up in its place. Now place the cigar in hole - if no cigar place a finger in and close slide easy. The blade will trip and real blade will come up in place. To all appearance the blade goes right thru the finger. Should you want to pass it for examination first of all with thumb nail give small screw a three quarter turn towards you or in other words to the left. This locks the blade. To again unlock give small screw a three quarter turn to right.
It is very careful that you do not pull the slide out with any force and impress person examining it on this point as it will wreck the guillotine. BE SURE THE BLADE IS TRIPPED BEFORE PLACING FINGER IN FOR THE PASSING THROUGH.
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