The Monkey's Paw

by Professor Spellbinder

Warning! Do NOT attempt to do this effect without first reading The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs, on a dark night when you're all alone! You can read the story here, ,but reading it on a computer is not the same.

So now that you know where we're coming from, let's have a look at The Monkey's Paw by me, Phineas Spellbinder. My story is the same, but without the three wishes, which can only cause misery and despair.


I tell a brief history of The Monkey's Paw, but without spoiling the story for those who have never read it and who might be inspired to do so after seeing "the real thing" in action. Because I do a lot of performances in libraries (when the story lady is out sick) I always make sure they set up a display of magic instruction books, Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter books, and The Monkey's Paw for young readers.

Then I bring out the paw. It is kept in a polished wooden box, and wrapped with bandage material so it looks like I am unwrapping a mummy.

"Who would like to hold it?" I ask. I choose someone who has been heckling me if possible. I drop it in his outstretched hand, but retain hold of the tips of his fingers to keep his hand open (and to make sure he can't mess up my act!).

"As you can see, the paw has been mummified... it is hundreds of years old... maybe thousands."

The paw suddenly begins to wiggle around in the victim's" hand. "Be still!" I say and it stops wiggling.

"Because it is so dangerous to make a wish using the Monkey's Paw," I continue, "I have not made even one wish with it, so far. But its power can still be tested. The Monkey's Paw knows who its current owner is. Anything that happens to the paw, happens to me and anything that happens to me, happens to the paw. I will show you."

The article then describes several tests you put forward to show that whatever happens to the Monkey's Paw happens to you.

At the end of this demonstration, you hold out your hand over the paw and it leaps into your hand. You place the paw in your other hand and throw it at the box on your table. The lid on the box slams shut.

"Open the box!" you command the victim. "Is the Monkey's Paw resting comfortably back in its box?" He reports that it is.

"Close the lid then and let's leave it alone." You then continue on with your other magical or bizarre demonstrations.

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