It's rare that I get a chance to mix magic and puns so
freely. I begin by relating a highly abridged version of Edgar
Allen Poe's story, "The Pit and the Pendulum,"
describing how the hero of the story is tied over a deep pit and
how the swinging pendulum blade keeps getting closer and closer
to him. Then, having planted that image in the minds of the
onlookers, I veer from the story and tell how easily the hero
could have been saved by a witch who knew the right magic. I
offer to demonstrate. But first I need the services of a witch. I
ask for a young woman who feels she has psychic powers and who
has always wondered if perhaps she could become a witch. If this
doesn't bring hesitant hands up, I just go down amongst the
onlookers and use my wand to locate a potential witch.
Now I introduce the "victim." This is a tiny action
figure, male, of your choice. Not a GI Joe, since he is too big,
but a small action figure that will fit under a large size
plastic cup. Perhaps a Harry Potter figure. You decide.
I show six large plastic cups and select a young man to hide
the action figure under one of them, while both the witch and I
are unable to see what he is doing. So the witch and I turn our
backs on the boy and let him hide the action figure under one of
the cups, and then direct him verbally to slide the cups around
to further mix them up. When this is done, the witch and I return
to center stage. I have in my hand a peach or a nectarine and my
athame (ceremonial knife). I use this to cut open the nectarine
and remove the central nut.
Then I withdraw a length of butcher's string from my pocket
and quickly tie it around the nut. Holding the nut up high, I
release my pun on the audience: "The Pit!" Then I let
the pit swing back and forth on the string. "And the
After the groans have subsided, I place the pendulum in the
hands of our young witch and have her hold the pendulum over each
of the cups in her quest to rescue the "victim."
Eventually, she eliminates the cups she is sure are empty and
finally locates the cup containing the action figure. I present
her with the pendulum so that she can continue her studies in
witchcraft and save other innocent victims.