Monday, March 16, 2015


I have mentioned before that early on growing up we had no TV. Therefore it was either board games, word games or parlor tricks to keep us amused as the dark of evening drove us inside and there was nothing good on the radio.

A parlor trick is a simple magic trick which is generally easy to execute. Such tricks are used to amuse people at parties.  They are designed to be performed in front of a small audience, such as a group of friends.

One of our family favorite "tricks" that surfaced when we had company was called Light as a Feather. This was also fun to try at slumber parties.  It was a game where four people, including children, could lift a grown person with just two fingers.

The liftee would sit posture perfect in a straight back chair with no arms. Then four of us lifters would stand over the person and place our hands in alternating fashion on top of the persons head.

We would all press firmly down on their head for the count of ten, then quickly release our hands, one at a time. The lifters would then place two fingers under the liftee's arms or knees and would be able to lift the person high off the chair with ease.

As a ten year old, I could actually lift an adult.  This always shocked both the novice lifters and liftees as well as the observers. It was even fun for the liftee as they felt like they were floating. Yes, parlor tricks were often mysterious and always amazing.

My love for parlor tricks continued into adulthood. I got a kick out of amazing others with my so called "powers."

Once my sister's boyfriend taught me a cool trick that worked really well in stopping a headache in its tracks. I was complaining of a headache one day and he offered to "heal" me.

He sat me in a straight back chair, placed his thumb and middle finger below my eyebrows beside the bridge of my nose with one hand. He then positioned his thumb and middle finger on my neck at the base of my skull with his other hand. Telling me to relax and to go with him, he pressed in firmly with both hands while lifting up, stretching my neck for about the count of five.  I can't really say it was a pleasant experience but when  he suddenly let go, the headache I'd been suffering was gone----poof.

I was at work one day when a co-worker came into my office grumbling about a headache. I had just recently become a convert of the procedure so I asked if she would let me "pinch her head" to get rid of it. She was totally dubious but I convinced her it was fool proof.   It worked perfectly on her. Tension headaches responded the best.

Before I knew it, as soon as the bank closed its doors in the afternoon, a small line would form outside my office and I would have to pinch away the day's stresses. This parlor trick worked 90% of the time and Dr. Patti was in.

Part of the success with "head pinching" was in their strong wish for relief, part in the use of acupressure and part in my convincing them that it would, without a doubt, remove the headache.

I also dabbled in palm reading and hand writing analysis through the years which I learned from those tiny booklets you could buy at most checkout counters. These "skills" were fun to bring out at parties when things got slow or to confuse dates. Truthfully I was a bit of a fake but then that is the basis of a good parlor trick.

I really haven't done any of those in years but was fun at the time. Sadly, electronics have put them to rest.

Thank you Mom for the love of parlor tricks and you Dad for the ability to make BS sound like an absolute truth.

Did you ever enjoy parlor tricks? Ouija boards and card tricks count.


  1. When my friends and I were early teens, slumber party = Ouija board.
    I still don't know how it said that one of our future husbands would die of a coronary thrombosis - we'd never heard of such a thing. Thankfully, it hasn't come true yet.

    And I can't imagine how your Light as a Feather trick worked.

  2. You are so full of little surprises, Patti. I'll have to try that headache cure, but yeah, I also wonder how that one where you life somebody actually works. When I was young we played around with a Ouija board once or twice, but I don't remember anything being predicted. I think it scared us a little. :-)

  3. Ouija boards...and pendulums, which still come out at certain all female get togethers.

  4. I love reading about your success with parlor tricks. Must have been so much fun.

  5. Interesting, Olga, about the headache cure. The day of my wedding after the event, the family was gathered at my house before DH and I actually took off for our honeymoon. I had a headache (had eaten little and drank champagne at the reception)and my brother-in-law told me he could make the headache go away. He put his thumb and finger over my forehead somewhere at the point of my 2 eyebrows and pinched and held it for a while. It worked!...??

  6. That headache trick sounds great. I may try that sometime. My father always told us of the time his family raised their kitchen table. He called it the "Up Table" trick. He said everyone sat at the table with their hands spread out before them and touching all around. Then they chanted "up table, up table" and supposedly the table rose. We kids tried it for years. Nothing ever happened. I haven't thought of that in years.

  7. I'll take any trick that will get rid of a headache. I wish you lived next door. I'd be over for a cure!! (It would be great to have you next door for lots of reasons.)

    We played lots of parlor games growing up. My grandkids seem to still enjoy such games.

  8. We had a favorite one for the agile. Hold a broom in front of you and step through while taking the broom to your while not loosing your hold on the broom. I would fall flat now but I used to do it a lot.

  9. We used to do a trick in which a straight chair is placed against a wall, the back to one side. The person stands directly in front of it and leans to place the top of his/her head on the wall. Without moving his/her head, the person tries to lift the chair, then stand up straight. Most men cannot do this. Almost all women can.

  10. We didn't have a TV either ---but our love was music. My brother played the accordian. I played the piano and we all (and others) would gather at the house and just sing and enjoy music...

    My folks did love RADIO also. Listened to One Man's Family, to Jack Benny and other shows....

    We also played board games and card games all during my childhood.

    Love our parlor games/tricks/magic, etc.... We were never 'into' that though.


  11. I wish I had known about that headache cure earlier. I would have trained people around me to perform it on me!
    No parlor tricks in my past.

  12. The parlour games you describe seem to be well above the ones I encountered as a child which tended to be older relatives singing the same songs time and time again followed by card tricks that were just too easy.

  13. Marty,
    Goodness, that was a scary prediction. Glad it was a false one.
    From what I have read, it mostly works on the power of suggestion. Somehow I think it was more than that.

    Have SG try the head pinching on you. The most it will cost you is a few seconds of unpleasantness and for me it really worked.
    They say evenly distributed weight is easier to lift. However, we would try to lift them before the hands on head and couldn't. Beats me.

    Linda W,
    It did bring the family together in the evenings. Something you do with your grands on a regular basis.

    Think he was using acupressure like I was. It works best on tension which a wedding could certainly bring on. How wonderful that you found relief.

    My parents did that with us also. I think they used their knees to raise the table but it sure kept us quiet for a long time trying. Smart of them.

    You would be a fun neighbor. Have your husband try it on you if you get another one. Like I said, it works best on tension headaches.
    So glad your grands can function with out electronics.

    Ah yes. I forgotten that one but we did that also. Youth sure was an advantage. The fun we had without batteries.

    Ooh, ooh, another one I had forgotten about. I will have to check Google and find out why women are so good at that one. It did have gender bias.

    My Mom restricted us to an hour a night of radio. That left open time. She was huge on personal interaction which is why she wouldn't let us get a TV.

    Linda R.
    Have Tom give it a try on you. It really isn't hard though a bit unpleasant for 5 seconds. Beats pills.

    Welcome to TNS and thank you for your comment and following. Those card tricks were pretty easy to figure out weren't they. I kind of envy you for those sings. No one in my family had a tolerable voice.

  14. Olga,
    Hum, don't know about pendulum. I will have to check that out. I think you are right about those future telling things being a woman thing.

  15. We never played parlor games. I was raised by a single mom she worked long hours and us kids played very little. We listened to music on the radio while we worked but once in awhile we got to roller skate or play softball with the neighborhood kids for a short while. I would love to see someone do that "Light as a Feather" trick. Hugs for you and nose kisses for the sweeties, sweet Patti.

  16. I don't recall parlour games, but my dad could balance a broom on his hand. Mom wouldn't let him do it in the house.

    As teenagers, we played with Ouija boards but honestly I always felt creeped out by it. In later years I've been to a few psychics but I have to admit they really didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. Perhaps they picked up their knowledge from booklets too!

  17. Oh yes! I remember doing the first one you mentioned, but I'm awed that you can remember exactly HOW. Did you ever play Cahoots? Our kids liked that one. We used to have a friend who taught us the most amazing card tricks. I should have written them down. And as for card games. . . our favorite was probably Flinch. I can't remember how that was played either; still have the cards, but not the instructions. I must ask Google.

  18. Wow- I know that light as a feather trick..I remember something just like it when I was a teenager. Not sure it was called that, though. I wish I had a magic headache that...I could use almost every week when I am on this computer too long!

  19. I've heard of the 1st one but I've never tried any of them. Rather amazing though, isn't it.

  20. We tried Ouija Boards a lot as kids, in a dimly lit room, with scary music on.

    Card tricks were my grandfather's favorite and always fun.

    Thanks for the trip back in time!

  21. Maggie,
    Good to know you at least got to play some sports and enjoy a bit of play time.
    Next time you have 5 people together, give it a try.

    Ha ha that is funny and you may be right. I was just as right on with my dollar booklet as some psychics.

    Ok, now I have to Google Cahoots and Flinch. Don't think we played that but we might have used another name.

    See if you can get someone to try it on you. It isn't fun while it is happening but only lasts 5 seconds.

    It was rather magical for us younguns. Still don't see how power of suggestion could make it work.

    It was rather a spooky thing to do wasn't it? But that was half the fun.

  22. During WWII our family entertained British sailors. My sister Nancy (aboutg 13 at the time) had a whole set of parlor tricks that she would "entertain" them with ... it was fun the first 10 times !!!

  23. Amazing! I had a lot of migraines in my younger years....:(

  24. We didn't have a tv for the first 10-12 years of my life. My dad loved to play cards, so I was taught several card games and still love to play now. My whole family plays more card games than board games.
    I wish I'd known a cure for headaches back when I used to have them all the time. Chiropractic treatments finally helped.

  25. We used to play with the Ouija board in college and I remember doing that lifting trick then too. I can't remember if it worked though. Your sister's boyfriend was ahead of his time with the acupressure cure.