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Dancing Handkerchief

From Magicpedia, the free online encyclopedia for magicians by magicians.
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Dancing Handkerchief (also known as the Dancing Hank; the Spirit Dancing Handkerchief; the Spirit Handkerchief) is an illusion where a silk seems to come to life and moves around the stage at the magician's command.

Lance Burton


First performed by a magician in 1888 by Nevil Maskelyne who had the handkerchief emerge from a spirit cabinet. It was copied in the USA by Frederick Eugene Powell by 1891. Anna Eva Fay would present a similar effect as a genuine spirit demonstration.

Notable performers

  • Harry Kellar was doing the routine in 1894 as part of "Cassadaga Propaganda" routine as "The Ghost of Cagliostro".
  • Charles T. Aldrich was one of the first to drop the spiritualistic aspects and presented it as comedy.
  • Harry Blackstone, which became one of his most famous acts.
  • Howard Thurston
  • Harry Willard
  • John Calvert
  • David Copperfield
  • Harry Blackstone Jr.
  • Lance Burton


  • The Modern Wizard by August Roterberg (1895)
  • Professor Hoffmann's Later Magic (1904)
  • Tarbell Volume 3
  • WALTZING MATILDA by Steve Dusheck who sold the rights to Tenyo which released in as 'Ballerina Hank' with improvements by Shigeru Sugawara.