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The Jellis Ring

There seems to be some discussion about the Ellis Ring on various magic forums. We thought this might as well be out there for all to read. Ron Bauer's "Jellis Ring" is just one of many tricks that RB put in print years ago. Remember, due to the space limitations, RB wasn't able to go into great detail. However, there is enough information to get the idea across. Have fun!

The Jellis Ring
Copyright 1981 by Ron Bauer


Those of you who are magic scholars will recognize various elements in this presentation. For example, the finger ring which inadvertently penetrates the string is an idea of Dr. Frank Taylor. It appeared in an issue of The Phoenix as part of a Brema Nut presentation. The basics of the handling of the Ellis Ring are from a manuscript by Bertram Millidge. The combining of the split ring with the shell was shown to me years ago by Ed Marlo. And, of course, the original idea of the shell and solid ring came from Jardine Ellis. That doesn't leave much credit for me to claim, does it? But, why should I want to get the credit? I'm getting the benefits of their thinking. Without those ideas I would never have worked out this plot. You see, these things aren't spontaneous. And to simply hold a prop in a particular way or to rearrange manipulations to suit a particular fancy should not be the basis for a claim of originality. That's particularly true when it's accompanied by eliminating the originators of the idea. Shame on me, I'm writing mean things.

Back to fun and magic. The presentation for the following illusion is straightforward. The magician attempts the RING ON SHOESTRING TRICK. First the wrong ring, the one on his finger, ends up on the shoestring. He tries again, following a "carefully planned ritualistic sequence" but with his other hand. Success! Then as an apparent after-thought, he forgets the "essential ritual" and pulls the ring visibly through the shoestring.


A shoestring, preferably the cord type, about two feet long. Then you need Johnson Products Ellis Ring plus a matching ring with a split. Also, you must be wearing a finger ring on your left ring finger.


The regular Ellis Ring is on the table so that it may, hopefully, be examined prior to starting this effect. If you must, have it examined to begin the effect. It must be accepted as solid, but too bad if you start off with direct suspicion. The shell-covered split ring is either on your lap, or handy in your right coat pocket. The shoestring is secretly threaded through your finger ring, on your finger. About six or seven inches of the shoestring is toward the top of the hand, the rest comes out the bottom.

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  1. Call attention to the solid ring on the table while secretly getting the shoestring into position as in Figure 1.
  2. Hold the shoestring between the right and the left hands and show it. You may, if you want, let go of the shoestring with the right hand and grab the end in the left hand and pull it about a foot or so through the left hand, secretly through the ring. Then grab the now shorter end sticking out of the bottom of the left hand and pull it back. Once again you'll have reached a position as in Figure 1.
  3. Put both ends together. Hold them with the left index finger and thumb, and have a spectator tie the two ends together. Or, if you wish, you may tie the ends together yourself. Once they are tied, gather up the remainder of the shoestring with the right hand and push it, as a bunch, into the left fingers which close around all the shoestring except for the knot. Leave it sticking out of the top. See Figure 2.
  4. Take the solid Ellis Ring and push it down into the left hand through the top of the hand between the finger and thumb, until it has joined the wadded-up shoestring.
  5. Say the magic words, or wave your right hand over the left. Then grab the knot with the right hand and open the left fingers as you pull the knot straight up and away from the open left hand until the shoestring is pulled taut on the linger ring. The Ellis Ring will, of course, fall with a thud onto the table. See Figure 3.
  6. let go of the knot with the right hand and ask a spectator to take hold of it while you, casually, pick up the Ellis Ring from the table with the right hand. Ask a spectator to untie the knot while you exchange secretly the solid Ellis Ring for the Ellis split ring with the shell.
  7. NOTE: The secret exchange of rings will be EASIER TO COVER if someone toward your right does the untying. Not too far right, or curiosity might be aroused.

  8. Once the shoestring is free of your finger ring, the Jellis Ring is placed between the index finger and thumb of the right hand. The split is hidden by the shell from the top. From the front it's masked by the area formed by the finger and thumb.
  9. Pick up the shoestring by its center with the left fingers and thumb, letting the ends hang down. Then drop the end nearest you through the Jellis Ring as in Figure 4.
  10. With your left hand, place the ring onto the fingers of the right hand so that the string is draped over the front and the back of the hand as in Figure 5.
  11. Position the shoestring so that both ends are together over the front of the hand and a loop is hanging down at the little finger end of the hand as in Figure 6.
  12. NOTE: The shoestring is UNDER the ring. Also be sure the split is at the three o'clock position under the shell.

  13. You now apparently remove the ring from the shoestring with the left fingers. Actually, you take the shell by the edge nearest you with the left fingers and thumb, and raise it over, and towards the spectators, at the same time turning your right hand toward you so the split ring cannot be seen. See Figure 7.
  14. So that the hand can stay in a natural position for hiding the split ring and, at the same time, hide the fact that the shell is only half of a ring, place the shell between the right fingers and thumb of the right hand as in Figure 8. Then, with your left hand, offer the ends of the shoestring to a spectator to tie.
  15. Gather the loop end of the shoestring into a bunch into the right fingers, leaving just the knot protruding from the top of the fingers. Take the shell with the left hand and push it down into the top of the closed right hand as in Figure 9.
  16. Note in Figure 10 that the shell is pushed down into the right hand between the string and the split ring, and the right fingers. Actually, you're pushing it into the right finger-palm position.
  17. Repeat the magic pass ritual as in the first attempt to magically put the ring onto the shoestring. Grab the knot with the left hand and pull the shoestring up out of the right hand slowly and slightly toward the left until it drags the ring out of the fingers. It's important here that you catch the ring as it leaves the right hand with the right index finger and thumb, grabbing the ring and hiding the split. The impression, however, is that you have merely caught the ring by putting your index finger through it as it emerges. See Figure 11.
  18. Have a spectator get a grip on the knot. Put your left index finger into the loop formed by the shoestring and, simultaneously, pull your right and your left hands apart sideways causing a triangular shape to form with the shoestring as in Figure 12.
  19. Maintain the tension between the spectator's grip on the knot and your grip with the left finger and thumb. Move the split ring back and forth against the shoestring until you work it through the split. Then give a tug toward the right so the ring apparently penetrates visibly through the shoestring.
  20. Now, as you apparently relax your grip with your right hand on the ring, let it slip back into your fingers, and down into the shell which is still in the finger-palm position. Cover this by letting go of the shoestring with your left hand. Turn the left hand palm up, at the same time turning the right hand palm down, and place the shell and split ring onto the fingers of the left hand. Now everybody can take a good look at the "solid" ring which has just penetrated the solid shoestring.
  21. Casually pocket the JELLIS Ring. If you want you may take it back into the right hand and pocket it long enough to exchange it for the solid ring. Then bring that out and set it on the table as though you've lost interest in it. Often suspicious types will reach for it at the first opportunity, only to find that their suspicions are futile.
Copyright 1981 by Ron Bauer