Give 'em Enough Rope

‘The fakir drew from under his knee a ball of grey twine. Taking the loose end between his teeth, he, with a quick upward motion, tossed the ball into the air. Instead of coming back to him, it kept on going up and up until out of sight and there remained only the long swaying end… [A] boy about six-years-old… walked over to the twine and began climbing up it… the boy disappeared when he had reached a point 30 or 40ft from the ground… a moment later, the twine disappeared.’

This purported to be an eye-witness account of the trick given by a couple of American travellers returning from the mysterious Orient. Within a few months, however, the editor of the Tribune was forced to come clean and admit that not only was the account bogus but that the travellers did not even exist.

Too late. — Michael Holland reviews Peter Lamont’s The Rise of the Indian Rope TrickGive ’em Enough Rope (Guardian)