The Magic Linking Rings

The precise origin of the linking rings remains elusive, having been performed by magicians across diverse cultures throughout history. Speculation regarding their origin points to regions like Turkey, Egypt, the Middle East and China, with a historical trail extending as far back as the1st century. 

I first learned this astonishing illusion years ago when I was still at school. I offer credit to two Pauls for the way this happened. Firstly an old school pal named Paul who sat next to me in Physics. He kept a set of Paul Daniels’ linking rings inside his school desk amongst his text books. 

Secondly, Paul Daniels. I would like to pay tribute to the late and inspirational Paul Daniels, a wonderful entertainer who lived and breathed magic. I know this first hand because to my delight many years later I travelled together with Paul & Debbie McGee (and Ron and Martin Mc Millan, owners of International Magic emporium) to a Magic convention in Germany. The lucky passengers on that flight didn’t just get chicken or fish served in the aisles, they got live inflight magic from Paul Daniels! Paul taught me that day to never go anywhere with out a deck of cards.

It seemed rather fitting that my school mate Paul tried to demonstrate his linking rings routine before the physics lesson, an excellent demonstration I thought of the properties of matter and energy. But Paul hadn’t rehearsed and accidentally revealed the principle of how it worked to me. The allure and enchantment of this illusion still took hold in my imagination. I found myself purchasing a set from the Ipswich Hobby Shop and then embarked on a journey to master this intricate illusion; stage one is understanding the secret of how the magic works, stage two is to encompass that principle so you can actually present the impossible. Perhaps it’s similar to how a comic whose jokes are no longer funny to their own ears, but must then deliver like it’s the first time they ever heard the joke, because it’s still going to be hilarious for the audience. 

The linking rings is such a captivating and simple plot of intertwining circles, that one moment appear separate and, in the blink of an eye, become suddenly and quite impossibly joined together in a chain sequence. I think this mystery is similar to the mystery of an engaging conversation. Do you remember as a child being instructed not to talk to strangers. I was never any good at that idea and have always tried to talk with as many strangers as possible, after all as W.B. Yeats once said, “a stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet”. Just like Paul Daniels’ ability to captivate the passengers and flight crew on the plane, I think magic is universally recognised to arouse intrigue and wonder, and mysteriously link people together, just like those magical linking rings. 

At events I perform at I am often astonished with the number of conversations struck up between strangers after my magic has created impossible moments of wonder.    

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