The Gypsy Thread, also known as the Hindu Thread, is one of the classic effects in close up magic, performed by many magicians including Mark Wilson, Slydini, Doug Henning, David Blaine, and of course Eugene Burger. Burger's handling can be found in his book Spirit Theater (Kaufman and Greenberg, 1985).
In effect, a three or four foot length of thread is removed from a spool of thread. The thread is broken into numerous short pieces of varying lengths. One of the pieces is separated from the rest, which are rolled tightly into a little ball.
The little ball of pieces is placed onto the center of the single strand, where it mysteriously clings in place.
The two ends of the short piece are pulled. The small ball comprised of pieces jumps and dances on its little tightrope, as the ends are pulled farther apart, ultimately revealing the thread to be completely restored to its original condition.
Written explanations go back to at least 1500s, and can be found in J. Prevost's La Premiere Partie des subtiles et plaisantes inventions (as "To Cut a Thread into Many Pieces, Then Seem to Have Rejoined Them All Together") and Reginald Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft ("To burne a thred, and to make it whole againe with the ashes thereof"), both published in 1584.
- The Cut and Restored Thread in Sleight of Hand by Edwin Sachs (1877)
- Broken Cotton Restored in A Text Book for Magic by Elbiquet (1913)
- The Hindu Thread Trick in Greater Magic by John Northern Hilliard (1938)
- The Gypsy Thread Trick in The Fine Art of Magic by George G. Kaplan (1948)
- The Hindu Thread Trick in Pet Secrets by Al Baker (1951)
- Easier Gypsy Thread (Norman Rhodes) in The Art of Close-up, Vol. 1 by Lewis Ganson (1968).
- Lonnie Chevrie was the first to use dental floss (1975). This version was popularized by Charles Greene.
- Max Londono's Eternal String from The New Stars of Magic, Vol. 1, No. 9 (1977).
- The Hindu Thread (Gypsy Thread) book by Lewis Ganson (1980)
- Billy's Gypsy by Billy McComb, the first person to do the Gypsy Thread with yarn (1988).
- Mike Wong's Dragon Thread VHS 1999 & DVD 2003
- Gary Ouellet's Gypsy Thread video. Includes Glow Thread which allows you to perform it for a large audience using a UV light source. VHS 2001 & DVD 2004