This section is from the book "The Boy Mechanic Vol. 2 1000 Things for Boys to Do", by Popular Mechanics Co.. Also available from Amazon: The Boy Mechanic, Vol2: 1000 Things for Boys to Do.
This is one of the many tricks for which the Hindoos are famous, and was long kept a secret by them. It consists of placing ordinary sand in a basin full of water, stirring the water and taking out the sand in handfuls perfectly dry. It need scarcely be said that without previous preparation, it is impossible to do so.
Take 2 lb. of fine silver sand, place it in a frying pan and heat well over a clear fire. When the sand is thoroughly heated, place a small piece Of grease or wax - the composition of a paraffin candle preferred - in the sand, stirring it well to get it thoroughly mixed, then allow the sand to cool. When this sand is placed in a basin of water, it will be apparently dry when taken out. It is very important that only a small portion of the adherent be used so that it cannot be detected when the sand is examined by the audience. The explanation is that the grease or wax coating on each sand particle repels the water. - Contributed by Mighty Oaks, Oshkosh, Wis.