Absent from most dictionaries, the French technical term “ensecrètement” means, in a general sense, the vow of secrecy undertaken (or undertook, as this practice is increasingly less respected) by conjurers, magicians and illusionists who, in principle, take an oath not to reveal their secrets to those outside of the profession. This is an ancient tradition.

In the 15th century, the mysterious complex machinery was made by “masters of secrets”, who had already taken this oath (see [Secrecy]). Thus, the “secrets” were, technically, the various strings and springs needed to manipulate the machinery and the animated statues.

More specifically for puppeteers this French term “ensecrètement” designates the manner in which the artist attaches and uses the strings of a puppet, that is to say their length and tension, and the tying of the strings onto the [control]: these are the decisive actions that transform the puppet from an inert object to an animated one, and in some ways gives it “life”.

(See also [Slangs], [String Puppet].)