When I was a kid, sometimes we would use a wooden match to light a fire or a candle or whatever. And then my mother would extract the magic frog-hair from the burned match.
It's easier to show than to describe, but I'll give it a try:
She would hold the burned match upright in one hand (let's say her right hand), between the index finger and thumb, and would examine closely the place where the match head joined the stick. The "neck" of the match, I suppose.
Eventually, she would spot the end of the magic frog-hair sticking out just a little bit from the match. She would use her fingernails, as one might do when extracting a splinter without tweezers, to carefully grab ahold of the end of the frog-hair.
Then she would unwind the frog-hair; it was wrapped around the neck of the match, so she moved her left hand (still holding the end of the frog-hair between her fingernails) in a spiral around the match. We looked closely as she unwound, but the frog-hair was so fine that we could never actually see it.
When she'd unwound maybe 6 to 10 inches of frog-hair, she stopped. She was still holding the match upright in her right hand, and now the frog-hair was stretched taut and invisible between the match and her left hand.
And then she would give the frog-hair a sharp tug with her left hand, and the match head would go flying off the match.
It should be noted that Marcy (my mother) was not given to sleight-of-hand. Peter (my father) used to occasionally do various tricks (he was especially fond of the bend-silverware-in-half illusion), and I learned half a dozen bits of stage magic from various sources, notably a book called Sneaky Feats that taught me the French Drop, and I vaguely think Jay had a couple of magic props at one time or another (maybe the one that turns a dollar bill into a blank piece of paper?); but Marcy never did that kind of thing.
A few years ago, the magic frog-hair came to mind and I think I asked Peter if he knew how she'd done it. He didn't. We came up with some vaguely plausible ideas, but I couldn't get any of them to actually work.
I've been using wooden matches to light candles and oil lamps lately, and every time I do, I think of the magic frog-hair. I tried Googling all sorts of relevant phrases, but can't find anything online about it.
Jay, do you remember the magic frog-hair? Did you ever learn how it was done?
Have any of the rest of y'all heard of it, or anything like it?
I suppose I could ask Marcy's cousins; I'm guessing it must have been a family thing.
In the absence of any further information, I'm going to have to assume that Marcy really was unwinding magic frog-hairs from all those matches.