Back in Time…

One thing in magic is that people get hung up on is who created what and that if they thought of it without outside influence, then no one else could have possibly had the same thought.

My Russian Shell Game routine was inspired by a magazine column that Gary Oulette wrote. His ending used stacks of cups as the final loads to a cups and balls routine. In the article he “reserved all manufacturing rights“, I’m assuming he did this thinking no one had thought of the idea before.

Recently I was looking for something else and came across Cups and Cups and Cups and balls by Geoffrey Robinson

It’s the exact same idea as Gary’s, but it Gary never had a set made. Geoffrey did and it appears he had to do some problem solving. If you notice the small holes in the top, they are there (I’m assuming) to keep them from sticking together from the suction created if they are too tightly nested.

At the end of the day, you can’t assume you are the first person to have an idea!

Max and Salli Hapner…

Last week I bought a vanishing birdcage on ebay (apparently I collect cages now?) from a seller that wasn’t a magician. I’ll talk a bit more about the cage in another post when I get a chance to do some research on it, but it’s a less common one. The seller included this Doug Henning autographed Playbill in the box that came with the cage:

I’m assuming the Max and Salli it’s signed to are Max and Salli Hapner. I’m not very familiar with their work, but remember seeing them on the cover of a couple of magic magazines, or mentioned in them. From my research this week, Max had a collection of Vanishing Birdcages, so it would make sense that the autograph coming with the cage would reinforce the idea that the autograph was to the Hapners.

It appears Max passed about 10 years ago, and I only found one video of him online, which is him doing The Multiplying Bottles for Stevens Magic Emporium:

One of the fun things about knowing some magic history is that I was immediately able to connect the name on the program to the magic act. One the cover of the Genii Magazine above they are doing their bubble appearance, which according some of the people I’ve talked to the last week was a really amazing trick!

3D Chop Cup Routine

One of the Facebook groups that I belong to is a Magician’s 3D Printing group. It’s an interesting group, a few people in it are making some cool stuff. Recently someone asked if anyone had made a chop cup before. I mentioned that I had and made stack of nested cups as a final load for it.

I no longer have the set of cups, but here’s an idea of what they looked like:

nested cups and balls final production

This set was 100% inspired by Gary Ouellet‘s column Fulminations in Genii Magazine where he had a series of nested cups as the ending for a cups and balls routine. This led to my Russian Shell Game trick, which is a Three Shell Game that ends with a ton of shells on the table.

The fun thing about the time we live in, is with a little bit of tinkering around, you can make virtually any prop you’ve ever wanted with 3d printer!

Catch your whale

Right now we’ve all found ourselves with a lot of extra time. I’ve been using mine to try to catch my “Great White Whale” of tricks I’ve always wanted to create. This trick has been in my head for over a decade and a lot of things had to come together to for it to happen.


Here’s the trick, and be sure to watch the whole thing:


I’ve been fascinated by the idea of using a nested replicas of the main prop as a final load ever since I read Gary Oullett’s cups and balls routine in his Fulminations column in Genii magazine. Then about 10 or 15 years ago I thought about applying it to the shell game. The hurdle was getting shells to nest and enough of them.


Then the breakthrough came when I got a 3D printer. I could print the shells, however the problem was they didn’t look like shells. They looked like plastic things that kinda looked like walnut shells. A friend of mine sent me a link of how to make molds and I tried to learn off of youtube videos with limited success. I ended up taking a 4 hour class on making molds and resin casting that really helped speed up the learning curve.


I kept making baby steps to get towards the end result and finally got there. I’m not done yet, ideally in the future I’ll have some shells that look a little bit better, but for now I have a workable version of the trick!


Unusual Magic…

One of the things that I’m always on the lookout for are quirks that I can exploit for a magic trick. Ideally small things that people don’t notice, or things that they accept and don’t think about. In this month’s Genii Magazine I have a magic trick and it’s based on something small that I … Continue reading “Unusual Magic…”

One of the things that I’m always on the lookout for are quirks that I can exploit for a magic trick. Ideally small things that people don’t notice, or things that they accept and don’t think about. In this month’s Genii Magazine I have a magic trick and it’s based on something small that I noticed and turned into a magic trick!

What happened was a long time ago I noticed that when you take a picture with your phone’s front facing camera, Instagram takes is as a mirror image. That means that any text will appear backwards in the picture. This is a small thing and everyone accepts it and no one thinks about it.


I love tricks that involve manipulating an image on someone else’s cellphone, and this quirk in Instagram is a great thing to exploit. I learned a long time ago that people don’t really look at specific things (other than themselves) in selfie style pictures. If you have something that looks right before the picture and is the same basic shape in the camera’s screen, their brain doesn’t really process it and fills it in with what they expect to see.


The basic principle for using someone else’s camera has three parts. First you show them the object and then switch it for a similar one. Second you take a picture of the switched object. Finally you switch the object back to the original one. To them, nothing has changed, you simply then do your magic and alter the picture. Now go out and do some phone magic!