Cups And Balls

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Who is there in Magic who has not heard of the famous cups and balls? It is the mysterious effect in which the balls vanish, appear, and jump about under three cups. This is one of the oldest tricks in Magic. It has many routines and has

also been the foundation for many variations from the disappearing and producing of balls under cups to the three shell game of the circus, paper wads through a hat, etc. In days gone by, this effect was a feature trick on programs of many Magicians and it then involved much artistic sleight of hand.

In this lesson I give you a modernized version of Cups and Balls with simplified moves which make it easy to perform and yet effective. You will find this effect good for close work. It is fine for parlor or dining room entertainment as well as club work.


Performer shows three paper coffee cups and three balls made of sponge rubber. A ball placed on top of one cup and covered with another cup is suddenly found under the first cup. This is repeated and the second ball also finds its way under first cup. The third ball is picked up and disappears from the hands, only to appear again under the cup with the other two. The balls continue to appear and disappear until finally the cups are lifted to show a potato under one, an onion under the second, and a lemon under the third.


1 -- Three paper coffee cups, such as are used for picnics. These cups are usually 3 3/4 inches high and 2 3/4 inches in diameter across the top. They are straight cups and have the bottom raised about 5/16 of an inch. These cups can be purchased at almost any department store or other store where picnic supplies are sold.

Figure 74.

2 -- Get a red rubber bath sponge at a drug store or department store. With a pair of scissors cut out four rubber balls, about seven-eighths of an inch to one inch in diameter.

Figure 75.

3 -- A potato, an onion, and a lemon or lime. SECRET AND PATTER:

To Prepare:

Place one of the rubber balls on top of inverted cup. Figure 76.

On first cup, place another one, also inverted. Figure 77.

Place third cup on top of other two. Figure 7 8.

Place the small potato, onion, and lemon (or lime) in your right coat pocket.

To Perform:


I shall give you the routine without usual patter as the patter for this effect is really a matter of -"there it goes," and "here you are." You can easily talk your way through the experiment.

Place three rubber balls on the table. Show the three stacked cups.

Now hold cups up in right hand as shown in Figure 79. Remove first cup and place on table upside down. Do this rather speedily, and keep top of second cup away from audience so that they cannot see rubber ball inside. Then remove second cup.

Take second cup in left hand, holding it at just enough slant to keep rubber ball from falling out.

Figure 80.

Place second cup down on table, speedily and snappily also, so that rubber ball comes under cup without being seen.

Figure 81.

Place third cup down on table also. Your movements, if done properly, will arouse no suspicion for you seem to handle the cups in a manner which would not seem possible if the cups were not empty.

Figures 82 and 83

Place a rubber ball on cup B and cover it with cup A. You now have a ball under the bottom cup and one between the two cups.

Figures 82 and 83

Lift up both cups and show that ball has apparently passed through cup B.

Figure 84.

Remove cup B from cup A. Then place cup A down on table over first rubber ball. You now have two rubber balls under cup A, but audience knows of only one ball.

Figure 85.

Place another ball on cup A and cover it with cup B. Lift up both cups and show that this ball has also gone through lower cup as you now have two balls under cup.

Remove cup A from cup B and place B down over two balls on table. You now have three balls under B. Audience is aware of only two.

Pick up remaining ball from table with right hand. Hold it on fingers, palm upward. Bring left hand up to right.

Figure 86.

Pretend to place ball in left hand, but really Finger Palm it in right.

Figure 87.

Close left and carry it away as though it held ball Figure 88 is a view toward yourself.

Pretend to throw ball through top of cup B with left hand and open hand to show it empty. Lift up cup B and show the three balls under cup.

Figure 89.

Pick up one of the three balls with right hand and place it against the one Finger Palmed. Press the two balls tightly together and take them as one between thumb and first finger of left hand.

Figure 90.

Squeeze rubber enough to make the double ball the same size as the others and it will look like one ball. As you place double ball in left hand, say, "One."

Pick up another ball and place it between first and second fingers of left hand. Say, "Two."

Then take remaining ball from table and place it between second and third fingers of left hand, saying, "Three."

Figure 91 shows arrangement of balls in left fingers.

Now take ball E and place it down on table. A few inches to the left of it place ball D. Cover each with a cup.

Then take third cup. Keep side toward audience tilted downward so that double ball will not be visible as you place it down on table under this cup.

Figure 92 in a view away from audience.

The three cups are in a straight line on table. Take hold of cups B and C with left and right hands and push them back a little way in diagonal line as shown in Figure 93.

Figure 95.

As you do this, do not lift cup B from table, but raise rear edge of cup C just enough to slide rubber ball out so that you can Finger Palm it in third and fourth fingers of right hand. You move cup, and ball remaining on table is easily gotten into fingers.

Figure 94.

Do this quickly and then slide cup flat on table the rest of the way. To all appearances, you have merely moved the cups.

Now say, "We have a ball under each cup," and proceed to show them.

Pick up cup B with left hand and show ball still under it. Transfer cup to right hand, getting top of it well into palm so that Finger Palmed ball can be dropped into it.

Figure 95.

Figure 96 is a view toward yourself, showing ball inside cup. Audience's attention is MISDIRECTED to ball on table and they are not aware of your movements with right hand.

Place cup B down over ball again. You now have two balls under cup B.

Lift cup C, showing that ball has vanished. Lift cup A to show that it has passed over there, as you have two balls under that cup. Pick up one of the balls, pretend to place it in left hand (Finger Palming it in right), and then pretend to

drop ball from left hand through top of cup B. Lift cup B, showing two balls under it.

Pick up all the balls, getting one of them against ball Finger Palmed in right hand. Hold these two as one between thumb and forefinger of right hand. See Figure 90. Place other two balls between fingers as in Figure 91.

Now place ball E at left side of table and cover with cup. Place D a few inches away and cover with cup. In getting C under third cup, place just one ball under cup and suddenly reach into right coat pocket with right hand. Leave fourth ball in pocket and quickly palm out the potato. Remove hand from pocket with potato Finger Palmed.

The sudden movement to pocket will cause spectators to suspect that you did not place third ball under cup. After a bit of byplay, raise cup C with left hand and show ball under it.

Transfer cup to right hand so that potato comes directly under mouth of cup.

Figure 97.

Lift rubber ball from table with left hand. At the same time, replace cup on table with right hand.

Figure 98.

As you do this, tilt rear edge of cup upward and get potato under cup. Place cup squarely down on table and place hands flat on table also. This is done to prove that you have nothing concealed in hands.

Figure 99.

Say, "No, I would not put anything in my pocket without telling you. However, now I shall place this ball in my pocket."

Take rubber ball from left hand with right and place it in right coat pocket, Palming out the onion at the same time. Bring hand out of pocket. Pick up middle cup with left hand, showing ball under it. Place cup in right hand, ready to load onion into it. Pick up ball with left hand and place cup down on table, secretly placing onion under it as taught to you above.

Say, "I shall also place this ball in my pocket."

Leave ball in right coat pocket, bringing out lemon, Finger Palmed. Lift cup A with left hand, showing ball. Place cup in right hand, ready to load lemon into it. Pick up rubber ball from table with left hand and place cup down on table with lemon under it.

Then remark, "And finally, the third and last ball into my pocket."

Place ball in pocket.

Say, "Or, better yet, I will take the ball "

Remove hand from pocket with ball and show it. Pretend to place it in left hand and then apparently throw it through cup A with left hand. Ball is Finger Palmed in right hand.

"And throw it through the cup. Then take another "

Reach into right pocket again and bring out same ball. Vanish it in left hand and pretend to throw it through middle cup. Reach into pocket a third time and bring out same ball.

"And another."

Vanish ball in left hand and pretend to throw it through cup C.

Now pick up left-hand cup A and place it aside, showing the potato under it. Lift the middle cup B and show the onion.

Say, "And the answer" -- and lift third cup C and show the lemon.

Figure 100.

The production of the potato, the onion, and the lemon comes as a great surprise and makes a good finish for this effect.


Interesting effects by Bert Douglas, Canadian Magician. Bert has certainly done himself proud with these effects and this lesson alone is worth more than the price of the whole course.

Also included in this lesson is "Popping corn in a borrowed hat," and my "'Clean Cut' color changing handkerchief."

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Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

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