How To Operate Black Art Wells

In my "Society Special" table the black art wells are near the front instead of being at the rear as was the general position before. This makes it much more convenient for performances requiring the picking up of articles from wells. Donald Holmes in his excellent book, "The Magic Art", has shown some excellent moves through the use of front wells. However, if desired, table top can be turned around, changing the wells to rear.


Place ball on table similar to Fig. 12 near well. The braid helps to hold it in position. Pretend to pick up ball. Close hand over it, Fig. 13, which screens ball from view of spectators. Move hand with ball slightly backwards

so that ball falls into middle well. The hand is held close to table of course. Close hand as though containing the ball lifting hand from table, Fig. 14. Then bring this hand forward, at the same time opening hand slowly. Show to the audience. The impression naturally follows that you have vanished the ball.

Sometimes I have worked a puzzling effect by apparently placing ball in a small paper bag, then screwing top of bag together, I crush bag between my hands and with a bang toss it to audience. Spectators would swear they saw me place ball in bag as they took it for granted I lifted it up from table.


Some objects are too large to screen with one hand, so two hands are used. Place orange on table similar to Fig.

15. Bring hands down so both hands clasp orange, Fig.

16. one in front and the other behind. Bring hands over black art well, allowing orange to drop into well, Fig.

17. Move hands forward as though containing the orange. Move away from table and "vanish" orange from hands in a graceful manner.


A glass tumbler can be "vanished" in a similar manner to an orange by screening well with hands. You can "vanish" a glass nicely with even one hand. A pretty "vanish" of a glass is performed by aid of a square of tissue. Glass is placed near well as in Fig. 18. The square of opaque tissue is brought over and around the glass, Fig. 19. The paper is formed around the glass. The glass is brought over well and allowed to drop therein. The paper still retains the form however as though having a glass beneath it. The left hand holds paper form while right hand goes to front edge of table and form is slid off table, Fig. 20. The right hand apparently holds glass up within paper to keep it from falling. Now step from table and face audience suddenly bringing the left hand down on the right, apparently "vanishing" glass in hands. A nice finish here is to roll up paper into a ball and toss to audience. A glass of water (say, half-full) can be "vanished" in similar manner. For safety have rubber lining in pocket or around pocket. Rubber lining need not extend to top but instead be out of range of spectator's vision.

Many magicians "vanish" glass by covering with handkerchief and then tossing the handkerchief into the air, spreading it out to show that glass has vanished. The handkerchief is doubled with a round cardboard or celluloid disc sewed in center the same size as top of glass. In covering glass with handkerchief the disc in center of handkerchief is placed on top of glass. The disc is held with fingers. The glass is dropped into well and hand carries disc upwards with handkerchief draped down therefrom. The illusion is that glass is seen under handkerchief. Handkerchief is thrown into air and "vanish" is easy.

The black art well can be readily used to vanish a small object in the art of picking up your wand which has been lying on the table near the black art well.


This same principle can also be used for changing other objects. It is effective for placing certain borrowed objects in a glass then covering with a handkerchief and upon removing handkerchief the objects have vanished from glass.

Place one glass on table in back of the left hand well. In the right hand well place a duplicate glass, Fig. 21. The left hand pocket should be just deep enough so that glass does not sink too far down and can be easily grasped at the right psychological moment.

The object is to apparently wrap the visible glass standing on table in a handkerchief, yet in reality you have another glass in the handkerchief instead.

Let A represent glass in well and B the glass on table.

Call attention to Glass B on the table with left hand. In your right hand you hold a handkerchief with enough of one corner tucked into right palm to allow handkerchief enough spread to cover enough space to screen a glass from audience. Bring right hand with handkerchief to front edge of table, Fig. 21, and grasp Glass A in well with thumb and first finger. Fig. 22 shows rear view. Pick up Glass A, Fig. 23, while the left hand picks up Glass B from the table. The attention of the audience is centered on the left hand and Glass B. Pretend to place B under handkerchief. What you really do is to screen B with the handkerchief long enough to drop it gently into the black art well, Fig. 24. Then raise empty left hand and grasp Glass A, Fig. 25. Cover A with handkerchief, Fig. 26.

If you have performed these moves without hesitation and screened well with handkerchief the illusion of picking up glass from table and placing in handkerchief is excellent.

This form of exchange is a handy "exchange" for using any number of ways; for example, substituting a glass containing a silk or full of rice for a glass of water, milk or what not. From the audience's standpoint the glass does not change, but only the contents.


In getting rid of the tube in the color change of silks in a paper tube the black art well is useful. Fig. 27 shows how paper tube is brought over black art well and metal tube allowed to slide out of paper and into well as left hand places handkerchief on table.


The black art well is useful to hold the load of a hat production. For example, a bunch of silks are carefully wrapped into a secure bundle and tied around with thin black millinery or jeweler's wire, Fig. 28, leaving a loop with wire large enough to easily slip thumb through. The load of silks is placed in one of the wells out of audience's sight. The loop of fine wire extends upwards so that thumb can be easily slipped into same, Fig. 28. To load a hat all that is necessary is to hold hat in right hand with opening away from audience. As left hand places something on table, the right hand comes to front of table, Fig. 28, the thumb is slipped into the wire loop and hand raised. The hat screens the movement and silks are easily brought up into the hat, Fig. 29.

Remove wire from silks and produce them from hat.

I could write a whole series of magic lessons on effects employing the use of the black art wells for the possibilities are almost unlimited.

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