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Topic: Tricks And Stunts With Animal Traps
Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Mar 9, 2003 02:14PM)
Hi all

I was wondering if anyone has any idea of good source materials for tricks and stunts using animal and man traps. I really have no idea of what I actually want to do with them right now, just a real gut feeling that something using them would suit my act perfectly. And would like to start researching the various possibilities that can be achieved with them.

Thanks all

Message: Posted by: Kondini (Mar 10, 2003 04:02PM)
Hi,I use a Bear Trap ala hand in trap instead of the usual gin trap. Mike Diamond also uses this idea in his cabaret act. To my knowledge no one else in the UK is making a feature of this which surprises me as the stunt is so well recieved. In the past Fox Traps which are the same type as the Gins but four times larger were used to put the forearm in but I have recieved nasty pinches from these. Ken. :( :(
Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Mar 10, 2003 04:46PM)
Hi Kondini

Without asking you to expose anything in this public forum. I wonder if you do anything to weaken the force of the trap, or to otherwise affect the intended force, pressure, speed, etc.?

I am not really looking to do the hand in trap trick, rather I would like to come up with something of my own. However using a trap that it would be safe to shut on my hand, forearm etc would give me a margin of safety which I could well appreciate.

Thanks again

Message: Posted by: Kondini (Mar 11, 2003 04:14PM)
Yes, if you have a Gin then the following will make sense, if not, then nothing will be exposed here.
The spring re-acts in reverse, so to de activate the force tighten the spring metal (Where the tight bend is at the end of the spring) To do this is easy, just belt it with a big hammer, now test the trap again to see that enough tension has been removed, if not, belt it again etc etc, The same principal is applied to a Bear trap only this trap has a double spring, so just belt the pair of them until safe to use.Hope this is of some help to you, regards Ken.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Mar 12, 2003 09:53PM)
Penn & Teller had an incredible routine, "King of Animal Traps." The tension was unbelievable. Penn just yammers on in his usual charming way as Teller fills the stage with animal traps of all sizes, setting them and baiting them with sandwiches and snacks. As Penn keeps talking, the food begins to interest Teller. He grabs a few snacks from the smaller traps, setting them off but not getting caught. For a climax, he hangs upside down from a trapeze, swinging over a bear trap the size of a sofa, grabbing a sandwich and setting the monster off. It leaps into the air as the spring fires but it missed him. I just about lost it when I saw this, I was covered in sweat. About two minutes later, I went over what I had seen in my mind's eye, and understood how it worked, but nothing can ever diminish my admiration for this fantastic piece.


Message: Posted by: truthteller (Apr 19, 2003 05:36PM)
I've never known anyone to have to "doctor" their animal traps for these stunts. I've done it with the smaller traps commonly used for the feat as well as the slightly larger model that has two springs. (Of course, a legitamate bear trap would be different.)

For something clever I did when I was young and stupid, but have only seen one other person do, you can always put your face in the trap.

Just be careful taking it out.

Oh, the memories.
Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (May 5, 2003 09:09PM)
Hi all

Thanks for all your help. I am now awaiting delivery of 7 of the 'correct' traps. Ain't eBay great!

When I have them and worked out what I want to do with them I will let you all know. I don't really see myself just sticking my hand in, I love what Penn and Teller did with theirs, and while I would never copy a routine I am inspired by the imagination and thought they showed. Hopefully I can create something just as smart!

Thanks again

Straitjacket guy
Message: Posted by: Dragona (May 6, 2003 12:46AM)
Just a reminder to everyone, I have seen how traps work and they can easily take off an appendage (the bigger the size, the bigger the appendage) so be very careful. I don't want to see anyone hurt.
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Jun 21, 2004 08:57AM)
I use the Oneida-Victor 1-1/2 (single spring) and end with a 'macho' escape bit.

If you keep your hand still after the jaws close (not allowing them to close any tighter) it is possible to quickly JERK the hand free in one fluid motion without injury (lightly holding the spring with the other hand to stabilize the trap, while obviously not compressing the spring). Shawn Dion and I are the only two performers I know of who do this 'finish.'

Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Jun 21, 2004 09:22AM)
You can gaff the trap by annealing the spring, to the point where there is very little tension.
Howie Diddit
Message: Posted by: Matthew the Magnificent (Jul 7, 2004 07:19PM)
Can't remember the precise name of the trap, but bought it 'over the counter' in a hardware store just south of Salt Lake City... small leg type... and I just 'shoved my hand into it'... 'trick' was to place my hand in so that the palm of it was in parallel to the sides of the 'jaws' so that the most surface area came into contact... it DID hurt, but not unbearably (not an intended pun)... and it was FAST, so not too prolonged pain... and I usually asked volunteers to remove it, but rarely could they get a good enough grip on it when I held my arm out towards them... however, THAT, although adding considerably TO THE EFFECT, also added considerably TO THE PAIN,for in struggling to release my hand they typically caused me a lot more pain !!!

I could usually (not always) snap a pencil in half with the trap, first, to establish that it WAS 'real', and that the jaws DID close with considerable force...
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Aug 8, 2005 10:59AM)
For all the begginers (and others) reading this thread anew...simply get the Abbott's Trap...it's real, not gimmicked...it works (use a Pretzel Stick for better effect than a pencil). It costs just $25, you'll get the instructions, so that no body has to give anything away in an open forum.

I use three of them.

Keep one loaded around the house...fun when somebody just drops in and you 'have an accident'. :) Better than a hand buzzer.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Aug 8, 2005 01:06PM)
Try putting one under the toilet seat!
Message: Posted by: FacadeTheStiltBoy (Aug 8, 2005 05:09PM)
Although dangerous and possibly stupid in the bad way, a game of dodge ball but with animal traps that are already set to go?
Message: Posted by: ringmaster (Aug 14, 2005 04:54PM)
Ormand McGill's book (Abbott's) has a three trap routine; no gaffing, but the rat trap hurts.
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Aug 14, 2005 05:23PM)
Rat traps usually have two springs. Just take one of them off its bar, and you've lessened the strength by half. It'll still hurt some.
Message: Posted by: TAIT (Aug 14, 2005 06:44PM)
On 2005-08-14 17:54, ringmaster wrote:
Ormand McGill's book (Abbott's) has a three trap routine; no gaffing, but the rat trap hurts.
[/quote]just practise a lot practise is the key I do the pain proof tongue act.the trap on my tongue at the start that hurts but I practise 5 to 6 times I day just snapping it on my tongue and now I don't feel it at all.
Message: Posted by: Mark Tripp (Aug 15, 2005 03:18PM)
On 2005-08-14 18:23, Harley Newman wrote:
Rat traps usually have two springs. Just take one of them off its bar, and you've lessened the strength by half. It'll still hurt some.

I will point out that this method was my marketed effect from many many years ago called "Tripp's Trap"

Caused a HUGE storm from people who thought the premise and the concept was insane.

I closed my comedy show with it for years.

There is a bir more to it, as there is a way to put your hand in there as well.

If my DVD is ever released, it is all on there.
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Aug 15, 2005 03:28PM)
Yes, rat trap is good. I've been doing one for years, as part of my clown show (that I do about once a year, these days). It's part on an ongoing battle between me, suspenders, and a fish.

I did leg-hold traps for a year or so, about 20 years ago. I never did find the right scripting hook, to make them fit into my regular show. Come to think of it, I've never seen a presentation that makes sense, except as a "lookit me doing a trick" approach. I would like to see a good routine for that.
Message: Posted by: Stephon (Aug 15, 2005 03:33PM)
On 2005-08-15 16:28, Harley Newman wrote:
I've never seen a presentation that makes sense, except as a "lookit me doing a trick" approach. I would like to see a good routine for that.[/quote]
Challenge accepted. I'll get working on it.

Message: Posted by: Mark Tripp (Aug 15, 2005 04:41PM)
On 2005-08-15 16:28, Harley Newman wrote:
Yes, rat trap is good. I've been doing one for years, as part of my clown show (that I do about once a year, these days). It's part on an ongoing battle between me, suspenders, and a fish.

I did leg-hold traps for a year or so, about 20 years ago. I never did find the right scripting hook, to make them fit into my regular show. Come to think of it, I've never seen a presentation that makes sense, except as a "lookit me doing a trick" approach. I would like to see a good routine for that.


I put it all in the script that went with the trick, but the magicians only left with the method.

It is a VERY funny bit where you make everyone think you are going to put an audience member into the trap, but you mess up and put your own hand in there.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Aug 15, 2005 04:47PM)
I wrote a small 'bit' for my Spring Skunk...where there is a Box with holes in it that holds a 'Skunk'...you can tell because the box says LIVE Skunk! But it's empty...the Skunk is loose!...and dangerous! So I set 3 traps...of course I get caught in one...later when the 'found' Skunk leaps out of my 'Dis-Armed', I go to grab him and spring the 2nd trap with my hand by 'accident'. (I found that the 'Dis-Armed' works great with a Spring Critter instead of your arm.)

At the end of the act there is still one Trap set...and of course I get caught in that one too. Poor me.
Message: Posted by: dpe666 (Aug 15, 2005 05:08PM)
On 2005-08-15 16:28, Harley Newman wrote:
I've never seen a presentation that makes sense, except as a "lookit me doing a trick" approach. I would like to see a good routine for that.

Check out Harry Anderson's routine. :devilish:
Message: Posted by: Cadabra (Aug 15, 2005 08:19PM)
On 2005-08-08 11:59, Doug Higley wrote:
...so that no body has to give anything away in an open forum...

I perform this as well and get a great reaction from it.
Also, I totally agree with Doug!
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Aug 15, 2005 09:02PM)
Yes, Doug, THAT'S good scripting! I would never expect less from you.
Message: Posted by: itsmagic (Oct 8, 2005 11:32AM)
How dangerous is the Abbott's Bear Trap? Can you accidentally mess up and lose a finger?
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 8, 2005 01:08PM)
For completion here's the link for the Abbotts trap https://plus18.safe-order.net/abbottmagic//p915.html

Take care,

Posted: Oct 8, 2005 2:38pm

I've been quite inspired by this thread and have been looking around at different traps etc. I'm not sure that I'll start performing this, but it has been interesting to see what could be possible.

I found this site http://www.bugspray.com/catalog/products/page1028.html and was wondering if the traps listed on the site would be useable in a trap routine.


Message: Posted by: TAIT (Oct 8, 2005 02:57PM)
I ues a gin trap but I would like a big bear trap.
Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Oct 9, 2005 09:13AM)
It's hard to tell from the bugspray.com photos how large are the traps. The Abbott's trap is a known item, so I recommend sticking with that. You do need to doctor the appearence of those traps as they look too shiny.

It's good to see Mark Tripp here. He wrote a GREAT column in Genii years ago filled with the best advice. I look forward to seeing his DVD. This guy is a true worker.

Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 10, 2005 03:01PM)
Thanks for the advice Todd.

As I'm not exactly versed in doctoring shiny metal does anyone have any sources that would help?

Thanks again,

Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Oct 10, 2005 04:44PM)
The Blood of an 'Alien'...or if none is available, acid.

But seriously Roz...depends on the Metal to be distressed. Iron is easy...Stainless Steele is not.
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 10, 2005 05:57PM)
Ok, thanks Doug.

I'll keep an eye out for flying saucers :)

Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Oct 10, 2005 06:24PM)
Well...what kind of metal you want to FUBAR? Let me know.

Message: Posted by: The Village Idiots (Oct 11, 2005 12:16AM)
I bought an Abbots trap years ago and used it in my spring skunk routine as well. Weird huh, Doug? Then a few years later I wanted to put it in my sideshow but hated the chrome finish. One weekend I was at a lake on vacation. We stopped in an antique store and I saw one hanging on the wall. I asked the lady if I could see it and she agreed. I set it on the ground set and and quickly stuck my hand in to see if it was the same amount of sting. The lady freaked out and screamed. I wasn't even thinking of her witnessing this. So I bought the old rusty thing and wrote a new routine. It has developed into a fun piece for us.

Good luck with yours.

Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Oct 11, 2005 07:32AM)
Take a can of brown primer spray paint and give the trap a sparse coat. The best way is to put the trap on the ground (on a tarp or newpaper) and hold the can about three feet above it. When you spray the paint, it make for a light mist that will look like rust when it hits the trap. After this dries, do the same thing with a can of black spray paint. The results will be a distressed looking trap that will still have enough shiny metal showing through to look good onstage.
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 11, 2005 08:48AM)

I was refering to distressing the abbots trap. I'm not sure what the metal is as I don't own one yet, but all this talk of traps has really got me thinking that maybe I should work on something.

If you have any ideas on how I could distress this trap that'd be fantastic. If the method is too complicated for me to do myself then I could always take it to a metal worker. Its just always good to have a rough idea of what the process is.


The paint sounds like it could be a winner. It certainly is something that I would be able to do on my own.

The only downside I could see with this is of the paint chipping. Is this a problem? Or do you find the paint stays put.

Thanks again to both of you for your help.

Message: Posted by: The Village Idiots (Oct 11, 2005 09:59AM)

I think old Dougy recomended acid. I would guess Muriatic Acid, found at your local home depot, would work. Poor some in a plastic bucket and dip the trap in. Probably want to wash it after with baking soda or something to nutralize it so it doesn't continue to eat the metal. Wear goggles and gloves.

The Abbots trap is chrome. I suppose acid would eat chrome off. Another way would be to use a grinder. You are right about the paint chipping. I throw my trap around a lot so that wouldn't work for me. As I said I found my ugly trap at a antique store in the country. Well, it was at the Lake of the Ozarks. Might go for a drive out into the sticks some weekend and find a old general store or antique store.

Better yet, call Abbots and see if you can buy one with out chrome. I bet you can. Most of them are made by the Victor Trap company.

Message: Posted by: thegreatnippulini (Oct 11, 2005 12:28PM)
Roslyn, what part of the UK do you live in? I hear it rains a bit over there, right? Well, I dabble in blacksmithing and metalcrafts and I have an excellent answer, it is a little labor intensive and takes a bit of time to get the desired result.

Strip off the chrome beyond the copper (chrome can only be applied to copper, won't stay on iron), use an angle grinder or bench grinder with a good abrasive stone. Sand the grind marks off and make sure there are no sharp edges. Beat some of the metal surfaces with a ball peen hammer to get it a little worn looking (if you have an anvil or know someone who does, USE IT during this process).

Flash the surface with petroleum distillates [b]OR[/b] just use a propane torch (not flashlight, heh heh, you Brits!) to burn off any grease or surface oils, but don't try both at the same time. Now take the trap (or whatever metal you want ugly) and leave it outside for a month or until you get the rusty patina desired. If it's a dry season (yeah, right), brush some salt water on the metal before it goes outside. Presto! Distressed metal that will permanently be distressed! You MAY want to spray a clearcoat on it to avoid contaminating any other props/gear with rust. It spreads like cancer and kills sheet metal.

Good luck!
Let me know how it turns out
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 12, 2005 03:11AM)

You're not wrong about the rain here. Its been p*ssing down for the last week now!

You mention clearcoat. Is this a brand named thing?


Great idea about getting a chromeless trap.

I think a combination of getting the trap minus chrome, and leaving it outside after a beating in the shop would be good. Saves on all the grinding :)

Thanks again for all the advice and pointers. All I need now is my trap.

Message: Posted by: Kondini (Oct 12, 2005 03:24AM)
There are plenty of the original Gins around (Try car boots or outside shows)So why on earth buy a proppy one and alter it,,,,also I can pick these up for as little as £7 from a scrapyard.
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 12, 2005 03:48AM)

Ok, guess its a no-brainer then.

Message: Posted by: Kondini (Oct 12, 2005 08:54AM)
If you want one (You will have to clean it up a bit)Bell me and I will get it to you OK.)


Anyone else wants one they are £65 with my routine and worth more hehehe.
Message: Posted by: thegreatnippulini (Oct 12, 2005 11:58AM)
Bell me? Car boots? I thought we were speaking English here! Heh heh, just kidding. I could throw at least a dozen Philly-isms at you that would stump even the most prodigenous linguists.

Ros, clear coat is simply any clear acrylic top coat usually applied by use of a spray canister. (Clear spray paint)... you Brits!

Message: Posted by: Kondini (Oct 12, 2005 02:33PM)
We speaky English,we give it to you,and you bu88er it up!!! LOL
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 15, 2005 04:55AM)
Got my gin trap from Ken today.

WOW, these look great. So real... uh, cos they are REAL! Much better than the abbotts shiney ones.

If you're after getting one I'd definately recommend giving Ken a PM rather than getting one of the propy looking ones.

Thanks again Ken.

Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Oct 15, 2005 07:59AM)
A shiny trap doctored with a little paint the way I descirbed ( and the paint job will last for years of heavy use) will show up better on camera. Keep that in mind if you plan to do it on TV.
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 15, 2005 02:18PM)
Thanks Todd,

Never thought of that.

Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Oct 15, 2005 02:34PM)
I tried Todd's method and it works just fine. So maybe you have to reeat it once in awhile.

Any 1 1/2 will work...just hit an old hardware store. No adjustments needed.

Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 16, 2005 04:26PM)
I did it!

My first practice attempt with the trap went without a hitch.

The feeling just before stuffing your hand in is weird. You know the theory and you trust those that have helped you with it. But still you think: "I must be mad. I'm about to stick my hand in a friggin trap!"

But oh boy I was dead chuffed when I did.

So, huge thanks to everyone here for helping out. It's very much appreciated.

Message: Posted by: dpe666 (Oct 19, 2005 12:01PM)
Just out of curiosity, what is wrong with a shiny trap? :devilish:
Message: Posted by: thegreatnippulini (Oct 19, 2005 12:25PM)
Too much glare from stage lights. Shine tends to cause "flares" in photographic images due to flash back also. My anvils come factory shiny, so I rough 'em up and hit them with dull silver spray paint. You know, sometimes the complete opposite is trouble too, for example my 16 pound bowling ball is jet black. I wear black costuming and usually backstage curtains are black, so on occasion the ball gets "lost" in an image.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Oct 30, 2005 11:05AM)
I decided to buy one years ago, but somehow knew the Abbott chromed version wasn't what I wanted... too proppy. I went to a farm supply where they sold many sizes, until they buckled under pressure from PETA.

At the time, I had no idea what size I needed, so naturally, I started testing them according to size, smaller ones first. When I finally got to one that even I was a bit scared of, I set it, placed it on the floor where I was sitting with these things all around me, and just as a mustered the courage to shove my fingers into it, an old man walk around the corner of the aisle. The trap went, SNAP! The old man went, "GOOD GOD MAN!!!"

I said, "I'll take it!" It was an Oneida Victor 1 1/2. It has rusted up nicely since then.

I have used it with many presentations over the years. Mostly it involves a mistake while demonstrating the premise of a game called, "The hand is faster than the eye". Lots of good funny lines and bits throughout.

Although I can easily take the rap on the fingers (I don't decrease the spring tension), I have learned that by curling your fingers in just as you hit the trip plate, the jaws will smack across the back of the hand just above the knuckles. Sounds wimpy, but hear me out here.

My other hand has at the same time palmed out a portion of a fake hand, consisting of four fingers with just enough hand meat to hold them together. The way your trapped fingers now lie, they are out of sight, being tucked back toward you. Both hands come together and the illusion of "peeling" away half of your hand is better than anyone could imagine!

After the appropriate sink-in time, I expose it all as a joke. (But wait... we aren't done yet!)

I get my hand free of the trap, but continue to hold it cramped, as if it is really messed up. As I suddenly straighten out those fingers with the help of the other hand, the audience is treated to the most godawful snapping sound they have ever heard... courtesy of our old friend the plastic cup. :)

It's a beautiful payoff!
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Nov 1, 2005 06:24AM)
"What's wrong with a shiny trap?"

It's a matter of taste (not that I've ever bitten one.) Some people (like many magicians I've met) think that an enamel airbrushed-in-a-Chinese-style box can be pawned off on an audience as a thing they just picked up in an alley, so it obviously couldn't be magical, because it's just an ordinary box, and you can just look at it, but only on THIS side, see?

Some people feel that a nasty looking old trap looks like, well, a nasty looking old trap. There's a kind of authenticity that goes with it.
Message: Posted by: thegreatnippulini (Nov 1, 2005 01:52PM)
I agree with Harley, in addition an old nasty rusty looking trap appears more dangerous (make sure to get your tetanus shot!). I prefer to chew on rusty razor blades rather than the fresh clean ones.

They taste better... hey Harley may be right! It's all according to TASTE!
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Mar 21, 2006 04:41PM)
Ok...here goes...I know I know...old thread...tough beans......this fits...

After a Full year of being in the dark as to how to routine the Trap it hit me...the idea not the trap...
Recently I've been routine-ing a Mental Mysteries Show I'm going to do...and I wanted to include the trap(s) but other than a bogus manipulation of the metal bit, I couldn't think of anything really entertaining and involving audience participation...then EUREKA! I struck Gold! Well...maybe not...Steel...but I think I have solved the age old 'HOW the hell do I fit this in my routine' quandry...it took a different approach and a skewed angle of thought...but hey...that's my charm (that and ineptness)...so...I'm thinking of writing this up for $5. What do ya think? If I just thought of it, I'd say Free...but man it's been a buggaboo for a long time and frankly it is brilliant. :) This can be a Feature in a Mentalism routine or magic act not just a throwaway. No gimmicks or moves nothing to force or remember. It is moron proof and exploits the true aspect of the traps...in a fun way. Very simple idea really.

Also some advise from my friends here...what if I put in the specs and routine for my Xmosis Effect? (Totally killer! and VERY exclusive.) Under $10 of materials and a thinking change will get you a solid closer! You will melt through solid HEAVY Steel. Can be inspected CLOSE UP by volunteer! Spec Handeled 100% before and after.
This is a huge upgrade to a currently marketed successful routine but I have the permission to take it to this next level.

What if both of those were in an eBook-y thing-y for $12. Would it be want-a-ble?
Or as Tigger would say a 'wanta-bibble?

I just find it hard to give this stuff away, like I give away most of my ideas, because it is currently in my new show I'm putting together and it really is F*&^*%G Brilliant. ahem.

So...no answers here...PMs please (...rather than call me names here in front of girls. Never did like that.)

And no I don't have this ready...just asking...
Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Mar 21, 2006 06:57PM)
My wife is a Brit, and I guess I have an eastern American accent, so sometimes we are two souls separated by a common language...By the way, here in Quartzsite, Victor traps are very common, and it's hard not to find some at any market... Nicely distressed...
Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Mar 21, 2006 07:04PM)
I have about 10 rusty old victor traps in the garage looking all distressed and unused... dunno why I bought so many. Guess I wanted one for each finger or something....
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Mar 21, 2006 07:26PM)
"My wife is a Brit, and I guess I have an eastern American accent, so sometimes we are two souls separated by a common language..."

What on earth does that have to do with....anything? Gee Slim...is Quartsite gettin' to ya?

I should buy a bunch of nicely distressed traps and package this up huh.

David...hang on to them...some day they will be worth a fortune! Do Gooders should be outlawing them soon...and if I release my notes they will be at a premium! :)
Message: Posted by: isaacfawlkes (Mar 21, 2006 08:38PM)
Here is a link for a company that sells a multitude of traps.

Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Mar 21, 2006 09:08PM)
Go for it, Doug.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Mar 21, 2006 09:39PM)
If I do...I'll clear the idea thru you as a test dude...Has a ring to it...Todd: Test Dude!

If you read it and say it's ok then I will...maybe it's old hat but I don't think so, as there is a fundemental stumbling block to the Prop (and it is but a prop) being used for anything but a sideshow stunt...I altered the stumbling block...not the trap, that remains un-messed with. :)
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Mar 22, 2006 02:57AM)
I've been using my trap all the time (thanks again Ken, you were right they're great!), so would be more than interested in learning what other stuff can be done with it.

The eBook has my vote.

Message: Posted by: Freak Prodigy (Mar 22, 2006 10:54AM)
It sounds great, has a lot of promise, especially wih the type audiences I play to.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Mar 22, 2006 02:29PM)
Wouldn't be much of an eBOOK...more eNOTES...also I don't think it would be of much interest to a Side Show performer...more geared toward a Magic Can or Mental Cyst. But Xmosis could fly on a sideshow riser.

I don't know...let me think on it. Maybe I can throw some other stuff in there as well like my 'Lightning Monte' demonstration routine that uses a gaggle of $2 packet tricks...(blows 'em away) sort of the Anti-card trick for those who hate card tricks...doesn't give 'em time to 'peep'

Posted: Mar 22, 2006 10:56pm

Ok...eNotes are ready $5...for Mentalists and Magicians...



OH...Xmosis is not part of it.
Message: Posted by: Freak Prodigy (Mar 23, 2006 01:47PM)
Great stuff.
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Mar 23, 2006 03:10PM)
Just got my copy of the notes.

I love em. Thanks Doug!!

If you want something that takes the traps from being a "show off" item to a full effect, then this is it.

Thanks again,

Message: Posted by: jeremysweiss (Mar 24, 2006 11:44PM)
I went on E-bay and bought 5 traps for $30. They were already "distressed" because they were used--and they smelled like it! Which, actually, was great because after I hand a trap out for inspection and people start looking it over, I hit them with the fact that they are used...and people start to have a "visceral" reaction before I have even started. I use that as part of my patter, building on it...

I recommend E-bay as a good place to get your "already distressed traps".
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Mar 25, 2006 12:54AM)
Good score! Well since you ordered the Traps Routine...you'll see it's not exactly for a sideshow presentation as I've said...but hopefully you will find some value in it for a different approach.

For others not familiar with the traps or less experienced...Be careful...some are very strong and can hurt like hell...the Abbotts traps will not.

Thanks Doug
Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Mar 26, 2006 07:20PM)
I came home this evening to find Dougs email waiting for me. Well thought out Doug! :)

I will email you tommorow with some thoughts, you clever git!

Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Mar 27, 2006 11:12PM)
Denny & Lee's magic shop in Baltimore also carry the Abbott's traps. Denny is the best and I like to throw him business whenever possible.

Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Mar 28, 2006 09:09AM)
Thanks Todd! Abbotts sold out right away I understand but has started a list and getting more in. :) Denny's probably got a few calls as well.
The Trap appeared on their best seller list at #9 on Sat and then moved to #4 and then #2 just under the Catalog (which is a perpetual #1)

The eBook thread will be keeping up with this. I'm not in contact with Abbotts but I'm hearing things from 'the boys'

Abbotts should put a '3 fer' package price together.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Mar 28, 2006 12:16PM)
Update: Just talked to Abbotts and they got a new shipment of UNPLATED traps in today and can be ordered today. The Plated Traps will be next week. Abbotts:(269)432-3235
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Mar 30, 2006 07:47AM)
Well, Doug Higley’s “Traps-A-Monte-Mental” (or Three Traps Monte) had its first outing last night at my regular stand-up bar gig. A bar full of slightly inebriated individuals is the perfect place to perform this routine. “Gross” goes a long way in a working class bar/pub (yes I will perform the “Razor Blades” and “Blockhead” in a pub, where else?).

I hesitate to write about any new routine after its first play for a paying public. I usually wait until it has been refined, with the lines settling into place, and worked a number of times (over a dozen) before I say “yea” or “nay” to the trick/routine. This routine is an exception. It has worked right out of the box.

I have been using “Real Danger” as a penultimate routine (next to last routine) for several months. It’s a “Stigmata”/”Shattered” trick wherein the magician can get really hurt (yeah sure hurt!).

I replaced “Real Danger” with “Traps-A-Monte-Mental” last night and got some of the strongest reactions ever from this kind of routine.

The three traps are set up on a rather old, nasty, stained (is that dark stain blood?) board resting on two chairs. They are covered by bandanas. I set them up before the show and covered them to keep then from stealing attention from me during the show (it’s all about me!).

When it is time of the routine I uncover the traps and begin the patter line and routine right from Doug’s notes.

The demonstration involves having a guy from the audience re-set a sprung trap then springing it using a bone (painted pretzel stick). The bone shatters. The reaction from both the guy having the stick shattered and the audience is great!

I really can’t go into the details of the by-play. Get Doug’s email notes for that. You can get the notes at:

Bottom line, after much by-play and much moving of the set traps there comes a point where I must plunge my hand into a trap. You cannot imagine the squirming just before I plunge the hand or the squeals and screams when I finally plunge my hand into the trap and set it off.

There was stunned silence for a beat or two after the hand plunge, then a good strong round of applause as I lifted my hand, took off the trap and held the hand up for all to see (rotating it back to front a couple of times) and holding the trap up in the other hand (perfect applause cue). It was hard to follow so I didn’t. I bowed off!

The total investment in this trick is under $100.00. $5.00 for the notes, $83.00 (including postage) for three traps from Abbott’s (if you buy the Abbott’s traps, less if you go the eBay route), and the table or board to set-up on. I used three bandanas ($5.00 from Wall Mart) to cover the traps at the start (this is my touch, not in the notes, and is not necessary). Plus some thick pretzel sticks (bought mine at the dollar store) $1.25.

Please note I did paint the sticks with an old off-white paint that I had lying around. This step is not in the notes, is totally unnecessary, and is just a bit I did myself. I called the sticks “bones”. I believed that it added to the presentation.

All I can say is “that’s entertainment!”
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Mar 30, 2006 08:51AM)
Harry said: "This step is not in the notes,..."

Doug says...It is now!

Great idea Harry!! And thank you for the field test and fine review. You are a War Horse! :)

Wow...what a great post to wake up to!
Message: Posted by: AntonDreaming (Mar 30, 2006 09:53PM)
Hey guys... Would this type of trap work for this bit...It seems like it would be an easy one to de stress let me know what you think


Anton James
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Mar 30, 2006 10:15PM)
You could probably use that trap. Its spread is only 4 inches while the jaw spread of the Abbott’s is 4 3/4-inches to 5-inches.

There is no work needed on the traps just use them as in the notes.
Message: Posted by: AntonDreaming (Apr 4, 2006 08:34PM)
So I have some animal traps but they make your hands realy dirty cause of the oxidised mettle...so is there any way you can seal the mettle with a clear selent?
Message: Posted by: Freak Prodigy (Apr 5, 2006 10:28AM)
Just clean em' off. Pour some lighter fluid on them and rub with steel wool, that should clean them nicely.

Message: Posted by: isaacfawlkes (Apr 10, 2006 09:03PM)
You could also put a coat of clear matte paint on them. Just give them a light spray and it should do the trick.
Message: Posted by: T-RAY (Apr 12, 2006 01:22PM)
Could someone PM me how to weaken the snap of a regular trap? I bought a few old rusty traps off of ebay and I want to go for this......but I need one of the pros to look out for a young buck. I would appreciate any help.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Apr 12, 2006 01:41PM)
The 'Pros' already advised not to get just any old traps and get a specific trap.

There are many kinds out there.

What kind did you stumble on?
Message: Posted by: Freak Prodigy (Apr 12, 2006 03:02PM)
Ask Slim Price for his notes on animal traps...they explain how to weaken the traps very well.

Message: Posted by: T-RAY (Apr 12, 2006 03:55PM)
Thanks for the tip!
Message: Posted by: T-RAY (Apr 15, 2006 08:47PM)
Doug, I got Victor traps......please tell me there is a way to rig these........I bought them in a smokey moment. They are old and rusty......I used to actually run a bunch of these traps when I was a kid. I had to check them every morning and often found chewed off legs from the tortured animal (I don't believe in doing this anymore, but I was a dumb country kid back then). I don't want a karmic moment to force me to leave a finger in these traps!!!!
Message: Posted by: Big Jeff (Apr 18, 2006 05:31PM)
I just got my traps and they are very cool. I wrapped a towel around my had and sprung the traps twice before I tried it without wrapping. IT DOESN"T HURT. My hands are very large and the jaws aren't quite big enough to hit where they are supposed to. They hit on the knuckles but it still doen't hurt.

Thank you Doug for the great routine to go with these traps. I will work on it this week and perform it over the weekend for some friends and let you know what kind of reaction I get.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Apr 18, 2006 06:12PM)
T-Ray...I suggest you endeavor to control those 'smokey moments'.

I can ONLY recommend the Abbott's versions as they are the ones I'm familiar with and TRUST to do the deed. You'll have to try Slim Price as Brett suggested.

Karmic moments tend to trump smokey moments by the way.

Great Jeff...have fun. The REAL trick of these Traps has always been the acting.

Unless you bought old rusty ass Victors...:)
Message: Posted by: T-RAY (Apr 18, 2006 11:37PM)
Doug, I've been ebay crazy lately....I guess I'll have to use one of these traps in my chupacabra display.....Creature caught in Texas farmer's animal trap.....this creature's remains were found near a calf whose body had been sucked dry....locals are screaming CHUPACABRA!! Could it be????
Message: Posted by: T-RAY (Apr 21, 2006 05:27PM)
I got the traps and figured out how to weaken the snap.......just a little acting and they freak out! I scared the crap out of my wife and kids!
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Apr 21, 2006 05:56PM)
I'm going to post a small change in the routine. I think I'll put it under EBOOKS topic
Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Apr 21, 2006 08:27PM)
Doug for a change, I need your notes.
(Quartzsite is probably the small rusty animal trap capitol of the world, during the season.)At the beginning of the season it's good for swords..
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Apr 22, 2006 09:53AM)
What do you mean 'For a Change'? Geesh! You never sent me any of your notes ya cheap B.....uh...they're on the way :) ;-)
Be careful now!
Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Apr 22, 2006 10:45AM)
I don't need to take that crap from you Higley... After all I DO live in the center of the performing universe. (Quartzsite)...
Anyway, I got your fine notes and they are sensational! to all who have not yet acquired Doug's 'Zibits or his other materials, I salute him as a master showman and craftsman.
Slim Price, devoted fan
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Apr 22, 2006 12:42PM)
Wow! A Devotional from Quartzsite!

By the way...in few weeks Slim...you're gonna find out why they call it a desert! Enjoy the air while you can! :)
Message: Posted by: drwilson (May 8, 2006 03:18PM)
It's not related to Doug's fine routine, but here is news of my animal trap stunt, set for May 27:

[url=http://www.theaterofmarvels.com/news.html#garden]The Perilous Garden[/url]

Some flowers should never blossom!


Message: Posted by: gsidhe (May 8, 2006 03:22PM)
Nice promo blurb! And The blindfold is a great touch!
Sounds like you have a good location too...Wish I could see it!
Message: Posted by: Marvello (May 8, 2006 04:47PM)
Great promo! best of luck!
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (May 13, 2006 10:12AM)
Well, according to Abbott's, The Daring Spring Trap has moved from sitting on the shelf for months (actually decades) to the #1 Seller (listed on web site)even beating out the Catalog! Selling like hot cakes in 'Threes' and in Two's (for those who already had One). Wow...all from the Café too, which is esily tracked when the order is for 3 traps. :) Cool Beans!

(In case you missed it, I still have the routine available at http://grindshow.com/GrindShow/Traps.html )
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (May 13, 2006 01:02PM)
That's cool!

Nice one Doug :)

Message: Posted by: Decomposed (May 14, 2006 06:32AM)
On a scale of 1-10 for pain threshold, what do the Abbotts Spring Traps present?

A comparison would be appreciated if that is more visible. Someone on the Café tried it tonight and it closed on his knuckle causing a bit of a problem.

Thanks in advance

Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (May 14, 2006 10:22AM)
Man: Doctor...it hurts when I do that.

Doctor: Then don't do that.

There haven't been problems for DECADES with the Abbott's traps as long as instructions are followed. Other traps can and will cause problems.

If you DON'T let it close on your knuckle, I'd give it a 1 or a 0...it's no more than a nudge on the correct part of your hand which is the fleshy part of the palm.

If you get nervous and pull your hand out while it's closing you could get the knuckles I guess...I never did...if you have a knuckle problem curl your fingers a bit like a loose fist and let the knuckles hit the plate to spring the trap.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (May 14, 2006 10:58AM)
You don't have the routine...I would send it to you but you don't have your eMail in your profile on the Café.

I don't give specific exact instructions for springing the trap in the Routine...I leave that to Abbott's which provides proper instructions with the Traps.

From the Routine:

"You do this effect at your own risk! If you use other than the Abbotts Daring Spring Trap PLEASE wrap a towel around your hand at least the first time to make sure it is not too strong a closing. Even with the Abbotts trap you will want to do this so you can prove it to your self that it's ok. These traps of any brand CAN hurt you or others if not used properly! Abbotts provides PROPER instructions. Note keep away from the kids, especially when set!"

This is a prop that has been marketed by Abbott's for decades...if there was a real problem, it would have shown up by now me thinks.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (May 14, 2006 01:57PM)
Thanks Doug,

Always a great help on the Café. Perhaps starting with a large mouse trap first:)
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (May 14, 2006 02:28PM)
Getting to know's ones trap. A skill like anything else. Eat with it, sleep with it (unset) experiment with it. Think Im going to start with one and work through my phobias.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (May 14, 2006 02:33PM)
NO! Unless you do Curtis Kam's great trick. Scary!
Get me your eMail address.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (May 14, 2006 09:20PM)

LOL Curtis Kam::)
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (May 15, 2006 01:41AM)
You don't want to be sticking your hand in a mouse or rat trap!!!

Although I have to admit, the Kurtis Cam trick is great!

Used it for the first time this week, its the only card trick I do :)

Message: Posted by: Decomposed (May 15, 2006 02:35AM)

I ordered one from Abbotts just now....oh yeah they take paypal now.

Can't wait to get this (I think).
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (May 15, 2006 04:09AM)
Ronjo already sold out of the traps!
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (May 15, 2006 10:00AM)
Sold out for weeks.
You have to realize before the 'routine' appeared these things were very sporadic and only a few were kept on the shelves...sometimes for months. This is sort of a mini-phenom proud to say.

But Abbott's keeps getting them in weekly...get on the list.

You got One? Putting but a toe in the water? Don't put it in the trap though. :)
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (May 15, 2006 03:04PM)
LOL, yeah I got one acoming from Abbotts, starting small for now til Grasshopper can conquer his fear;) Jeff over at Abbotts very helpful. No pinkys in the trap either, now who told me it was for the little finger?
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (May 16, 2006 06:47AM)
Finally updated my email preferences:)
Message: Posted by: drwilson (May 30, 2006 03:15PM)
Rehearsal photos from [url=http://www.theaterofmarvels.com/features/perilousgarden1.html]The Perilous Garden[/url] are up. Performance photos and links to press coverage are coming soon.

I would like to publicly thank Harley Newman for training, encouragement, and some very fine thinking as I was planning this.


Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (May 30, 2006 04:33PM)
So many little details add up to such a delicious thing. Good going!
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Jun 1, 2006 02:53PM)
Here's an update on [url=http://www.theaterofmarvels.com/features/perilousgarden2.html]The Perilous Garden[/url]. More photos coming soon!


Message: Posted by: gsidhe (Jun 2, 2006 12:19PM)
Looks like you made quite a stir Paul! I can't even imagine the horror of falling down to a knee while performing a stunt like that, and having the last trap on the course snap closed on the cuff of your pants?!?
Bloody brilliant! Well done!
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Jun 3, 2006 06:25AM)
Dear Gwyd,

Thank you for your kind words!

The horror is all on the part of the audience on this one. The performer must concentrate on his actions, and cannot afford the indulgence of horror, a kind of reflective emotion that requires a passive state.

The crowd makes wonderful sounds during this. There are no words, but the animal sounds emerge. I am sure, given the nature of your performances, that you know what I mean. One hears the little vocalizations that accompany the sharp intake of breath, the odd little sighs that are made when a bare foot barely clears a trap and lands on solid ground, kind of like the sound of involuntary exhalation when a person is hit in the belly.

Of course, when the trap at the end leaps into action and grabs the pantleg, many of them let out little screams, and some of them manage, "Oh my God!"


Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Jun 3, 2006 10:11AM)
They worship you, as they should.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Jul 3, 2006 05:15AM)
Congrats Paul!
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Jul 17, 2006 05:59PM)
A brief account and photo of [url=http://www.ibmring362.org/reports/RR004.html]The Perilous Garden[/url] appeared in the July 2006 issue of The Linking Ring.


Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Jul 17, 2006 06:36PM)
Who's the silly looking Undertaker? What did you let him hog the shots for?
Message: Posted by: Gordon Astley (Mar 25, 2018 03:47PM)
I am a bit late to this party. Thanks to Todd Robbins I know perform BLOCKHEAD and am embarking on the Animal Trap. Could any of you charming people point his Brit in the direction of literature, scripts or routines ? ( I already have Mr. Robbins booklet). Thanks you in anticipation
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (May 16, 2018 05:29PM)
The effect The World most Dangerous Card Trick has been getting great reviews.
Check it out it comes with an animal trap and it is safe to use if you follow the video that comes with it.
Message: Posted by: dave_matkin (May 19, 2018 05:39AM)
And you get an animal trap included.... well worth it! I think you sold out at Blackpool didn't you Mario?
Message: Posted by: bosami (May 31, 2018 09:13AM)
[quote]On May 16, 2018, Mario Morris wrote:
The effect The World most Dangerous Card Trick has been getting great reviews.
Check it out it comes with an animal trap and it is safe to use if you follow the video that comes with it.
https://www.schoolofbusking.com/shop/p/mario-morris/the-worlds-most-dangerous-card-trick [/quote]

Just watched the vid on You Tube. That was fantastic. :righton:
Message: Posted by: Rook (Jun 1, 2018 01:56AM)
[quote]On May 16, 2018, Mario Morris wrote:
The effect The World most Dangerous Card Trick has been getting great reviews.
Check it out it comes with an animal trap and it is safe to use if you follow the video that comes with it.
https://www.schoolofbusking.com/shop/p/mario-morris/the-worlds-most-dangerous-card-trick [/quote]

This remains a favorite of mine. I close my show with this!
Message: Posted by: imgic (Dec 22, 2018 12:34AM)
I believe Scott Alexander will be showing an animal trap routine in upcoming PenguinHoliday lecture
Message: Posted by: Danny Kazam (Dec 29, 2018 04:22PM)
Not sure what the difference is with the small animal trap Abbott's or others sell from their magic shop, but Oneida Victor small animal traps can be bought from any store that sells animal traps. Small animal traps are not really dangerous. They are meant to trap an animal without causing it severe damage. They only cost about $10
Message: Posted by: Danny Kazam (Dec 29, 2018 07:55PM)
Just had someone confirm for me that Abbott's Daring Spring Trap is actually Oneida Victor 1 1/2 animal trap. They are intended for catch and release while maintaining the safety of the animal, and do not cause serious injury. They also don't need to be modified in anyway. Only costs
$10 compared to the marked up price of $30.
Message: Posted by: imgic (Jan 1, 2019 12:29PM)
I bought from Abbott’s. Got plain metal. Spray painted rust color around edges, let dry, then put bit of Vaseline on the paint. Then used Rustoleum’s hammered black spray paint, Giving it a rustic wrought iron finish. It then Wipe the edges to expose the rust colored paint. Ended up with what looks like a antique looking monstrosity...looks very intimidating.

I use a metal suitcase on tray stand, and found it needs a bit of support when setting the trap. So I took small board and painted it bright yellow. Is gives support and provided contrast to the dark trap. I dropped a bit of red paint on the board, and make passing comment about a mishap during rehearsal.

I’ll do the white painted breadstick bit...showing how the trap shatters “bone.” I also use old jugglers trick of taking a carrot and whacking it against open jaws of trap...as bits of carrot break off, it “shows” the razor shapness of the trap.

So much fun using this prop,,,,
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Jan 1, 2019 08:04PM)
Or you can just buy rusty old traps, used.
Message: Posted by: Gemeanii (Jan 7, 2019 06:31PM)
And fairly inexpensive when you find them at the Antique Mall...

Works fins - lasts a long time.

Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Mar 30, 2019 01:57PM)
I still am sending out FREE for the asking my original Traps-A-Monte-Mental (PDF) Just eMail me or MESSAGE PM. :-) Have sent out many hundreds over the years.
Message: Posted by: Rook (Apr 3, 2019 12:52PM)
Wonderful to hear, Doug! I greatly appreciated it and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Message: Posted by: Tony Montuori (Dec 3, 2020 06:18AM)
I used to perform this in my act as just a straight up "weird wonder" and though it played well, I'd always felt that I could do more with it. Recently, I finally hit on what I "think" will be a solid routine. Of course, it is only in my head at this point and it could all fall apart in practice but I'll post here again if it is successful.
Message: Posted by: bubbles (Dec 4, 2020 02:21PM)
This thread really has some staying power!! First post back in 2003!
I too have found myself scrolling through the sections of the Café during covid. Some great stuff on this site, thanks for all those who contribute.
Message: Posted by: imgic (Dec 14, 2020 12:15PM)
Love revisiting old threads.

Since all of this, I've also gotten Lonnie Chevrie's Penguin Lecture. He shows his animal trap routine.