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Topic: The Thing By "Bill Abbott" Questions and Comments.
Message: Posted by: Jerrid Mutter (Apr 6, 2008 09:40AM)
I have been working with The Thing for a while, but I keep running into problems. One of my main problems is that the top of the clear box is too heavy that it keeps following over. I was hoping that I could get some ideas for making that better and maybe some ideas to make a good routine for it. I have some ideas but I think that it would help if I had some more outside thoughts. Thanks for any help I can get.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Apr 6, 2008 12:46PM)
Use a tophat.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Apr 6, 2008 02:21PM)
Just PMing you my work on this....

Message: Posted by: MDantes (Apr 10, 2008 12:34PM)
Has anyone put the Thing gimmick into a different cloth?

Purple ain't me... and I was wanting to transfer... The Thing. I know I should us a non clingy, loose fabric.

Bu I just wondered if anyone had also done this...

Any suggestions...

Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Apr 27, 2008 10:07AM)
The color of the cloth is royal blue. Not purple.
Has anyone gotten anything other than Royal Blue?
Message: Posted by: Jerrid Mutter (Apr 27, 2008 04:59PM)
I would contact Walt Anthony. He did and had some good ideas. The biggest problem I have is that the stiches keep coming out so after a month or so I'm sewing new stiches again.

Does anyone give the thing a name or do you guys mostly do a silent acts. I want to involve the audience some how in my routine and add some laughter. I don't think that I would do one routine that doesn't get laughs. I am still lost on how I want to present this great trick. Any comments would be great.
Message: Posted by: echojet (Jul 20, 2008 07:19AM)
I use a open book on a stand( magic, ghost stories ). If you want to use the box, maybe you could hot glue a lead weight in both front inside corners of the box.Hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jul 20, 2008 07:59AM)
I’ve built the “Thing” from the instructions on the DVD (out before the Thing prop was being sold). I used bandanas for the cloth (better to fit the red-neck act it was being including in). I’ve also built a version using the suit lining (red) that is used for some of the higher end Devils Hanks (see our own Richard Hughes for these wonderful props!).

I used a hollow plastic ball for the gimmick. It was 2/3 lighters and way easier to handle. I’ve also used a Tony Marks idea and made a gimmick that is almost totally flat when lying on the table.

I have done it to music and talking. Once when talking I captured the “spirit” from a bottle of whiskey. The whiskey was “Old Grand Dad” and that’s what I called the spirit. I’ve even performed it capturing a bubble a la’ Losander.

This is a very low tec prop and is easy to make and modify.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jul 20, 2008 01:10PM)
On 2008-07-20 08:59, Harry Murphy wrote:

I used a hollow plastic ball for the gimmick. It was 2/3 lighters and way easier to handle. I’ve also used a Tony Marks idea and made a gimmick that is almost totally flat when lying on the table.
Harry, I also built the same method from Aristocrat of Deception. Instead of using a rabbit I use a chinchilla. Do you think a bigger size has any avantages over the regular ball size as in "The Thing" when no livestock is used?
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jul 20, 2008 02:58PM)
Depends on your venue and how big a thing you want to float. Mine is bigger than the version that is sold by Bill but smaller than a standard Zombie. Mine is maybe 3 inches in diameter as a ball (wider when flat of course). I guess it is all in the look you want. I've seen Zombie's that range from 8 inches to 2 inches (all spun metal). When all is said and done the thing is a modified Zombie in the same vein as is Losanders "Bubble" version.
Message: Posted by: Lawrens Godon (Jul 21, 2008 11:18AM)
I involve a kid (I'm working in the streets all summer long)and give him/her to hold my bowl hat, opening side up.
I do the thing with music, and it's always a pleasure to see the kid's face when the thing slowly rises from the hat he's holding !! ^^
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Jul 22, 2008 11:56AM)
A lot of people have been PM-ing me asking for the details on my work with The Thing.

While I feel it is very important to have your own presentation which you make your very own, sometimes seeing an example of someone else’s thinking can help trigger an idea.

I also feel it is important to purchase Bill Abbott’s The Thing either in his DVD or with the props themselves, as his handling and routine is where the Magic lies, not in the method or props. The sheet with the series of move and technique photos is especially helpful, and worth he price of the set to my thinking.

It’s also good ethics to purchase his idea or effect and not just go off on your own making it in his style.

That said, here’s what I came up with:


(a presentation for Bill Abbot’s “The Thing”)

(music begins, softly at first, then building to crescendo…
“In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg,
a piano arrangement)

As Aladdin had a Jinn to obey his every behest…
As Faust had daemons to exert his will…
As Prospero had the spirit Ariel
to perform his bidding…

So, a contemporary Conjurer must have such a source of Power—
his “Secret-of-Secrets” which renders magic upon demand.

And what is Magic— if not “something”
manifesting out of nothing—
and then that “something”
evaporating back into nothingness?

Of course this invisible entity,
can never be seen, and
only just barely perceived!

Inert— it resides within this crystal-confine.
Awakened— my whim becomes its command.

At this time only— ever
I shall expose to you my true “secret”…
this Enigmatic Ethereal Energy!

Very softly, to this Sprite,

“Here now… here now…
It’s only me… yes…
yes, it is time…

(It begins to awake and stir within Its glass case)

Now, slowly, slowly…
yes… you may let yourself be seen.

(It slowly begins to rise out of, and above the case)

Good… yes…
you may leave your case.
Gently, gently, now…

(It begins to rise a bit higher and sway side to side)

Stay cloaked… within the darkness,
no, no… don’t peek about.
Fine… that’s fine.

(Magician lifts the cloth and peaks underneath at It)

ah, there you are!
Is it good to be unbound?

(It attempts to escape and fly farther away)

Now… stay… stay….
And…. GONE!

(Magician flicks the cloth inside-out and It vanishes!)

Don’t move….
come to me…come to me….
don’t move now…
that’s it.

(Magician searches around the air to find It)

Good… and you are back…
you are safe…

(Magician sees It, captures It by tossing the cloth over It)

No, you must keep close.
You’ve had your play…
back now… back now…

(Ever so slowly It floats back down to the glass case)

And sleep… to sleep.
Be calm… be calm…
and there…

(Magician pulls out cloth, closes case, flicks empty cloth)

© 2006-2008 Spellbinder Entertainment, San Francisco

I’ve been working with Bill Abbott’s creation “The Thing” and I thought others might be interested in the presentation I’ve worked out to accommodate my performance style, as well the personal modifications I’ve made to my set of props.

It may be a slant worth publishing at some point for use with sophisticated adult or corporate audiences, rather than the children who usually get to experience” The Thing”.

Although (as I’ve said on Magic Café) the props provided are very high-quality and well thought out and constructed, I decided to use what came with the set as a “template” and build my own suite of props.

I was able to locate a small octagonal case of clear beveled-glass in a gold metal framework with a mirrored bottom, little ball feet, and a hinged lid, that fits my quasi-Victorian “long ago and far away” style.

I was also able to find men’s silk pocket squares, slightly larger than usual, and just very slightly larger than the foulard provided. These squares are a midnight-blue with an ornate grey/silver paisley pattern around the large boarder on all four sides, and with a plain center area, the look of the foulard is therefore rather antique/old-fashioned.

The gimmick I’ve constructed is very similar to Abbott’s, with two exceptions, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx -I’ve left this out since this is a public forum if needed you can pm me for these details- xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

Thus far these variations have worked very well using the exact handling provided with the effect, and I think my brief “preface” then very softly “speaking” directly to the Entity will prove effective in performance.

I’ve found an excellent piano arrangement for “Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg that I’m going to have recorded for this, in all it should run under two-and-one-half minutes in all.

I hope to use “The Thing” in bookings where for one reason or another I don’t want to haul in and assemble my rather elaborate Floating Ball set-up, particularly in smaller and more casual venues.

Thanks to Bill Abbott for making his pet-piece available to the magic community!


Walt Anthony, Conjurer & Teller-of-Tales
“spinning tales and weaving enchantment”
San Francisco - 415-771-6606
Message: Posted by: Jerrid Mutter (Jul 23, 2008 05:28PM)
Thanks again Walt for your ideas. Although your routine is not my style, I hope everyone is mature enough to take your ideas and make their own routine and not just take your routine.

The hardest part to making a routine is that you have to put yourself in the spectators seat and not think about what moves to use but what you want it to look like and achieve.

What has helped me lately is sit down and really concentrate at what illusion or story that I want my audience to see. Have fun and go impress.
Message: Posted by: Yannou (Oct 20, 2008 04:13AM)
Re the box tipping over: I've simply put some Bluetack underneath, at the four corners. Works for me.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 20, 2008 06:06AM)
I glued strips of aluminum all around the bottom sides of my box. It works well as weight.
Message: Posted by: Bad to the Balloon (Oct 20, 2008 01:09PM)
I went to the local glass shop and had a thick piece of glass cut to fit in the bottom of the box. Make sure it weighs more than the box.

What I have thought of is having the gimmick as a telescoping rod. That way the whole trick fits in the box.