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Profile of stuper1
I am learning the sponge ball routine from Mark Wilson's Course in Magic. There is a part where a ball is transferred from the right hand to left. Then, the left hand goes in the pocket, the right hand is placed in front of the pocket, then removed, and the ball melts through the fabric of the pocket.

Does this really fool people? My wife said it might be good for kids (i.e., adults wouldn't be fooled).

Also, I am wondering whether it might fool better if, instead of doing it after a transfer from right hand to left, just do it after openly picking up a ball from the table with the left hand?
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Inner circle
Portland, Oregon
1322 Posts

Profile of rtgreen
You bring up a pretty advanced point in magic. That is natural justification of your moves. This is exactly the right way to be thinking.

First of all, yes, the ball through the pocket will fool people, but you'll have to really convince people you have placed the ball into your left hand.

You understand the real reason for transfering the ball from the right to the left hand, but you also see the flaw in the logic for picking up a ball, putting it into another hand, then putting it into your pocket. A lot of magicians, just accept that the move justifies the movement, but the fact is, people will notice this inconsistancey. They may not comment on it or even know what exactly is wrong, but it just won't feel right to them and consiquently conclude that the trickery took place at that moment.

The solution to the problem is to naturally justify the movement. Since you have to transfer the ball from hand to hand to accomplish the move, you must come up with a logical reason to make the move. The best solution, in my mind, is to make it difficult for the left hand to reach the ball. It doesn't have to be very difficult, just a little more difficult than the right hand. Place the sponge ball on the table so it is on the right side of your body. Now, if you need the ball in your left hand, you can either turn your whole body to position your left hand to take the ball, or you can simply take the ball with your right hand and put it in your left hand. Now the logic is there. The new solution is not only easier, it is theatrically better because it keeps everything open and fair to the spectator.

Like I said at the beginning, this is a pretty advanced point in magic performance, but it is what sets the great one's apart. You can learn quite a lot about this by reading Dai Vernon's writings. Also, see if you can find Lewis Ganson's comments on Cardini's manipulation act. It is very revealing.

Good luck,
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Profile of stuper1
Thanks for your thoughts. Your points are well taken. The alternative I am thinking of is to just pick up the ball with the left hand and put it in the pocket, and then bring the right hand in front of the pocket (I'm still looking for justification for that, by the way) with a hidden ball that nobody knows about. Doesn't that seem stronger than doing the transfer initially?

However, if I can't make that fit into the routine, then I will use your suggestion about placing the ball closer to the right hand, thereby explaining the initial transfer.
Tom Cutts
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Northern CA
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