I have been performing mentalism for about 20 years. I’ve always loved T.A. Waters’ Box Office routine, but it wasn’t until Brian Cook showed me his version that I really fell in love with it.
I had played around with the Pagoda Mystery for a while, and I just knew that I had to buy one for myself. I was honored when Brian asked me to write up the instructions for this effect. Once you know the handling, you could easily come up with your own story-line when performing this. Even if you aren’t a performer, this is a terrific piece for any magic collector. The workmanship that went into making these is second to none. Brian really did a great job in creating this mysterious, beautiful prop.
This is a time-honored classic piece of magic apparatus first created in the 1870’s and know for many years as “Jap Box“, though that name has fallen out of favor in recent times. It can be used for productions, vanishes, color changes, and any combination of those. There are many sources for effects and routines to be found in magic literature such as Rice’s Encyclopedia of Silk Magic and Jap Box Tricks by Glenn Gravatt.
This beautiful box by Michael Baker continues to cement his position as one of the leading stage prop manufacturers today. It is very solidly made and the paint job is gorgeous. With Milson-Worth almost gone now (I believe Lyn Johnson will be retiring in 2019), Michael is about as close as you are going to get these days, and you won’t be disappointed. This particular box is known as a single flap, non-locking box. It is probably the most basic of the various styles, but also the easiest to work.
The basic effect is the standard Box Office routine: show all four pieces and you make a prediction by placing a token into the bottom of the box. The spectator is allowed to choose any of the pieces they want. They can even change their mind as many times as they want and the prediction will always match. But Brian has added so much more, this popular effect is finally getting the implementation and routine it deserves, so not only is it a true collectible, but it is also a solid performance piece.
Unique features of Pagoda Mystery include:
Spectator or Magician can place prediction into the box themselves and unlike, for example, Magic Wagon’s Mental Safari, the prediction is seen in the box right up until the moment when the spectator removes it at the end.
Spectator can select one outcome and then change their mind – this has never been possible with any other version of Box Office I have seen.
Set-up is a breeze and does not require any contortions or upside down placement guesses
Once set-up you can show all sides of the tray and box.
Detailed custom construction streamlining each phase of the routine.
It comes with an entertaining routine that will engage the audience, and due to the thoughtful props other meaningful routines are also possible.
The main presentation box is made from solid Walnut with Maple inlays and the selection pieces are all made by hand from solid maple and walnut, with acrylic and brass like inlays. The Pagoda Mystery is 6″ x 6″ x 10″ and the selection pieces are approximately 1.75″ x 2.75″.
Brian has spent 15 years perfecting this beautiful piece and it shows. There are only 12 available so if you have been looking for the perfect collectible miracle with an entertaining routine, clever method and beautiful props, don’t delay, click over to Brian’s site and get one before they are all gone!
Aside from the usual beautiful craftsmanship that Alan brings to all of his works of art, this effect intrigues me because of the clever double prediction that Alan uses. You start by placing a prediction box in front of a spectator and showing four stacks of Egyptian-themed puzzles and ask the spectator to select one. There is a basic force involved but because the piles are in random order, they complete the puzzle after the selection providing a useful time delay, and the fact that next phase is so strong it goes by unnoticed.
Once the spectator has selected their pile (which can be different for repeat performances) they are then asked to complete the puzzle from the pieces. There are only four pieces so this doesn’t take very long. You also go ahead and piece together the other three stacks that were not chosen, just to show they were different, and add some extra interest to the effect. You then ask the spectator to select any piece from their chosen puzzle. There is no force and they can freely choose any piece and change their minds if they want to. When they are done, the Magician just tips out the draw from the prediction box and inside the draw is the same puzzle, with the exact same piece missing too. This is a very clean piece of magic to end this double prediction.
If you missed this item when it first came out get it now time to get it now!
Robert Harbin was probably most responsible at a young age for me getting into magic. Every time I saw this illusion performed growing up I was just amazed by it. Harbin created this beautiful illusion c. 1965 and it is probably the most copied stage illusion of all time. I was lucky enough to perform this to my family and friends in 2000. What I most remember is when I would practice with my wife, my two young children were sitting on the rug in front looking up at Mommy in awe. My son said “Daddy, where has Mommy’s tummy gone?”.
The original version of this effect known as Bending Glass (or Flexible Glass) was invented by British Magician Oswald Rae c. 1945, and was released by Max Andrews. A later improvement replaced the glass with a mirror which is what Owen’s are showing here.
A framed mirror is placed within a cloth bag and a large knitting needle is pushed through the bag and mirror. As a finale, the mirror is folded in half! The mirror is then removed from the bag and shown to be completely restored. The mirror can be handed to an audience member to examine!
The Owen’s version is one of the best because the gimmicked frame can be show freely on both sides which is not true in some versions and it is made of a solid and beautiful hardwood that will last a lifetime.
The basic effect is as follows: an attractive square frame has four windows, and two doors. An unprepared sheet of glass fills the frame covering the 4 windows. Doors are closed and a solid rod or pencil is then poked clear through the holes in the center of each door. Ribbons also run through all holes. When doors are finally reopened, tho glass is seen to be unharmed and there is no sign of damage or holes. Only one piece of glass is used. It is a wonderful illusion and a real fooler for sure.
This beautiful version actually belonged to the famed inventor and prolific author himself: Peter Warlock, and it is easily the best version of this effect I have seen.
T.A. Waters created his amazing routine Box Office c. 1979 and he liked it so much that it is the first routine described in his 800+ page book Mind, Myth & Magick. Since it’s publication here are plenty of versions of the trick around, and I’ve even made up a couple myself. This is one of the few that actually had permission from T.A. Waters to create it for resale. It is Tabman’s Chest of Destiny c. 1994 and it is one of best versions I have seen of this effect.
The box looks like a real antique aged box. It is the perfect height and size for the effect and everything works precisely as it should. The spectator gets to choose any one of the five casted relics and when the tray is lifted there is just one prediction, and it matches the choice of the spectator.
This is a very impressive creation from Dave Powell in conjunction with Stevens Magic. Based upon a coin casket created by New York craftsman Otto Mauer in th 1870’s to vanish four silver coins one at a time when the lid was closed. Otto’s customers and friends included: Trewey, Imro Fox, Horace Goldin, De Bier, Ducrot, Hermann, T. Nelson Downs, Houdini and Thurston!
The coin casket that Dave based his one on was well over 100 years old with over 60 individual parts involving a complex mechanism of solid brass parts and springs, and it still worked perfectly. All handmade and fitted into a decorated wooden box with antique brass fittings! It took over six months to get this project to fruition. Four half dollars, one at a time, are put into the four slots on top of the inner casket. Upon closing the door one coin vanishes! This is repeated three more times until all four coins have vanished!
I’ve included four genuine Silver Walking Liberty Half Dollar Coins because something this beautiful needs the best coins. This casket is significantly nicer than the versions created by George Richbark and the most reliable Coin Casket I have handled – though I have not seen the Original Otto Mauer which I suspect is still going strong.
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