Cryptic Skeleton (Tseng Tjeng) by Tony Lackner

(c. 1981,1991,2009) (Submit Review) (Submit Update)

This version of this popular effect was created by Tony Lackner for Eckhard Boettcher based on an idea by Herbert Martin Paufler, first released c. 1981, and re-relased c. 1991 and c. 2009. It is considered one of the finest versions available and comes in nice presentation case.

Effect: Showing a handsome case, three black blocks are stacked on top of each other to reveal a (three dimensional) skeleton. After the blocks are placed in the case in the correct order, the skeleton always reappears scrambled in the wrong order when the case is lifted. The skeleton’s head is seen to travel around.

Finally the head block is vanished from a small second chest and reappears in the correct position when the case is lifted. In the second chest is now the head of a Chinese mystical figure: Tseng Tjeng.

Tseng-Tjeng was a poor medical student and did have absolutely nothing to do with the dynasty of the Tseng-Tjengs. One day Tseng-Tjeng went out to buy a skeleton, that he needed for his preliminary examination. He was fortunate because salesman Wu-Pei had one in stock.  Wu-Pei was in possession of the skeleton for many years because every time he had sold the skeleton the buyer returned it. The buyers didn’t even request a refund.  A good business for Wu-Pei 🙂

Tseng-Tjeng bought the skeleton and packed it into his trunk. At home Tseng Tjeng opened the trunk but everything inside was mixed up. The Head was not in the right position and so were the feet. Tseng-Tjeng put the feet into the trunk first, then came the body and at least the Head. He lifted the lid out of the trunk again but paradoxically the head was now in the middle position. That was too much for Tseng-Tjeng. He placed the feet on the bottom, the body was stacked on top, over that he put the trunk.

The skeleton head was now put inside a separate container. Tseng-Tjeng took the container and went to Wu-Pei. On his way Tseng-Tjeng heard a well-known voice from the container. It said: “Tseng-Tjeng, go home. The spell has now been broken.”

Tseng-Tjeng went home. There he found the skeleton as he bought it with everything in the right place.


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Approx. Price: $195.00 (2013) ***

Notice: I am not a dealer and this item is not for sale on this site. It maybe available in the links below or at our sister site:, but not from here so please do not ask.
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