Mystery of the Laughing Buddha by Limited Edition Magic

(c. 1990,2015) (Submit Review) (Submit Update)

Based on a rare effect created by Magiro and sold in Germany by Eckhard Boettcher called Tablett des Dr. Mabuse c. 1990, it was only made in limited numbers and has long been unavailable.

While it might read like other “pick an item and I’ll know which one you took” effects, what sets it apart is the ingenious method. I was happily surprised the first time I found the Magiro prop about four years ago.

Effect: The performer displays a thin wooden tray, a three sided wooden screen with gold numbers 1 through 5 on the back wall, along with figurines (app. 2″ tall) depicting five of the Laughing Buddhas. The props may be shown freely. The Buddha figures rest on wooden platforms which are set into five recesses on the tray. They may be placed in any order. The opaque screen is then set into a recessed groove along the back of the tray. Anyone standing behind the tray would have the Buddha figures completely blocked from view by the screen. With the performer standing at a distance, the spectator is asked to remove one of the figures and hide it in their closed hand. The performer reveals which figure was taken by the spectator. If you want, the effect can be repeated immediately.

That’s the most basic routine. Since each Laughing Buddha represents something different such as love, good luck, wealth, safe travel, etc, it would be easy to expand the presentation apparently guessing which Buddha they would select based on their desire.

And as mentioned, the method is brilliant. Although the props are freely displayed and even handled by the spectator, the working is pretty much foolproof. The tray gives the performer a direct visual signal as to which figure was removed.


  • there are no electronics involved, so no need for batteries
  • there is nothing hidden, the props are self-contained
  • there are no magnets, so no need to hold the tray in your hand
  • there is nothing to reset between performances no little balls or beads to place back into position!

The original Magiro tray was made in plastic with a flimsy tri-fold screen and cheap looking plastic gnome figures.  This new Limited Edition Magic release is beautifully crafted by Paul Lembo. The tray has a rich looking decorative border, and the matching ebony wood screen with gold numbers looks terrific on display. The size of the thin tray is app. 12.5″ x 3.5″ x only 1″ thick. The back of the screen is app. 4″ tall. As mentioned, the figures are app. 2″ tall.

(Description supplied with permission by Joe Long)

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Approx. Price: $235.00 (2015) ***

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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