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Topic: False transfer for balls? -- for ball and vase
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 1, 2019 03:07PM)
Hi everybody,

I've never done a false transfer, but I have lots of good resources for learning to do such transfers with coins. Can anyone recommend a good source for learning to false transfer a ball? I don't know how different the two are, but I'm guessing that there is some difference because Al Schneider, in his book The Theory and Practice of False Transfers, deals with coins and balls separately. I want to learn some ball-and-vase (not cups-and-balls) routines, with hard balls not sponge balls. (Well, maybe sponge balls eventually, but one thing at a time!)

I learn best from people who explain moves in great detail, and Schneider's book certainly fills the bill, but it's almost *too* much -- intimidating for a beginner at this type of move. So I thought some of you folks could recommend a good source to start with that isn't *quite* so detailed. For the routines I have in mind, the balls will be half an inch or one inch in diameter.

Thanks for whatever help you can offer.


Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 1, 2019 05:23PM)
The Schneider Basic Vanish works with any small object.

Many C&B books deal with false transfers other than the wand move, but I can think of none specifically focusing on these moves.
Check out Indian Cups and Balls too.

Look for small object manipulation to include dice, olives, sugar cubes and nuts. Any of these can apply to small balls.

Balls do allow for some sleights not possible with coins. Write me if you don't find what you want. We can do this one-on-one.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 1, 2019 08:00PM)
I like your suggestion to look for C&B books, Funsway, I hadn't thought of that. I have a pamphlet, and Michael Ammar's intro DVD. Also dice, olives, and nuts are in abundance in my house (not least among the nuts being my wife and me).

What are Indian Cups and Balls?

I'll probably PM you even if I find what I want, because I'm intrigued by your suggestion that some sleights are possible for balls but not coins. But let me look at what I have first.


Message: Posted by: Necromancer (Aug 2, 2019 02:39PM)
Two highly accessible resources are both of Bill Tarr's lavishly illustrated books ó Now You See It, Now You Don't; and The Second Now You See It, Now You Don't. Highly recommended.
Message: Posted by: Julie (Aug 2, 2019 03:38PM)
For whatever it's worth: Eugene Berger mentioned in a lecture that he used the same retention-type vanish every time he needed to make anything disappear; ball, coin or whatever.

Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 2, 2019 05:05PM)
I would suggest that chosen technique is less important than having a reason for putting the ball in the other hand (or take).

The end result is a transportation to the vase not a vanish. You do not want observers to think "vanish" at all.

You put the ball in your pocket, or in the other hand or in bowl. It always returns to the vase.

So, the question is, "When I am doing the other hand phase, what is the best handling consistent with the general routine?"

The answer is to become proficient in variety of "here not there" techniques so that the best can be selected for the setting, audience and desired results.

The answer is that any method can work if the audience buys the transfer theme. None will work if you do a fancy vanish.

I think the original instructions with my Vase suggested a French Drop. Why not?
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Aug 2, 2019 05:08PM)
If you ever get a successful vanish you will have traveled a path.
You cannot see that path now.
However, once traveled you will see the path I have outlined will have the same steps your path will have taken.

Al Schneider
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 2, 2019 08:40PM)
Thanks, everybody. I'll reply in detail tomorrow, but I just wanted to say that one of the ball and vase routines I want to learn is Michael Skinner's -- that's why I need a false transfer. I was racking my brains to remember whose it was. Then I relaxed and forgot about the issue, and it came to me. :)
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Aug 2, 2019 11:50PM)
Mike Skinner wrote about "The Bewildering Ball Vase" in Genii, the Conjurorís Magazine, December, 1969 Volume 34. In 2008, Spellbinder published his e-Book on "Routines for the Hansen Egg Cup" in The Wizardsí Journal #16-05, still available at The Magic Nook: https://www.magicnook.com/WIZj16/WIZ16-05HansesEggCup.htm In his e-Book he includes photos of how the same moves apply to the old plastic Ball and Vase, which you may find useful. It's a lot easier to perform with a small ball than with a full size egg, but the principles are the same.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 3, 2019 03:14PM)
Thanks for all these riches, folks. A few comments:

Jim, I bought that ebook from you guys a few years ago. I loved reading it but it felt too advanced at the time. I'm going to look again. "Bewildering ball vase": that's the one! I have it in Skinner's notes, Intimate Magic. Unfortunately the accompanying photos are unintelligibly dark, but fortunately I also have a DVD that includes him performing the trick. (Apparently someone did some line drawings to make up for the bad photographic quality in the description of just that one effect, but I haven't been able to find them.)

Al, a question for you: Is it possible to study just the "ball" part of your Theory and Practice of False Transfers without first having gone through the "coins" part?
I like the elegant wording of your post-- cryptic at first, and then, on second reading, made perfect sense. As a mathematician, I appreciated its hint of recursion. And I've never doubted that if I were to go through your book carefully and do the exercises diligently, I'd have a really nice false transfer. I also have one of your DVD's and am impressed with the thought you've put into this move. It's beautiful, but, as I said, too much detail to take in the first time, for me at least -- kind of like trying to learn mathematical analysis before taking calculus. Finally, I'm honored to be the recipient of your 1001st post (especially from Wisconsin, a state that I love). Much of my love of the ball and vase comes out of the vase looking like something out of the 1001 Nights.

Ken, I see your point -- I can easily imagine that *any* false transfer would work if it's done competently, provided that the choreography was worked out carefully. I do have a few good sources for the French Drop -- in Ian Kendall's Basic Training, and a series of youtube videos by Aaron Fisher.

Julie, it's nice to hear from you after having seen evidence of your existence through many "Likes." I like the economy of using just one vanish (and I love to watch retention vanishes). Do you by any chance remember which lecture it was (if it was on a DVD and not live), and, if so, whether Burger taught the vanish he used?

Necromancer, can you bring my long-dead father back to life? I still miss him. --- Okay, maybe that was tasteless, but he was *my* father, so I thought it would be okay to ask. What I really wanted to say: I've heard many people rave about Tarr's book, and I do have a copy. But the overlapping drawings, which I guess are supposed to represent the the flow of a move over time, confuse me. Perhaps you can suggest a way to decode them?

Thanks once again to all. I really appreciate your generosity.

Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Aug 3, 2019 06:54PM)
Allow me to give some history of my material.

When I lived in Minneapolis I rented a meeting room in a hotel every Monday. I taught magic there. The first class was on coin vanishes. Over six years I developed a method of teaching. People off the street would take the class and within two weeks did a vanish that matched mine. Sometimes better. The book The Theory and Practice of False Transfers is an attempt to duplicate the way the class was run. Included in the book are description of things many students would do wrong. As an after thought in the book I added information about ball vanishes.

I cannot tell you if going right to the ball vanish would work. Understand that in class I sat in front of the student and coached each step. In general, the student did not know what was coming next. To them, there was only one thing to be concerned with. I did not let them go on until a step was mastered. In defense of the material, I believe if the steps are done to boring and to completion, the student will learn a very good vanish in the shortest possible time. I have demonstrated this many times.

I cannot remember what I said about the ball vanish in the book. I have two ways to do it. Then there is a third way I have never written up. You can see it in the following video.


It is called hardball at the end of the video.

Be glad to answer some other questions if they are not to complicated.

Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Aug 3, 2019 07:00PM)
Opps, I have another thought I wish to share.

The vanish and the way I teach it is not about a move. The move is simply moving the thumb. Most of the material is about training your mind and body to create the appearance of the coin in the mind of the audience. This is critical and most magicians will not get this. People of the street had no clue about standard magic tech and easily bought what I had to say.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 3, 2019 07:45PM)
Thanks for all this information and the video link, Al. As a teacher myself I was impressed by the care you had put into thinking about what students needed to do to learn a convincing vanish. So I'm not surprised that the book is based on six years of teaching. My take on what you're doing -- and I may have this wrong -- is that you're training students (whether readers or in person) to thoroughly act the part of someone who has moved the coin from one hand to the other. I'll give your book a try when sufficient time opens up to do it justice, and I appreciate your willingness to answer questions that can reasonably answered in a short space of time. I'll let you know how it goes for me.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 3, 2019 10:57PM)
Here's a related question that's always puzzled me. Why do people false-take the ball or coin into their *fist*? It works -- I've been fooled many times by videos of good magicians -- but isn't it unnatural? When we transfer a small object from one hand to the other in real life, don't we usually take the object into the fist, do we? Doesn't the receiving hand take the object with the tips of the thumb and first two fingers? (To check, I just moved a pen from one hand to the other, and what I just described is exactly what I found myself doing.)

The obvious follow-up is: Has anyone created a false transfer that mimics taking an object with the thumb- and finger-tips?

Thanks as always, folks.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Aug 4, 2019 02:32AM)
Bob, try this: pick up a ball in your right hand. Realize that you want to pick up a pen that is a ways to your right, but you donít want to have both the pen and the ball in the same hand. Put the ball in your left hand and pick up the pen.

No! Stop reading! Actually do what I described before you read any more. Try to do it in the most natural and casual way you can.

Did you pick up the ball in your fingers of your left hand or did you just dump the ball into your left palm and close your hand?

It is a difference between how we put a ball and how we take a ball.

As to your question about a fingertip transfer, if you have Mark Wilsonís Complete Course, see page 189. It is a false take of a coin. I think it could easily work for a small ball.

Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 4, 2019 02:35AM)
[quote]On Aug 3, 2019, Bob G wrote:
Has anyone created a false transfer that mimics taking an object with the thumb- and finger-tips?

Yup - and works best with a ball. Part of SWAY techniques called SwingPass. It is a false transfer rather than a fake one.

I developed this back in 90's for a routine using pebbles and later part of several C&B and Chop type with balls.
The ball at the two fingers of one hand is visibly taken by the fingertips of the taking hand.
The taking hand moves away and the hold hand shown empty because it is.
The taking hand apparently places the ball in a cup or pocket, whatever.
Never used for an immediate reveal of a vanish.

A 'DeepDrop Vanish' can be done as a fake take, and a SlotPass also under some conditions.

Unfortunately, Bob, these are best done by performers well versed in a variety of standard techniques. i.e. as an alternative method to avoid repeat actions.
When you can do a French Drop to perfection, then these refinements are possible.

I have shared these methods with folks over the years but are little used because they don't work with coins,
and performers want sleights useable in different venues. They fall in love with the "flash" property and can't escape.

Happy to chat when you are ready. Very glad you recognize the naturalness of the take over the place, but also its limitations in popular sleights.

However, history has shown that most spectators are oblivious to these refinements.
Since one quality of any good sleight is "never happened," you objective is that they never remember the ball changed hands at all.
Thus, your concern with "fist over fingers" can telegraph attention and lack of confidence.

"Natural" means identical movements with or without a ball, and with or without the sleight.
Start grabbing candy from a dish or olives from a tray with your fist and all will be well ;)
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 4, 2019 10:02AM)
Patrick, I followed your instructions. Believe it or not, I more or less did stop reading and tried the experiment. (Well, okay, I skimmed very fast first.) Interestingly, the ball ended up in a position -- well, it's a bit hard to describe. The ball was 1 inch in diameter. After the transfer, my hand was in a *loose* fist, and I was holding the ball, not in my palm, but near the web of my hand, between the thumb and index finger, lightly cradled by the lower part of my thumb, the pad of my index finger, and the side of the upper part of my middle finger. I hope you can visualize what I'm trying to describe. If I hold my left hand so that the palm is facing right, I can look down and see my thumb and index finger forming a ring around the the ball.

Not sure what to make of that, but I do see your point about balls vs. coins.

Funsway, in performing Patrick's experiment I would have used an olive (preferably black, because I love black olives) if I'd been down in the kitchen. Sadly, all I could find near my computer was a ball. So I had to settle for that. :)

The more I listen to magicians, the more I realize that they can get away with all kinds of things if they act like the don't care. I'm beginning to think that that's the biggest impediment to my progress in magic -- I *do* care, and I'm not good at hiding it. (Mind you, I am making progress.)

But it sounds like French Drop is a good place to start, and once I have that reasonably in hand (so to speak), I'll ask you about the techniques you've invented. And I'll look at Mark Wilson's book, as Patrick suggested.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 4, 2019 12:11PM)
"I 'do' care," is a positive attribute - please never loose that.

Might I suggest that the ideal place is at the end of the day when you review what has transpired and your part in that.

Ask "What did I learn from today's magic effort (practice/creativity/performance) that will make of me a better performer tomorrow?"
"What did I learn that will make of me a better person tomorrow?"

For you, the word "teacher" might substitute for "person."
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Aug 4, 2019 12:28PM)
You are absolutely right.
Most people do not cup their hand when receiving an object.

To cup the receiving hand is a subconscious flag indicating to the observer you are doing something unusual.
In my opinion, this detracts from the magic a lot. Many will disagree with me.

I have done many sequences where a coin is received at the finger tips.

However, there are ways to enable the cupped hand to be OK.

One is to weave it into the patter theme. For example, say, "I found this key lying in the path when I was walking through a forest." "I was thinking of my deceased father and decided to keep it forever." Then, toss the key into a cupped hand and close your fingers around it.

Another ploy is to use the move in the beginning of the performance several times. Really transfer things to the cupped hand. This trains the audience to assume that is your natural way of moving. Most magicians cup their hand when doing there first vanish. This instantly alerts the audience something is wrong. Note, the audience won't consciously note it. My game in magic is going deep into the mind of the audience where beliefs are formed.

Then another ploy is to tell the audience that holding a ball in a closed hand enables magic to happen. That is, draw attention to the oddity of the move. Here however, there must be other assumptions on the table

This was used in:


Well, later.

Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 4, 2019 08:19PM)
To Ken and Al:

Ken, Caring and having open eyes and a sense of wonder are indeed good qualities. But they can also be painful, as I would guess you know well. I wouldn't have it any other way, though, and I'm sure you feel the same.

I appreciate the suggestion about meditating, in the evening, on what one has learned during the day. Not sure that a regular time would work for me, but it's worth thinking about.

Al, I'm really glad you're using your insights to create wonder rather than for some nefarious purpose! (I'm referring to your words, "My game in magic is going deep into the mind of the audience where beliefs are formed.") I watched your video, and it's beautiful. I have no idea how you did it, except that, in the context we're discussing, I have a feeling that it might involve false transfers. :)

I always thought I didn't like the Cups and Balls. Now I realize that I can like it with the right routine. Do you teach this routine anywhere? -- assuming it's anywhere near my reach at this early stage in my magical development.

I'm really touched by your scenario about the key. During the three years I've studied magic, mostly cards, my ideas have raced way ahead of my technical abilities and psychological understanding -- stories that I'd like to tell using magic, for instance. The "key" idea, or something like it, could become a piece of magic that might really move people.

I began magic at the age of sixty. Looking back I can see that the interest was latent ever since I was a kid, but for whatever reason I didn't start studying it seriously until recently. But here I am, with two years toward retirement, so with luck I'll have many years ahead of me to nourish this interest.

Best regards to you both,

Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 4, 2019 09:57PM)
Well... I answered one of my questions. Al explains the one-cup routine that he linked us to in -- The Theory and Practice of False Transfers!
Message: Posted by: Necromancer (Aug 5, 2019 10:23AM)
[quote]On Aug 3, 2019, Al Schneider wrote:
Allow me to give some history of my material.

When I lived in Minneapolis I rented a meeting room in a hotel every Monday. I taught magic there. The first class was on coin vanishes. Over six years I developed a method of teaching. People off the street would take the class and within two weeks did a vanish that matched mine. Sometimes better. The book The Theory and Practice of False Transfers is an attempt to duplicate the way the class was run. Included in the book are description of things many students would do wrong. As an after thought in the book I added information about ball vanishes.

I cannot tell you if going right to the ball vanish would work. Understand that in class I sat in front of the student and coached each step. In general, the student did not know what was coming next. To them, there was only one thing to be concerned with. I did not let them go on until a step was mastered. In defense of the material, I believe if the steps are done to boring and to completion, the student will learn a very good vanish in the shortest possible time. I have demonstrated this many times.

I cannot remember what I said about the ball vanish in the book. I have two ways to do it. Then there is a third way I have never written up. You can see it in the following video.


It is called hardball at the end of the video.

Be glad to answer some other questions if they are not to complicated.

Al [/quote]

Great clip, Al. Thanks for sharing.

Message: Posted by: plungerman (Aug 23, 2019 03:39PM)
Retention of Vision is best demonstrated with a shiny object such as a coin. Few people linger long enough with the coin before closing their hand around it to get the eyes to work that magic. The principle is normally the same. The view of the object is super-imposed at the hand and is expected to remain where it was put. Why wouldn't it be.

In use for a cup and ball routine or ball vase it is necessary to script or plan the actions so the move is done as an in transit action. That is, done while on the way to doing something else. As great (!!!) as Al's video is he justly points out that the move must be in some context and not in this demo mode. Here we are burning each other's hands while trying for an invisible pass. In reality no spectator should suspect a vanish or change is about to take place. Only that they are about to see something wonderful.

You are correct, receiving hand must be shaped as it would be when actually holding the object. Try you-toob to see people violating this rule all over. As far as not closing the hand around the object look at Slydini. I have been using his technique for years where you hold the fingers with the thumb behind to simulate possession of the object. The fingers are held next to each other flat as if there was actually an object there. Naturally it can have some angle issues but works fine with a well behaved audience.

The very best practice is to actually place the olive into the hand over and over while paying attention. I practice this casually as I breathe all day. As much as I enjoy the fancy methods they are a not what fool me or many others. Al Scheinder's is the very best advice for the simplest looking method. He is as good as he is because he has practiced as much as he has, along with being very talented.

Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 23, 2019 11:30PM)
Thanks, Plungerman. Yes, Schneider is clearly very talented -- and that's probably a gross understatement.

Aaron Fisher has some nice tutorials on the French Drop (on Youtube!), and he hold his fingers flat as you describe. I like that very much. But I wonder, would that look natural for balls, not just coins? I haven't done the intensive self-observation that you have, but would flat fingers work well for olives and other spheroids (ball-like objects), or is a loose fist better? Of course I need to try this for myself but Im curious what you discovered in your own case.

Right now I'm imagining myself tossing an olive from hand to hand, over and over, and I'm seeing myself forming a very loose fist with the receiving hand. Oops! -- practice time over. I ate it.

Message: Posted by: plungerman (Aug 24, 2019 01:01PM)
As expected you've answered your own question. Your own experience will teach you precisely how to hold the olive. I wonder that you would not hold it at the fingertips since all the olives I know of come from jars and bowls where they stay in oil or water.

As I tell anyone just starting out you should spend more time with the real object than your imagination. Get a small ball, bead or bit of gravel the size of the olive so it will not get et so easily. Get a few and learn how you hold and manage them in your hands, counting them back and forth, picking them up and such. Are you careful not to hurt them? Are they wet or sticky or slippery? Once in your hand how would you reposition an olive that was about to vanish, to get it ready? This physical vocabulary is what you want to explore and acquire.

In learning to juggle I got a great deal from the practice of freezing All my motions when dropping or catching incorrectly, (Thank you, Charles Lewis). This is the best learning tool for anything physical. You can do this as well to stop and observe just what is going on as your hands come together in one way or another.

Naturally you will be working on vanishes and other things along the way but it would pay to put some time aside to work on these things as well.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 24, 2019 04:34PM)
Good point, P, about holding olives at fingertips if you pull them out of a jar. Also interesting to hear about cross-training by learning juggling. No time for that now -- but two years till I retire, and then the sky's the limit, I hope. Does Charles Lewis have books or DVD's on juggling?

I was just rereading Schneider's Theory...of False Transfers, and it seems to me that what you call physical vocabulary is exactly what he's talking about. Your additional details are very helpful. Plenty of inedible things around the house, so I'll practice with those too.

You mentioned Slydini. Do you have a reference for where he talks about these things?

Message: Posted by: plungerman (Aug 24, 2019 04:55PM)
Charles Lewis, know as Carlo wrote "The Juggling Book" back in the 70's. I still buy used copies from Amazon to give away. It is still the most detailed description of juggling, basic to advanced, I have ever found. The practice of freezing is pretty simple. You just have to get the habit of stopping everything once you know you've blown it. From there you can work backwards to find where the mistake began. For magic it would just mean to freeze along the way to review just what your arms and hands are actually doing (often not what you thought they were) and what they look like.

As far as Slydini, you only need to look at one of his tapes to see him hold a coin that is not there. That is the only reason I mention fingers being held flat as if they held a coin. Books on his magic are great but you have enough to keep you busy for now.

As for retirement; I remember taking books home from school two lifetimes ago expecting to be able to read them once the panic of finals had abated. I'm still looking for all that time. Keep working on goals >>NOW<<. Tomorrow is promised to no man.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 24, 2019 08:36PM)
Thanks for the info! I'd never heard before of the idea of freezing action and retracing to figure out what went wrong. I'm going to try that with my magic -- maybe it will allow me to become more consistent with my sleights.

I agree with you about goals. My step-dad always wanted to write fiction, but felt he didn't have time while he was working and had obligations to his kids and step-kids. Fortunately he has lived into his nineties, and wrote hundreds of stories until I think he felt he had accomplished what he wanted to and stopped. But I made it a point to write poetry seriously beginning in my thirties. It wasn't easy, but it was very, very rewarding personally. And I've been lucky to get published in some good magazines (nothing, though, that anyone would have heard of if they're not part of that world, except for the Journal of the American Medical Association). I started when I did precisely because of what you said" "Tomorrow is promised to no man (or woman)."

On the other hand, it's possible to work on goals with such a concentrated intensity that life becomes a burden. So I think there has to be a happy medium.

End of sermon! :)
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Aug 25, 2019 11:50PM)
I like the comments here about me.
However, I would like to add a bit. When some magicians hold a coin at their fingertips, the fingers are pressed together in an arc around the coin. I think it is better to grasp the imaginary coin with the two middle fingers. The first and little finger could be held away from the pretend coin. I feel if the fingers all support the imaginary coin or the fingers are held flat together, it looks a bit odd and may attract suspicion. If the first and little fingers back off, I think it creates a better illusion a coin is there.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 26, 2019 09:24AM)
Thanks, Al. Your comments about holding a coin at the fingertips make sense to me. Have you written anything about your methods for the case where the receiving hand takes the object in the fingertips? (I'll be embarrassed if the answer is "yes, in the theory and practice of false transfers!" But there's a lot there.)

I have a question or two. When people hold a coin at their fingertips, don't they hold it in their index and middle fingers?

--- I just tried it. With a penny sized coin I held the coin as I just described, with the coin held by thumb and first two fingers, and the third and fourth fingers relaxed and curled slightly inward toward my palm.

Then I tried it with a large, heavy silver dollar. I found myself holding it with the index and middle fingers, and the right part of the pad of my ring finger. (I'm right-handed.) The little finger was curled in front of the ring finger, but in contact with it as if to support it. Maybe these details depend on the person. These are deep waters, as Holmes might say.

It seems to me that where the receiving hand holds the object will depend on the circumstances. For instance, if you toss the object from one hand to the other, it will go from fingertips of one hand to palm of the other. On the other hand, if you're transferring the object to the other hand because you plan to, say, drop the object into a glass after the coin is transferred, then you're likely to move the object from fingertips to fingertips.

This is all obvious stuff, I'm sure, for experienced people, but I'm just starting to think it through. I really appreciate your participation.

Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Aug 26, 2019 10:11AM)
Can't remember what I have written and where.
You are on the right track. Probably more than me.
I got some of my information watching cashiers handling money.
They tend to use the two middle fingers to manage coins.
Also the coins are not held at extreme fingertips.
Change was completely hidden behind the fingertips.
I would buy a Hershey bar and a can of pop and offer a five dollar bill to she how the change was handled.
I also spent time watching people in a bank on the occasions I went there.

Here is an observation from Karate. The middle fingers are power fingers.
The first and little are protector fingers.
They tend to move out of the way when the middle two are doing the heavy lifting.

However, here is the most critical point. The receiving hand fingers close under the dropping hand.
This is very critical and most magicians abhor this concept.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 26, 2019 01:50PM)
Thanks, Al. I hadn't thought of observing how people handle money. I'll give that a try.

I wondered if you could clarify one point (the one that you said was critical)?: "The receiving hand fingers close under the dropping hand." I'm imagining moving a coin from my left hand to my right hand fingertips (really the pads, not the extreme tips). Wouldn't my right hand palm be face up at that moment? So I'm not visualizing how the fingers could close *under* the right hand. Also, why would the hand drop? I usually think of the "giving" hand as dropping, dead to the table.

I don't want to overstay my welcome; if you feel like you've spent enough time on this, I'll totally understand.

I hope all is well, and I wish you the best.

Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Aug 26, 2019 04:17PM)
I did not explain things well.
I assume right hand moving coin to left hand.
In this the right hand carries the coin to the left and drops it into the left.
The right turns palm down as this happens.

In most of my work with transfers, the receiving hand closes around the object.

I am revisiting what I do.

I would like to offer a reason for closing my hand around the coin. However, I often do not.


I think I do something else.

Immediately after the transfer, the left that just caught the coin(?) wiggles the fingers as if adjusting the position of the coin.
Also, when the right hand falls to the table I move it a bit as if the hand has a nervous twitch.
The audience will notice that and hopefully cancel it from the action as a normal twitch.
Then the left hand does something unusual like tighten around the coin it is to be holding.
I hope that is seen as when the magic happened.
This is intention of magic to establish a rewind point for the audience to focus on.

I guess what I am trying to say is that the action after the transfer serves to indicate why the hand closed around the coin.

I am not sure what is right and wrong.

I do know that going over and over the move makes any move appear natural in one's natural behavior.

Recently I have started to state why I wrap my hand around something.

My most recent effort at this is to say, "If I grab this and hold it tightly something strange happens."

That seems to go well and I am keeping it.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 26, 2019 04:41PM)
Many thanks, Al. I appreciate your time and you commitment to teaching new magicians. I noticed that some of what you just wrote is in your published work, which you wrote, of course, when you were thinking intensively about your methods. So... I'm going to commit to going through your false transfers book, doing just a bit each day, which is all I have time for. That means that it will take me some time to get through all the reading and drills. But I don't mind waiting, given that the results will be well worth it.


Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 26, 2019 05:36PM)
My experience from observations such as Al's is that more people will use a take than a put when transferring small objects fro hand to hand.

Also, with objects on the table, if the objective is to get an object into the left hand, it is picker up by the left hand.
Only magicians pic with the right hand transfer to the left. so ..
you need to position containers and objects so that there is a reason for the transfer (real or fake)

The ultimate goal (opinion) is that the audience does not even remember that you changed hands.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 26, 2019 07:58PM)
That makes sense to me, Ken. There's a sort of choreography about what goes where when so that the audience doesn't think of the hand-switch as significant. ("Of *course* he had to move the ball to the other hand so he could do something else with the hand that was holding the ball.") Therefore they hardly notice the transfer, or soon forget it. Fair rewording?

Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 26, 2019 09:53PM)
Fair for one approach, and probably enough.

Another might be to have them so engrossed in the story line that they believe what you say happened over what did. Tamariz does this well.

"To reprise, I took one ball and dropped it in the cup over there. Another ball went under this cup here."
No mention of using two hands for the drop - thus it never happened.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 27, 2019 07:05AM)
Ah, Tamariz! Can you suggest any DVD's where I can watch him doing what you describe? I've never watched him.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 27, 2019 08:48AM)
[quote]On Aug 27, 2019, Bob G wrote:
Ah, Tamariz! Can you suggest any DVD's where I can watch him doing what you describe? I've never watched him. [/quote]

all mine are packed for a move - some may be video tape rather than DVD. Hope others here can help with titles.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Aug 27, 2019 10:34AM)
Okay... good luck with you move!
Message: Posted by: Endless West (Nov 8, 2019 04:22PM)
Bill Tarrís ďNow you see it now you donít.Ē
Itís one of the best books there is.
Message: Posted by: plungerman (Nov 8, 2019 06:19PM)
Thanks Al for all the details. We never tire of them and as you know it takes repetition to get things right.

To everyone else I'll say this. Meeting Al and seeing him doing a simple false transfer is likely the most deceptive thing I have ever seen. I have the video and never catch it. Others agree with me. Knowing how it works does not help. So with that I can strongly recommend following his instructions wherever you find them.

I have Bill Tarr's original book. As a teaching aid it is admirable but the illustrations do little to suggest the timing, speed or context of the move. His illustrations share a defect with videos. A text can tell you a lot more about important details that might be seen but go unnoticed.

Back to holding the fingers flat. The example I am thinking of is Slydini pretending to hold a silver dollar. As you will find just by holding one (hand palm up) behind the fingers it will take at least three fingers to cover it. They will be flat to match the dollar. This is done in preparation to match the grip when the coin goes South. Then the fingers only pretend(!) to hold it and either give it to the other hand or vanish it on the table top. This was out of place for me to add earlier to the R to L discussion.

For actual R to L false transfer the coin should be held as visibly as a casual hand can allow. Then you are talking about the fingertips, again. The coin held in a comfortable way, as if you just picked it up. Currently I'm tossing from finger palm and focusing on the left hand with its readjustments and dropping slightly from the new added weight (Al, again).

I've lost track of the many fascinating ways to vanish the coin from transfers at the very tippy fingertips and other odd grips. These are great fun but only announce to the audience your intention. "Ooh! Look! He's about to do magic!" Aldo Columbini (Still miss him!) would dump on all the cool coin moves. He'd say, "Ask someone; Hey, how would you move a coin from right to left. And they'll say; Sure, like this." [Demo cross handed over-under gymnastic toss from R to L]. Deceptive, but who didn't see it coming?

The transfer is meant to go unnoticed so that it may be forgotten from the performance entirely.

Message: Posted by: Bob G (Nov 8, 2019 09:08PM)
Dear Al,

I don't know how I missed it before, but I just watched your video of Snapback Vanishes. (Got there by clicking on one of the wavy squares in the text on the left side of the page.) I absolutely love the one where you seem to toss the coin from one hand to the other. I really saw the coin travel! And yet it didn't. It's *eerie*.

The move reminds me of a story you told on one of your DVD's of how you were in college and left a penny on the bed and yet your two friends each swore they had seen you move the coin from one hand to the other. (One was certain the coin was in your left hand, the other in your right.)

I own a few of your books and DVD's and so far haven't found any instruction on that move. If you happen to remember, I'd love to know where you teach this move. I don't know whether it satisfies Funsway's and Plungereman's criterion of "never happened," but I don't care. It's just such a beautiful move that I'd like to learn it if I can. Whether I have the talent remains to be seen.


Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Nov 9, 2019 02:01AM)
An explanation has never been published.
I have not found a place to use it.
The move was developed while dropping a coin into my hand and studying the motion,
The key to the move is jerking the hand upward when released.
Yes the move is pretty but will not work when used as a raw vanish as many have pointed out in this forum.
Do you want to be a slight-of-hand artist or do magic.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Nov 9, 2019 12:09PM)
Ah, what a shame. If life were infinite, I'd want to be both a soh artist and a magician. Given that time is finite, I choose magician.

Well, then, my search continues. I think someone -- maybe Bobo??? -- has a false transfer in which it looks like the magician tosses the coin (or ball) from one hand to another. Does anyone know where I can find this? I look at too many resources and forget where I've seen things.
Message: Posted by: plungerman (Nov 9, 2019 01:18PM)
I'm told Al Goshman would do a similar vanish. He might be on YouTube. People would see the coin as he casually tossed it across even when it was not there. One job our brains do is to fill in what we expect to be true with what is only likely to be true. This is not always helpful but I'm sure we would be lost without it. We can take advantage of this but within limits. Similar to miscalling the suit of a card as it goes by.

With a chop cup it is important to demonstrate (casually) that the ball rolls out of the cup when inverted. The lesson takes and they are fooled by relying on it. You can actually get busted later if you don't start with that.

Speaking of infinite time, you might ought to return to see just where you need to do the transfer in your routine and focus on the best way to do it right there. If you have Al's materials you have no better lessons to look for. We all enjoy finding things new to us but the value to the routine and the performance is in the boring practice practice practice.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Nov 9, 2019 08:41PM)
Thanks for the leads and advice, Plungerman.

Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Nov 9, 2019 10:59PM)
I have talked to Goshman about this.
He shows the coins in classic position and snaps his hand toward the other hand. The other hand snaps shut as if doing a catch.
There can be a two inch space between the hands. Then the sending hand snaps a bit in the other direction.
The idea is that everything looks normal except the coin is not there.
There is no move here. Its all body language.
To learn it do it for real one thousand times.
Message: Posted by: plungerman (Nov 9, 2019 11:59PM)
Thanks, Al. I was about to describe it pretty much like that but best to get it from the source, or close to it.
Not sure my sending hand would ever snap back but I'll let you know after a few hundred tries.
I'm always reminding people to Do The Real Move! and then duplicate it.

Take care

Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Nov 10, 2019 10:21AM)
Here are a few of my thoughts about this. This is a duplicate of what is in my published material.

When about to do the move, look at your hands.
When you do the move,glance at your audience and ask a question.
Then look at the hand that apparently received the coin (ball) and apply intention of magic or continue with other false assumptions.
Whatever happens, do not look at the audience when the final magic event occurs.
I will let others explain what all of this means.

Do you want to be a slight-of-hand artist or do magic.
Message: Posted by: plungerman (Nov 10, 2019 10:56AM)
As far as the throwing hand snapping back I've found that the my tossing hand does pop back a bit. The fingers open up to throw the object and once empty they contract. From this the hand recoils slightly.

It is the typical for hobbyists to collect the apparatus of the subject they study. Gear heads may amass tools for car repairs they only dream of trying to do. The same with woodworkers and magicians. In magic the enormous amount of technique currently available for study can prevent progress just as the lack of same used to for interested people many years ago. The solution is the same for each extreme.

1. Find a method that looks best to you. This is from a book or seeing someone perform it.
2. Duplicate, imitate or clone the method completely at first. We all begin by imitating those we admire and respect.
3. After mastering the method As Taught, modify it to ones capacities or preferences according to one's experience doing it for others.

Currently I too see many hobbyists who know many moves but can do almost none of them perfectly or even well. Best to pick a small group of two or three then hunker down and practice these. I believe Al has the advantage there as the winters are long up North where he is.

Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Nov 10, 2019 01:20PM)
It took me nine years to graduate from college.
I studied more magic than physics.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Nov 10, 2019 02:01PM)
Plungerman, these strike me as wise words: "It is the typical for hobbyists to collect the apparatus of the subject they study. Gear heads may amass tools for car repairs they only dream of trying to do. The same with woodworkers and magicians. In magic the enormous amount of technique currently available for study can prevent progress just as the lack of same used to for interested people many years ago. The solution is the same for each extreme." I know I'm guilty of collecting too much stuff (mostly books and DVD's these days), and am working toward focusing on a few sleights. It's hard, because it's all so alluring! But I agree with you: best to learn a few sleights (and tricks) well.

There's another side to this, though: I have trouble deciding, just from the way a sleight *looks*, which variation of the sleight I want to learn. I like to have a few resources that give different variations on the same sleight. That way I can try them all, decide which feels the most natural in my hands, and then focus on one.
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Nov 10, 2019 02:20PM)
Here is my three cents.
Learn one trick well.
Preferably an easy trick. Maybe one using a key card principle.
Then do it a lot. The act of actually performing will be extremely educational.
Certainly when you make it entertaining.
Study how people react to your work.
Like Yoda said, "Don't think, do."
That is what I did.
Message: Posted by: plungerman (Nov 10, 2019 02:31PM)

You are not alone. I've got many more books on, DVDs on, and gaffs for any number of slights you could name. It is a hazard of good resources and free time. Too many things to decide on is a good problem to have but it is a real problem.

I've got a close friend who barely gets by and lives very lean. He will commit to a (non magic) performance date before his props are built. He knows that only with a date certain can he get the mental urgency to take the needed action. By definition the hobbyist does not have that urgency.

Perfecting slights should of course be done way before a date is set but the the need for urgency is the same. I got the best stuff I still use way back when I finally got the book I'd always wanted. I could not wait then. The urgency was not because of a date but my own determination. Everything since has been less urgent.

Discipline is the mature substitute for this urgency. Imagine your looking at your collection but in a store. At the end of the day the voice comes over, "Please make your final selections." Either your going to gorge yourself with collecting and hobby time or your going to become a performer. You will have to decide. Let us know when you have.

Message: Posted by: plungerman (Nov 10, 2019 02:33PM)
Al may remind us that sleight of hand takes thoughtful consideration and not urgency. I'm only suggesting this in order to make commitments and take action.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Nov 10, 2019 02:33PM)
Thanks, Al, for your advice. I'll look at my list of 8-10 tricks that are my first priority to learn, and choose one (it won't be easy!) Maybe 8-card brainwave, or maybe Color Monte. Then I have to find people willing to let me practice on them -- not necessarily easy in my case.

I didn't remember Yoda saying "Don't think, do," though, of course he's a favorite of many of us. I can hear him saying, "Good advice you give, Magic Al."

Message: Posted by: Bob G (Nov 10, 2019 02:41PM)
Plungerman, I just noticed your two posts that preceded Al's. I hear Yoda complimenting you, too. I'm in a slightly weird position: I'm 64, and have (I'd like to think) accumulated at least a bit of wisdom and self-discipline. But when it comes to my hobbies, especially newish ones (I've been studying magic for about 3.5 years) I'm just like a kid -- I want it *all*! I think Al has given me an excellent formula for fighting that tendency.

You mentioned deadlines. I'm not naturally good with deadlines. I've shored up my weakness in this area enough to hold down a job and do well at it, but with hobbies, as you pointed out, deadlines don't mean a whole lot. I think that setting arbitrary deadlines for myself would simply make me intolerably nervous and take the fun out of magic. So, the struggle goes on... But, again echoing you, it's better to have resources, imagination and free time, even if that can be problematic, than to lack ideas and passions.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Nov 10, 2019 10:33PM)
Having a venue is a great way to get yourself focused. My kids used to attend a private school (the public schoolís math curriculum was so bad that a relative who teaches engineering offered to pay for a significant portion of the cost) and the teachers got a 15 minute break every day with a parent volunteer reading a book to the kids. Only they chose lousy books full of moral lessons. When I asked the kids if they wanted a magic trick instead, I became the favorite parent. I went to 5 different grades and got to try a trick on 5 groups every week. But that was exactly what I needed to work on a trick a week.

My point is that if you want to get good, find an audience you will enjoy sharing your magic with. Since my kids moved to a different school, I havenít had an audience like that. Other opportunities have been available, though. Birthday parties for my own kids and for a friendís kid made me put together a kid show. A friend asked me to perform at his Halloween party and that gave me a deadline that made me script a whole show for adults (seance).

Do you have a grandchild who you would like to surprise with magic? Pick one trick to learn for that kid. Do you have a magic club in your area? Having a supportive audience can make it much easier to learn a trick.

I confess that I found once I had money to start buying more, I didnít learn to do as much. I became a method collector instead of learning to do a few tricks properly. Iím now refusing to buy more DVDs unless they were already on my list. Still not strong where books are concerned, though. I am also looking for more chances to actually perform tricks, which can be intimidating.

In the end, Bob, are you passionate about knowing the secrets or performing magic? There is no right answer. I get more of a charge out of performance, but it is so much faster and easier to learn a secret. If you are passionate about performing, you will find a venue. If you just want secrets, thatís fine too. Embrace it and become a supporting resource for performers in your area. You can be part of the magic world without being a magician.

Message: Posted by: Bob G (Nov 11, 2019 07:25AM)
Good questions, Patrick. I'm passionate about learning sleights and tricks. If all I wanted was secrets, I wouldn't be studying magic: It's more fun to experience a magic performance when you can't imagine how things were accomplished, except by magic. I want to perform, but I also suffer from a good deal of stage fright, something I've mentioned on this forum before.

I wish I'd gotten interested in magic when our daughter was in school -- then I would have had all kinds of natural audiences. But you've stimulated my thinking. When I retire in a year and a half, I plan to rejoin the group lessons that my piano teacher offers. Depending on who's in the group, I suspect they'd be up for almost anything, including a short magic performance. I'm sure there are other possibilities if I give some thought to this.

I have the same issue you had: Buying more materials actually takes time away from practicing.

Thanks for all your ideas, Patrick.

Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Nov 11, 2019 09:08AM)
When I started magic doing stuff for real people they would ask, "Why are your hands shaking?"
That is why I focused one easy trick.
Eventually I lived in an apartment that had a large party room.
One day the magic club I was in had a closeup show there. Members were to invite friends.
I invited a few from work.
One guy from work said if there was another party to invite him again.
I suggested that his friends could bring food and fluid, I would bring the magicians.
So,we had another party and someone there wanted to do it again.
That kept going for awhile.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Nov 11, 2019 12:03PM)
Al, thanks so much for all your stories and suggestions. Watching you on your DVD's I would never have guessed that stage fright was a problem for you. You have a gracious, relaxed, and likeable persona. So you're encouraging me, and encouragement is what I seem to need right now. I plan to try your one-easy-trick idea. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks again,

Message: Posted by: plungerman (Nov 11, 2019 01:57PM)
I've taken the time to read this thread from the beginning. It looks like we have already covered much of what we've been talking about recently. It makes good reading.

Good luck, Bob. Let us know how things go.

Message: Posted by: Bob G (Nov 11, 2019 02:01PM)
Thanks for taking the time, P. I think I have a good plan now and I'll certainly be back to let people know how I'm progressing.


P. S. Just took the time to reread the entire thread myself. Can't believe it started on August 1st! It's been a really interesting journey, with lots and lots of helpful ideas.