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panlives
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Hi All,

Bill Palmer taught me a new term today - "Mitt joint is a carney term for a palm-reader or any other fortune teller -- the term comes from the big sign with the hand that stands outside most of these places."

Question: is there any kind of fortune-telling, clairvoyance or soothsaying routine that uses the Cups and Balls or any remote variation thereof?

With thanks,
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
Johnny Butterfield
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Maybe a magic 8-ball as a final load?
The current economic crisis is due to all the coins I've vanished.
The poster formerly known as Fman111.
gaddy
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Tea leaves?
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Bill Palmer
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Actually, Bob Hummer had a three cup routine, somewhat like a shell game thing, that several people used. You have three cups. Their positions are numbered 1, 2, and 3.

The spectator puts a rolled up bill under one of the cups, then switches the positions of the other two while your back is turned. Then he switches the positions of any two cups, calling out the numbers of their positions. He does this as many times as both of you can stand.

You turn around and immediately point out where the bill is.
"The Swatter"

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Jim Wilder
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Quote:
On 2010-07-19 21:06, Bill Palmer wrote:
Actually, Bob Hummer had a three cup routine, somewhat like a shell game thing, that several people used. You have three cups. Their positions are numbered 1, 2, and 3.

The spectator puts a rolled up bill under one of the cups, then switches the positions of the other two while your back is turned. Then he switches the positions of any two cups, calling out the numbers of their positions. He does this as many times as both of you can stand.

You turn around and immediately point out where the bill is.

Great call Bill! That is a great thought... I have used this in a modified way (spec doesn't have to call the numbers), but not with cups.
Lawrence O
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Al Koran's variant which appeared in "Professional Presentations" and, with amendments in Eric Mason's "Stuff" is not numbering the cups but focus on switching the two empty cups. Simon Aronson also brought some fresh idea into it with the color of the spot over which the mouth down cups are placed.

As you know, Bill, we can do better than this.
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
Bill Palmer
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My question, though, is do we actually WANT to do "better" than this? And would something "better" than this actually be better?

I see the cups and balls as a display of sleight of hand or of conjuring. I believe that throwing mentalism/fortunetelling into the mix somehow pollutes/dilutes the two.

I don't want to see the cups and balls reduced to what mentalism has become during the past five years.

I remember seeing a well-known magician on the Letterman show about a year ago. He did a card trick, then said, "Now I will do some mentalism. Take a card." The trick itself was inconsequential. It wasn't impressive enough for me to remember, and it definitely wasn't good mentalism.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Lawrence O
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I get you point
However letting a spectator choose the cup that he places a ball under and mix them up is a good introduction or follow up to the effect where one ball is placed under each cup and one travel to the selected cup and then show what would have happened if the spectator had chosen the other cup. This is a good way to increase audience participation and there are not that many opportunities in the cups and balls. Letting some spectators briefly touch the cup increases as you know the impact of the routine.
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Magic.J.Manuel
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Well, it is not fortune telling, but the smash and stab may be the most popular mental trick with cups, but I hear the Delrin cups are difficult to smash.
Nothing would get done at all, if man waited so long that no one could find fault with it.
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2010-07-20 13:19, Lawrence O wrote:
I get you point
However letting a spectator choose the cup that he places a ball under and mix them up is a good introduction or follow up to the effect where one ball is placed under each cup and one travel to the selected cup and then show what would have happened if the spectator had chosen the other cup. This is a good way to increase audience participation and there are not that many opportunities in the cups and balls. Letting some spectators briefly touch the cup increases as you know the impact of the routine.


This would be a good way of involving the spectator directly.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Donnie Buckley
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I've done readings and plenty of mentalism. Guessing which cup a ball is under with a 1 in 3 chance is not very strong mentalism, and for the life of me I can't think of anyway to interpret the orientation of the cups to do a reading since I read this post this morning.
What do we say?:
If the spectator randomly assembles the cups mouth up and/or mouth down, there is something to be said about their fortune.
First cup - Your Past
Second cup - Your Present
Third cup - Your Future
If the first cup is mouth up then... etc.
If the spectator randomly places a ball or balls into the cups, then that is interpreted to mean something, as in "You placed two balls in the first cup, none in the second and one in the third. I see you...etc."

Even assuming that any good reader can use just about anything to provide an accurate reading of a sitter, I gotta say, this just stinks.
You want to give a good reading with cool props, use Brian Watson's Sim Stones.
You want to do close up magic, master the cups and balls.

If you want to drop a zinger that will LEAD to a reading, then you can inject come commentary about the spectator's personlity into the routine based upon some decision they made. But... my spectator's don't really make decisions durng my routine. And if you do the Vernon "pick a cup", that's not really much of a decision for them to make. It would sound mildly ridiculous to say that you can determine something about their personality because they chose the "middle" cup.

Just my opinion. Maybe someone can do some soothsaying with three empty cups in some manner I haven't considered...
I'll stick to palms, cards and stones.
Learn the form, but seek the formless. Learn it all, then forget it all. Learn the way, then find your own way. Rings-N-Things
cupsandballsmagic
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Thanks for the head's up Donnie Smile

I wouldn't personally want to use cups for readings, I wouldn't mix the two.

Though...

Here's 3 cups and 3 balls... and I predict... that in 2 minutes time when I lift them again you are going to ****** in your pants when there's 3 oranges in their place!

Bri
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Smile Smile Smile
Learn the form, but seek the formless. Learn it all, then forget it all. Learn the way, then find your own way. Rings-N-Things
Bill Palmer
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If you wanted to do a sneaky lead-in to a cups and balls routine, you could use whatever cups you are going to use to do that Hummer thing. Then, you could explain that the cups are actually quite special, even though they don't appear to be. Do the cup through cup, maybe the depth illusion. Then go into your cups and balls.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Woland
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"I see the cups and balls as a display of sleight of hand or of conjuring. I believe that throwing mentalism/fortunetelling into the mix somehow pollutes/dilutes the two."

It does seem that the "point" of the Cups & Balls is to demonstrate the operator's control over the equipment - whether by manual skill, in the case of a shell-game oriented presentation, or by magic, in the case of a magic-oriented presentation. I think that's so, even allowing for those presentations in which the operator appears to be as wonderstuck and amazed by the magic as I would hope the spectators are.

If that's the case, then it does seem to contradict the basis of a method of divination, in which the physical phenomena upon which the diviner develops the reading are understood to represent either the crystallization of the sum total of the 'random' influences operative in the world at that moment, or even the precise characteristics of the Moirae's thread.

I think that to be successful, a divination-based Cups & Balls routine would have to solve that problem. Perhaps one could begin with a shell-game presentation, emphasizing deceptive skill; then express wonderment when actual magic seems to occur almost of its own accord; and then complete the transition by presenting a series of "final" loads that communicate a reading. One might also close with a return to the idea of conjuring, as the operator regains control over the equipment.

Woland
funsway
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A story about how some number of cups and colored stones were used as a form of divination could provide an interesting lead-in to a C&B Routine without actually doing any divination -- giving the effect a touch af antiquity other than the common Egyptian drivel. There some ancient divination systems that used three baskets as a way of separating "casters" into symbol groups, so the theme would have some legitimacy. I'll give some thought to constructing such a routine and story and send it to Bill.

In the mean time, here is a story on that theme that might inspire some thinking:

BASKET of TEARS

I had wandered medium far to find her,
following ragged maps and antipodal advice.
Upon the seeing I was even less believing;
for she was too young to be a crone,
too tall to be an elf,
and too nice to be a witch…
still --
flowers grew out of the rocks nearby,
and a spider was spinning webs between her hands
which were busy conducting a chorus of frogs …
so I guessed she be the one!

“I’ve get a problem,’ says I in practiced voice.

The frogs changed to three part harmony, but she doesn’t stop.

“It’s about this balance thing. I keep dreaming of this crooked stick with my spirit shining bright on one end, and my mind ajumble on the other, and it’s teeterin’ on this quivering point that appears to be my soul.”

She looks at me with eyes ‘bout a thousand years old, and puts on this scarf the spider finished and sits down on a stool that wasn’t there before. The frogs have all turned into a couple dozen baskets – each a different make and shape, but with gaping mouths the same.

“Tell me your story, quick and clear,” a tiny bird chirped overhead.

As I rambled about in mem’ry – more lost than found, she wrote strange symbols on selected stones and tossed them into baskets – no plan that I could see – no pattern nor rhythm nor chant – never missed though.

I recon some held more stones at the end than others even empty. I could have kept on except for fear of overflowing some, so I kinda wound down to telling a joke or two. More pebbles.

“Tell me now what you believe is important,” whispered she in a voice too rough for this smallish maid – and held up five finger plus one. I thought a bit and called three right off, as I had been taught by dad. The others were tougher as I had dozens from which to choose and only three fingers left to guide. I sorted through thoughts and teachings and promises from priests and shop keepers, knights and stable boys, tavern stories and what Amy told me last Thursday. She smiled a little to help me some, I think – least wise I forgot to be afraid. There! It is done.

She didn’t write any of these down, but the baskets skuddled about into a new pattern and an acorn dropped on my head. I was thirsty and noticed a little waterfall nearby where there had been a bush before.

Her voice was most musical now. “Now tell sir, what do you know that is true? Her other voice boomed, “What true things do you know?”

Well, no amount of head scratching and lip pluckin’ got me a very long list. Perhaps that is an easy question for you, my friend; but then you were not standing there with baskets a shaking time like rattle snakes. What I told her must have been all right since she didn’t disappear or lightning strike, but I felt as though both things had happened once or twice.

She pranced around the baskets like she had extra feet – or maybe her slippers kept changing color. Then she tipped over all of the baskets, each by each, and let the contents dribble out. Many held water that seeped into the ground. Others held ashes the fluttered away on a sudden breeze. A couple held leaves that spread a blanket on the gravel path. Onto this fell four stone – no more!

“The answer to these are all you need,’ she sighed, while describing the symbols on each – the focus of a problem segment self defined. “Now you may choose two of these, and I will give you solutions guaranteed for eternity.”

I left of course, with four stones in my pocket – and they lay softly now in my garden pool. The solutions I selected were better by far, methinks –
once I learned the complexity of my life was of my choosing …
and but a breath away from knowing,
once false beliefs drifted away.

There is only one thing I really know –
I mean with finality …

that someday another will come to me,
and I will set out some baskets,
and together we will be free.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Lawrence O
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Bill,
would you kindly report the reference where we can find Bob Hummer's effect? or at least indicate a lead.
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Bill Palmer
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I first came across it in Marvin Kaye's [i]Stein and Day Handbook of Magic[/1] page 41. where it is called "Find the Ball." I'm not sure where I learned that it was a Hummer effect.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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funsway
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Just a thought ...

if you consider each of three Cups in a line as "place holders,"
then a number can be expressed in Base-Three math depending on whether none, one or two ball are present under the Cup.

A B C
- - * = 1
- - ** = 2
- * - = 3
- * * = 4
* * * = 13
** - * = 19 and so on

with six ball you can do every number 0-26, 27 variations that should be magical enough for anyone. Obviously, each number could be equated with some symbol for some interesting divination stories as the Balls move around.

There is evidence that some ancient divination systems used this method. Also notice that some numbersa like 3 and 13 are "balanced" while others like 1 nd 2 are "extreme" and others "moderate."
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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malaki
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"I see the cups and balls as a display of sleight of hand or of conjuring. I believe that throwing mentalism/fortunetelling into the mix somehow pollutes/dilutes the two."

That is ironic, for it was sleight of hand and illusion that magicians used to use to "prove" that they had the power to conduct magical rituals, amongst them being divination.


I think that you could create a routine using fortune telling as a subject for the routine, but please be aware that some people take this seriously and might well be offended if you stray too far from how it is actually done, or the symbology behind it.

The closest form of divination to performance magic of which I am aware, might be the casting of lots, using various "Medicine Bag" types of items (see the movie Willow). Other than that, the I Ching is a method of fortune telling that involves casting several coins, then depending upon which sides were up and their positions, would tell you of your fate.
I once had a "Chinese" item that was a long cardboard tube container with about 50 or 60 thin strips of bamboo, each marked with a number. The person for whom the fortune would be told shakes the container until one strip falls to the table. The number is looked up in the book to tell your fortune. I have only seen this one example of this rig, so I do not know if it were really a thing of not. I tend to think it was an item with the goal of marketing.

For a fortune reading routine, you are probably better off using cards. These have been used since their invention as a means of reading the future, and Tarot cards are made for this.
Again, do some research on anything you intend to use. It is better to learn and NOT to offend anyone. After all, there are many people who believe a lot of different things. Just because it is not part of your culture does not mean that you have carte blanche to do what you will with someone else's culture or traditions.
Think to yourself "would this offend me if someone did this routine with my beliefs as it's basis?"
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