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Update: all questions answered by Magic Café user "Talmi" -- who has my undying gratitude!
I came across an old effect called a "Conradi Mystery Box." The woman who owned said she had seen it in advertised an old Heaney catalog.

It is a small wooden box, with solid sides, top and bottom -- no holes. None of the sides are movable. Inside, the box is divided into three square compartments.

In each compartment there is a removable block, apparently made of wood, shaped as shown in attachment (bottom front of the block is angled).

The blocks are numbered 1, 2 and 3 on top. The top side of each block must have a metal/tin plate under the number, as a magnet will attract the top of each block. A magnet will not attract any of the sides or bottom of any block. Even a very strong magnet will not attract the block through the boxes lid.

The three compartments have a triangular piece of wood glued to the bottom front of each compartment, matching the cut on the blocks. The blocks will not fit into a compartment in any manner except with the angles mated.

The woman did not know how the box was used, or the secret. I studied it for a long time, and I don't have a clue.

Can anyone fill me in on how the box was used, or any other similar effect to this that you are aware of?

Click here to view attached image.
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Hello MRReed,

I own two of these beautiful boxes. I will tell you how they work if you send me a mail to As far as I know these boxes were made by different German makers around 1900-1920. Heaney distributed a lot of items made by Conradi.

Best Regards,

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