Spider Vanish

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Marc01 » 09/23/02 03:16 AM

I can't get the Knack of the Spider Vanish
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Postby Mitch Dutton » 09/23/02 05:57 AM

I don't know about anyone else, but I use the Threeflyswatter - sems to work just fine. :D --Mitch
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Postby Curtis Kam » 09/23/02 06:22 PM

Try watching Mike Gallo's tapes, including the "Siamese coins" video, you'll see a fine one in action. But make sure you have the explanations, too, or you'll miss it.

The Roth videos also demonstrate it. The trick is to watch these examples while imagining you are a skeptical lay person.

Presentationally, the goals are: 1)know all the rules for accomplishing a good false take, and 2) break them. For me, this means (assuming an apparent take from the left hand) that I shut the left hand into a tight fist, and raise it higher in the air just before I "vanish" the coin.

I'm assuming your problem is the presentation. If it's a technical problem, try substituting a different palm for the classic palm. The aforementioned Mr. Gallo uses a fingerpalm, I use both the Thumb and the Mutobe palms, and written sources indicate others have used a Downs palm. One could also use a Purse palm and achieve good results.

Good luck
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Postby Guest » 09/25/02 02:01 PM

For me, there are two main ingredients to a successful Spider Vanish. One is that people have seen you do the real move before and that youve fooled them with it. (If your Spider Vanish looks like a French Drop, then do a real French Drop before the Spider Vanish.) The other point is the audiences (often justified) thought of it must be in the other hand. After having set-up the motion the first time, and gotten your audience with it, when you use the same motion as before and can now show that other hand empty it becomes very strong.

Id suggest looking at how David Roth incorporates his Spider Vanish near the end of his One Coin Routine in Expert Coin Magic. I dont think theres a clearer example of how to set up the move psychologically.

Oh, one last thing. As with all vanishes, when you show the vanish, you must believe really believe that the coin is gone.

Good luck. Its worth it.

Zech Johnson
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Postby Lance Pierce » 09/25/02 05:23 PM

Good points, guys, and exactly right. The Spider Vanish is as much psychological as it is technical. It relies on the fact that in a series of vanishes, your spectators at some point will follow the old line of reasoning that the coin must actually be in your other hand. It's only when they're about to get to that point in their reasoning that you pull out the move.

Michael Skinner used to perform it as if he was doing a somewhat poor French Drop. He would hold a coin at his right fingertips as if he were doing the drop, come across to take it with his other hand, but instead of doing the drop, actually take it. However, as the left hand carried the coin away, the right hand would dip and clench as if he'd caught a coin there. He'd hold this hand in a somewhat tense fist as the left hand traveled to the side and classic-palmed the coin before pretending to throw it to the floor. After a beat, he'd open his right hand to let the audience see it was empty. As Curtis points out, one can use a thumb-palm or other acquitment instead of a classic palm if so inclined.

It's very easy to use this as a sucker vanish and insult the audience, almost as if you're saying, "I know what you're thinking and, holy cow, I'm fooling you again." I find it plays much better when the right hand is opened as a matter of course rather than to overtly display it as empty. This way, the audience is allowed to fool themselves without your apparently taking part in it.

Because of this particular psychology, the Spider Vanish is a poor one as a first vanish. It plays much better as a third or fourth vanish. I use it when I perform sponge balls, and it's veeerrrrry satisfying.

Best,

Lance
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Postby Curtis Kam » 09/25/02 06:02 PM

I assume, Lance, that you're not classic palming the sponge ball? What are you doing?

Marc, try "The Web". It's a Spider production. :)
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Postby Lance Pierce » 09/25/02 06:09 PM

Hi, Curtis!

No, not classic palming. I'm not THAT good. Left hand holds at the fingertips almost like a French Drop position. Right hand comes over and takes it directly into thumb palm. As it moves away, the left hand reaches up and the fingers close, as if they were grabbing the ball back. The right hand does a tossing motion to the floor, and then the left hand is casually opened.

No big shakes. :-)

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Postby Matt Sedlak » 09/25/02 10:24 PM

Curtis briefly mentioned the use of Mutobe palm in conjunction with the Spider Vanish. I just want to say that if angles permit, I feel that Mutobe is THE way to do this thing. The relaxed, open hand makes the vanish that much more deceptive.
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Postby Sean Piper » 09/26/02 01:48 AM

I'm man enough to admit I've got no idea...

What's a Mutobe Palm?
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Postby Guest » 09/26/02 06:27 AM

Mutobe is a Japanese magician who uses this palm in much of his coin magic. The palm is also known as Thumb Crotch Palm. The coin is held against the inner 1st phalanx of the thumb gripped by the crotch of the thumb (where the thumb meets the hand) and the 2nd phalanx of the thumb.

If you are familiar with Gary Kurtz' materials, he uses this palm a lot during his multiple coin hand transfer aquitments.

I am under the impression that this palm has been around for quite a while. Is anyone sure of its origins?
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 09/26/02 10:27 AM

There is a description of the Mutobe Palm in the English/Japanese Symposium book-#5? I think it's also described in New Magic of Japan that Kaufman published in the mid eighties. Good luck.
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Postby Curtis Kam » 09/26/02 11:59 AM

I can never resist an opportunity for a shameless plug, and so here ya go:

The latest and greatest scoop on the Mutobe palm, with the blessing of Dr. Mutobe himself, is the application to sequentially palming multiple coins (and corresponding changeovers) as performed by my friend Kainoa Harbottle, and brought to you by our good friends at Magicsmith. Check out "Palms of Steel 2: Fists of Fury" on sale soon.

The aforementioned palm is the matter of some confusion. It's a little like arguing about the difference between Tenkai Palm, Angle Palm, and Unit grip in the card world. However, the Palm allows you to open your hand out flat, fingers spread, all the while concealing a stack of coins. There's a certain look to the hand that is very disarming from most angles, and as Matt says, it's a natural for the spider vanish.

Mutobe palm has been compared to a grip Frank Drobina used to conceal dimes, as described in Bobo's, and utilized to wonderful result by Larry Jennings in his "22 Cent Transposition".

It also resembles (and I'm not 100% sure here) "Lamont Grip" as used and described by Lamont Ream, and the grip John Carney uses for the stack of coins in his "Hot Slot" routine.

And, while we're on the subject of Spider vanishes, Kainoa Harbottle and PoS2, I'm dying to mention that Kainoa was also nice enough to give me a brand new spider vanish, and it appears on that DVD.

Kainoa's Spider is based on the premise that the idea is to create suspicion, so why not start with the most suspicious coin vanish you can think of. Can you say, "'Over the Top' from Bobo's"?

Sorry for going on like this. All need is George Foreman and we'll have an info-mercial.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 09/26/02 06:17 PM

Can someone explain how does the Mutobe palm differ from the Lamont grip?
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Postby Curtis Kam » 10/08/02 01:34 PM

Sorry, Bill, I guess that'd have to be me.

I'm no expert on Lamont grip, but it seems to me that there is first of all a difference in intended purpose. Mr. Ream seems to have concieved his grip as a tool for maneuvering multiple coins in stack formation. Mutobe palm was originally a concealment for a single coin, and the goal was to hide that one coin while creating an illusion of a flat, empty hand.

The difference in intention plays itself out in the difference between the grips themselves.

Mutobe Palm seems to be further up along the edge of the hand, allowing the hand to open out flatly, more or less palm down. Despite this, the thumb is visible to the viewer. It's an agle thing.

Lamont Grip is presented to the audience with the back of the hand to the viewer, and the thumb is less visible. The palm faces the performer, so the coins contact the hand more on the palm side, as opposed to the edge.

The difference is perhaps best experessed this way: Lamont grip is a concealment, Mutobe palm is a display.

Or I could be wrong. Is Mr. Ream here?
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Postby mike cookman » 10/13/02 07:43 AM

David Roth has a great explanation for the spider vanish on his Live in Philly video, during his explanation of his great Stonehenge Coin Assembly. Also, Paul Cummins offers a neat variation on his Up in Smoke video. :)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/13/02 03:12 PM

The Spider Grip Vanish, exactly as Mike Skinner performed it, appears in The Sphinx in 1919 credited to Walter Gibson. John Moehring sent me the photocopied page years ago.
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Postby Guest » 10/13/02 03:18 PM

my personal favorite is ross bertram's from the stars of magic...it is killer in dingle's hands

Mike
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Postby Lance Pierce » 10/13/02 03:31 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
The Spider Grip Vanish, exactly as Mike Skinner performed it, appears in The Sphinx in 1919 credited to Walter Gibson. John Moehring sent me the photocopied page years ago.
I guess the four big names (speaking of modern history) that are associated with the Spider Vanish are Skinner, Marlo, Gibson, and Bertram. I'll suggest, though, that rather than the exact technique being the most important thing -- in this case -- it's the psychology behind the move that's paramount. The Spider Vanish is supposed to look suspect. As such, darned near any suspicious movement will do.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/13/02 03:57 PM

Actually, Lance, that's not quite true. It's a delicate matter to perform the sleight well because the spectator's suspicions are bounced from hand to hand to help conceal the counter-intuitive nature of the sleight. Instead of a fake take, it's a real take. That's an interesting idea, now how do you cover a real take--how do you convince the audience that the item is not in the hand that actually took it! You must bounce suspicion from hand to hand so that the hand which took the coin can get away without really being shown empty, but only giving the scant impression that it's empty. So, it's a delicately choreographed action that not every performer can make play properly.
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Postby Lance Pierce » 10/13/02 04:35 PM

Oh, but I didn't say it didn't have to be performed well. :) We're actually on the same page here:

What has to happen is that the "taking" hand comes away, but the other hand commits a suspicious action that lends the impression that the object is actually being received or retained there. The audience's attention is drawn to the "taking" hand for but a moment, but this attention is overwhelmed by the odd action of the other hand, and it's drawn back over there. As the "taking" hand casually moves away, the other hand increases the heat on itself by tensing up and appearing to actually be concealing something. The "taking" hand then gestures softly and openly, but the audience's attention is nowhere near here at that point...it's on the "hot" hand that's sitting over there, all stiff and guilty. The emptiness of the "taking" hand is peripheral. Tension increases in the other hand slightly, and it seems as if all the energy is truly there, causing the audience to further rivet their suspicion on it. Then, the energy is softly let go and the tension released as the hand casually opens, and it's seen that it, too, is empty.

When I said that just about any suspicious movement will do, I meant that this hand that draws all the fire can do so in any number of ways that would befit our respective mannerisms. We don't have to do it just like Skinner (or Gibson) or Marlo or Bertram, as long as this hand captures and holds the heat while the other hand (the TRULY guilty one) walks away unnoticed.

Cheers,

Lance
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Postby sleightly » 10/13/02 05:20 PM

A small point that I don't think has been mentioned...

As I perform it, the "take" is, in essence, a french drop vanish. Instead of dropping or relaxing the "empty" hand, you leave it in a slightly cupped palm-up position. The "taking hand remains in a palm-down, closed fist.

When someone holds something in their hand (even a closed fist), they generally hold it palm up. No one holds something in a closed, palm-down position except magicians.

You don't need to do anything but pause movement a moment. The audience will notice the discrepancy without any need to point the fact out. You then realize that they are "onto your little game," and give up, opening the "take" hand palm down (after classic palming the coin). This action of course indicates the emptiness of your hand (particularly well if you are performing standing for seated patrons, as you have a built-in Kaps subtlety). You return attention to the left hand and "fess up." As you open your hand, you notice that it too is empty, which should suprise even the performer.

It is all about body language and relying on the audience's natural inclination to interpret the situation appropriately. This can be aided if you make the "take" look mildly suspicious by locking your elbows at your side while performing the move (particularly the side of the "empty" hand). If you do this, the "take" side should look as loose as possible which furthers the audience's conviction level that it is empty...

Fascinating move, wonderful choreography, but needs appropriate psychology and acting to read convincing...

ajp
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/13/02 05:51 PM

Yes, Lance, that's exactly how it should be done. I think it requires more grace and acting ability than any other move in coin magic.
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Postby mike cookman » 10/13/02 09:01 PM

My thoughts, for what they are worth, and most likely nothing---the "take" hand--for me the right hand---should be very convincing. The audience should believe the coin was "in" that hand, then it is gone..then not in the left hand, then they don't know what to think...if the audience does not know about the french drop, they should be convinced the coin was in the "take" hand. So making a big deal out of the other hand looking sneaky should be a minor part of the acting...and then the rest comes naturally...so sayeth I.
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Postby sleightly » 10/13/02 09:10 PM

Oh, I don't know Richard...

I think the slide vanish requires quite a bit of finesse...

ajp
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Postby Guest » 10/14/02 05:45 PM

One more point to be added here. Once you pretend to toss the coin (with the hand that actually has the coin) and the spectators eyes divert to the other hand...DO NOT throw the empty hand in their face! This is just as good as jumping up and shout...YOU DUMB ASS, IT A'INT HERE. Just make a casual gesture showing the hand empty.

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Postby Lance Pierce » 10/14/02 05:52 PM

Exactly, Mike, and this is one of the most important points of the Spider Vanish. The revealing of the suspect hand as empty is usually best seen as an innocent revelation -- one where the performer himself was apparently unaware of the suspicion on that hand and of which he is equally unaware of the significance of it being shown empty.

Best,

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Postby mike cookman » 10/14/02 07:26 PM

That's just what I meant, what Mike Gallo said, though he said it better than me.
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Postby Lance Pierce » 10/14/02 07:36 PM

Yeah, but it was said first...in post #5.

::snicker...::

:D
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Postby mike cookman » 10/14/02 08:24 PM

Well, then, Lance, you got me there.
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Postby Lance Pierce » 10/15/02 06:28 AM

Hi, Mike,

It's an excellent and crucial point no matter who said it. This has been a great thread!

Cheers,

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Postby Guest » 10/15/02 05:59 PM

Yeah, but it was said first...in post #5.

Oops, Yes you did mention it Lance...silly me and my A.D.D. :)

Mike
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Postby Pete McCabe » 10/17/02 06:14 PM

There is a very detailed write up of, I think, Bob Kohler's handling of the Spider Vanish in, I think, Impossibilia by John Bannon.

It breaks the move down into a series of precise steps that will, I think, make the required actions automatic.

This post may help you, I think.
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 02:12 AM

So its kind of a "sucker" vanish I presume?

Alel
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Postby Guest » 09/23/06 06:12 AM

I think I saw this vanish on one of Micheal Ammars DVDs. I think if you actually did do a Frech Drop and then did the Spider Vanish it would make it much better. Also if you cross your body anf put the coin in Downs palm and give a tossing motion from there the specs will consider the coin gone.
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Postby Guest » 09/23/06 01:42 PM

Using a different concealment to apparently show the hand that really took the coin empty is proven strategy. Back when I thought I had invented the idea (yeah, right!) I used what Geoff Latta calls Nowhere Palm to imply that the taking hand was empty. Ive also used the back thumb palm to very good effect. That idea can be found in Bobos under the heading Just Pretend.

I was taught the Spider vanish by Mike Skinner and used to do it exactly has he did save for one minor addition. When I take the coin I take it directly into right hand classic palm by pressing it into place with my right third finger. As I do the take I make sure my right thumb does not go behind the coin. I think this adds to the illusion because if you actually tried to take the coin that way it wouldnt work Ive seen others do this as well, so please dont mistake this for an original idea.

Another touch I used to use was to spin the coin 180 degrees (heads/tails) between my left hand thumb and second finger by pressure of my first finger. That small bit of manipulation just before the move tells the audience that you are clever with that hand.

For me, the best place to put the move is after two traditional vanishes, one in each hand:
Left hand vanishes the coin/Right produces it.
Right hand vanishes the coin, left produces it.
Left hand displays the coins and right hand does the fake/fake take.


And Ill echo what Curtis wrote earlier. Ive seen the best of the best do this type of vanish since learning it from Skinner and the only person who has ever fooled me with this type of vanish is Mike Gallo. Hopefully hell be giving up the real work in his upcoming book.
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