Sands of time ..or whatever its going by now

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Sands of time ..or whatever its going by now

Postby Guest » June 18th, 2002, 2:05 am

Would anyone be able to give me any info on the history of "Sands of time" and let
me know why its know under so many names?
Maybe tell me what it looks like and where I could find it?

Jeff Haas
Posts: 934
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: San Mateo, CA

Re: Sands of time ..or whatever its going by now

Postby Jeff Haas » June 18th, 2002, 4:22 pm

Hot tip: Check out the Alan Wakeling book for a terrific variation on this...using different liquids.

That's right, pour several different beverages into a bucket, mix them, then scoop them out individually and serve them to members of the audience.

Thanks again, Jim Steinmeyer!


Dale Shrimpton
Posts: 387
Joined: March 20th, 2008, 7:21 am

Re: Sands of time ..or whatever its going by now

Postby Dale Shrimpton » July 1st, 2002, 4:16 am

I am guessing that the effct was created, probably in england, at a time when music hall acts went down realy well, if they had a " empire theme". (1885-to the late 20s)
hence so many of the names tie into places ascociated with those days.." sands of the Ganges" , etc.Public taste was ever changing at that time as well. one day everything in the house had to be chinese, the next, indian, or egyptian.
also, i would presume that, the secret was one that got out prety quickly, and the best way to disguise the fact you are copying an effect, is by re-naming it.
i find it interesting that today, in toy shops all over the world, it is possible to buy plastic bottles of " magic sand", yet nobody has realised that its basicaly the same stuff as used in the trick.


Re: Sands of time ..or whatever its going by now

Postby Guest » July 18th, 2002, 1:33 pm

Hilliard's "Greater Magic" has a wonderful section in chapter 27 "selected tricks" devoted to this subject. It covers not only method but also different versions by various performers. It even covers the history of the effect from India and the changes made by the Europeans. :)



User avatar
Matthew Field
Posts: 2739
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Slydini
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Re: Sands of time ..or whatever its going by now

Postby Matthew Field » July 19th, 2002, 7:17 am

BrianP. asked what "Sands of Time," often called "Sands of the Desert" looks like.

When I saw Just Alan perform it, he was seated before a large glass bowl which he filled with water. Swirling the water with his hand, the water turned to ink. There were three piles of colored sand before him . He thrust his hand into one of the piles and mixed the sand into the water. This he repeated with each of the other colors and again stirred the water. Then, he reached into the water and withdrew a handful of sand -- it was dry and all of a single color. This was repeated twice and each time he withdrew dry sand of a single color. Finally, he stirred his hand through the water and it turned completely clear.

When Just Alan performed this, it was magnificent.

Matt Field

Return to “Magic History and Anecdotes”