THE ENLARGING SPONGE BALL
At the finish of a sponge ball routine, one of the one-inch in diameter sponge balls is placed into the center of an eighteen inch silk handkerchief. The four corners of the silk are twisted and a spectator is allowed to squeeze the ball thru the silk. Magi removes some invisible vitamin B-1 from his pocket and sprinkles it on the silk covered ball. With all eyes on the ball, a very beautiful effect happens. The ball is seen to visibly get larger and larger, and start filling out the silk. It looks almost as though a balloon were being inflated slowly under the silk as the ball grows larger. It finally stops growing. The silk is held by the four corners with the right hand and rested on the left palm. The right hand releases its four corners which allows the silk to drop down over the left palm disclosing a large sponge ball – the SIZE OF A GRAPEFRUIT!
Take a large “grapefruit” size sponge ball, at one time I used a hollow one, but in recent years have discovered that a solid one works just as well. In fact even better, as the spectators can handle the big ball at the finish and see that it is solid. Drape the eighteen inch silk over the palm of your left hand. Place the big ball in the center of the silk and with the right hand, compress the ball as small as possible. The left hand (through the silk) holds the ball in its compressed state. When you’ve compressed the ball as much as you can, the left hand twists the silk. This will keep the big ball from expanding. This bundle can be slipped into your hip pocket or under your belt just over your hip pocket, until it is needed.
At the finish of your regular sponge ball routine, let’s say, three one-inch sponge balls are displayed on the table. One of these balls is picked up with the right hand, as this is happening, the left hand goes to the left hip pocket and removes the silk covered large ball. The silk is held as in fig. 1. The four fingers cover the compressed ball and the thumb is at the front. The left hand shakes the silk as though it were empty. At the same time, the right hand apparently places the small ball it holds, under the silk. What really happens is that once the right hand is under the silk, it conceals the small ball and removes it hidden in the palm. The right hand goes right to the table, picks up the remaining small balls on the table, and places them (along with the palmed ball) back in the close-up case, or right coat pocket. You’re now “home free”, everything is clean, and you can devote your entire attention to presentation and selling.
Your left hand now takes the compressed ball through the silk and squeezes it even tighter together. The right hand retwists the four corners of the silk, then place it into the left fist with the covered ball resting on top of the left fist, and the twisted part of the silk inside the fist with the four corners of the silk sticking out the bottom of the fist (see illus.). Let them squeeze the ball at this point. Shake your left fist slightly, and as you do, very slowly release the tension on the twisted silk with your left hand. As the tension is released, the large ball will slowlv take shape.
This is really a beautiful effect to see, and it never fails to get audible gasps of amazement from the onlookers. I close my close-up routine with this effect, and in the entire realm of close-up magic, I’ve never found a stronger effect that could follow it.