Karrell Fox – Vanglass

Karrell Fox


We’re at the close-up table. The magician has been doing a series of tricks with a borrowed pocket handkerchief. For a finale he picks up one of the spectators glasses, containing a drink. He covers the glass with the handkerchief and holds it about one foot above the table. He has a spectator place their left hand under the covered glass on his hand, and their right hand on top of his hand at the top of the glass. Magi then slowly brings his hands together, crushing the handkerchief. THE GLASS AND LIQUID HAVE VANISHED! Explaining that when magicians make things disappear, they sometimes go up their sleeves, he reaches under his coat (towards the armpit) and produces the glass of liquid.

You place the spectator’s filled glass directly in front of you on the table, the glass rests about six inches from the table’s edge. You shake out the handkerchief and holding it by the two top corners, show it on both sides. The handkerchief is then draped over the glass, and both hands are shown empty.

Your left hand reaches underneath the handkerchief and gets a good grip on the glass. Right hand is placed on top of the covered glass as in figure 1. The three fingers are on top, the thumb is resting on the right side of the covered glass and the little finger is resting on the left side of the covered glass. If you press inwards with your thumb and little fingers as you’re bringing them up even with the three fingers, you’ll find that a tiny bit of the handkerchief rides up with them. This tiny fold of cloth is gripped on the right side by your thumb and first finger and on the left side by your third and little finger. Now cup your right hand slightly and lift it and the handkerchief about one half inch away from the top of the glass. Look directly at the spectators and say, “Did anyone notice if there was any ice in the glass?”

As you say this “misdirection” line, here’s what happens. Both right and left hands move the covered glass to the edge of the table. When you get to the edge, the left hand LOWERS THE GLASS right down between your legs where it is held by a slight pressure of one leg against the other. AT THE SAME TIME, the right hand CONTINUES RISING UPWARDS AND THEN OVER TO THE CENTER OF THE TABLE. By this time your left hand is back up on the table and you lean forward a bit and place your left hand (cupped slightly) at the bottom of the handkerchief. Thanks to the little folds of cloth being pinched by the thumb and little finger of the right hand, the illusion is damn near perfect that the glass is still under the handkerchief.

Have a spectator place their hand under yours at the bottom of the glass, and their other hand on top of yours at the top of the glass. Now slowly, with all the showmanship you can muster, push both of your hands together as if you were squeezing and compressing the glass right into “nothingness.” The assisting spectator will be audibly startled at the vanish of the glass. To continue, crush the handkerchief between both your hands, letting it end up in the left hand. As you lean forward with your left hand to return the handkerchief to its owner, your right hand drops to your lap, gets ahold of the glass and raises it right up under your coat so that the glass is held right over your heart. Just hold it there, sit back up straight, and open your coat slightly with your left hand, at the same time, your right hand brings the glass into view from under your coat!

If you work on the timing, you’ll have what I consider to be my strongest close-up trick. I borrow the handkerchief and do a few folds with it, I then do the burned and restored handkerchief from my lecture notes (in this book), then I close with “Vanglass.” I’ve yet to find any trick that can rival it for amazement and effectiveness at a close-up performance.