Pile of spheres - a sneaky magic trick

Abracadabra - every magnet owner can become a magician!
Author: Matt Ackermann, Uster, Switzerland, [email protected]
This magic trick requires only five items and no previous magical experience.
Despite the simplicity of it - or perhaps because of it - this trick will bring your "victim" to exasperation. :-)
Since I handle magnets on a daily basis, I developed this trick more or less by coincidence. Since then, I have frustrated many unsuspecting colleagues with it.
Death Magnet
Death Magnet
The five required items are:
First: A normal table with a tabletop which is no thicker than ca. 3 cm, preferably made of wood but certainly not made of steel.
Second: A Death Magnet.
(Shown here wrapped in plastic.)
Adhesive tape
Adhesive tape
Third: Adhesive tape (strong).
Steel spheres in a box
Steel spheres in a box
Fourth: 100 to 150 steel spheres.
Fifth: A flat container, e.g. a small carton box, in which to place the steel spheres.
Tabletop from below
Tabletop from below
Tape the DEATH MAGNET to the underside of the tabletop in front of the chair you will sit at. Don't be too stingy with the adhesive tape - it would be pretty embarassing if the magnet fell to the floor in the middle of your trick!
Place the container with the steel spheres on the table and directly over the magnet. Obviously your Public (i.e. victim) shouldn't know that the magnet is under the table in front of you.
Now explain to your Public how you have discovered a special talent in yourself which enables you to pile up normal steel spheres in a particularly artful fashion. You'll need to use your imagination for this!
While explaining this, begin to push the steel spheres together from both sides.
Due to the strong magnetic field coming from the Death Magnet, the spheres will be magnetised and hold together.
When you let go, the spheres should remain in a pile 5 or 6 layers high.
Without the help of the invisible magnet, these steel spheres would of course never remain stable in such a heap.
Slide the container across the table to your victim. As soon as the spheres are removed from the magnetic field, the pile will fall apart. Your victim will assume that this was caused by the movement of the container.
Now your victim should try to build a similar pile of spheres.
"Give it a try yourself!"
At this point, the spheres look just as they did when they were first in front of you, with or without the Death Magnet. Everything looks completely unsuspicious.
That looks easy enough!
Then your victim begins carefully to push the spheres together...
... into a pile ...
... then lets go slowly ...
... and the pile falls apart!
The spheres don't hold together at all!
Let your victim try two or three times.
"Come on, make a little effort!"
An "impossible" stack of spheres
An "impossible" stack of spheres
Slide the container back in front of you (and over the magnet) and show your victim how it's done VERY SLOWLY.
This time your victim will be looking carefully at what you are doing!
A beautiful and impressive pyramid of steel spheres is created.
No matter how often your victim tries, he simply will not be able to make the spheres pile up. And it looked so simple when you did it!
The container can pass several times between you but the result is always the same.
Your clueless victim can do nothing but make a silly face :-)

Important precautions

Definitely review our warnings if you want to do this magic trick. Specifically, you should consider this:
  • The DEATH MAGNET should be removed from the table immediately after the trick and stored in its security box. You must ensure that nobody places a laptop on the table as long as the magnet is in place - the hard drive will almost certainly be destroyed by the magnetic field! For the same reason, do not place your wallet on the table as both credit cards and EC-cards will be rendered useless. Remove your watch while demonstrating the trick as it can be damaged by the magnetic field. For this reason, a reasonable precaution would be to place an object over the "dangerous" part of the table (for instance a pile of magazines) before and after the trick and until the magnet can be removed.
  • Be very careful as well when handling the large magnet as you can easily squash a finger. Maintain a safe distance from all metal objects (including table legs and cross-braces made of metal!).
  • The DEATH MAGNET is a dangerous object and should be handled with ZEN-like concentration.
If you take these warning to heart, you will have plenty of laughs with this little trick. :-)

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