In this issue, we drop The Wizard's Den home decor articles
and begin a journey back in time to discover our magic roots in
some of the modern day tricks we use. Future issues will continue
with these Magical History Lessons in various forms.
I had been watching some discussions on a forum
about a commercial trick known as the Candy Factory. I decided it
might be time to revisit the Candy Factory's roots in the much
older version known as "The Shower of Sweets." Then I
will give you my own original variation which brings it
From 1868, we read about Robert-Houdin's Shower
of Sweets in a chapter reprinted from"The Secrets of
Conjuring and Magic."
Next, we see how the trick continued to evole
from the book Modern Magic by Professor Hoffmann published in
An interesting little book, (Prof.) J. Dazely
Theobald's "Magic and Its Mysteries" (F. Warne, 1881)
was reprinted by Street and Smith of New York in 1891, as
"Heller's Handbook of Magic". From it we get yet
another evolution of the trick.
Finally, from Later Day Tricks by A. Roterberg
(1896), we find "Paper Shavings Changed Into Bon Bons"
which is closest to the modern version we call "Candy
Factory," in which sugar is changed into candy.
Then I take a turn at topping the masters of the past by
presenting an X-Treme magic version that harks back to the old
Shower of Sweets, adding impossibilities the old masters would
not have dared to attempt (only because they didn't have today's
technology!). But to lead into my modern day version, I have to
take a side trip by presenting "something completely
different," as they used to say on the Monty Python show.
My side trip is, of all things, a mental effect: Christmas
Ornament Prediction first published on my Magic Nook
Forum on Dec 18, 2005. You need this background because it
explains the origins of certain things found in the final portion
of the history journey, which I call (at last!) "Shower of
Sweets - Revisited."
A handkerchief is removed from the pocket, shown on both
sides and held at the center by the Wizard. A young lady is given
a clear drinking glass (or if at a restaurant setting, will
simply use any of the glasses at hand). She holds the glass up,
as directed by the Wizard, who gives everyone a final quick peek
beneath the folds of the handkerchief before lowering it over the
glass. The Wizard asks the young lady to speak up if she feels
something materializing in the glass. She will actually feel the
glass getting heavy and should say so. The handkerchief is
whipped away, quickly shown on both sides once again and the
glass is seen to be over-flowing with wrapped candies, which may
be passed around the audience for consumption.
I also offer variations in which other loads can fill the
glass instead of candy, live goldfish, ice cubes, hot coffee, and
As we define X-Treme currently at The Magic Nook, it simply
means being willing to put in extra effort to accomplish an
especially amazing effect. The magic usually happens in a
spectator's "personal space" or hands, and may have
been set up for a long time in advance with this particular
outcome planned for this particular spectator. Thus, the load of
candy might contain the spectator's own ring which you have
managed to remove from her finger pickpocket style, a signed coin
that you previously "vanished", or something personal
of that nature. The effect described above can also be presented
as a straightforward Shower of Sweets adding all the new
gizmos I describe, but eliminating the X-Treme risks, if you