Shower of Sweets - Revisited

by Professor Spellbinder

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 up-to-date.

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 1876.

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 so on.

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 wish.

Magical History Lesson:

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