Marbo Card Penetration Secret Revealed And Explained

Let’s think outside the box to get into the Marbo Card Penetration secret of how the solid steel ball manages to slip through the playing card.

Like all the other unraveling magic trick secrets articles published here, I don’t own or have even seen the real prop.

The so-called Marbo Card Penetration secret, reveal or exposure is nothing, but my theory or assumption, based on viewing the video clips and analyzing the prop from the websites.

Besides my humble opinion how a certain magic or stage illusion is done, I also include the psychological principles and the thinking behind it.

Moreover, I also share with my curious-seeking readers the resources of free books or video clips related to magic, conjuring and illusion.

For me, I love the MAGIC of the secrets in conjuring tricks.

marbo card penetration secret

By the way, this solid through solid penetration trick was invented by John Snyder Jr. back in 1944.

Snyder started out as a professional stage magician, then in 1940, he turned to creating and manufacturer of magical tricks and puzzling effects.

john snyder jr magic

You can read about Snyder in the article “Merlin’s Workshop” in Popular Science Monthly September 1944 on pages 188 to 190.

These days you can find Snyder’s works selling in eBay and auction websites.

One of his other creations “The Atom” which shares the same effect as the steel ball through glass trick which I have revealed in my last post.

cabala ball thru glass magic

Let’s get back to this Marbo Card Penetration trick….

The rights of this wooden box close up magic trick was passed on to another magic dealer, James Wesley Swoger, who like Snyder also invented magical effects.

As of now, the Marbo Card Penetration rights belong to Viking Manufacturing Company.


Related: For more penetration effects, check out this free Tarbell Course Lesson: 78 Silk and Rope Penetrations.

Watch the free 40-minute video of Dan Harlan doing rope penetration act using a necktie and a rope.

dan harlan silk rope penetrations tarbell 78

You will learn various knot release techniques including: Jimmy Herpick’s Single Knot Release, Lyons’ Handkerchief From Rope, Single Knot Handkerchief Through Rope, The Middleswart Handkerchief Knot, and the Tarbell-rice Dissolvo Handkerchief Knot.


The Effect of Marbo Card Penetration:

A small shallow wooden box with a sliding lid.

There are holes on the lid and at the bottom of the box.

A piece of playing card is placed snugly inside the box, and then the lid is slid in to close it.

In other words, the card is between the two holes.

A gleaming steel ball is placed on top of it.

Holding with both hands, the performer now tilts the box from side to side until the ball drops into the hole in the lid.

The steel ball stays suspended on the hole momentarily, due to the card, then slowly it begins to sink in, and drops out the hole below the box.

Visually, it seems the solid steel ball penetrates the solid playing card.

Everything can be immediately handed for examination.

Marbo Card Penetration close up trick is another ingenious design by John Snyder Jr.

It is a simple-looking inconspicuous wooden box with a lid.

There is no special gimmick, or the use of the false base to pull of this visible penetration effect.

To present this solid through solid penetration close up trick effectively, you need a little misdirection by pattering.

Magician patter is what the magicians say as they are performing a magic trick.

You use it to misdirect your audience while you do the secret moves.


Related: Free books on misdirection and other related topics of making magic tricks deceptive.

Magic by Misdirection Dariel Fitzkee

Magic By Misdirection by Dariel Fitzkee
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Showmanship For Magicians Dariel Fitzkee

Showmanship For Magicians by Dariel Fitzkee
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the trick brain dariel fitzkee ebook

The Trick Brain by Dariel Fitzkee
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Even though this seemingly simple trick, I found it needs four secret moves with the help of the sleight of hand.

I will reveal the four subtle secret moves of this trick soon.

Now, watch Marbo Card Penetration performance here:

Here is another clip of Snyder’s Marbo Card Penetration video by Pegani Magic (Denmark).

In fact, it is from this second video clip, I am convinced my guess how the trick is done is most probably correct.

I managed to catch a glimpse of the hidden secret between his fingers, which I would show you at the end of the post.

Marbo Card Penetration Secret

It is similar to the other steel ball through glass tricks, the secrets are from the prop itself (wooden box) and the sleight of hand of the performer.

First, I usually study the prop or apparatus in detail, particularly when it is not a normal wooden box.

Something caught my eyes, when the tongues (thin edges) of the sliding lid is pulled out from the box.

There are two small high tensile steel wire clips (pulls) at the tongues of the sliding lid to hold it tighter onto the box.

steel ball thru card trick

It piqued my curiosity why this simple wooden box needs this device to hold the sliding lid onto the box.

Then I realized the grooves of the box for the sliding lid are slightly deeper and wider.

through card magic trick

In other words, the lid slotted into the box is not tightly fitted.

magic trick box

Then when the spectator in the video clip, turned the side view of the box around, I saw the narrow gap or slit opening between the lid and the box.

how marbo card trick works

From there I think I know how this Marbo Card penetration trick is done.

I reviewed the presentation again, and I saw how performer of SEO Magic video did the 4 secret moves, as I have predicted.

First Secret Move:

After putting the card into the wooden box, at 0:43, the performer casually turns the box around, so that the lid is now facing downward.

By turning the box upside down, the card falls down onto the inner side of the sliding lid or cover.

Now the card is lying next to the narrow gap between the lid and the box, as mentioned above.

Some of you might even missed the simple move of turning the box around.

I even purposely leave it out when I write the effect of this trick, above.

The turning-box-upside-down move might appear trivial, but in fact it is an important part of this trick.

It is only after doing this first covert move, then only he can do the second secret move which makes the penetration effect possible, as I would reveal soon.

The mere turning or not turning the prop in many magic tricks play a vital role in the artifice.

Remember the popular paddle move; a combined rotating and tilting movement which produce baffling effect.

paddle move magic trick

You can read the psychophysics behind this paddle move.

Second Secret Move:

At 0:47, with his right hand holding the side of the box with the lid opening, he casually lifts it up, thus causing part of the card to slip out through the gap of the box to his right palm.

penetration magic trick secret

This is how it looks like when the card slips out from the narrow gap between the lid and the box.

It is hidden inside the palm of the hand of the performer.

thru card magic trick

He makes sure slightly more than half of the card is still inside the box to block the holes, so the steel ball can rest momentarily on it.

steel ball thru card magic secret

Third Secret Move

Deftly and slowly, his right hand pulls out the card just enough for the steel ball bearing to drop through the bottom hole.

steel ball card penetration

Fourth Secret Move:

Then to finish the act, at 1:12 he tilts one end of the box downward causing the card to slide back into the box.

solid thru solid penetration

As for the video by Pegani Magic, the performer does a slightly different secret moves.

First Secret Move:

At 0:19, after slotting in the lid, using his finger, he points at the hole, and then swiftly flips the box over.

Second Secret Move:

At 0:23, under the guise of rolling the steel ball, he purposely places the steel ball on the left side of the box, then he tilts the box downward to his right.

At this time he is actually sliding out the card into his right palm.

close up magic trick secrets

Third Secret Move:

When the steel ball bearing has rolled into the hole, he pretends to concentrate, when actually his right hand is slowly sliding out the card hidden in his palm.

magic tricks explained

Fourth Secret Move:

Once the card is cleared from the hole, the steel ball drops through the box.

Then with one sweeping natural move, his right hand furtively pushes the card back into the box, as he brings his hand down.

magic trick principles

Remember I mentioned above about the exposed hidden secret from this video.

At 0:29 to 0:33, you can see the white color face of the playing card between the index and the middle finger of his right hand.

It is most obvious when he is about to push the card back into the box at about 0:32.

Note: To see it clearer, slow down the playback speed to 0:25.

magic trick exposed

Well, this is Marbo Card penetration secret which might inspire you come with some other amazing tricks of your own and sell them online.

For those who want to market your magic trick ideas to the world, check out Penguin Partner Program.

Card Punch Magic Trick

By the way, there is another close up trick using a steel ball bearing penetrating a playing card, called “Card Punch“.

I think the secret is simply by inserting the card behind the frame (top slot), instead of inside it.

card punch magic trick

Watch this video clip and see whether I get through this penetration trick.

It is the smart presentation which makes this simple trick deceptive.

Twice in the performance, they give the perception that the playing card is inserted inside the plastic frame.

card punch steel ball magic

In the beginning act, at 0:11 (above) and after the trick at 0:44 (below), the performer purposely inserts his finger into the back hole and into the tube to push out the playing card.

penetration close up magic trick

As they say, magic happens in your mind, not in the sleight of hand or on the stage.

Psychology Of Magic Tricks

To know more about the psychology of magic tricks, read these free books:

experiencing the impossible science of magic gustav kuhn

Experiencing the Impossible: The Science of MagicBy Gustav Kuhn
Click on this: Link

The Illusionist Brain The Neuroscience of Magic

The Illusionist Brain: The Neuroscience Of Magic By Jordi Cami And Luis M. Martinez
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Sleights Of Mind Neuroscience Magic

Sleights Of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions By Stephen Macknik, Susana Martinez-Conde With Sandra Blakeslee
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The Psychology Of Magic And The Magic Of Psychology

The Psychology Of Magic And The Magic Of Psychology Edited By Amir Raz, Jay A. Olson And Gustav Kuhn
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3


Disclaimer: I do not own or upload any of the books here. They are copyrighted to their respective owners. All content cited is derived from their respective sources.