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Zombie Ball Trick

By: Chris Welsh - Updated: 30 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
The Zombie Ball Magic Trick Stage Magic

One of the classic stage effects from the golden age of magic, the Zombie Ball is simple to learn and has infinite variations.

The Effect
The magician walks on stage and up to a small table draped with cloth. Sitting on top of the table is a shiny metal sphere on a stand. In front of the sphere is a foulard. The magician picks up the sphere and tosses it from hand to hand, turning it to show all sides and then replaces it on the stand. Picking up either end of the foulard, the magician covers the sphere briefly and then lifts the silk to show the sphere is gone. With a word the magician commands the sphere to appear, rising up slowly from behind the foulard. From there the magician begins to interact with the sphere, making it float, dance, vanish and reappear at will.

The Secret
The secret to the Zombie Ball is a hidden prop that allows the magician to “remotely” manipulate the ball.

magician holds zombie ballA miniature zombie ball could be made out of a ball of tinfoil and stiff wire, but commercial props are a better way to go. Also a large handkerchief or silk foulard is required. 20px breakPreparation
Plenty of practice and rehearsal are all the advance preparation required. Pre-show set up requires the zombie ball to be place with the secret hole away from the audience and the zombie stick hidden in the foulard.

Performing the Trick

Stage magicians have been performing their own Zombie Ball routines for centuries - called the spirit ball, zombie ball, magic sphere and other names, the trick is easily recognised once begun. The secret to manipulating the Zombie Ball itself lies in a hole in one side of the sphere and the stick or wand used to manipulate it.

The stick is made from stiff wire. One end is wound round to form a sleeve for a finger and the other ends in a cork to fit into the secret hole. With the stick on the finger of one hand and the cork in the zombie ball, the magician can then make the ball raise up and down and move back and forth with small movements of the fingers, all of which are hidden by the foulard.

  1. magician moves the ball between his handsThe magician picks up the ball and tosses it from side to side, all the while keeping the hole towards himself and away from the audience. He may even rotate the ball between the hands in a way that looks like he is showing all sides, but is not. [P2]20px break
  2. magician puts his finger into the zombie stick When picking up the foulard the magician slips the middle finger of the right hand into the sleeve of the stick and then puts the cork into the hole in the zombie ball. 20px break
  3. magician picks up the foulardmagician conceals the ball with the foulardThe foulard needs to be kept tight, with the arms as far apart as it will allow. When the foulard is lifted high and the ball hidden behind it, it will appear as if the ball had vanished.20px break
  4. magician makes the ball rise above the foulardThe magician now slowly causes the ball to rise behind the foulard, stopping just short of revealing the cork and stick. 20px break
  5. The ball can rise and fall, and be made to push against the foulard from behind.

  6. magician lifts the ball beneath the foulardWith a bit of acting, the magician can make as if the ball is floating and moving on it’s own, leading the magician around the stage.20px break

Magical Tip

The Zombie Ball requires a lot of rehearsal in front of a mirror so that the magician may pin down exactly how he may move the ball without revealing the stick.

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