Holy cow.

Usually when I get interested in a subject, I have a tendency to jump in the deep end of the pool, both feet first, without bothering to get nekkid. I’ve long been of the opinion that swimming in a subject and getting totally immersed was the best way to quickly get a set of bearings. Not that I would always take the right direction, naturally, but at least I had a few choices on the old compass.

I have officially been bitten by the three shell game bug.

I don’t know why. And I don’t know why now. I just know I have and the itch is…significant.

As a result, I have been doing my best to swim in three-shelldom. So far, the easiest thing has been to eliminate one particular set of shells (and if you have to ask by whom, go straight to the blackboard and write one hundred times, “I shall not support flightless birds.”)

Truth be told, Frank Garcia is ultimately responsible for causing this ruckus in a telephone conversation a long, long time ago. It was an off-handed remark he made having nothing to do with the reason I called him, but every time I saw or heard “three shell game” I heard Frank’s voice in my head.

So tonight/this morning I’m thinking of Frank again. Ultimately, I think, I’ll be greatful for him planting the bug because it is obvious to me that proponents of the three shell game revere the con like nobody’s business. And I can easily see me numbered in with them.

So is this, the first blog post of the new year, a resolution to learn and perform the three shell game? No, I think that decision was made last night. But right now I’m tuckered out from searching. I do have a pretty good idea who I need to talk to, though.

Film at eleven.

5 thoughts on “Shell shocked.

  1. Happy New year to you, too, my friend. One more year under our collective belts is a good thing for lots of reasons.

    As for Whit Haydn, oh yes, I did spend some time there and in the SfS store. Seems to me there are just a few “must visit” spots when it comes to the shell game, and that was a obvious one. I did speak to Whit a few days ago, but this was prior to my actually deciding to do this — bad timing on my part!

    Glenn Bishop gave up quite a bit of his time today for me to discuss the thing, and he was a gem.

    I have a few more “stops” to make, but I’m a lot closer now than I was at 2:00 this morning.

  2. I recently saw Eric DeCamps lecture and was very impressed with his version of the Three Shell Game. He combines moves and touches from various sources along with some neat subtleties of his own. It’s published in his lecture notes Compositions of Conjuring available from http://www.threeshellgame.com .

  3. Thanks for that tip, Jason. It’s no secret I am a huge fan of Eric’s. Looks like I need to spend a little more time at Andrew’s web site.

  4. Hi John,

    It was nice to talk to you to.

    Here are some things that I have come up with a few years ago that I have added to my shell routine in the way of having more fun with the spectators.

    While in play one of the shells gets turned around and is backwards. Place the pea under this backwards shell and it is easy for the spectators to follow it because it is backwards. Do this at the right time and do not call attention to the backwards shell can lead to some great situation comedy. Plus a fake that can be as strong as the crimped corner in three card monte.

    Also steal the pea out and as you are mixing the shells pick up one of the shells off the table or mat about three inches. Do it as if you did it by accident and call no attention to it. Then as you set the shell down load the pea.

    If you did it right the spectator will think the pea isn’t under that shell.

    These ideas and others will be on my new shell game DVD that we are about to shoot in about three weeks.

    You should join my new forum John –


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