Send Wonder: the Anything is Possible Bottle

For several years I've been watching Jamie D. Grant's Send Wonder project to both great amazement and joy.

Grant, a fabulous magician, has systematically stumbled into a way to place a sealed pack of cards into a completely unaltered milk-bottle; but he didn't stop there. Grant also started leaving the bottles in random locations around his hometown of Vancouver B.C. simply asking the people who find them to identify when and where they found the prize (which they are welcome to keep). A project he calls "Send Wonder".

Having zero artistic talent, however, I focused on what I know and love- magic. Via a series of events that will never be replicated in my lifetime I'm sure, I stumbled upon a way of getting a sealed deck of cards inside a milk bottle, without altering the glass whatsoever. And, with that, the "Anything Is Possible" bottle was born.
The photo below is of a special deck of White Lions cards, part of a limited edition series Jamie did with magician David Blaine. Over the years Jamie's incredible bottles have found their way around the world, they sit in Eastern European bars, on the desks of celebrities and in the most awesome palace of prestidigitation -- the Magic Castle (of which I am also a member).

I encourage you to keep an eye out for his bottles, they seem to pop-up everywhere.


      1.  Or how about a bigger glass bottle inside of a smaller glass bottle?

        I have discovered a truly marvelous process for this, which this comment is too narrow to contain.

  1. Long pair of tweezers? check. Plastic coated playing cards? check. Now curl card box – insert into bottle. Close cardboard flaps with tweezers. Curl cards one at a time into bottle and insert into box one at a time with tweezers as each card descends into bottle. Repeat until deck is inside. Where is the magic in this?

    ( Ah yes – I just now read “still sealed in their original cellophane”) Ok I will come back on this one :)

    1. So, you unseal the cellophane, use razor blade on the paper seal.  After you get the cards in, and have the deck closed, you reglue the paper seal and use heat to reshrink the cellophane. 

      1.  Has anyone confirmed there are cards in the packaging?  Seems like a significant assumption.  The kind of assumption that magic tricks are built around.

        1. D’oh! Excellent point.  There’s no reason for actual cards to be inside.  Just something that weighs the same amount as a deck of cards that doesn’t slide around inside the box.

      1. Even moreso at magic shows: “The girl was in the box the whole time. That base is made to look thinner than it is. It’s just stage blood. He isn’t REALLY materializing coins from thin air.”
        It’d be better if his name was Sherlock.

    2. Reads article on creating wonder. Check.
      Destroys wonder. Check.
      Well done. You’re the person who, when I am performing magic, tries to ruin it for their friends and thinks he has won their admiration, when in fact your reward is their rolling eyes and apologies. Congrats.

  2. I suppose you could put a tiny baby monkey in a bottle and then grow it for a few years…that would be quite impressive.

  3. Pfft, that’s easy. You just start with the deck of cards, and then grow the bottle around it.

  4. Someday, when we’re all just brains in jars, we’ll be happy to have a deck of playing cards in there with us.

  5. As with ships in bottles, so with this: there are a few options.

    1) Insert only objects which can fit through the neck in their final shape: pencils, marbles, etc. This is what most people do.

    2) Have the thing so that it is compressible or collapsible so that it is small enough to fit through the bottle, then can resume its final shape once inside. This is what most people assume when seeing something strange in a bottle.

    3) Assemble the thing in the bottle, putting each component in one by one. this is how ships are typically inserted.

    4)  Assemble the bottle around the objects. This is tricky because even the lowest melt glass is about 450C, so you have to keep the objects cool while you form the bottle around them. Waterproof items (or items sealed in waterproof plastic) can be immersed in the bottom of the bottle while the neck is cooled. This is almost never done, partly because it’s felt to be “cheating”, and partly because it’s tricky to make a convincing bottle neck without a lot of equipment. But remember, magicians are *all about* putting more work in than you’d think the trick would be worth.

  6. I love how people are like “Oh ~this is how you do this~, WHERE’S THE MAGIC?” but seem to not realise that is literally all magic is: Knowing a rather mundane and unspectacular method of achieving something that appears impossible. 

    That’s why magicians famously never reveal their tricks – because once you know how the trick is done it stops being MAGIC; it no longer has the power to inspire wonder because you’ve stopped your suspension of disbelief.

    1. Nonsense. Same feeling with “spoilers” and films. If the art is good enough, I can know the ending but enjoy the journey. If “spoilers” were such a big deal, then why do people watch the same movie over & over again?

      1. Film is not a magic trick, and a magic trick is not art. 
        The ‘disbelief contract’ for film never at any point asks you to truly believe that that is no moon and is in fact a space station. It merely asks you not to question it too hard for the sake of the performance. The contract you sign for magic implicitly requires you to truly believe all of those ribbons are coming out of nowhere because otherwise it’s not magic: it’s just someone who spent a long time stuffing ribbons in their sleeve.

        However, just like with film, you can still enjoy a magic performance because that is the artistic layer on the science of magic. Like with Jamie’s bottles, where the performance is hiding them and people discovering this impossible-seeming object on their own – the wonder is inspired by not knowing how to do it themselves, but if they do then they can still just not question it too hard and enjoy the performance.

        1. “Film is not a magic trick …”

          See Melies, Georges. Many basic filmmaking techniques are magic tricks at heart.

          (Does anyone older than about 12 “truly believe” those ribbons come out of nowhere? They don’t question it too hard, appreciate the skill involved in creating the illusion, and/or they enjoy trying to figure out the trick.)

          1. Yes, they are. Film itself is not, it is the performance, and it doesn’t request the same belief in its tricks because they are not the focus.

            (I’m not sure anyone older than about 12 “truly believes” that magicians are actually performing magic)

          2. Film is a magic trick. People are convinced to sit in a dark room for 2-3 hours & share a delusion with strangers. Who would want to sit in a dark room with strangers being delusional otherwise?

  7. I dunno if the cellophane is really airtight. If not, it might work to expose them to hot steam until they’re soft enough to be bent. Once you achieve that, you can easily bend them, insert them, bend back and allow to dry.

  8. Step 1: Put Klein bottle on table
    Step 2: Put deck of cards next to Klein bottle
    Step 3: Write mathematical proof showing that the cards are actually inside the bottle.

    P.S. Was supposed to be in reply to Kimmo. Guess I’ll have to write a proof that this is a Klein reply and actually nested under Kimmo.

    1.  I’ve got a bottle of it in my kitchen that my parents brought back from a trip to Europe in the early 80’s. The pear and the piece of branch it is attached to are both still perfectly intact. 

  9. Everyone is assuming that you first put the box in the bottle, then add the playing cards back in one at a time. That would take a lot of effort and time. You wouldn’t make that much money compared to the time and effort. However, the bottle is sealed, how do you know that there are playing cards in the box?

    Take a box of cards, carefully remove the cellophane wrap and seal. Remove the cards, then put the wrap and seal on the box and put the box in the bottle. A lot less time and effort, and who would know the difference? After all, if you’re buying this bottle for $100, you’re not going to break the seals to verify that the box has playing cards in it.

    1. I think you could tell the difference between an empty box and a full one; both by the weight, and how it reacts when you turn the bottle over. It might not be cards, but something of equal weight (but still malleable enough to fit through the opening, like clay) might suffice.

    2. I should mention that for a tv show I worked on we smashed a few of these that had been custom made (by a different maker and it was a bit sad). I can confirm that they did, in fact, have a complete deck of cards inside – we would have been pretty pissed off if they hadn’t!

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