A Routine for You to Use: A Modern Use for the Liquid Suspension

The Liquid Suspension is a baffling trick.  Jeff McBride has mentioned that it is one of his favorites. It may be that, because it is an old trick, it is overlooked by modern magicians.

Along with being clever, the effect is also unusual. It is not a production, vanish, or restoration. It appears to be a defiance of the laws of nature involving resistance to gravity and liquid that may or may not be wet.

What Happens?

The audience is shown a metal cylinder, with no top or bottom. To demonstrate that it is just a tube, a drinking glass is dropped into the top of the tube so that it falls out of the bottom of the same.

Next, liquid is poured into the tube.  Incredibly and mysteriously, it does not fall out of the bottom of the tube.  Where did it go?  A handkerchief is placed over the top of the tube and, by way of a wand, pushed down through it. The handkerchief does not get wet.  It appears that the liquid is no longer in the tube.

At last, the drinking glass is put into the tube at the bottom and taken up and out of the top of the tube.  When it comes out, it contains the liquid that previously seemed not to be there.


The drinking glass contains an insert that is hooked over the side of the cylinder (tube). This means the insert remains within the tube as the drinking glass is passed through.

When liquid is poured into the tube, it goes into the insert.  Since the insert is not as big as the tube, when the handkerchief is pushed down into the tube with a wand, it simply goes beside the insert and out the bottom of the tube.  This is a great illusion.  It appears that the handkerchief fills the tube, when actually it is being pulled through a relatively small area.

When the drinking glass is brought back up through the tube, the insert goes inside it where it is invisible to the eye.  This makes it seem that the glass collected the liquid that was somehow suspended in the tube.


  • Liquid Suspension trick
  • Wand
  • 18” size handkerchief
  • Liquid (I suggest putting red food color in water.  Keep it in a plastic bottle.  The red color makes the effect more visible.  The plastic bottle is an easy way to have the liquid with you and pour it into the tube at the proper time.)


“In this age of the cell phone, iPad, laptop, and Google glasses, the tricks of a magician become especially interesting because they involve no electronics or modern technology, yet they are mystifying and astonishing.

“For example, here is an illusion that was first shown by a magician, to an audience, more than one hundred years ago.  It began with a cylinder.”

Show the cylinder.

“The performer made it clear that it definitely was not a can or container.  He proved this by showing how a drinking glass would pass through the top of the tube and out the bottom. “

Pass the glass through the tube.

“It was obviously a tube with no top and no bottom.

“Then he poured liquid into the top of the cylinder.”

Pour liquid into the cylinder.

“Mysteriously, it remained in the cylinder.  It did not fall out through the open bottom.

“Those who watched him do this thought, it is not a can.  It is a cylinder.  How can this be?   

Then the magician put a handkerchief into the tube.  He pulled it down and completely through the tube.”

Push the handkerchief down and through the tube.

“The audience thought, This too cannot be happening.  How can the handkerchief pass through the tube when it is filled with liquid?  How can it be that the handkerchief does not get wet?  Maybe the liquid was never really there?”

About the time the audience concluded that the liquid must not exist, the magician took the drinking glass and again passed it through the tube.  It emerged full of liquid.”

Bring the glass through the tube so it comes out with the liquid.

“More than one hundred years ago, when audiences first saw this, I can imagine how they must have clapped and cheered.  I suspect that audiences in our generation, who see the trick for the first time, would clap and cheer as well!”


In my opinion, passing the handkerchief through the tube is the most important part of the effect.  It looks great and makes it appear that the liquid could not possibly be in the tube.


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