Uncovering the Mystery of the Magic 8 Ball
(mysterious music) – [Narrator] It starts with a yes or question: Does she have a crush on me? Will I pass the test? Will the Mets win the World Series? Well, they may not have always predicted the truth. Magic Eight balls are actually inspired by a real life clairvoyant. – [Narrator] Do you want to hear your fortune? (Greek inspired music) – [Narrator] In the 1940s, Mary Carter was a popular medium best known for her mysterious fortune-telling invention.
It was called the Syco Slate.
Essentially, a chalkboard with a cover. When the clients would visit, Mary would ask a question to the spirits. (scribbling) The room would fill with the sound of scribbling and then just like, poof, magic, Mary would reveal answers from another world mysteriously written on the chalkboard.
Mary’s son, Albert, was inspired by his mother and created his own truth seeking device.
But this time you didn’t need a psychic to tell you your fortune. (big band music) He put a pair of worded dice inside a tube filled with molasses.
Each end was clear so you could read the answers. Sound familiar? (ding) Albert hit the streets. He partnered with a couple local businessmen and opened a novelty company where they specialized in the Miracle Home Fortune-Teller.
After he died, Albert’s partners took over and redesigned the project (scribbling) numerous times.
They ended up with crystal ball-like shape with a die in the middle. And a billiards company took note. They needed a promotional item so they replaced the crystal ball with the iconic black eight ball.
The promotion was so successful that they rebranded the magic eight ball. This time marketing it as a fortune-telling toy. (cash register dings) Today, kids are still using magic eight balls to ask for their fortunes. And for that, you can thank Mary the clairvoyant. – [Woman] Ah, yes.