By Kyle Petersen

A few weeks ago a customer came into the store asking if we carried something called the “Fushigi Magic Gravity Ball”. The customer explained that he had been watching an infomercial at 3 in the morning featuring an clear “crystal” ball that could magically be rolled and manipulated across the body, defying gravity in the process. Of course, I instantly recognized that he was describing a contact juggling ball. A quick Google search revealed that someone was indeed marketing a contact juggling ball on television, rebranding it as the “Fushigi Ball”. Here is an excerpt from the company’s website:

FUSHIGI is a brand new, dynamically designed ball used in the mysterious art of contact juggling. With FUSHIGI the operator exploits the reflective properties of a sphere through specific hand and body isolations and movements that are designed to give the appearance that the FUSHIGI sphere is moving on its own or even floating. Using FUSHIGI is an incredible, therapeutic form of relaxation. The art of maneuvering a reflective sphere through mind and body isolation and manipulation creates the illusion that the sphere may be defying the laws of gravity, as if the sphere is moving on its own.

According to Brian Dubé, controversy is nothing new in the world of contact juggling. Michael Moschen, recognized as the godfather of modern contact juggling, famously became outraged at James Ernest over a book that Ernest had published. Moschen claimed that the moves he had developed were his own intellectual property, and that Ernest was, in essence, stealing his material. Moschen even went so far as to threaten to boycott the IJA convention in Montreal in 1992 because the IJA had published a review of Ernest’s book.

Moschen’s position has mellowed since then, and while he’s not thrilled with products like the Fushigi, he isn’t nearly as outraged as he has been in the past. That doesn’t mean the controversy is over. Many contact jugglers are upset by the infomercial’s implication that the ball is somehow “magic” and that in just a few minutes, anyone off the street can master the Fushigi. This product isn’t “new”, as its makers claim, and we’re not exactly sure how the operator “exploits the reflective properties of a sphere”.

Contact juggling is an extremely difficult skill, and many of the maneuvers demonstrated in the advertisement can take years to master. We’re happy that Fushigi has helped bring the art of contact juggling to a wider audience, but we feel their approach is a little dishonest.

Have your seen or tried the Fushigi Ball? What are your reactions? Please let us know.


  • Cris

    I think there a metal sphere in it. It’s meant to look like an acrylic, but it’s not reflecting as one would. I’ve read comments that fushigi is much easier. I have to keep telling people that I use a normal ball.

  • Ryan Mellors

    Thank you for this post. At http://www.contactjuggling.org, we are actively trying to get the information out to the public that this is called ‘contact juggling.’ There is an ad running on all the major networks which cheapens our disipline and tells the audience that what we do is fun, easy and can be mastered in minutes. Buskers and performers all over North America are now locked in a battle with their audience, many of whom ‘know what it is’ now and are too quick to label the performer as a ‘scam’, presenting tricks with a ‘gimmicked ball you can buy on T.V’

    Its devastating for many, Fushigi is the creation of ZoomTV Products. The people you see in the commercial are jugglers from http://www.contactjuggling.org. They were hired to perform in this ‘nation-wide adversizing campaign’, given 500 bucks and most of them had no idea what it was for until the final advert was cut together.
    This is exploitation, for shame. Now I know how Michael Moschen felt when James Ernest wrote ‘Contact Juggling’

  • Rin

    I understand Moschen’s outrage completely now.
    Something like this, which advertises a difficult skill as a cheap novelty is akin to claiming that “anybody can learn to play the violin” or “it’s easy to become a contortionist.”

    If the public begins to believe this claim, performers everywhere will be out of work. Taking advantage of this mysterious art for marketing purposes is dishonest and hurtful.

    I feel like a lawsuit should happen. :\

  • Christopher Eriksen

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