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‘Tragic Fate Ball’ is a Magic 8-Ball that Predicts How You Will Die

From the “Why didn’t I think of this?” file comes a next-generation version of the Magic 8-Ball – a popular party toy that recreated the fun of asking questions about one’s future without the demonic reputation of the Ouija board. While the Magic 8-Ball claimed to answer all questions – although sometimes the answer was “Ask again later” – this new device specializes in one morbid topic – how a person is going to die. Are you ready to hold your final future in your hands? Then it’s time for you to check out the Tragic Fate Ball!

“See inside this electronic re-imagining of the vintage clairvoyant device.”

If you’re so interested in the Tragic Fate Ball that you ran to dig your Magic 8-Ball out of the closet and asked it if you’ll ever own one, that’s your answer, courtesy of Stuart Gorman, the inventor of this clever device. Not only does he provide a video of it in action, Gorman give instructions on how to build one for yourself – if you don’t die first. Quite a dilemma, isn’t it?

This 8-ball knows its fate

That’s not a problem with the Magic 8-Ball, which has been available in various forms since the mid-1940s when it was invented by was invented by Albert C. Carter. His mother probably knew little Albert would make a name for himself someday – she was a clairvoyant in Cincinnati whose spirit-writing Psycho-Slate inspired him. According to Mental Floss, the Psycho-Slate was a chalk board which ‘spiritually’ wrote answers to questions – a trick many magicians perform today. Carter updated the Psycho-Slate by placing a die covered with responses in a liquid-filled tube with a window and called it the Syco-Seer. Carter patented it as a “Liquid Filled Dice Agitator” and the patent passed on to his partner after he died. The partner changed the design to a crystal ball, which attracted the attention of the Brunswick Billiards Company who paid to change it to an 8-ball for a marketing promotion … and the rest is party game history. The Magic 8-Ball is now owned by Mattel and made TIME magazine’s list of best 100 toys of all time.

Gorman dispensed with the messy liquid and the side-limited die design – the Tragic Fate Ball uses an Arduino Nano board, a tiny 1.6″ LCD screen, three mercury tilt switches, and a lithium-ion battery. The ball is 3D-printed black plastic with an appropriate skull-and-crossbones image replacing the ‘8’. Gorman provides a DIY video and instructions on how to program the board. And, of course – he gives you a start on some great fatal fates.

Shot by the Dalai Lama
Swallowed Rubik’s Cube
Running With Scissors
Rabid Porcupine
Lost In Corn Maze
O.D. On Broccoli
Flying Fish To The Face
Trapped Inside A Tragic Fate Ball

Sounds like a great gift for someone you hate who will also be annoyed by your impressive do-it-yourself skills. There’s no word on whether the Tragic Fate Ball will be mass-produced and sold in stores, nor is there any reaction from psychics upset by more high-tech competition to their ancient practice. You know what we think? Ask your Tragic Fate Ball.

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Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.
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