I’m sure everybody has seen a ship in a bottle at some point before. I’d bet that most people know how it’s done too.
But how about these Impossible Bottles by Harry Eng?
There may be spoilers ahead, so you might want to stop reading now…
Well, as far as I can make out, there’s no fakery involved when making impossible bottles. Everything that is in the bottle, has passed through the neck.
Take the three bottles above for instance. The bottle on the right looks impossible at first, but you could (if you had the time or patience), take all the cards out of the pack, unfold/roll up the empty box and put that in the bottle. Then using a pair of tweezers, reassemble the box, glue it back together if required, then put the cards back in one by one. It’d be a tough job, but it’d be doable I reckon.
How about the bottle on the left? It looks like the same kinda principle, but really pushing the limits as far as difficulty levels go. Put in the empty boxes, then the cards into each box. Thread the rope through. But if you look carefully, there’s a nut and bolt apparently going through all three decks of cards too. Maybe that’s an illusion? Perhaps the bolt doesn’t really go through all three decks?
What really intrigues me though, is the middle picture.
From the Puzzle Museum website:
Our venerable curator has gone nearly blind with a magnifying glass but has failed to find any sign of breaks or glue in this plank. It is a One Gallon Bottle and the plank measures about 14 cm x 12.5 cm x 1.8 cm thick. Even if one could use the key that is loose in the bottom of the bottle, the padlock on the bottom of the plank is too large to fit through the neck of the bottle.
So, dear reader, please put me out of my misery. How did Harry Eng do that?