Seth's Mess

Video Clip

Camera work by Steve Bogart.


I made this up in '94 and it was my favorite trick for many years. I haven't had much luck teaching it to people in person, so learning it from this page is probably going to be a challenge. It's hard to follow visually, but if you can learn the components and can put them together smoothly, you'll have it.

The move is a combination of the basic helicopter spin and a devil stick adaptation of the famous 3-ball trick, Mills Mess.

It can be written in DSN-3D like this:

Z: 1 1 -1
Y: 1 1  1

If you understand DSN, those numbers will tell you exactly how to do this trick, and you'll know that you've got it right. If you don't understand DSN, you'll have to try to get it from the paragraphs of vague descriptions that follow.

Mills Mess

Someone showed me this as a possible adaptation of Mills Mess to devil stick. It's much less confusing though, and not nearly as interesting. DSN can describe it succinctly as 1 1 -1, but most people would better understand an English description. I started to write one, but found that Jim Barlow already had written a good one. Thanks, Jim!

Seth's Mess

This trick is almost an unadultered meshing of a non-trapping helicopter, and the devil stick Mills Mess. It sounds simple, but you'll find that it's hard to keep the stick in a flat spin, and even harder to keep it from hitting your hands. It also looks much more fluid because the devil stick isn't stopping at any point in the pattern.

You can start the trick on either side, regardless of which way you spin your helicopter. I spin my helicopter clockwise, which makes it easier to cross my right arm over my left, and I usually start with that.

When it gets too confusing, go back and do Mills Mess again and watch carefully. Although it looks more complicated, this trick is really all the same moves. Track which side of the devil stick you catch with which handstick, and then try it again in a helicopter.

Spinning clockwise causes the devil stick to hit my right hand when my left hand is crossed over my right. It may help to turn your right hand palm down when your left hand is crossed over your right, and palm up when your right is crossed over your left. I find this gives me a bit more clearance, and let the stick pass by without hitting me as often. Flipping my hands over continuously and consciously would probably be too much to keep track of, but somehow my brain manages to deal with it all for me. If you do your helicopter counterclockwise, everything I just said is backwards for you.

I find that the flatter I keep the spin, the more impressive it looks. Also, it's much smoother and faster when I use a trapped helicopter. Once I get going, I tend to keep my handsticks almost at the center of the devil stick.