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Crystal Ball

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The palantír! Great reception, guaranteed no signal interference, and free evening and weekend calls!

"I don't need help, it's obvious what this means: there's going to be loads of fog tonight."
Ron Weasley looking into a crystal ball, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Common prop used by witches, Fortune Tellers and psychics (and Magical Romani) for fortune telling, scrying, and long distance communication. Most commonly it's a dinner plate-sized sphere of clear glass, but these can be of just about any size and material, so long as they're shiny.

Despite the ubiquity of the classic crystal ball, there are many, many alternative ways to tell the future or view remote locations. Pools of water are mystic favorites, as are thrown bones, giblets, and of course Magic Mirrors.

See also Surveillance as the Plot Demands, Blindfolded Vision, Crystal Skull and Chronoscope. Compare Data Crystal.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Konoka and Anya in Negima! Magister Negi Magi sometimes use these (strange in Konoka's case, since she uses eastern-style fortune telling). Evangeline uses hers to communicate over a long distance like a phone.
  • In Final Fantasy: Unlimited, Fabula is rarely seen without her trademark blue crystal ball. It shatters early into the second season, however.
  • The third Hokage in Naruto had a crystal ball which he used two times within the first two episodes, and never again.
  • Fabia of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid has one for scrying purposes and is shown using one to spy on Hayate and the Vivid cast while they're talking about Ancient Belka.
  • Both Queen Beryl and Wiseman/Death Phantom had those in Sailor Moon.
  • Ultear in Fairy Tail uses a crystal ball as her weapon of choice, using her Time Master magic to turn it into a Pinball Projectile and doubles as a communication lacrima.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders: DIO uses his duplicate of Hermit Purple on a crystal ball in Polnareff's flashback. He makes the ball show an image of J. Geil, in order to convince Polnareff to follow him. He's never seen to do so again, however; DIO's use of Hermit Purple (of which this is the second and final example) is one of the series' most famous Plot Holes.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero shows a crystal ball being used in ways that is uncommon for crystal balls normally, like say manipulating footage to make it look like you're killing royal guards and kidnapping the princess.
  • At least two appear in One Piece:
    • Granny Nyon of Amazon Lily has one, though it's implicitly just a plain chunk of glass, since her one "vision" involves scrawling a message on it in sharpie.
    • On the other hand, Madam Shyarly of Fish-Man Island implicitly owns a real one, having been one of the land's most powerful and respected Seers since she was four. Though, she ultimately destroys it after meeting the Straw Hats - while her last vision of Luffy destroying the island may well come true one day, after the lengths he went to save it she no longer wants to consider the possibility.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Season 8 of Happy Heroes, Big M. is given a crystal ball by Huo Haha so that they can communicate from far distances. In the season's ninth episode (where he first obtains the crystal ball), Big M. tries to spy on the Supermen using it to hear if they know where Xiao Haha's elemental staffs are, but he shakes the ball so much that he messes up the picture and sound on it.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Black and White: In "Fortunes", a corpse is found in the consulting room of a Phony Psychic Fortune Teller, and it is subsequently determined that the victim was clubbed to death with the fortune teller's crystal ball.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) Queen Chrysalis used one to communicate with the Mane Six, telling them to confront her in three days. It even provides a map. She also uses it as a means of surveillance and source of entertainment, since the heroes land in all sorts of trouble along the way.
  • In Swordquest, the evil sorcerer Konjuro watches the protagonists with a large glass sphere.
  • Judge Dredd: In a Dark Judges story published in New Scientist, "No Future", Judge Death and his cohorts are seen observing Judges Dredd and Anderson through a crystal ball from their home dimension.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Circe uses her crystal ball to watch as the reanimated bones of Artemis, an Amazon who held the title of Wonder Woman before Diana's birth, attacks the Amazons under the influence of her magic.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Circe maintains a scrying crystal that's bigger than a basketball.

    Fan Works 
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Flutterspy, Fleur de Lis uses crystal balls as monitors.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Used for communication, as revealed in Deal with the Devil:
    Her gaze turned to a round object sitting on one of the lab benches when she felt the magic around her react to it. The crystal ball, for it looked as if it had emerged straight from a fortune teller's tent. A glowing white nimbus surrounded it, and fog within was swirling to form a face.
    One of the devices in [Nicodemus Asbraxe's] study alerted him that a Keeper was searching for some unspecified item, and the fence quickly pulled his hood down until his face was hidden in a pool of darkness out of which only a long, mangy beard protruded. He then muttered a well-practised incantation, and a picture formed in the air above his coffee table, showing him the prospective client[.]
  • In Heart of Ashes, the witch Andraya gives Smaug a crystal sphere which he uses to track Kathryn down to Vathvael. The sphere is later used by Freyja and Faervel to track Smaug and Kathryn down to their hiding place in Emyn Muil.
  • In another My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fic Loved and Lost, Vivian uses a crystal ball to show Twilight Sparkle her parents who are being held in Jewelius' dungeons.
  • Canonical Discworld novel The Last Hero has a happy accident involving a broken omniscope leading to a reliable means of long-distance communication between Mission Control and the Disc's first spacecraft. The continuation works of A.A. Pessimal develops this: fragments of the same broken omniscope are built into communicators issued to Witches of the Air Police and Pegasus Service. Each Watch Witch has a flip-top device note  which resembles a mobile phone, a police radio and a Star Trek communicator. These are slaved to a master screen, a larger part of the same broken omniscope, at the modified Clacks station known as The Control Tower. Work is also being done by Ponder Stibbons to modify an omniscope screen so that it can watch the skies above Ankh-Morpork and monitor air traffic. The protoype seen by Air Watch commander Olga Romanoff involved a fast-moving green band revolving round a black omniscope screen, which as it turns its circle shows up anything in the air as a moving green blob.
  • Infinity Train: Boiling Point: One of Boscha's denizen partners is a sentient crystal ball named Chris.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Jareth in Labyrinth keeps plenty of these on hand, watching Sarah through them and occasionally channeling his magic through one. He sometimes spins them in one hand; this is not, however, David Bowie doing these tricks. Michael Moschen (a professional juggler) is standing right behind him and doing them blind.
  • The Thief of Bagdad (1924): A crystal ball shows the Prince of India that the princess is ill.
  • The Thief of Bagdad (1940): The All-Seeing Eye that shows Abu where to find Ahmad.
  • The Wizard of Oz has two crystals. Professor Marvel has a small one in which he claims to see Aunt Em searching for runaway Dorothy, crying and possibly having a heart attack. The Wicked Witch of the West has a much larger one in which Dorothy herself briefly glimpses her Aunt Em and tries to communicate with her.
  • Madam Estrella, the gypsy fortuneteller used one when she wasn't creating or commanding The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (of MST3K fame), you feelthy peeg!
  • InThe Barbarians, Ibar, the future substitute leader of the Ragni tribe, is shown holding on to one in the opening. Whether the thing could predict the future is never answered, as it is used as a magical grenade against the villains.
  • Im No Angel (1933).
    Fortune Teller: [peering into his crystal ball] Ahh, you have a wonderful future. I see a man in your life.
    Mae West: What, only one?
  • Early on in Deathstalker II: Duel of the Titans, Princess Evie uses a crystalline object to see into the future that evokes this. The film being a low-budget B-Movie (and wearing that reputation on its sleeve), the prop used was in fact a doorknob.

  • In The Arts of Dark and Light, the royal wizards of Savondir use crystal balls to observe events from afar, in a way that invokes both fantasy archetypes and more modern Sinister Surveillance.
  • Isaac Asimov's "What If— (1952)": Mr If has a foggy plane of glass that shows a clear image when you ask it a question about "what might have been?" While our protagonists are watching, they suddenly find themselves experiencing the scene directly, as if it was a Flash Back.
  • Bored of the Rings: The mallomar is "the magic watchamacallit of the elves." Moxie thinks it works like a Ouija board, but it's really a glorified Magic 8-Ball.
  • In Cerberon, these are called scryballs. They are used to view other locations, communicate with other scryballs like a telephone, or to spy through uncovered scry balls. Aladavan keeps a miniature scry ball on a chain around his neck, which he keeps under his shirt when he's not using it. He's able to easily spy on and track Thedrik because his sword has a small scryball on the pommel, which Thedrik never covers. Scryblocks are employed to prevent people from using scryballs to spy on them, and to protect against mental eavesdropping.
  • Discworld:
    • Wizards often complain they can't get good reception on crystal balls, even while they're using one to watch a rock concert in Soul Music. Witches (and mediums such as Mrs Cake) use them only when paying customers hang around, but in the privacy of their own home will use bits of glass or water or anything else they like. The first time Granny Weatherwax uses a crystal ball, in Equal Rites, she strongly distrusts the thing, since it seems like wizardry.
      Granny: Never could get the hang of this damn silicon stuff. A bowl of water with a drop of ink was good enough when I was a girl. Of course, we had to make our own enchantment in them days.
    • Nanny Ogg uses a glass net floater one of her sons brought back from a sea voyage. It works, but everything is tinted green.
    • Wizards have refined the crystal ball concept to create the "omniscope", which can view anything in any part of the universe, which also has the effect of maybe not being able to see anything but darkness (since the universe is made up mostly of empty vacuum). The Last Hero has a happy accident involving a broken omniscope leading to a reliable means of long-distance communication between Mission Control and the Disc's first spacecraft. During Going Postal, they reference palantíri:
      Ridcully: It's not working, Mr. Stibbons! Here's that damn enormous fiery eye again!
    • Hogfather: Local legend has it that Jonathan Teatime put one into his eye socket, which could explain why he can do impossible feats like Offscreen Teleportation. It makes a pretty good marble so this might be true.
  • Enchanted Forest Chronicles's Dealing With Dragons: The King's Crystal is owned by the King of Dragons, is in the form of a crystal plate, and was used for divination and scrying. Heroine Cimorene expresses surprise over it not being a traditional ball shape, only to be told by Kazul that the odd shape gave it more range and power.
  • In Victoria Hanley's The Seer and the Sword, a crystal is need to trigger Torina's abilities.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Professor Trelawney "teaches" the use of them as part of her class, but no one ever actually sees the future in them. In the third book, Harry runs out of patience during his Divination exam and claims to see Buckbeak the hippogriff flying away to freedom — which he ends up doing, albeit with a passenger. During the final battle in the seventh book, it is revealed that crystal balls can serve another purpose: high-speed projectiles.
    • The Ministry of Magic has a whole library of glass spheres, which act as storage devices for recorded prophecies. This room is the site of a battle in book five, during which several are smashed.
    • Pensieves fulfill a similar function, enabling the user to store and relive memories. And the memories in the Pensieve (when not actually using it) are described as halfway between silvery water and gas.
  • Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian:
    • "The Scarlet Citadel": The Big Bad has a crystal ball, while another sorcerer says it's a toy, but one which is useful when you have no time for something serious.
    • "A Witch Shall Be Born": The witch holds crystal balls in contempt as a means to study, but uses it for communications.
      I could never endure to seclude myself in a golden tower, and spend the long hours staring into a crystal globe, mumbling over incantations written on serpent's skin in the blood of virgins, poring over musty volumes in forgotten languages.
      • Later she sends a crystal ball with the army she's sent to crush Conan, to keep her informed on what's going on. The man at the other end lives long enough to deliver exposition on how they've been Lured Into a Trap before someone cuts him down.
  • In Search of Dorothy begins the Wicked Witch of the West's resurrection when a traveler finds her crystal ball. She can communicate and look through her crystal ball, as well as the Wicked Witch of the East's.
  • Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The thirteen color-coded crystal balls of the Wizard's Rainbow are each a corrupting Artifact of Doom.
  • In The Land of Green Ginger, a crystal is the chosen instrument of Nosi Parka the Egghead, a powerful Seer.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • The palantíri are a set of seeing stones that allow the viewer to scry far off locations and communicate between them. Of course, some were destroyed, and one fell to Sauron, making their use incredibly dangerous considering his penchant for Mind Rape or Mind Control.
    • Middle-earth has a few other clairvoyance-granting artifacts. The Mirror of Galadriel (actually a basin filled with water) could show things from the past, present, and possible future. The seat at Amon Hen allows one to see far-away present events, and, while never explicitly stated, its counterpart at Amon Lhaw presumably does the same for hearing.
  • Myth Adventures' Myth-Gotten Gains: One of the talking magic items Aahz collects is a crystal ball, in which the face of a female of the observer's species manifests when it is communicating with people.
  • Michael Reaves's The Shattered World: The "casting sphere" is used by inhabitants of the still-liveable, orbiting fragments of a fantasy world that broke apart long ago. Such spheres are constructed of pieces of polished wood, coral, ivory or crystal, that fit together like a 3-D jigsaw. The crystal ball concept is combined with lot-casting concepts by having each piece represent one of the fragments; when the hollow sphere is dropped, its pieces scatter into patterns from which future events can be divined.
  • In The Riftwar Cycle, the first sign that Pug had potential as a magician came when he inadvertently saw something in a crystal ball.
  • Sorcery!: Crystal orbs are magical artifacts that, when used in spells, allow wizards to see (a rather limited period of time) into the future.
  • Tales of MU: In this Dungeon Punk world, crystal balls are used like computers, forming an "aethernet" even. While mirrors are used as phones, with compacts as cell phones, one time Mack is lent a new "smart mirror" that combines a crystal and mirror.
  • Villains by Necessity:
    • Naturally, the Gypsy fortune teller has one to see things in the future.
    • Mizzamir, the antagonist/hero, has a whole scrying font to spy on the villains. However, Kaylana's and Valerie's magic then blocks it somewhat, so he gets only glimpses. Arcie later damages the font by prying out its magical gemstones, halting his spying until he can repair it.
    • The villains find a magic mirror at one point, which allows them to spy on Mizzamir.
  • David Weber's The War Gods: Called a Gramerhain, and far more limited than most. The victory in the third book probably wouldn't have happened if they'd been as omnipurposable as most crystal balls.
  • In Gene Wolfe's The Sorcerer’s House, the psychic has a fake crystal ball that sees good stuff and the real thing.
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: In Princesses in the Darkest Depths, the enemy kobolds have a cracked up one that can still be used for spying on their enemies.
  • The Reluctant King: In the third book, a wizard spies on the enemy forces besieging his city using such a scrying device. He succeeds in learning of what their plans are, and thus saves them due to Jorian using this intelligence for an effective defense.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica has a prophetess in New Caprica use a bowl of water to divine the future for Number Three. Then there's the Cylon's Unusual User Interface, which consists of placing their hands in streams of water; and the prophetic Hybrids in the baseships, who are submerged in water.
  • Power Rangers:
  • The fortune teller in The Monkees episode "Monkee See, Monkee Die" has one at the seance (& another one that's just a snowglobe).
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power features one of the seven Palantíri, held by Míriel in her father's chambers, while the other six are missing. She invites Galadriel to use it and see the future.
  • Merlin:
    • Nimueh can spy everything that goes on in Camelot with something like a font filled with water.
    • Similarly, Morgause uses a crystal.
  • Commander Black summons Flying Saucer Creatures using one of these.
  • The Goodies are putting on a Phony Psychic act.
    "I look into my crystal ball, and what do I see? Parliament House in a snowstorm!" [shakes snow globe of Parliament House]
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Family", Buffy can't decide what to give Tara for her birthday. Because she's a witch, Xander suggests a "cheesy crystal ball" as a present, only to learn Giles already has one wrapped. At the birthday party we see Tara faking a smile as she unwraps the ball. According to Anya crystal balls were popular with amateurs, which explains why an experienced witch like Tara isn't impressed by them.
    • In "Hells Bells", Future Xander uses one to show his younger self the Bad Future that awaits him if he marries Anya. He's actually a vengeance demon out to ruin their marriage with illusions.
    • An Orb of Thesulah can be used to hold someone's soul (or serve as a New Age paperweight).

  • Iron Maiden's "Can I Play With Madness?" is about a man going to a prophet with a crystal ball — in which, for the man himself "there's no vision there at all". In fact, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (the album that song is on) is a concept album about a man blessed and/or cursed with prophetic sight by virtue of his being, well, the seventh son of a seventh son.
  • The protagonist of the Running Wild album Black Hand Inn uses his crystal ball to "tell tales of past and future" in the eponymous inn. It also comes in handy in privateer business, as it shows where "he has to steer".
  • Keane's song "Crystal Ball" is about... well, yeah.
  • The Spin Room's "Fairest One of All" features the lyric about the titular woman "Met her at the crystal ball, she was bearing it all".

  • The Hot Gypsy Woman astrologer in Star Gazer uses one for scrying.
  • Appears on the spinning spider roulette in Scared Stiff - lighting them awards you with Elvira's "Telepathetic Power".

    Tabletop Games 
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill: The Crystal Ball is a powerful but risky item where a successful Knowledge roll lets you scry the future and put any card in the Item or Event deck to top of the deck, but a failed roll gives you horrible visions that make you lose one or two Sanity points.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In most editions, crystal balls are magic items that replicate the scry spell for users unable to cast it normally. They often come with additional abilities such as the one to see invisible things or foil illusions.
    • The Crystalline Chronicle is a grapefruit-sized crystal sphere that can be used to store spells and as a focus for casting them.
  • Mysterium: Conrad Mac Dowell uses one to communicate with the ghost haunting Warwick Manor.
  • Palladium Fantasy has them as extremely rare magical items with a host of useful powers. There are only about a few thousand of them in the entire world at most.
  • In Res Arcana, the male version of the Seer uses a crystal ball.

    Theme Parks 
  • In the original version of Journey into Imagination, one scene has Dreamfinder and Figment look through a crystal ball (with the latter using a magnifying glass to do so).

  • Certain Tamagotchi toys and other installments of the franchise feature a fortune-telling Tamagotchi named Gypsytchi who has a crystal ball.

    Video Games 
  • There are several Crystal Balls in Loom, all of which are used for telling the future (and learning new drafts).
  • There is a sidequest involving a fortuneteller's crystal ball in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura. The consequences of stealing one are... severe.
  • Nigel gets his fortune told in one in The Lost Crown: A Ghost-Hunting Adventure. Later, he and Lucy use one as the centerpiece for a séance, and receive a vision of what happened to Hardacre.
  • The casual game Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe includes a minigame where you must identify pictures in a crystal ball, using as small an area of the picture as possible.
  • One acts as a map in The Adventures of Robin Hood.
  • Dragon Quest:
  • In Final Fantasy the Blind Seer Matoya uses one called the Crystal Eye to see, which gets stolen by the Dark Elf king Astos as part of his plan to Take Over the World. Early on in the game the party has to retrieve it so Matoya can undo the curse Astos put on the Elven Prince.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Gaia Crusaders have crystal orbs in various colours as Smart Bomb power-ups, that can summon Elemental-based attacks for the players when used.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories: A crystal ball or two resides in Castle Oblivion, which the Organization uses to watch Sora and co. during the events of the game. It reappears in 358/2 Days in the same place, but no other game has featured them anywhere else. A fan novelization on DeviantArt has a snarky narration on the incongruity:
    Nobody used crystal balls anymore - which might explain why it was surrounded by several figures in cloaks of darkest black.
  • The Maid of Fairewell Heights: It's in Jinn's room, the magic room, on the table. On activating it, Marshmallow says:
    Marshmallow: I see these things all the time! Too bad I can't see anything in it...
  • Monster Hunter (PC) has crystal balls serving as extra lives for the Hunter to collect during gameplay.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: A Crystal Ball is an Accessory that boosts Spirit by 50, and its Flavor Text says:
    "Vague images of the future are projected inside."
  • A Crystal Ball is one of the many furniture items in Terraria. Interacting with it gives the player a temporary boost to their magic power.
  • Madame Fate owns one in the Mystery Case Files series. It is used extensively in its' debut appearance in Madame Fate to discover who was about to murder its' owner. It is revealed in later games that this ball was the starting point to the entire Ravenhearst arc, as it was in fact the Ancient Artifact coveted by Alister Dalimar in his quest for immortality.
  • One of the downloadable items in The Sims 3 is a crystal ball.
  • Ōkami: Queen Himiko uses a giant and very powerful one, allowing her to figure out a way to predict where Oni Island will appear next. She succeeds, but only after sacrificing her life.
  • The Crystal Ball item in Warcraft III allows the user to temporarily reveal any part of the map.
  • Madam Mushka of King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder! uses a crystal ball to show Graham what happened to his family, specifically the wizard Mordack threatening a shrunken Alexander to restore his brother Manannan to human form.
  • In Transylvania, you find a crystal ball behind a locked door in a cavern. Gazing into it reveals a figure garbed in a cloak and a ring approaching a statue in the woods and causing it to explode with a wave of his hand. You can find the same crystal in the sequel The Crimson Crown, and it instead allows you to communicate with the villainous Vampire, whose power eventually causes it to shatter.
  • The Binding of Isaac has an item of the same name. It's an active item that reveals most of the floor's map (except the Super Secret Room and Ultra Secret Room in Repentance), and additionally spawns a soul heart (temporary health)/tarot card, much like a Fortune Telling Machine would. For how powerful the item is, however, it is extremely rare, as it can be found only by using a Fortune Telling Machine a vast number of times and hoping the item drops when the machine is destroyed. Essentially, it's a portable Fortune Telling Machine but much better.
  • Star Ocean:
  • Street Fighter V: Menat, Rose's apprentice, fights using a floating crystal ball.
  • Soul Calibur V: Viola is amnesiac fortune teller whose weapon of choice is a floating glass orb. She was likely the inspiration for the aforementioned Menat.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon: The Fortuneteller job uses a crystal ball as its weapon. You can cast spells that are predictions various misfortunes that will befall the target, or you can bonk them with the ball itself.

    Web Animation 
  • In Mystery Skulls Animated the paranormal investigators keep one in their van on the shelf above the holy water and garlic cloves.
  • RWBY has a living variant called the Seer Grimm, a jellyfish-like creature with a glassy orb for a body. It's used multiple times by Salem to spy on and communicate with those working under her. But make no mistake: it is alive and just as deadly as any other Grimm in the series.

  • Xykon from The Order of the Stick uses one to scry upon the heroes regularly. It's even widescreen. And has screen within screen. And Teevo so he can record them while he isn't around. It also recommends other heroes and MacGuffin quests he might enjoy watching.
  • Early on, in Adorable Desolation, Shopclerk peers into one, first he sees a vision of a skull and then the Crystal Ball cracks in half.
  • Dominic Deegan has numerous forms of crystal balls. Usually they're just for divination and scrying, but they have also been used similar to telephones. They also aren't just the conventional clear, either. Miranda Deegan uses one made out of onyx.
  • Homestuck has both Rose and Jade using crystal balls for remote viewing; Jade combines hers with a super computer so she can remote view all possible locations at once.
    • There's also the Magic Cue Ball which answers any question it's asked, but unlike a Magic 8 Ball, the Magic Cue Ball is completely opaque and the answers to its questions can be seen only by using some sort of special power to see inside of it.
  • Jackson Adler of The Wretched Ones uses one of these to tell Nicholas Thomas' fortune. He doesn't see anything.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Blinky uses a crystal ball to determine Yokoka's and Grace's elemental affinities, and also wordlessly reveals her own Dreams (Fortune) element when she touches it.
  • Princess Princess: Claire spies on Sadie, Amira and Vladric using one.
  • True Villains: Xaneth's basketball-sized crystal ball grants him Surveillance as the Plot Demands and lets him play Mission Control for his evil minions; Sebastian later works out how to use it for Sympathetic Magic as well. It's actually a crystal eye granted by Xaneth's patron God of Knowledge.
  • Housepets!: Tarot uses a crystal ball. It stops working after she loses her status as Dragon's avatar. It turns out that she is using an extremely outdated model so she buys a new one that instead resembles a tablet and has a lot more features.
  • In El Goonish Shive:
    • This is used to frame a sketch of a then future story comic and thus from a chronological reader's perspective tells the future in this filler comic.
    • Nanase can use marbles as them to perform remote viewing. In her fairy form to keep an eye on her real body.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe: Some students use them for scrying:
    • Palantir can generate magical balls to do things, as said in The Three Little Witches:
      Palantir shook her head. "How're we gonna do that, with all the detention we got? I got a much better way!" She cupped her hands before her and...
      "Oh. THIS again," Abra grumped.
      "You're just jealous 'cause you don't have a natural gift for this sort of thing."
      "Sure, sure, I’m all green with envy, 'cause you're the Goblin King from Labyrinth, David Bowie," Abra mocked.
      Palantir concentrated on the magic ball, which glowed. As the three of them peered into it, an image of a low-slung rock in front of a gray-painted sheet of metal set into a hillside. A strange pale flame flickered over the rock. "That's IT!" Palantir said with a triumphant smirk in Abracadabra's direction. Using a general sense of proximity that she got from the ball, Pally led them through the gloom. They walked quite a ways, and Clover was starting to complain about being tired when Palantir said, "There it is!"
      "Where's that fire we saw in the crystal ball?"
    • Twitch (Tek Witch) from Generation 2, in Following the Path of Cute, as she's a witch. Not Really. She's using it to look for invisible bunnies:
      "I made a crystal ball..." She proudly held up what appeared to be a crystal ball, about the size of a softball.
      "It sure looks like a crystal ball," Tyler agreed. "What is it really?"
      Michelle hesitated a moment before answering, "It's an omnidirectional camera and monitor unit."
      "If there are any invisible bunnies in here, I'll be able to see them..."
  • Dr. Crafty has a living variant with the Fortune Teller Madame Crystelle. The ball serves as a Non-Human Head while the rest of her body is an extension of her magic. She even admits that it's a much more attractive form than just sitting on a desk collecting dust.

    Western Animation 
  • Madam Wu in Avatar: The Last Airbender heats bones and studies the cracks. Aang has such a huge destiny his bone explodes. When madam Wu excitedly tells him of his destiny to fight Fire Lord Ozai in order to restore balance to the world, he's more interested in if there's anything about his love life in the smoking splinters. (He already knew about Ozai, after all.)
  • In the ALF cartoon episode, "Housekeeping for Pokipsi", Madam Pokipsi the "Fortune Smeller" has a Magic Ball that is not used only for divination, but is the source of all her arcane powers; when Gordon messes with it, he ruins her magic tricks ("Vhat haf you done ma Crystal Bawwwwl, Yunk Mayun?").
  • In Thundercats 2011 the Sword of Omens is a hybrid of this and a Magic Mirror. Staring Through the Sword prompts the spherical cabochon Eye of Thundera in its hilt to send a vision visible in the Blade Reflection.
  • The Owl House: In "Lost in Language", the library uses crystal balls as the equivalent to computers for looking up information (and funny cat videos). One of the users is even seen struggling with their connection.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: "Eenie, meanie, chili-beanie! The spirits are about to speak!"
  • Disenchantment features a crystal ball that normally acts like a Magic 8-Ball, responding to questions with vague single word statements. However, when a giantess uses it as a Glass Eye she is suddenly able to see what everyone is thinking but not saying, and Luci accidentally figures out how to make it replay past events.
  • In Season 9 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Grogar employs a magic sphere looking very similar to a Palantir — except the "iris" part is vertical, like a goat's, unlike the common slitted "eye of Sauron" representation. With it, he provides shadow imagery of the past to illustrate his backstory, and witnesses Sombra's defeat at the hooves of the Mane Six. Presumably, it's this artifact that allowed him to stay updated of the latest events in Equestria, including the deeds of the villains he gang-pressed in his service, as well as the modus operandi of the heroes.
  • Kaeloo:
    • In Episode 37, Kaeloo uses a crystal ball to contact spirits. It is never revealed whether the ball really works or not, since Kaeloo's "predictions" were events that happen Once an Episode on the show.
    • In Episode 90, Mr. Cat, as a sorcerer, uses a crystal ball to see where Kaeloo is and what she's doing.
  • On He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), along with the Magic Mirror, these are extremely popular with wizards. In fact, both Skeletor and Evil-Lyn have crystal balls on the ends of their Magic Staff and Magic Wand respectively. Plus, Skeletor has a larger domed one set into the conference table in Snake Mountain.

    Real Life 
  • Practitioners of modern ceremonial magic and some forms of witchcraft use crystal balls. Rather than expecting to see anything in them like a TV set, you are supposed to use them simply as a focus of attention, similar to meditation. Anything you see should appear in your mind, not in the crystal.
  • This trope was played straight in earlier occult schools, such as those popular during the 16th and 17th centuries. During this period, occultists believed they could summon spirits like angels into crystal balls, who could give them spiritual visions, or converse or bargain with them.
  • The world's largest polished sphere of solid quartz crystal, weighing more than 100 pounds and measuring over a foot in diameter, can be found at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. The display advises you to look into the ball to see... an inverted image of the room behind it, just like any other large convex lens.


Video Example(s):


Library Crystal Balls

The library in the Boiling Isles uses crystal balls instead of computers. They even have lousy connections.

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Main / CrystalBall

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