J.J. Abrams launches ‘Mystery Box’ on Shopify ecommerce software

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What do you get when you mix much-loved director J.J. Abrams with an online magician's shop?

Magic, of course.


Abrams teamed up with theory11 (whose manifesto is "to advance the art of magic") for the release of the Mystery Box on their Shopify store.

The product is exactly that: A mystery box. It comes with an alpha-numeric combination lock – with no key – and something unknown inside. Whether or not you choose to open the box is up to you.

When Abrams was a young boy, he was given a Mystery Box by his grandfather. Some 30 years later, that box remains unopened and sits above Abrams's desk. His love of mystery has been present in his creative projects ever since, including Lost, Cloverfield and Super 8.

"Maybe there are times when mystery is more important than knowledge," Abrams said during a 2007 Ted Talk describing his Mystery Box.

Coincidentally, that talk was what inspired Jonathan Bayme – a magician prodigy – to launch theory11, which has become an online haven for the magician community.

"I was an 18-year-old kid in South Carolina watching his Ted Talk," Bayme said. "That was the inspiration behind why we do what we do, celebrating mystery and wonder and making magic."

It wasn't long before theory11 became a thriving online magic community and business, using Shopify's ecommerce software to run their store.

This past year, while Abrams has been busy working on Star Wars, the two magic men have been collaborating on the box's design as well as accompanying playing cards.

Proceeds benefit 826 National, a non-profit organization promoting creative writing in schools and workshops across the USA.

The Mystery Box comes with a letter from Abrams adorned with a black wax seal, explaining that people don't have to open the box.

"I realize it's unusual to sell an object for $150 when you don't know what's inside of it," Bayme said. "But that's the point. You have to trust us that it's something really wonderful – or never open it and always wonder."

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