Aren’t we fascinated by escapist fare like magic, optical illusions or special effects in movies?
When we are wowed by Magicians like David Copperfield or David Blaine or Criss Angel, we know they are using a sleight of hand and have clever mechanical devices to carry out their jaw-dropping acts. But we like to suspend our disbelief and enjoy the ‘magic moment’.
What baffles the mind is when they make the Statue of Liberty disappear or walk through the Great Wall of China. Somewhere at the back of our mind we know that these feats can be achieved through optical illusion but we tend to accept the theory that these magicians have supernatural capabilities. There are people who speculate about how it was done, while others poke holes in their theories and try to hold on to the illusion. Magicians will continue to entertain and bedazzle us. Because, the mystery surrounding the magician’s trade is why it continues to fascinate even when so much has been revealed.
Here are some methods revealed behind the great tricks that have dazzled us, caught us off guard, perhaps even made us wonder for a moment. You will surely love to know the method behind the magic but we hope it does not leave you disenchanted and cynical about the power of Magic as entertainment.
How did David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty disappear?
Making a 225-ton national landmark disappear is no mean feat. Soon after the giant statue disappeared before our eyes on television (and in front of a live audience), a simple explanation was revealed. Copperfield’s audience, along with the pillars between which the statue could be viewed, stood on a rotating platform.
Rather than moving the object, as magicians vanishing small items do, Copperfield apparently moved the audience. The pillars were draped so that the statue was not visible during the process. The movement was slow, and occurred after dark in an area without visual landmarks. The draped pillars remained in front of the audience, but were slowly shifted so that the statue of liberty was no longer visible between them. Throw in a duplicate set of lights and some showmanship, and the statue “disappears”. After the unveiling, the pillars were draped again and the process reversed to “restore” the Statue of Liberty.
How did David Copperfield walk through the Great Wall of China?
For walking through walls, the magician must get under, over or around the wall in some way quickly enough to appear to have passed directly through the wall. The Great Wall of China, of course, presented a bit more of a challenge in that regard than the typical stage-set. Copperfield used shadow boxes to conceal his “entry” and “exit”. Between the time he entered the shadow box on one side and the time he exited on the other side, the audience saw only his silhouette disappearing into the wall and then emerging from the other side. The big mystery: how did Copperfield quickly make it to the other side of the Great Wall of China without being noticed by spectators or the television camera?
There is speculation by Trick-Busters that after Copperfield entered the shadow box, the staircase he’d ascended was quickly removed and set up on the other side of the wall to allow for his descent. This Trick Busters even illustrates how Copperfield could switch with a double on the entry side of the wall.
Does Criss Angel really Levitate?
Criss Angel with his levitation tricks created quite a buzz. He levitated on the street, with audiences just a few feet away from him, making it seem impossible that he’d used any kind of prop or mechanical device to rise off the ground. Despite the fact that we’re all pretty savvy about being tricked with this whole magic thing today, audiences still want to believe that Angel might really be somehow floating in the air.
Angel himself describes his technique of levitation which boils down to nothing more than keeping audiences behind him while he removes one foot from the shell of his shoe and steps upward with the now-hidden leg. Meanwhile, his shoe and pants-leg remain behind, slowly rising as he hoists himself up on the now-invisible leg and creating the impression that both of Angel’s feet are in the air.
Even with all the secrets being revealed the magic has not really gone out of magic. Although Technology lacks the intrigue of mystical powers, but it has one significant advantage over magic: it’s real.
Courtesy: travel.snydle.com, 1.bp.blogspot.com, magictricksforkids.org, ih1.redbubble.net