One of the most popular tricks with professional conjurers is that in which a young woman is fired from a large cannon, standing on the stage, into the innermost of a nest of three trunks that has hung suspended in full sight of the audience from the "flies" or upper part of the stage.
The trick is simplicity itself. In the lower end of the cannon—an enormous affair of wood and heavy tin which rests on a heavy gun carriage, is a trap which allows the girl to pass from the muzzle of the gun under the stage. Inside the mouth of the cannon is a revolver, the trigger of which is actuated by a cord in the hands of the girl and is fired at a given signal to heighten the effect of the trick.
When the trunks are lowered to the stage they are empty. The outer one is opened, and pushed aside; then the center one and the innermost one are taken out and placed directly over a trap in the stage. The bottom of each of these trunks is provided with a flap, as shown in Fig. 147, and the girl who is now under the stage is run up into these trunks by an elevator. When she is inside the bottoms of the trunks fall in place of their own weight.
Sometimes the girl who is placed in the cannon remains in it until it is taken off the stage, and a second girl, made up to resemble the first as nearly as possible, gets into the trunk, though, as the reader will understand, this is unnecessary.
Fig. 147 This illustration shows the bottoms of the two trunks and the trap in the stage open, affording a passage for the girl.
Of course, this trick is only intended for the stage, and is explained here merely to gratify the curiosity of some readers who are desirous of knowing "how it is done."