Magic Trick: Mid-air vanishing


A rather impressive way of making an assistant vanish!

(The original description of this trick has the performer putting to death his female assistance, by electrocution, but some other patter should be used!)

A very large frame — see the figure — made of very solid wood or of steel is on stage for the trick. (Concealed by the performer in the diagram is a crank, for raising the assistant into mid-air). The assistant is brought on and introduced, and the reason for making him/her disappear is explained. S/he is bound firmly to a chair placed in front of the frame: this is slid under the frame and the performer cranks it into mid-air until the assistant's feet are above the lower cross bar of the frame. The performer discharges a pistol or otherwise makes a sudden loud noise — the assistant disappears and the chair falls to the floor!


Although it isn't apparent from the first diagram, there is a set of bright lights in the sides of the frame, between the two crossbars, shining inwards. At the top of the stage curtain, there is another set of such lights below material which is the same as the back of the stage, aimed directly between the two crossbars. Attached to the frame, between the two crossbars, is a sheet of plate glass (absolutely clean, of course). When the performer fires his pistol, the lights in the frame are turned off and those above the curtain simultaneously turned on. Thus the glass will suddenly begin to reflect the material above the curtain and will no longer pass the light onto the assistant. The chair is actually double: the part the assistant is sitting on is merely a platform, strong enough to suspend him or her, and when the pistol goes off s/he lets the rest of the chair drop, for dramatic effect, having been holding on to it until that time.


The only difficult part of this trick is when it's finished — the audience has to be completely distracted so that the frame can be removed without being noticed. Curtain?

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